A host of strategic choices that the maturing of significant new technologies is presenting to organisations will be among the key discussions at the Saphila conference in Cape Town in November.

Saphila 2007, presented by business software leader SAP Africa in association with the Africa SAP User Group (AFSUG), is expected to be attended by about 1 000 business leaders from around Africa.
Léo Apotheker, deputy chief executive and president of customer solutions and operations at SAP AG, will be a keynote speaker at Saphila 2007 which runs from 4 to 6 November at the Cape Town Convention Centre.
Saphila 2007 will enable organisations to compare experiences of implementing new technologies, including services oriented architecture (SOA), and draw on the insights of senior international SAP executives to plan their technology futures.
Says SAP Africa director of strategic initiatives, Simon Carpenter: “We see this year’s Saphila playing the same sort of ideas and experience sharing role as it did in the early years of enterprise resource planning (ERP) adoption. During that period the technologies were new, there wasn’t a lot of implementation experience around, and organisations didn’t quite know where to start or, once they’d started, where to go next.
“Customers came to Saphila to find out from one another what the pitfalls and benefits were as well as how, practically, ERP played out in a given industry sector.
“We’re at a similar inflexion point now – with SOA becoming the deployment and operational methodology of choice, but limited practical experience available locally on which to base decisions about whether or not to use it in your own organisation. Or, indeed, how to use it in your own organisation.
“There are other new technologies emerging, too, along with the changing business models that they’re driving.
“We intend addressing all those challenges at Saphila – not through our own eyes, as a vendor, but through the experiences of our customers. This is genuinely a customer-driven event.
“The point of a discussion forum of this sort is that it gives you a chance to learn about new technologies must faster than if you tried to get to grips with them in isolation from your peers,” Carpenter says. “It saves you from reinventing the wheel, so your time to benefit is significantly increased.”