The team that conquered Africa
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.
The phrase ‘Team SYSPRO’ was coined to describe SYSPRO’s pro-activity when working with value added resellers (VARs), third-party vendors and internal staff. It is an integration of the most appropriate internal and external resources of the SYSPRO community or ecosystem. Its primary goal is to ensure that customers have the support of the best possible mix of resources during all the phases of an ERP project, from the strategic to the functional and operational.
SYSPRO Africa comprises a core team of 50 people with more than 500 people in its extended ecosystem, who interface at an optimum level with a constantly growing community of over 30, 000 SYSPRO users across Africa.
Team SYSPRO believes that the key to success lies in building relationships with users. It works closely with customers, continuously resolving problems and sharing product capabilities. To achieve this successfully, a number of people at different levels of specialist expertise are often required. This is where Team SYSPRO excels: the team draws on the best internal and external resources for each unique situation, often drawing expertise from the extended ecosystem which includes middleware and hardware specialists. This has a knock-on effect, enabling customers’ influence to grow within their respective markets.
As SYSPRO director responsible for Africa, I like my team to function on 80% hard work and 20% creativity. Each of my top people are able to create and manage an event that enhances our community constantly. Like customer care, marketing is a living, breathing phenomenon which threads through the entire team. We are always aware of delivering on the customer’s brand, while keeping our promise of adding on-going value. This process becomes much more powerful if a customer has a Seeker of Value to provide the critical link between Team SYSPRO and the customer.
Seekers of Value
Every organization has them, albeit often unconsciously. They are the dedicated believers in the system who have supported it and advocated its virtues all along. They are the very people who prevent the disconnection that so often occurs in the ERP system of an organization.
The art is to identify the people who are best suited to act as the Seekers of Value and to empower them to fulfill their roles. These people are responsible for bridging the gap between the ERP supplier and the organization; reducing costs, optimizing returns on investment (ROI) and giving customers greater control over their destinies. They could be board members, members of management, IT managers, supply chain experts, or even systems administrators.
Seekers of Value have a natural curiosity on how things tie into each other and what makes the business tick. To best achieve this, they should be involved in all strategy planning and execution to truly unlock the value ERP can add to these functions.
A Chief Information Officer (CIO) quoted on technology valuation, who had excellent results in reversing the erosion of value in his company, ascribed this to a staff member who was their Seeker of Value. Their Seeker of Value was seen more as an internal sales person than a consultant. His job was to understand the ERP software and to get others to use more of it, or design more ways to get value out of what they were already doing.
I share this view. We are constantly selling the concept of the Seeker of Value or the ‘Return on Investment Change Agent’ to our customers with great success.