Did Mugabe set a precedent for ICT management in Zimbabwe?

Did Mugabe set
a precedent?

For ICT management
in Zimbabwe.

Monday, Sep 16th

Business as usual says SAP Africa

Business as usual says SAP Africa

Whilst news of allegations of kickbacks levelled against SAP Africa's South Africa operation came as a shock to most people in the company, the enterprise software firm is doing all the right things to resolve the issue and its continuity plan is in place to ensure that there is no disruption to its service to the market.

This is according to Simon Carpenter, Chief Technology Advisor at SAP Africa, who made it clear that his views were his own as an employee of SAP.

"I believe in the purpose of this company to help the world run better and improve people's lives. I think there are a lot of people who share that kind of ethos with me. So I think it did come as a bit of shock to a lot of us, and I think seeing how the company has reacted has been very comforting, to know that this is being taken seriously and the leadership is investing time to make sure it gets resolved," said Carpenter.

He said that the most important factor for customers is what the company is doing about the issue. In this regard customers are positive about SAP's response – specifically bringing in the highest levels of worldwide leadership engaged in this process, and the decision to bring on board two external parties to conduct the investigation.

Speaking from the company's offices in Woodmead, Johannesburg, Carpenter expressed his confidence in the interim management team brought in after four management team members were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The viewpoint is backed up by comment from the company's global headquarters, which simply reiterated that the investigation is in process and results will be made public, and, in the meantime, it is business as usual at SAP Africa.

"It is business as usual at SAP Africa. The interim management team is very experienced and our aim is to continue to provide excellent service to our customers and partners. The interim team have existing management roles in the organisation. Any further decision about management will be taken after the investigation concludes," read a statement issued by the company.

So, with its business continuity strategy firmly in place, the company remains focused on its Africa strategy which it says is to support, help drive and spearhead the implementation of technology for the continent's journey towards full digital transformation – but do so with the local partnerships front of mind.

The company says the reality of operating in Africa and dealing with several challenges, including infrastructure and skills, mean that local partnerships are critical.

"The challenge in some of these economies, specifically if you look at Angola, Nigeria ... the resource intensive economies that are not yet industrialised on the back of their resources, they are very dependent on the commodity cycle. So all the momentum went out of Nigeria and Angola when the oil price tanked, and it hasn't come back yet," said Carpenter.

"The other thing is understanding the cultural nuances ... there is so many things that goes into this, there is understanding the culture, the local regulatory environment, business practices, they have their own networks that they can tap ... it is really hard to build a business network from the ground up, so partnerships, for us, makes absolute sense," he adds.

In addition to sustaining its 3500-member strong consultancy service offering across Africa, the company continues to focus on skills development and initiatives like Africa Code Week.

"I always think it's a tragedy that you got a guy like Elon Musk, he's created something like 35 000 jobs across his various businesses, but he's done that in the States... wouldn't it have been great if he had done that in Africa," said Carpenter.

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