BY VICTOR ADAR
It is not often that companies in the same line of business would form an alliance. But that is the perception that a technology integrator and service provider, Dimension Data, is slowly trying to change.
The Sh810b worth technology firm recently inked a deal with SAP to offer a new set of intelligent enterprise solutions in East Africa.
The deal will, according to Ndung’u Kahindo, general manager solutions for Dimension Data in east Africa, drive utilization of SAP solutions and in-built applications that are unique to client operations, and which is currently lacking in the region.
Mr Kahindo believes that the approach will help organizations especially in Kenya optimize their technology solutions through managed services model, which not only supports implemented software but also looks at enhancing the entire SAP modules that require new implementation or enhancements.
“SME’s and Corporates are acknowledging that operational efficiency, better decision making and continuous collaboration within their ecosystem brings value. This is not achievable without an integrated, comprehensive ERP. For this reason, SAP and Dimension Data have teamed together to build packaged solutions that uniquely meet the needs of these organizations, across people, processes and technology,” he says.
Although the partnership solidifies the firms’ hope to grow, the Dimension Data boss adds that businesses that do not have ERP Systems would suffer disjointed and “siloed processes” which derail internal productivity and affect customer service in addition to having no insight to make better decisions around business expansion, capital investment and resource allocation.
It was in December 2018 when the high growth company made official plans to introduce new Enterprise Resource (ERP) and Digital Business Solutions in an ambitious growth drive for 2019 in partnership with leading global enterprise application vendors. Today, it is at advanced stage offering a complete lifecycle of SAP-related services spanning consulting, implementations, upgrades, integration, applications management and automated cloud migration services.
The global SAP solutions market, which entails business analysis, crystal reports, cloud solutions, mobile apps, just to mention a few, is estimated at about $200b as per research firm IDC. Dimension Data East Africa, though, estimates the current SAP suite market size in East Africa to be valued at about $75 million, with the potential to reach above $200m over the next five years.
Dimension Data’s offerings are backed by NTT Group, which is an information communication technology company comprising a group of global technology companies whose portfolio includes significant investments in proprietary frameworks and industry-specific tools and accelerators. Through its application management services offering, the firm hopes to provide innovative client solutions that improve business processes while increasing speed to market and return on investment.
Better days lie ahead for Micro, Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMES) and corporate market as the tech firm embarks on the next generation of solutions which clearly integrate intelligent technologies such as machine learning, and artificial intelligence to help manage data from multiple sources, further improving customer experience, people engagement, spend management, manufacturing and supply chain solutions amongst many other business functions – Intelligence is all about knowing what is happening and it is about data.
In addition to the manufacturing and commercial services sectors that are expected to achieve significant growth driven by cloud adoption, digital automation and localization of Information Technology (IT) applications, the tech company also extends its comprehensive IT solutions to include intelligent applications. These services will help customers leverage the agility and costs advantages of managing SAP applications on existing infrastructure and moving them to the cloud.
“It can be cost effective because you don’t have to pay for something that you are not using. What we’ve been doing today is take those global solutions and bring them here in East Africa,” he says.
Kahindo avers that for a company to be digitally transformed, there must be connectivity. Try to picture the network. It is all about various computers, the servers, and making sure that they actually communicate. On top of that, employees of such an organization should be able to collaborate effectively. Without collaboration the employees will not be able to create better customer experience.
“We’ve had a successful track record in enabling our clients make the most out of their SAP environments in the digital transformation era,” says Kahindo. “Digital transformation is about using technology to enable business efficiency and to help reach people in many other ways. A key gap we look to fill is continuous SAP support services through our managed services.”
Agricultural sector, for example, has been struggling. During dry seasons, how does one get to know that crops need to be watered? With technology, a farmer is able to put in sensors on his or her farms, can monitor, know the status of his crops and be able to make decisions. The technology that does that is what is termed digital transformation. Today, such technologies are affordable to all type of organizations.
Looking at the market and the conversation that is going on globally, if local businesses fail to become more efficient, there are chances that they will face competition from foreign entities and close down. It is time for businesses to adopt some technology to upscale. This will supplement the growth of business model that will enable customers consume and pay for value, mainly around adopting and utilizing new technology in Internet of Things.
“In East Africa we’ve been very focused in the digital transformation journey. We’ve always played the infrastructure integrator role to enable us serve our customers better,” says Kahindo.