I was born in Europe – Scotland actually, but now I’m a South African living in Johannesburg. As an inhabitant of Africa, I would like to clear
up a misconception that I come across fairly often: mainland Africa is a continent of 54 countries – it’s not one country, despite many Euro/US neighbors still referring to the country Africa – you know “we’re gonna Africa next week”, not Kenya, Ghana or DRC.
This confusion can still work in our favor by creating leapfrog opportunities for locals who have superior Africa-effective knowledge of business. As selectors, sellers, implementers and users of ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, be it South Africa, Rwanda, or Cameroon, this impacts the way we operate, extract value and apply IT to our businesses.
The workforce in Africa is cheaper than our colleagues in, for example, Germany, UK, and California (oh that isn’t a country!). Hence production, logistics and admin functions in Africa regularly use more people performing operations plus more transactions than foreign competitors. Yes, we automate but, due to technology costs plus social responsibility to employ our population, we don’t tech-invest as much but rather develop people and user skills.
Thirdly, our processes are often simpler to achieve the effectiveness we need with less “big-brother” controls. ERP in Africa enables users with broader spans-of-control with leaner data-capture. These users need less cluttered screens, more bang per transaction and faster/easier to use ERP software.
Too many options actually complicate and slow business execution – with the excuse that it forces control. SYSPRO focuses on enabling people and combines more of their skill with relevant system efficiencies. This breeds and grows innovation instead of stifling it – and helps develop nations.
Finally, we still need business insight – the important gems in a clean and sensible way. Too many developed-country people seek too deep “the GP spread of a Mars Bar sold in 2 million global retail outlets.” Why? Africa local insights are often far more important than global stats produced just because we can.
When Livingston and others “discovered Africa” the countries were already here and working – maybe differently but still with people surviving and growing before old-world “assistance”. And it’s still the case. We are here and don’t need to be discovered. African countries have large populations developing different ways of achieving results Developed Nations haven’t even tried.
Don’t Over Automate
Don’t dumb down work with over-automation and IT applications reducing the number of employed. Rather release and broaden the innate skills that people have, motivating through empowering and enabling appropriately with IT like ERP – remember Process, People, and then Technology. Just use more people-sense and simplify with technology to get effective and growing economies. Maybe we can then help “discover” Developed Nations and teach them how to do it.
In Africa we simplify success with ERP, enabling people to develop more, instead of complicating for failure.