Africa poised to benefit from global ebusiness collaboration

Executive leadership of Ariba, a SAP company, today urged decision makers in business to take action and join the ‘business network’ in order to leverage off inter-enterprise collaborative solutions and take their operations to the next level of engagement.

Chris Haydon, Vice President, Solutions Management for Ariba. (Image source: Chris Tredger)

Ariba combines cloud-based applications with an established web-based trading community to facilitate business-to-business between all stakeholders with a vested interest in the commercial procurement process.

The focus is on the delivery of technology, via the cloud, to fuel growth and development of the networked economy.

In 2012 Ariba was acquired by SAP in a deal reported to be worth approximately $4.3 billion, representing a strengthening of the software company’s cloud and digital commerce strategy.

A year later both partners are optimistic of the difference the technology continues to make in developing markets.

“Africa has joined the networked economy…it is almost like in some parts of the economy, they are bypassing the PC and going to the device – whether it be a smartphone or tablet. We see that type of uptake, there is a huge demand in being able to get transactions, notifications or alerts via mobile devices to acquire access (to that information). Africa is also predisposed to cloud solutions as well,” explains Chris Haydon, Vice President, Solutions Management for Ariba.

Haydon refers to the strengthening of connectivity, with the rollout of more undersea cable infrastructure, as a critical advantage that lays the foundation for growth.

“You don’t have to have your own infrastructure to be able to have access to the leading business processes… businesses in Africa could be poised… you don’t have to have the capital or reliance upon infrastructure. Businesses are ready to leapfrog, into, specifically, the cloud. Security and continuity of service is really important, but they can work through this,” he continues.

In terms of seriously engaging the networked economy, awareness and end-user adoption are factors that have to be considered.

Haydon says simply taking an application into the cloud, does not necessarily mean it can be adopted faster – one has to change the user interface in order to have the constituency or persona groups be ready, willing and able to adopt.

“People are willing, but are they able?” he adds. “We could do a little bit more of a job in evangelising just cloud and ecommerce.”

Chris Tredger, Online Editor