Accommodating customers in the design for the solutions -SAP forum Report

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The SAP forum held at Safari Park hotel on the 18th July 2012 can be said to have been a success. Various companies’ CEOs and executives attended the event that saw a highlight of what the ERP software is planning for the country and the continent.
The forum also saw people like Hon.Dr. Bitange Ndemo give a keynote address and motivational speaker Caroline Musyoka inspiring the audience. SAP Africa CEO Mr. Pfungwa Serima gave a brief outline of the company’s plans and strategies for Africa and Kenya. One of the key aspects noted by the CEO was the usage of the ERP software by big African organizations. He said that 70% of top 10 African businesses or companies use SAP.

Part of the main highlight was the testimonials given by Mr. Vimal Shah, CEO of Bidco group and Dr. Kipkurui Langat, the CEO of New KCC on how SAP system has helped their organization improve efficiency both in operations, and in profit improvement. These testimonials showed the potential of the software in the region and that an investment made in it was worth every cent.
Another company that made a reference to using the ERP solution was Furniture Palace that is situated along Mombasa road. The CEO of Furniture Palace gave a thumbs-up to the solution and was impressed by the return on Investment and the improvement of their operations.

In all the three companies, what the CEOs underlined was the improvement in operation, reduced costs in doing business and also a short time of implementation of the ERP. They said that it took them two months to fully implement the solution, which is commendable as compared to other ERP solutions.

The presentation made by the company gave insights on what many people may not have known in regards to the software solution. One of the insights was the presence of their software solution for Small and Medium Enterprise. This is what they call SAP business One used by small and medium sized companies. This is what is currently used by Furniture Palace and other small and medium sized companies.

The SAP markets highlighted during presentation are:

  • Applications
  • Analytics
  • Mobile
  • Technology and database
  • Cloud

What impressed me during the presentation of these markets is the way the company is focused on providing solutions to both large enterprises and small and medium enterprises. The applications and analytics section gave a critical look on how making decisions can be made easy by coming up with reports that help in decision making.

During an interview with SAP executives, they emphasized on how they accommodate the customer when coming up with design of their solutions and also how they view Africa as the next frontier for their business. The Managing Director, SAP East Africa Mr. Andrew Waititu stated on how the East Africa office has grown over the years with a growth in staff and also in partners working with SAP. He also stated on how in the next couple of months the cloud based solutions will be available to customers.
The mobile and database technology market is has had major growth and is currently ranked 2nd in the world and one of the emphasis that each executive mentioned to change how business will be done is SAP HANA. I wanted to know what exactly what SAP HANA does and the demos shown on the analytics through the use of SAP HANA is amazing and will be a feature in SAP 9.0 which is about to be launched.

One of the questions asked about SAP was the price. The price seem a little high and Mr. Serima, The CEO SAP Africa stated that the high price of SAP is a myth. I quote, “look at the value of the investment and the innovative solutions it offers. It is not about buying the solution but using the solution into a good experience”.

Another aspect that came out with the meetings with the executives is that SAP is not only or entirely an ERP company. One can start with a module and integrate other modules as the business grows. Mobility is also another area that the company is looking at. Mobile software applications are currently being looked into because Africa is a continent where mobile penetration is high. However, do not worry if you have an i-pad or an i-phone. The company has an app which you can buy from the apple store and install in your i-pad and experience the SAP experience. Also cloud access to your data was also demonstrated and this showed that the company is looking into the future and in my opinion we have to watch the space.

What is your opinion on the topic?
Jeckonia Omondi
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