[Uganda] Mukwano Industries moves business systems to the cloud to boost efficiency, visibility

Mukwano Industries is one of the great success stories of the Ugandan business world.

From humble beginnings as a general dealer in Kampala in the 1980s, the company has grown into one of the leading FMCG conglomerates in East Africa, with interests that include manufacturing, agriculture and property development.

Its products, ranging from petroleum jelly and detergents to cooking oil and soap; from drinking water to household and commercial plastics; can be found in every home across Uganda.

The major challenge for the company was that its technology infrastructure had not kept pace with its growth. It had implemented SAP ECC 6.0 back in 2008, and the now dated platform was creating a host of issues: numerous custom developments, plant maintenance and operations not implemented, and an enduring dependency on paper-based systems and Excel spreadsheets.

“We had data everywhere, but information nowhere,” says Mukwano CEO Tony Gadhoke. “This meant we had low cost insights and a growing need for operational efficiencies. Something had to give. So we decided to shed our legacy systems and move our core business processes to the Cloud using the SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud platform. In doing so, we aimed to leverage Cloud capabilities to improve technical and operational agility, enhance real-time visibility across the business, harmonise data, improve reporting, and enable future growth and innovation.”

There was just one catch: the business insisted on a rapid implementation strategy to reduce the amount of time and resources needed, by around 35%, to implement the project. In effect, this meant replacing Mukwano’s core systems and training the necessary people to be able to go live, within five and a half months.

There were a couple of factors working in Mukwano’s favour: the company wanted a “best practices” SAP system, which meant minimal customisation time.

And partner iMark Technologies’ ‘zero fat’ approach to getting projects done, combined with Mukwano’s highly structured project management approach, ensured the implementation never deviated from its time scale for a moment.

“Apart from the incredibly tight timeframe for the implementation, our biggest challenge was that we were changing the organizational structure completely to align to the SAP system. This meant we had to ensure the right people were in the right positions. To ensure immediate buy-in and adoption of the new system by its users, we ran extensive training sessions every day, with ongoing monitoring of skill absorption, to ensure as high a level of ownership as possible,” said Gadhoke.

This meant cancelling all leave for the duration of the project – including over Christmas and New Year – to ensure every individual was onboard and the project didn’t deviate from the timeline. “It was tough, but we had no choice. There was no room for a redo, and we had to make sure we got it right first time,” said Gadhoke.

Ultimately, the effort was worth it, with the results of the implementation exceeding Mukwano’s already high expectations. In a first for Uganda, the business put its core business systems into the Cloud by the agreed deadline, with minimal disruption to the business.

The company has already seen significant gains in productivity and faster time to market. It has greater visibility into its operations than ever before, through an intuitive, unified platform from which it can oversee its business operations from end-to-end. It has also seen a ‘huge’ reduction in capex on its server infrastructure and IT resources.

Gadhoke said partner iMark Technologies’ experience in the digital transformation of organisations in the East African region was critical to the success of the project. S Iyer, the managing director of iMark, said: “It has been very exciting for us to see how organisations like Mukwano are realising the promise of digital transformation by leveraging SAP technologies and solutions to effect transformational change.

Mukwano has already been able to achieve significant progress in its operational excellence with S/4 HANA, thanks to the incredible analytics functionality that has been unlocked. “The next steps in our journey will be to focus on people performance and excellence. But we’re confident that we have the right platform in place to take the business to the next level,” said Gadhoke.

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Dimension Data to implement SAP Solutions on Microsoft Azure in MEA

NTT Ltd., a global technology services company, has announced it has earned the SAP on Microsoft Azure advanced specialisation, a validation of a solution partner’s capability to deliver high-quality services in a specific solution area.

Representing NTT Ltd. in the Middle East and African territory is Dimension Data, who has been named as the preferred partner for the region due to their breadth of cloud, application, migration and integration skills and expertise enabling effective execution and enabling clients to leverage the full value of the SAP ecosystem.

The SAP on Microsoft Azure advanced specialisation demonstrates NTT and Dimension Data’s deep knowledge, extensive experience and proven success at implementing SAP solutions on Microsoft Azure.

As mainstream support for the SAP ECC platform ends in 2027, and as core SAP products are being re-optimised for the SAP HANA database, many enterprises are looking for a partner with advanced skills to migrate their existing SAP environment to the cloud. There are currently only eight companies in the world to have obtained SAP on Azure Advanced Specialisation accreditation.

“Organisations that harness the true power of cloud and effectively leverage its capabilities to become intelligent enterprises are able to realise tangible financial, operational and customer experience benefits,” said Jay Reddy, CTO, Dimension Data. “We understand that organisations have different cloud strategies with regards to infrastructure, platforms, applications, and security requirements and have an intensity of skills and intelligent technologies to meet their strategic and operational needs across the entire cloud ecosystem and value chain. This recognition of our SAP and Microsoft Azure skills and expertise is great news for enterprises across the region looking for a partner that understands and is highly skilled in ensuring that their cloud strategy delivers the required business outcomes. Adding this certification to all our globally recognised skills certifications from all major cloud and business application providers, gives organisations choice, flexibility and confidence that we can execute their cloud strategy with the right combination of infrastructure, platform and applications for their business.”

Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner (OCP) at Microsoft Corp. added, “The SAP on Microsoft Azure advanced specialisation highlights the partners who can be viewed as most capable when it comes to migrating enterprise SAP applications over to Microsoft Azure. NTT clearly demonstrated that they have both the skills and the experience to offer clients a comprehensive and professional SAP to cloud managed service.”

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www.dimensiondata.com

Standard Bank South Africa migrates SAP cloud platform to Microsoft Azure to boost efficiency

Standard Bank South Africa is moving its core SAP Cloud Platform services to Microsoft Azure to significantly improve the experience customers have with the bank, while enabling it to introduce new solutions to market more efficiently.

This accelerates the digital transformation of SAP customers to S/4HANA by partnering with Microsoft and using jointly developed reference architectures, roadmaps, and industry best practices. Many enterprises are looking to reduce their reliance on their own datacentres and moving more of their core workloads to the cloud.

Sabelo Nkwanyana, Standard Bank’s CIO for Personal and Business Banking SA, says leveraging the computing power of Microsoft and the product innovation capability of SAP demonstrates how Standard Bank is embracing partnerships and ecosystems to develop customized solutions for its clients.

“SAP has a deep understanding of our business requirements and how we want to ensure our customers are happy with our service offering. This partnership continues our focus on innovation by leveraging the respective skills of SAP and Microsoft to transform the digitization and personalization journey for our customers,” says Nkwanyana.

Lillian Barnard, Managing Director, Microsoft South Africa says, “The Project Embrace initiative between Microsoft and SAP announced globally last year is centred around the customer journey to SAP S/4HANA and SAP Cloud Platform on Microsoft Azure. The work that we are doing with Standard Bank is the first local demonstration of this partnership, and another milestone in the journey Microsoft is on with Standard Bank, to bring innovation into every aspect of the bank’s IT system and enable enriched interactions with the bank’s customers.”

The partnership brings together SAP and Microsoft, along with a global network of selected system integrators, to move on-premise SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA customers to the cloud through industry-specific best practices, reference architectures and cloud-delivered services.

Barnard continues, “Enterprises are migrating to cloud providers at an accelerated rate. This makes it critical for our customers to have the right cloud infrastructure in place, enabling them to unlock the power of innovation. Microsoft’s significant investment on the African continent, with our first hyperscale datacentre regions in Johannesburg and Cape Town, means many more partners and customers are enjoying the benefits of our intelligent cloud platform.”

Speaking on the SAP partnership specifically, Barnard adds, “Project Embrace has three tenets at its heart: simplify, accelerate and innovate. By accelerating our customers’ digital transformation journey, we are enabling them to become agile, efficient digital enterprises on Microsoft Azure – with a cloud platform optimised for SAP – leveraging best practice and specialist expertise.”

“Today’s announcement is the biggest partnership centred on SAP implementation in Africa. With client experience a key strategic pillar for Standard Bank, Project Embrace reflects the shared commitment of both SAP and Microsoft to accelerate our customers’ journey to the cloud,” says Cathy Smith, Managing Director at SAP Africa.

This project will deliver a unified approach to how Standard Bank runs SAP S/4HANA in Microsoft Azure. Ultimately, this will help the bank deliver a faster time-to-market on products and services, while ensuring its IT infrastructure is optimised. By moving workloads to the cloud, Standard Bank will be able to access a range of features that it can deploy instantly and scale according to demand. This will result in cost reductions, improved system performance, and access to innovation.

“This will empower the bank to create new business models and deliver more personalised outcomes in today’s dynamic business environment. By providing Standard Bank with consistent engagement and delivery models, SAP and Microsoft bring both industry-specific best practices and deep local insight to deliver a compelling value proposition for their clients,” says Smith.

“Through Project Embrace, we are now able to better identify our business pain points and effectively address them through technologies that deliver a demonstratable return on investment. Having the ability to more accurately predict where customer challenges and dissatisfaction will occur enables a more flexible enterprise environment. We can help our customers transform their businesses and their lives in a secure way. This is much more than SAP and Microsoft supplying us with products. This is about fundamentally enhancing our digital journey for the future,” concludes Nkwanyana of Standard Bank SA.

In addition to the work done with Standard Bank, the Microsoft and SAP initiative is assisting customers around the world, and in a variety of industries, accelerate their journey to becoming digital, intelligent enterprises.

www.standardbank.co.za

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[Kenya] KETRACTO digitizes procurement processes with SAP Ariba Cloud

In a bid to improve its operations and in compliance with presidential directive and government requirements, Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited, KETRACO, has digitized its procurement processes via an e-procurement platform powered by SAP Ariba Cloud. 

