This white paper is based on a recent survey conducted amongst IT professionals across South Africa. The main objective of the survey was to understand the enterprise resource planning (ERP) landscape in South Africa in the context of global trends.
An ERP system represents a significant investment of time and money for any organisation and making the right choice of software can lead to a number of benefits, from gaining a comprehensive view of all business activities to being able to access real-time data that can support instant decision making and share up-to-date information with outside stakeholders such as customers, partners, and suppliers. South African manufacturers and distributors face the same challenges as their international counterparts. Finding ways to streamline processes by implementing lean principles is essential to cutting costs and improving profitability. Never before has it been more important to leverage technology to achieve this. And not just in certain areas but across the organisation.
By using business software as a thread to connect every area of your business you can gain insight into each part of it. Critical real-time data is the ultimate management tool to achieve speed, agility, reinvention, and innovation. The hunger for easy access to data that can support decision making and help managers understand operational activities is setting significant trends for business technology.
African businesses have a wide variety of choices from global ERP players but often there is a shortage of skills when it comes to the implementation and maintenance of systems. This may explain why organisations reported the reliability on vendors to make changes as a real challenge in our survey.
According to a recent IDC survey, the majority of African CIOs (57%) believe that staffing issues (i.e., the recruitment, retention, and development of IT staff) will be the number one IT challenge for African businesses in the years ahead. African
CIOs believe that IT staffing shortages will result in an increased dependency on IT service companies (60%), delays to projects (48%), and decreased adoption of new and innovative technologies (42%).1 But the results also show that South African companies want to take more responsibility and ownership when it comes to implementing an ERP system. They don’t want to face added costs or costly delays when accessing data or changing things within the system. Business agility should be put in the hands of the user.
This highlights the necessity for ERP vendors to provide solutions that not only meet business needs and match today’s technology requirements, but are also easy to use and adopt throughout the organisation. In particular, companies are looking for usable tools that will help them to access and interpret the underlying data to support effective decision making.
This ultimately gives the organisation the ability to be agile in its approach to market changes and responsive to customer demand, as they are not weighed down by a rigid proprietary architecture that only a few limited resources have the skill to update or change. Being agile means that an organisation can expand or change its product lines or service offerings in line with market demand within weeks or even days rather than months. It also means that they are able to better fulfill orders, take on more business, and tailor their product ranges to suit customer requirements. In essence, being agile means being able to meet market demands faster without being held back by systems and processes.