Investing in digital transformation improves business performance and competitiveness, says SAP East, West and Lusophone Africa managing director Pedro Guerreiro.

Speaking from his more than 20 years’ experience at SAP in Europe, America and Africa, he asserts that digital transformation makes business sense. He adds that integrating enterprise-wide processes leads to better performance outcomes.

SAP provides a suite of industry-specific enterprise application software to firms of all sizes, helping them to run at their best. For example, top utility firms in Europe and the United States (US), as well as a host of others in Africa, run on SAP. In fact, 99 of the 100 largest companies in the world are SAP S/4HANA customers.

“It is easy to find role models that run on SAP software,” says Mr Guerreiro, adding that the firm’s solutions are easy to adopt and fast to implement.

Mr Guerreiro reveals that Sub-Saharan Africa firms – including state corporations – that have transformed into intelligent enterprises are unlocking technology’s enormous potential and reaping the benefits.

After adopting SAP’s latest technology, they are improving operational efficiency, saving costs, maximising revenues, enhancing transparency, sharpening talent management and delivering significant shareholder value. This is because full or end-to-end automation gives managers a real-time view of the entire business, enabling them to make informed decisions that enhance the business’s agility in a highly dynamic, challenging marketplace.

However, as Mr Guerreiro observes, whereas East African firms have widely adopted enterprise resource planning (ERP), few have invested in specific, best-of-breed technology strategies.

“Awareness of the need for digital transformation is pretty good in the region, but the investments being made towards that objective still fall short in scope,” he says.

He urges managers and business owners: “If you are not embracing digital transformation, you are letting the opportunity for your colleagues, company and shareholders slip by, and you will be disadvantaged in the market. This was the case even before the pandemic but is even more critical now.”

He says business leaders should think of what they can do in their firms to make them intelligent enterprises.

Mr Guerreiro, who has more than two decades’ experience at SAP, has seen what modern technology does for businesses. He says the feedback from users of SAP business solutions is positive.

“They see the technology’s benefits and impact on their bottom line and their top line,” says Mr Guerreiro, adding that SAP solutions “can help you grow more resilient, more profitable, and more sustainable.”

SAP’s end-to-end processes, integrated into the SAP Business Technology Platform, run a variety of enterprises in the 25 industries the firm focuses on.

Some firms have gone a step further and use SAP on the cloud, saving themselves the time and energy they would have spent to store information on-site as well as to maintain the infrastructure. Moving to the cloud is the next opportunity for African organisations to transform and thrive.

SAP also runs corporate social responsibility programmes that tap into its reservoir of ICT knowledge to empower future generations with the skills they need to drive in a digital economy.

Under the Africa Code Week (ACW) initiative and SAP Skills for Africa, the technology firm offers free ICT training to young people. This broad initiative is aimed at developing ICT skills in Africa as part of SAP’s global commitment to promoting education and entrepreneurship.

So far, it has trained 4 million youth across Africa on basic programming as part of ACW. “This training inspires the young people that ICT is fun and worth pursuing as a career,” explains Mr Guerreiro.

The Young Professionals Program (YPP) in Africa, established in 2021, is targeted at young graduates who are either unemployed or underemployed. It has graduated more than 1,600 talents across 20 African countries (including North Africa).

Skills for Africa covers 20 countries through either YPP or Dual Study Program (or both) in Africa: South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania, Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Mali, Egypt

The training, Mr Guerreiro avers, is in line with SAP’s mission statement, To help the world run betterand improve people’s lives.