East African SMEs accelerate their growth with cloud deployments

SMEs in the East African region are using digital transformation initiatives to increase their competitiveness and ensure they are set for growth despite challenging trading conditions.

According to Pedro Guerreiro, Managing Director: Central Africa at SAP, investments into new technologies will greatly assist SMEs in the region as they adapt to a very different operating environment. “As one of the most important drivers for job creation and economic growth, the SME sector is vital to the region’s economic recovery. Technology will continue to play a determining role in how well the sector recovers from this year’s events, while also digitally-tooling organisations to out-perform their competitors in this new economy and enabling them to execute the business, operate, and thrive in the market.”

In 2017, SMEs accounted for 98% of all businesses in Kenya and created 30% of all jobs annually. According to the International Trade Centre, SMEs contributed 34% of Kenya’s GDP in 2016. However, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic should not be underestimated: a recent Deloitte study found a 50% reduction in household and business spending, with direct consequences for the country’s SME sector.

After choosing SAP Business One and working with SAP implementation partner ACEteK, Mzuri Sweets now have a fully automated system that is accessible from web and mobile, enabling directors to make approvals from any location.

Ashika Modasia, Senior Accountant at Mzuri Sweets Ltd, says: “SAP Business One has united our company into one platform, bringing visibility to our management and allowing us to focus on growth.”

Stationery manufacturer Safari Stationers faced a similar issue. Its previous accounting system could not support the growth of a low margin, high volume business. Company management knew it needed a new system that could provide accurate monitoring and synchronise its operations.

Following the implementation of SAP Business One, Safari Stationers can monitor credit more easily, set up sales parameters to ensure only the correct number of orders are taken, while accessing richly detailed reports that have improved decision-making across the business. General Manager Deepti Vara says: “It’s been a smart and efficient journey with SAP Business One, and we are excited for the future.”

Guerreiro adds: “Having systems and processes in place that automate back-office operations can also free up valuable internal resources, which can be deployed to high-value areas to support the SME’s growth.”

This was certainly the case for Mauritian engineering services firm Sotramon Limitée. With access to only basic accounting information and relying on manual processes, the company could not rely on its existing systems to support adequate stock taking, analysis or up to date information about the business.

ACEteK supported the company’s digital transformation with an SAP Business One implementation that sought to replace manual operations with automated processes that enabled easy access to up-to-date reports. Sotramon Chief Executive Officer Barbara Ah-Sue says: “SAP Business One has changed my life. It has given my business independence, accessibility and versatility.”

Guerreiro believes there is great potential for further investment into new technologies that could help SMEs unlock new market opportunities. “Ultimately SMEs should strive to become Intelligent Enterprises that apply advanced technologies within integrated, agile business processes to turn insight into action. As the sector expands its capabilities, SMEs will be better placed to sense opportunities, risks and trends, and take advantage of market opportunities.”


Global cloud ERP market to reach $101.1 billion in 2025, report

The global cloud ERP market is expected to grow from $45.3 billion in 2020 to $101.1 billion by 2025, at an annual compounded growth rate of 17.4 per cent during the forecast period, according to a new report by Research and Markets.

The major factors driving the growth of the cloud ERP industry include growing demand among enterprises to improve operational efficiency and streamline business processes, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, and increasing adoption of cloud-based solutions.

Finance and accounting are some of the most crucial business processes in any organization. Enterprises take great care while handling the data related to financials. Cloud ERP for finance and accounting is designed to be comprehensive, integrated, and highly scalable for global companies in a wide variety of industries.

It has features such as ledger and analytics, and payables and assets. It manages customer data centrally, creates customer invoices, receives and applies for customer payments, manages customer balances, recognizes revenues and invoices, applies for customer payments, and identifies & tracks bankrupt customers.

Cloud ERP gathers financial data and generates reports, such as ledgers, trail balance data, overall balance sheets, and quarterly financial statements.

Manufacturing Cloud ERP software integrates manufacturing, inventory management, and accounting to help businesses ensure raw materials are available for production, manage the manufacturing process, maintain revisions, and track financials.

Integrated ERP for manufacturing helps streamline business processes, generate accurate pricing, and calculate total manufacturing costs. Manufacturing companies have been moving their traditional ERP systems to cloud as they realize that their core competency is manufacturing, not managing software and hardware.

Cloud ERP offerings from various prominent vendors are more secure and reliable solutions than most of the in-house solutions and have become a distinct advantage for enterprises. For instance, Acumatica ERP software for the manufacturing industry integrates with financial and CRM modules to effectively support all major business areas, helping flexible business processes to plan and control manufacturing operations.

SMEs across the globe are rapidly adopting advanced technologies to create a niche for themselves in the global market. The rapid adoption of digitalization and automation has augmented profits for SMEs and greatly enhanced their business productivity.

Organizations with an employee range between 1 and 1000 are categorized under the SME segment. Cost-effectiveness is an essential need for SMEs, as limited budgets always constrain them. SMEs are investing in cloud ERP solutions to enhance their business processes and compete with large organizations. Cloud ERP solution enables SMEs to improve their overall productivity by helping them reduce the manufacturing time.

The North America region includes the US and Canada. North America witnessed the earliest adoption of cloud and mobile technologies, which has been significantly responsive to the adoption of cloud ERP solutions. Advancements in BYOD, M2M, and mobile and cloud technologies are the major factors responsible that have led to improving the efficiency of business processes.

Hence, to derive benefits from these technologies, large enterprises are adopting cloud ERP solutions rapidly. Also, the integration of cloud ERP solutions with ERP enhances the features or capabilities of solutions.

North America is projected to encourage market growth, as large enterprises and SMEs are focused on developing innovative cloud ERP solutions, which are integrated with technological advancements, such as IoT and predictive maintenance. North America also witnessed an early adoption of cloud and mobility technologies and has an advanced IT infrastructure, which reduces operational expenditure through various advancements in technologies across various verticals.

Currently, North America is the largest revenue contributor as compared to the other regions. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in the disruption of supply chains across verticals, which has led to a decline in their production capacities. This has led to an increase in demand for cloud ERP services from these verticals.