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‘Businesses in emerging markets must digitise or die’

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Research by SAP partner Ernst & Young suggests that five percent of the revenue of any company today is lost as a result of fraud. It is a scenario that has brought together the expertise of global software vendors, analysts and financial advisors who have collaborated to develop a financial auditing app, via Ernst & Young, running on SAP Hana platform. It is just one example of what is emerging on the front lines of global business system development and digital transformation, of which Africa is a significant part.

SAP executives have pointed to this offering and the release of the cloud edition of SAP Business Suite 4 SAP Hana (S/4 Hana) as technology which typifies the company’s pledge to help businesses ‘run simple’ and transform business models in order to take advantage of the digital economy.

The S/4Hana business suite, built on the advanced in-memory platform SAP HANA and designed with the SAP Fiori® user experience (UX), was launched in February 2015.

A cloud edition of the offering was introduced at the company’s Sapphire Now Conference in the first week of May in Orlando.

Bernd Leukert, member of the Executive Board, Products & Innovation, SAP SE, said. “SAP S/4HANA is now available on-premise, in the cloud and even allows true hybrid scenarios. This is unique in the industry. Customers can rely on a modern digital business foundation to reimagine their business, on-premise or in the cloud, at a large scale.”

Cloud as a key business driver has seen triple digit growth in emerging markets, claims SAP and there is a clear opportunity for operations in these markets says SAP CEO Bill McDermott.

To take advantage of the opportunity SAP’s advice to companies and operators is that while original business ideas and concepts can and should remain in place, business models and relevant supporting IT systems will have to change.

Executives spoke of a recent IDC session during which customers from Europe were asked if digital transformation will be a major business priority in the next twelve months – to which over 60% confirmed it will.

“The majority of that percentage was from Italy and Spain, which reflects the difficulty businesses are experiencing… they have suffered the most, so they need to reinvent the most,” said EMEA regional president Franck Cohen.

Like other markets, decision makers in Africa consider faster rollout and ease of adjustment after go-live as primary considerations in selecting business applications. “In a digital world, speed is the currency,” Cohen added.

Customers across the 26 industries SAP is focused on are forcing discussion on disruptive thinking around their businesses, EMEA representatives added.

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