Global development


Given the challenges of today’s globalised and fast-paced marketplace, South African mid-market companies need to implement enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions that offer a balance of global scale and local support and expertise.

That’s the word from Jeremy Waterman, Managing Director of Sage ERP Africa, who says that the mid-market ERP space is rapidly narrowing to a few large vendors with the reach and Research & Development budgets needed to maintain and enhance software for an increasingly complex business environment.

“Over the past five years, we have seen the space in the market for smaller regional players in the global ERP market starting to shrink,” he adds. “The barriers to entry have become high and the costs of keeping up with a changing technology and regulatory landscape has grown. To create a solution based on best practices in this environment demands scale and global reach.”

Waterman says that Sage ERP Africa, for example, has been reengineering its business software for a world of cloud services, mobile access and consumerisation. The next generation of its global mid-market ERP solution, Sage ERP X3 version 7, is a complete overhaul of the software using new technology architectures that are native to today’s world of the Internet and mobile computing.

“The costs and complexity of such an undertaking are beyond the reach of any player that doesn’t have a global customer base and budget,” Waterman says. “It takes a great deal of investment to create the powerful toolsets that help mid-market enterprises confidently streamline time-consuming financial and operational processes.”

Yet at the same time, local support and expertise are also important. Any business solution needs to be tailored for the local tax, legal and regulatory environment, says Waterman. It also needs to be backed by a network of independent software vendors (ISVs) and implementation partners, he adds.

Says Waterman: “For our part, we understand that market needs in South Africa and other African countries differ greatly from those in the US or Europe. We invest in localisation of our solutions, but also work off a world-class backbone built to accommodate the latest technologies.

“Since we have been active in this market for 20 years, we have also developed an extensive network of business partners and ISVs for specific local expertise. They understand local business needs and can help our clients to configure and implement solutions that follow good global practices in a framework tailored to South African conditions.”

The focus on global development and local expertise is paying off for Sage in South Africa and the rest of the continent. Sage ERP Africa was acknowledged at the recent Sage ERP X3 global convention as the best-performing country after doubling revenues in H1 FY14 for Sage ERP X3. South African Sage business partner, Times 3 Technology, won the award for highest migration sales, and Sage ERP Africa’s Senior Vice President Sales – Sage ERP X3 AAMEA, Keith Fenner received the award for Global Sales Leadership.

“These awards demonstrate just how much support there is for Sage in Africa,” says Waterman. “We are confident that we are on track for another year of strong growth throughout the region.” 


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Issue 68