‘It is time for Africa!’ was one of the World Cup 2010 war cries and, two years later, its significance has again rise to the fore. This time, it serves as a sub-theme throughout Saphila 2012, the biennial SAP African User Group conference taking place until the end of October in South Africa’s North West Province.
Africa has been identified as a highly strategic region within SAP’s global expansion plans. The importance with which SAP regards the continent is reflected by the fact this year’s Saphila event is the first to feature a French track to accommodate these customers.
The company’s stance on Africa is a position that SAP’s leadership is keen to explain to the market.
In order to drive through the benefits of its five-pillar strategy across the continent, SAP aims to double the number of partners within its network (currently at 160) and engage the public sectors within countries throughout Africa.
The five pillars include applications, in-memory computing (Hana), mobility, cloud as well as database & technology.
Franck Cohen, President SAP Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA), says the public sector is a catalyst for growth in Africa.
“The efficiency of the public sector is actually the backbone that we need to further develop the continent. We are really engaging those governments to explain to them ‘why should you spend five years on a new tax and revenue system, when we can give that to you in two years or one year?” explains Cohen.
These governments are responding and do understand the necessity to revise the way they manage infrastructure and avoid ‘reinventing the wheel?’ he says.
Cohen reiterates the importance of investing in these regions and using the company’s partner network to work with- and service small-to-medium businesses within emerging markets.
SAP is confident that this strategy – in addition to its two-pronged approach to CSI (knowledge and entrepreneurship) – will help it to reach a billion users globally by 2015.
Chris Tredger, Online Editor