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Hardfacts on Software – Your growing ERP kingdom

Avid readers of my blog will remember the analogy I discussed last time, of an ERP system implementation being very much like a huge infrastructure project in a little kingdom. So lets continue to explore this. But let me first explain a bit for those readers that missed last week’s article.
When embarking on an ERP project, see your business as a kingdom. As MD or CEO you are king. You have your trusted advisors (board of directors and top management) and the master treasurer (finance director). Your kingdom is chugging along nicely with engrained culture where every department is running its own thing: manufacturing town, finance town and so on. Suddenly your cousin in the next door kingdom is implementing ERP, installing railways and telephone lines and highways to make information flow better and being able to produce more with less and being more agile (think about the need for highways in a war situation…)
So dear cousin king of nextdoor kingdom is running his place much more efficient than you are and he is dumping cheap goods on your doorstep, putting your economy under strain.
So you decide to implement infrastructure (ERP) also. But what’s next? We discussed last time some of the considerations when choosing a system, but what about implementing it?
Well the first thing you need to understand is that it is a painful and costly process to have good infrastrucutre in your kingdom. You will have to build roads, and in the process, plough over existing roads. You will close lanes and congest traffic in order to build new lanes. Once the highway is complete of course, everyone will be smiling and saying: “Why didn’t we have this before?”
But still you will need to empower your subjects. Where they rode a horse carriage before, pretty much going where they wanted to go in the way they wanted to go, they now have to learn to ride on the new highway system. There are rules and they need to stick to those! You will need to set the rules, explain the rules, train the rules and enforce the rules. If you don’t, there is going to be chaos and your kingdom is going to be in a mess.
And then don’t blame the highway constructors! This happens a lot in ERP, where the implementing company is ignorant of the warnings of the implementing team, and then the team is blamed.
Mind you, an ERP project is not like your typical construction project. In the ERP project, your subjects are the key players. If they don’t play along, your highway will be a dead duck in the water. In fact, it will have paved over the old ways and block the old roads. So you are worse off if you get it wrong.
So what is a king to do? Most imporantly: LEAD!. Be there on the ground to show your support of the new highways and railways. Create a few quick wins by opening up one short new line quickly so that your subjects can see the benefits. Involve your subjects and get their buy in. Hold meetings and let them voice their concerns and address these. But beware of the ones that want to block progress. There will be many of those! As king, you need to step in and dictate what needs to be done for the greater good of the kingdom. Lead from the front since you will be one of the few that sees the whole picture.
And get buy-in from your team of advisors as well. If you don’t have them on your side, your kingdom is doomed. Make sure they understand your vision. Make sure they perceive the threat from dear old cousin just like you do.
What happens to a kingdom without a strong king? It gets invaded very quickly and fades into oblivion. This is what happens to failed ERP implementations. In most projects it is the lack of top leadership that makes an implementation fail. Nothing else! Think about that….
Until next time then – remember – Keep it (A)fresh

About The Author

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia

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20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.