Africa trailing in ERP adoption


While ERP technology can help Africa leapfrog traditional economies, adoption on the continent has been slow says Stuart Scanlon, MD of epic ERP.

Speaking at the company's 'changing the face of ERP' event, Scanlon said today's ERP is a far cry from the cumbersome and expensive systems of the past.

"With the cloud, mobility, and machine-learning taking centre stage on the corporate agenda, the evolution of ERP has become as much a symbol of the times as it has a business imperative."

According to a 2016 report from ResearchGate, 'A literature review of ERP implementation in African countries,' African countries are slow in adopting similar information systems.

"Facing the increasing demand from the market, organisations need to anticipate their customer's needs, to establish customer loyalty and improve their business," notes the report.

According to ResearchGate, African organisations are likely to be unable to satisfy their clients as there seems to be some barriers that restrict their competitiveness in local and international markets.

"To overcome these barriers and become more competitive, a solution might be the adoption and implementation of robust information systems (IS). Such IS are expected to help organisations meet their strategic objectives of development, and sustain their visibility within the global market; ERP is of this type of systems," the report continues.

ERP allows organisations to use a system of integrated applications to manage a business and automate back office functions related to technology, services, and human resources.

According to Scanlon, there has been resurgence in ERP - not just because of what it can do for an organisation but as reflective of how it has grown to be more in tune with current trends and business approaches.

"Business agility goes together with the shift towards the digital environment. And while it might seem contradictory to say, ERP is essential to this. Companies must operate in a real-time environment if they are to differentiate themselves and continue to be relevant."

"We're talking to people and organisations across Africa that are looking to disperse things like medical equipment, and sort of HIV equipment, retro-virals, pregnancy test kits. All this different information is zero tracked but then and again, we need to get that down to the people that need it," said Scanlon.