1. What is the state of the ERP market in Africa?
The African ERP market is highly competitive with many vendors focusing their attention on cloud-based ERP offerings which offer customers flexible payment and deployment options with simplified and accelerated implementation times.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software provides the underlying platform for digital transformation enabling companies across the African continent to integrate key financial and operational business processes which leads to greater efficiency, speed, customer satisfaction and profit.
African businesses, as with other regions, are looking for easy to implement, mature, simplified ERP which results in a fast time to value.
2. What key business trends should CIOs be looking out for in the ERP space?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies are enabling greater levels of automation in the ERP space by speeding up and even replacing previous manual and time-consuming tasks.
An example of this is the scanning of supplier invoices which automatically creates the relevant documents in the ERP system.
Extending ERP access beyond the traditional “back office” to mobile sales, service and warehouse users continues to gain traction and provides tangible business benefits.
Furthermore, smart devices and sensors on the factory floor for example, are able to integrate in with relevant ERP processes to improve productivity and optimise resources.
A business intelligence platform providing real-time reporting and analytical capabilities in order to make informed decisions should also be a serious consideration.
3. Is cloud ERP the future of ERP technology?
Very much so. Cloud ERP is especially attractive to small and midsize companies because it provides an operational investment option, faster deployment and allows them to focus on their core business while outsourcing IT functions to ERP vendors.
4. What do you see as key success factors for African enterprises when implementing ERP?
- Firstly, and probably most critical to the success of the project, is top-down commitment from the directors to the department heads and process owners. A steering committee should be established to keep these key stakeholders regularly informed as to the status of the project.
- The ERP vendor will include aspects of change management during the implementation process such as super-user testing and end user training but customers are strongly advised to drive their own change management program focusing on how the project will support the business to meet its current requirements and future objectives.
- Customers should be open to a phased approach around the implementation of an ERP solution. It is not feasible in terms of time, sound integration, and costs to address all requirements immediately. Prioritise the most important issues and “low hanging fruits” with the aim of creating a core platform which will form the foundation for future projects and communicated in a roadmap document.
- A key consideration for those considering an ERP solution is cost transparency. Buried costs for hardware and hosting in complicated quotes can be a big headache for the owners so Seidor Africa has focused on comprehensive and complete offerings that are clear, avoid confusing tech jargon and also refer to the underlying infrastructure needed for a successful ERP system.
By way of example, with cloud implementations, cloud providers need to be reliable, and we need to work closely with them.
Through trial and error, we have carefully chosen the best and most reliable cloud providers who can offer customers a solid underlying infrastructure for their ERP system.
Seidor Africa has made our partnerships with infrastructure providers equally as important as the relationship with SAP and our clients and this mitigates many potential problems.
5. What ERP technologies will be most sought next year?
Customers in 2023 and next year are more interested in business benefits than the supporting technology. What will be most important when evaluating ERP vendors:
- Automation and optimisation – business process automation (BPA) and Machine Learning (ML)
- Cloud and mobility – for flexible deployment and procurement options and the ability to extend the user base beyond traditional back-office users
- Extensibility and integration – the ability to extend functionality without bespoke development effort as well as integration capabilities with other systems
- Internet of Things (IoT) – whether the option exists to include data generated by smart assets and devices into the core ERP.
The short answer is an ERP solution with rapid return on investment, that is scalable, dependable, and already best of breed is what will be most sought in 2024.
Answers by Darren De Vries SADC Channel Partner Manager | Seidor