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Next generation architecture makes ERP relevant – SAP

Next generation architecture makes ERP relevant – SAP

The level of flexibility and innovation that marks next-generation architecture, upon which business network systems are now being built, makes ERP all the more relevant today.

This is the view of senior executives from SAP, who, this week during the company's Sapphire Now Conference in Orlando, have emphasised that now there is every opportunity for businesses across Africa to simplify complex processes, drive data and digitise operations in order to compete in the digital economy.

"It's a fast growing economy," says Sven Denecken, GVP Co-innovation and Strategy, SAP S4Hana. "and Africa has the advantage because it can avoid legacy issues and not fall into the same traps."

He explained that in the digital transformation process, there is still work to be done by core systems, such as logistics and manufacture, and that the flexibility of today's ERP platforms makes it easier for businesses to capitalise on cloud and mobile integration.

Denecken agreed that while in the past ERP was largely sought-after in many markets, its popularity did taper off because of high failure rates and slow time to implement.

He acknowledged that ERP involved the implementation of large projects and these were generally costly, as well as time and resource intensive. "It wasn't necessarily the software involved, it was the fact that core operations had to continue during implementation and these took time."

This is where innovation has made a significant difference. Denecken emphasises that new platform architecture, with modified in-memory, means faster time to implement and, as an example, said that the company has seen in the region of 700 projects being run in less than six months.

"The world has changed," he said.

The change referred to is the ability for businesses to integrate the cloud and optimise business networks on a new level, to access and run applications that remove the complexity of processes and drive data in order to scale growth.

But what of the need for skills and skills development to take advantage of the new platform architecture?

From a SAP point of view, the level of functionality and seamless integration that has been engineered into design means that it is built for simplicity.

At the same time, according to Denecken, the company has invested heavily into the app development ecosystem.

One of the messages from the Conference is that businesses must understand the market has evolved and that the cloud, mobility and business networks are commodities. Integration and optimisation are part of the transformation process and strategy development must take that into consideration.

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