Enterprise ERP and CRM solutions were historically designed for large corporations and typically come with the appropriate large price tag – and this may present a mismatch in the African market.

This is the word from Jeremy Waterman, MD of Softline Accpac and Sage MMD Africa, who says: “Many ERP software vendors have adopted that same approach in the African market, not realising that they are entering a different playing field.  Even the larger companies are globally no larger than upper mid-market in size.”

The African business is unique in its approach and dynamics and it is up to product developers to deliver ERP and CRM solutions that will benefit the African market by re-evaluating the cost to market and making solutions more agile and more relevant.  Waterman says value for money remains king in a tough economic climate.

For a continent that doesn’t have a large enterprise ERP requirement, we have not really seen suitable mid-market solutions that have been able to establish the critical mass in the African market in order to effectively compete, he says.

“Our Sage ERP X3 and Sage ERP Accpac solutions are specifically designed to support the upper and mid market companies, this presents a big opportunity for us to dominate the space in Africa that has been falsely dominated by large enterprise ERP players.”

Due to the lack of credible upper mid-market software vendors in the African market companies have, in the past, had to compromise and buy lower mid-market products or overspend on solutions that are better designed and suited for very large global enterprises.

The African market is hungry for technology and demands that new features are made available a lot faster than before, he adds.

“We are moving into the age of intelligence and companies in Africa are well ahead of much of the world in embracing the mobile revolution.  As a result, the average African business is driving their business in the mobile direction and we need to be able to provide ERP and CRM solutions that are able to adapt and address the needs of this growing market.

“Companies want the ability to ‘listen’ to everything and they want solutions that will allow them to react in real time.  How quickly and flexibly we, as product developers, can deliver that information in a usable and mobile format is the name of the game,” Waterman says.