South Africa is fast gaining popularity as a top destination for international companies that require supply chain management solutions, software development and reseller support.
In addition to the reduced cost of doing business, convenient time zone and good culture fit with North American and European companies, it is the innovation of local software developers and the high quality of our work that is rapidly developing South Africa a reputation as a leading location for cutting-edge software development.
According to Grant Marshbank, chief operations officer of supply chain technology and consulting solutions provider VSc Solutions, two areas that are gaining in popularity are the reselling of South African supply chain management software, which is regarded as being amongst the best in the world, and the outsourcing of the development of supply chain management software to South African developers.
“In general, South Africans are way too modest about the quality of the work we do, which is no good when we’re pitted against companies from other cultures that have no problem with self-promotion,” says Marshbank.
“But the truth is that at international gatherings of the world’s top logistics companies and related providers, South African supply chain management products are always very well received.”
By selling supply chain management software products abroad or doing development for overseas companies, Marshbank points out the fact that SA companies are able to export their considerable skills without exporting their people. “An additional advantage for SA-based companies is that we are then able to use our international expertise and global learnings to their benefit,” he adds.
A better fit
“Although it may be cheaper to pay for IT skills in India, the risk often isn’t worth it,” adds Marshbank.
Significant cultural differences between Indian developers and their overseas clients often result in expensive and frustrating project delays. “But, by virtue of the fact that South Africa is so multicultural, we’re a far better fit when it comes to working with US, European and Australian companies,” he says.
Given its geographical positioning at GMT +2, South Africa is ideally placed to service companies in both the east and west of the world with relative ease.
“We are in an optimal position to be able to support a global reseller network, with technical support that is available when our clients need it,” he says. “This is something that has been identified as a major issue for South African companies using US software, especially when the US only wakes up around 2pm or 3pm South African time.”
Bang for buck
The reduced cost of doing their software development in South Africa is attractive in that it offers overseas firms a better return on investment than they might otherwise realise.
In addition to this, there is the prospect of an exchange rate that is favourable for US and European buyers.
“By exporting our products and services, we are in effect hedging against the major first and second world currencies which, based on the historic trend, means we should continue to get positive results.
“We are working on exciting prospects in North and South America, Europe,Australasia and Asia, thanks to our clients’ recognition of the fact that we provide both innovative and value for money solutions.”
“This is an exciting time for SA software companies in that we have an excellent opportunity to gain international expertise and expand our reach without having to suffer the considerable overheads,” concludes Marshbank. “We can certainly learn from the way that things get done overseas while taking advantage of the fact that we’re fast becoming the favourite new kids on the block.”