With the festive season just past, it got me thinking about a friend and colleague who in my opinion encapsulates the very essence of a human firecracker! I’m referring to Trudy Deuchar, Group Business Operations & Information Manager for the Jasco group of companies, who over the last two years has played a pivotal role in completely modernizing, and indeed revolutionizing Jasco’s information systems.
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.
Technology by its very nature is revolutionary. It grows, morphs and progresses our society whether we intend it to or not.
The recent SYSPRO ERP implementation at Mopani Copper Mine in Kitwe, Zambia has been a sterling example of this revolution – from the scale of the implementation and required user training, to the uniqueness of the environment and the additional Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) requirements and resulting controls.
It’s fascinating to be living in a time where the world is not ruled by tyranny or dictatorship, socialism or capitalism, but instead by technology. The Arab Spring which began more than a year ago is a classic example of how technology (such as social media) is proving more powerful than any one government’s laws, or one society’s philosophies. The power being created here is happening through giving the man in the street access to a sophisticated mass communication mouthpiece, something that historically was the exclusive domain of the elite and powerful.
Every year, ballet companies all over the world revive The Nutcracker; the classical fairy tale set to the music of Tchaikovsky, drawing young and old to theatres and dazzling them for hours with its beauty, grace and captivating story line. Here the choreographer weaves together some of the most beautiful dances ever conceived to produce endless sequences of sheer ballet fantasy.
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.
Despite the fact that ERP solutions are intended to improve business performance quickly and efficiently, through the provision of critical information, they generally do not have a good track record. In his research paper “Causes influencing the effectiveness of the post-implementation ERP system” (subscription required), CS Yu came to the conclusion that 40% of all ERP implementations or extensions perform below expectations and 20% are eventually scrapped as complete failures. The latter figure could even be as high as 50%, depending on how ‘failure’ is defined.
The title that comes to mind and feels very personal is a term coined by SYSPRO’s Cape Town office: “Meryling”. I think this comes about as I can be pretty elusive and abstract but completely on the mark when I need to be. Meryling revolves around mulling, meddling, musing, and finally finding the mark, which makes SYSPRO so successful in Africa.