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The Grace of Change

Posted on 20 September 2012 by Meryl Malcomess

Change is one of our greatest fears. As human beings we resist it, opting instead for the safety and security of old routine. However as we all know, change is inevitable. Paradoxically, it is also one of mankind’s greatest abilities and strengths. After all, we’ve only survived this long as a species thanks to our ability to adapt.

In the commercial world, resistance to change is inevitable and can often contribute to the death of organizations and indeed entire industries. When a company makes a decision to purchase an ERP solution, they are also choosing a newer, smarter, more effective way of doing things, and by doing so, are buying change.

In every business that we implement our solutions, we find a Seeker of Value. Every organization has one of these pivotal cogs in the organization’s chain. This is that key person who tenaciously drives the necessary change and bridges the gap between the ERP supplier and the organization. This individual’s focus: reduce costs, optimize return on investment, and provide the organization with greater control over its destiny.

I recently had the privilege of chatting to one such Seeker of Value in her field, Ms Jay Sookdeo – Group IT manager at Hytec Holdings (Pty) Ltd. The Hytec Group, with operations in Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, and across South Africa, have been a SYSPRO client for the past twenty years. Jay joined Hytec in 2006, bringing with her a great depth of financial and IT knowledge, and more than ten years of SYSPRO experience – allowing her to firmly take her rightful reins as their Seeker of Value.

Finding the balance

Jay’s message to me was loud and clear. In her role of running her department, she continuously strives to optimize the group’s efficiencies through technology. There are still some manual business processes within the group, which necessitate continuous reengineering in an effort to automate – adding value to the business and increasing Hytec’s competitive edge. SYSPRO ERP is at the core of the organization, with over 300 users across the group. She continues to explain that having a vision in terms of technology and the road ahead is also critical. Being at the very cutting edge of technology is not all-important, as that can often prove extremely expensive. The trick is finding a balance between cost and delivery. Jay’s mission is to always try and maximize that balance and deliver the most affordable latest technologies across the group.

Managing change

Over the years the Hytec Group has made several acquisitions. Many companies have joined the group with very specific operational styles and approaches. Their business models are also each uniquely different, for example some manufacture products locally, whilst others import. Optimal management of these disparities is critical to the organization’s success.

Jay once again highlighted the resistance to change shared by many people, and the immense challenge of establishing a standard across the group that can be implemented gradually. Expecting 420 IT users to change their ways overnight is unrealistic. Hytec’s approach has been to identify champions within each of the different companies, and allow them to test the proposed systems. Upon satisfaction of this testing, larger scale roll out has taken place. Ensuring that internal users are up to speed through various training initiatives is critical in the pursuit of operational efficiency.

Women like Jay are making huge strides in their field, and teaching and inspiring many others. This is by no means going unnoticed. I salute Jay and wish her all the best in taking her organization and her team forward into the future.

 

Topics: women in IT, continuous improvement, Change management, ERP, seeker of value


Meryl Malcomess

Meryl is Marketing Director at SYSPRO Africa. She has been with SYSPRO for more than 18 years and is involved in determining the strategic direction of its marketing activities.

By the age of 21 Meryl became both the first female and the youngest Financial Manager at a large financial company. Since her early beginnings, she has accumulated experience in commodities and advertising sectors, including a stint running a trucking and airfreight business.

Meryl consistently achieves success by monitoring market forces, including customer behavior patterns and trends highlighted by industry analysts. She also liaises closely with SYSPRO group marketers world-wide.

 

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