Enterprise software takes strides in Africa
Enterprise software, also known as enterprise application software, is software used in organisations such as in a business or government, as opposed to software chosen by individuals. Enterprise software is an integral part of a computer-based information system and has become an integral part of how business is done in Africa.
Services provided by enterprise software are typically business-oriented tools such as online shopping and online payment processing, interactive product catalogues, automated billing systems, security, content management, IT service management, customer relationship management, resource planning, HR
management and so on.
Global enterprise software was forecast to total more than US$222 billion in 2010, with Africa holding a big chunk of the number due to industry innovations by companies providing solutions such as SAP, Softline and Salesforce.
SAP STILL THE GLOBAL LEADER
SAP has been in the forefront of changing the way business is done in sub-Saharan Africa, by encouraging companies to use enterprise software solutions that stop the business from operating in isolation.
SAP introduced the SAP Business – All-in-One solution at the end of 2010. The package is the first to offer pre-configured end-to-end business scenarios with business intelligence for better business process execution and higher user productivity.
With the new package SAP delivers an intuitive, integrated and efficient user experience in which customers will have one single working environment for SAP and non-SAP applications, defined solely by the requirements of the employee and the specific operational role.
This has already started saving business millions of dollars, which could have been lost through having no integrated software applications in place.
The package provides pre-defined user interface content, which is graphically attractive and easy to navigate, to establish a new, out of the box user experience for various roles in sales, purchasing, accounting, manufacturing, finance and management.
Andrew Strachan, the Regional Manager: Pre Sales & Marketing at SAP South Africa says the Business All-in-One customers can access user friendly interfaces with a few clicks. Strachan adds that the package also has comprehensive ways to personalise the user experience without the need for technical skills.
SAP has other applications such as the SAP BusinessObjects Date Services software, which helps consolidate any data source, access to quality, profile and enhance it, then integrate the improved data into any business environment.
The programme allows people to understand the impact of business events such as fluctuations in the financial market and patterns in network traffic.
SALESFORCE GOES MOBILE
Salesforce on the other hand realised the need for it to go mobile in order to give customers a more integrated package.
The customer relationship management software company released a mobile client for Chatter, its enterprise social networking service. Chatter Mobile users are able to monitor their chatter feeds, including posts from colleagues and alerts from apps.
Clients can also use Chatter Mobile to update statuses, upload documents and photos and comment on relevant conversations using their mobile devices, propelling the company towards being a more integrated workforce.
The company has also announced several other products that reinforce its intention to become a major enterprise applications and software vendor. These include:
• Unveiling database.com, which exposes the database portion of the company platform, making it available to developers independent of other Salesforce products
• The acquisition of Ruby on Rails platform vendor, Heroku, which offers developers a robust infrastructure for creating and deploying social, mobile, and situational applications
• A partnership with Remedy, called RemedyForce, which will offer IT service management (ITSM) capabilities
• A free version of Chatter, the company’s social collaboration product, intended to bring social networking to business processes in the enterprise
Salesforce.com now offers a diverse product set of interest to various constituencies in the IT and the corporate environment.
WHAT THE EXPERTS PREDICT
Analysts say despite an unsettled outlook for 2011, the enterprise software market in Africa has the potential to weather current economic conditions, due to market conditions being dramatically different in terms of maturity, penetration and confidence in IT on the continent.