This second phase of an end-to-end automation of tendering, supplier management and contracts process will see tenders and quotations submitted and processed online for efficiency, accountability and transparency. This process is 100% Paperless.

Open and secret tenders, Request for Proposals (RFP) and Request for Quotations (RFQ) will be advertised through the government portals, KETRACO websites and in newspapers. All interested Bidders/ Suppliers will be required to submit their documentation online. The tenders will then be received, evaluated and awarded online.

In the first phase of the implementation that went live in April this year, the company automated ‘procure to pay’ operations by on boarding suppliers to the SAP Ariba network to start transacting electronically. Purchase Requests, Local Purchase Orders, invoices and payment of goods/ services were processed online in the ‘procure to pay’ operation.

Speaking during the go live event, KETRACO’s Managing Director FCPA Fernandes Barasa noted that over 260 suppliers have registered on the Ariba network and continue to transact with KETRACO in a paperless environment for Purchase order and invoice submission and processing and are ready to move the entire tendering process.

‘’Supplier registration and qualification has now been made available online. The youth and the special groups will be submitting their registration applications online and will be on boarded immediately. ‘’ He noted.

This automation has been made possible by SAP Ariba, a leading global provider of collaborative business commerce solutions which allows suppliers to easily extend their back-end systems and processes to benefit from electronic transactions.

Pedro Guerreiro, Managing Director for SAP Central Africa adds, “Two years ago Kenya’s leading electricity transmission company implemented SAP’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System and shortly after, won Gold at the SAP Quality Awards. Today, we are thrilled to yet again be a part of Ketraco’s continued digital transformation journey with the adoption of our Ariba e-procurement software solutions.  By streamlining business operations and connecting to Ariba’s +4.2 million companies, Ketraco has established a solid foundation for tomorrow’s Intelligent Enterprise, pointing to a bright and innovative future for the organisation, its staff and customers.”

www.ketraco.co.ke

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Dimensions Data and SAP partner to launch enterprise solutions for SMEs and corporates in East Africa, hopes to grow cloud business model

Dimension Data has entered into a partnership with SAP, to offer a new set of intelligent enterprise solutions in East Africa.

Aimed at SMEs, and the corporate market, these end-to-end services will help Dimension Data’s clients leverage the agility and costs advantages of managing SAP applications on existing infrastructure and moving them to the cloud. The solutions integrate intelligent technologies such as machine learning, and artificial intelligence to help manage data from multiple sources, further improving customer experience, people engagement, spend management, manufacturing and supply chain solutions amongst many other business functions.

The partnership comes at a time when SAP accelerates its move towards its flagship ERP software, S/4HANA within the region and which will see the firm cease worldwide support of the current Business Suite ERP solutions after 2025.   

“We’ve had a successful track record in enabling our clients make the most out of their SAP environments in the digital transformation era. Moving forward, we will be a critical partner in migrating clients to the SAP S/4HANA digital platform towards the intelligent enterprise era. A key gap we look to fill is continuous SAP Support services through our Managed Services. We look at helping organizations in Kenya optimize their SAP Solutions through our managed services model which not only supports implemented software but also looks at enhancing the entire SAP modules, that require new implementation or enhancements.” Said Ndung’u Kahindo, General Manager – Solutions, Dimension Data East Africa.

Dimension Data also hopes to grow the cloud business model that will enable customers consume and pay for value on the go, especially around adopting and utilizing new technology in IoT and Machine learning environments.

“SME’s and Corporates are acknowledging that operational efficiency, better decision making and continuous collaboration within their ecosystem brings value. This is not achievable without an integrated, comprehensive ERP. For this reason, SAP and Dimension Data have teamed together to build packaged solutions that uniquely meet the needs of these organizations, across people, processes and technology.” Said Joseph Kairigo, Managing Director, Dimension Data East Africa.

Kairigo added that businesses that do not have ERP Systems suffered disjointed and siloed processes which derail internal productivity and affect customer service in addition to having no insight to make better decisions around business expansion, capital investment and resource allocation.

The launch solidifies Dimension Data East Africa’s last announcement in December 2018 of plans to introduce new Enterprise Resource (ERP) and Digital Business Solutions in an ambitious growth drive for 2019 in partnership with leading global enterprise application vendors.

As a global SAP services market leader, Dimension Data offers a complete lifecycle of SAP-related services spanning consulting, implementations, upgrades, integration, applications management and automated cloud migration services.

According to research firm IDC, the global SAP market is estimated at about USD 200Billion. Dimension Data East Africa estimates the current SAP suite market size in East Africa to be valued at about USD 75 Million, with the potential to reach above USD200 Million over the next five years.

In East Africa Dimension Data serves the Public, Financial Services, Service Provider and Professional Services in addition to the Manufacturing and Commercial services sectors that are expected to achieve significant growth driven by cloud adoption, digital automation and localization of IT applications.

www.dimensiondata.com

www.sap.com