SAP SE Maintains African Business Growth with US$500m Investment Plan
SAP SE has unveiled a seven-year plan to up-skill local African talent and drive sustainable innovation and growth in Africa.
With the vision of helping make Africa run better and improve the lives of Africans, SAP plans to invest up to US$500 million through to 2020 as it continues to build on the region’s impressive double-digit growth rate momentum.
The goal is to establish the African region as one of the company’s top-five growth markets globally and will be generated largely through direct investment from outside South Africa where SAP already has a solid footprint.
This plan was made public today at a press briefing hosted by Robert Enslin, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE and president of Global Customer Operations, and Pfungwa Serima, CEO of SAP Africa.
"The African market is unique in its growth potential and readiness to innovate,” said Enslin. “The SAP Executive Board strongly believes that now is the right time to take our engagement and commitment to expand in Africa to the next level.
“SAP's additional investment in the continent reflects SAP’s vision to help the world run better by delivering leading-edge innovation.
“In Africa, we plan to engage and invest in even more markets while helping build the appropriate talent base for the IT industry, and support our customers and partners by actively contributing toward crucial technology and business skills-sets and new employment opportunities in Africa.”
Serima added: “SAP Africa has more than 20 years of experience successfully operating on the continent.
“SAP Africa is leveraging its established presence and valued ecosystem relationships to immediately commence execution of this plan across the four key pillars that we believe will drive the greatest growth and impact for the continent.”
The SAP Africa growth plan is built on four pillars; Accelerating industry growth in energy and natural resource, promoting innovation on the continent through the introduction of SAP technology solutions, enhancing SME growth and building foundational growth and skill development via the launch of additional Skills for Africa Scholarship Programme sessions in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Angola.
“Innovative technologies such as mobility and the cloud are among the fastest growing IT segments and are already having a significant impact on businesses’ ability to grow and innovate,” said Mark Walker, director: Insights and Vertical Industries, IDC Middle East, Africa and Turkey, IDC.
“We are facing a major turning point where we either embrace the cutting-edge or remain rooted in the past. Solid, forward-looking investment plans will not only dramatically strengthen Africa’s ICT landscape, but also its ability to compete on a global scale."
With more than 1,300 customers across the continent, SAP is already enabling African businesses and governments of all sizes to grow, scale and globalise, as well as make the transition to a networked, technology-driven innovative economy.
As part of this commitment, SAP Africa is now taking responsibility for SAP operations across 51 African countries, including Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and Mauritania.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.