Conquering Africa through ERP

The team that conquered Africa

For centuries, adventurers, speculators and explorers have found the allure of the unknown reaches of Africa irresistible. Many have tried to conquer Africa and perished – from James Bruce’s quest for the source of the Nile to David Livingston’s traverse of Southern Africa. Had they but known that the key to winning Africa was simply teamwork – so adequately demonstrated by Team SYSPRO over the past few years.

The phrase ‘Team SYSPRO’ was coined to describe SYSPRO’s pro-activity when working with value added resellers (VARs), third-party vendors and internal staff. It is an integration of the most appropriate internal and external resources of the SYSPRO community or ecosystem. Its primary goal is to ensure that customers have the support of the best possible mix of resources during all the phases of an ERP project, from the strategic to the functional and operational.

SYSPRO Africa comprises a core team of 50 people with more than 500 people in its extended ecosystem, who interface at an optimum level with a constantly growing community of over 30, 000 SYSPRO users across Africa.

Team SYSPRO believes that the key to success lies in building relationships with users. It works closely with customers, continuously resolving problems and sharing product capabilities. To achieve this successfully, a number of people at different levels of specialist expertise are often required. This is where Team SYSPRO excels: the team draws on the best internal and external resources for each unique situation, often drawing expertise from the extended ecosystem which includes middleware and hardware specialists. This has a knock-on effect, enabling customers’ influence to grow within their respective markets.

As SYSPRO director responsible for Africa, I like my team to function on 80% hard work and 20% creativity. Each of my top people are able to create and manage an event that enhances our community constantly. Like customer care, marketing is a living, breathing phenomenon which threads through the entire team. We are always aware of delivering on the customer’s brand, while keeping our promise of adding on-going value. This process becomes much more powerful if a customer has a Seeker of Value to provide the critical link between Team SYSPRO and the customer.

Seekers of Value

Every organization has them, albeit often unconsciously. They are the dedicated believers in the system who have supported it and advocated its virtues all along. They are the very people who prevent the disconnection that so often occurs in the ERP system of an organization.

The art is to identify the people who are best suited to act as the Seekers of Value and to empower them to fulfill their roles. These people are responsible for bridging the gap between the ERP supplier and the organization; reducing costs, optimizing returns on investment (ROI) and giving customers greater control over their destinies. They could be board members, members of management, IT managers, supply chain experts, or even systems administrators.

Seekers of Value have a natural curiosity on how things tie into each other and what makes the business tick. To best achieve this, they should be involved in all strategy planning and execution to truly unlock the value ERP can add to these functions.

A Chief Information Officer (CIO) quoted on, who had excellent results in reversing the erosion of value in his company, ascribed this to a staff member who was their Seeker of Value. Their Seeker of Value was seen more as an internal sales person than a consultant. His job was to understand the ERP software and to get others to use more of it, or design more ways to get value out of what they were already doing.

I share this view. We are constantly selling the concept of the Seeker of Value or the ‘Return on Investment Change Agent’ to our customers with great success.

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This entry was posted in Business Strategy and tagged , , , by Meryl Malcomess. Bookmark the permalink.

About Meryl Malcomess

After matriculating at Jeppe High School for Girls, my father thought it prudent to send me to finishing school in Switzerland where I could hone my talents as a young lady rather than expose me to the harsh world of business or, even worse, university studies. Unfortunately the Swiss finishing school was closed for renovations at that time and I was enrolled at a secretarial college in the interim. After a short stint at college, I opted to dive straight into the working world and took up a position as a private secretary at a large company. At the age of 21, I became the first, and youngest female Financial Manager in the company. I have since then accumulated experience in commodities and advertising; and even ran a family trucking and airfreight business. I have been with SYSPRO for more than 18 years now and as Marketing Director, I am involved in determining the strategic direction of the Company’s marketing activities. I believe the key to SYSPRO’s success is to monitor market forces, including customer behavior patterns and trends highlighted by industry analysts. A SYSPRO initiative which I take great pride in is the concept of Soil to Palate – a SYSPRO philosophy for the food and farming industries that believes there is a happy middle ground between providing healthy, sustaining food and being a profitable business. I have many passions but my greatest passion are my daughters Lara and Bettina and grandson Sebastian.

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