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Zimbabwean trader breaks the ice for SAP’s S/4 HANA cloud solution

Zimbabwean trader breaks the ice for SAP’s S/4 HANA cloud solution

German wall to wall business solutions provider, SAP, has just landed its first client for its revolutionary cloud-based ERP, SAP S/4 HANA Private Cloud Edition product. The client is Zimbabwean trading company, Surface Wilmar, and the deal was facilitated by a Namibian, the SAP Country Manager, Riaan Malan.

Describing the benefits of cloud-based business solutions, especially for smaller companies, Malan told the Economist that cloud products offer considerable benefits for companies during their digital transformation journey, amongst which includes agility, foundation for innovation, scalability and without a doubt, cost savings.

“Our SAP S/4 HANA Private Cloud Edition product does not require any additional investment in hardware, dedicated servers or more staff in the IT department. It is all about scalability and risk reduction. A new client can select the level of functionality his or her company needs, and then incrementally grow the functionality as the company grows,” he said.

“It is also scalable in terms of the number of users. Again, a client does not need to invest millions for an ERP or CRM solution that can handle 200 users, when that is not needed. The client starts with only the users that are required to work on the application, and as they grow, they simply add more users,” Malan elaborated.

As SAP Country Manager, Malan is responsible for sales in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.

“Cloud technology makes it easier for many businesses to afford the functionality of a product like SAP. It enables the business to move away from a Capex model, where IT investments in management systems can be substantial, to an Opex model (Subscription) where the client only pays for what is being used,” he said.

“Surface Wilmar [in Zimbabwe] is an important client for SAP as it is the first enterprise in the region to run on the S/4 HANA Private Cloud Edition platform,” said Malan adding that it is part pf SAP’s Cloud Strategy to provide solutions and options for every customer size. For eg. SAP Business ByDesign is also a Cloud Based ERP Solution provided by SAP, that targets small to mid-sized companies.

SAP S/4 HANA Private Cloud Edition enables Surface Wilmar Zimbabwe Operations to accomplish their growth vision and become more flexible in how they engage suppliers.

Since entering Africa 15 years ago, Wilmar has expanded its footprint to 14 countries on the continent engaging in oil palm cultivation, crushing, edible oil refining, consumer pack oils, speciality fats production, soap and detergent manufacturing, rice as well as sugar milling and refining, with a vision to become a leading FMCG company. “We chose SAP S/4 HANA Private Cloud because we wanted a robust technology platform that embraces change and helps standardise all business processes across our various manufacturing plants in Africa,” said Mohan Dass Sivanason, Regional Manager for Transformation at Wilmar Africa Operations.

“We had a need for an agile technology platform that will help us grow, remain relevant in this fast-paced environment and give us a quick ROI on our investment. The SAP S/4 HANA Private Cloud has powerful analytics and in-memory big data capabilities to help us accelerate our business operations, remove the burden of managing multiple siloed data sets and give us the ability to consolidate information across countries and companies from a central location with an end-to-end view of all processes and distributions,” said Sivanason.

Caption: from left: seated; Tracy Bolton, Head of General Business, SAP Africa; Mohan Dass A/L Sivanason – Regional Manager for Transformation;
Standing; Riaan Malan, Country Manager, Southern Africa at SAP Africa; Steve Mangadze, SADC Regional Manager at SAP Africa and Akesh Lalla, Africa Cloud Head for GB at SAP Africa.



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The staff reporter is the most senior in-house Economist reporter. This designation is frequently used by the editor for articles submitted by third parties, especially businesses, but which had to be rewritten completely. - Ed.