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Pictured: Keith Fenner, senior vice-president for sales

The increased demand for solutions capable of assisting mining houses to reduce their operating and related costs could prove profitable for established business management software companies, writes Reggie Sikhakhane.

“Mining companies are breaking up into smaller entities to try and alleviate escalating operational costs, a trend we see growing further in the local sector. Labour relations and power hikes are affecting overall production, which has a severe impact on revenue and profits,” says Keith Fenner, senior vice-president for sales at software solutions company Sage ERP Africa.

According to Fenner, Sage ERP Africa’s recognised software solutions, which have proved to be a success over recent years, can offer significant assistance in reducing costs and mitigating losses. “By offering ERP products that cover financial, distribution, costing, scheduling, maintenance and production, we are able to deliver solutions and guarantee results in a timely manner.”

Fenner reveals that the company recently ‘went live’ with a midmarket gold miner, as well as a midmarket platinum producer. “The companies are already achieving better reporting and cost results as a result of the partnerships we have established.”

Rebranding from Softline following the acquisition of the company by the Sage Group in February this year, Sage ERP Africa says the name change has been received well by its business partners, clients and the market.

“We conducted a market survey and analysis before we implemented the rebranding and received a lot of positive feedback from all stakeholders. It was no secret – rebranding made business sense,” explains Fenner. He points out that the name change has already had a positive impact on the mining industry – it alleviates confusion that results from having too many names. “The name change augurs well for our plans to target African countries and, in doing so, present the company and its products under one global brand.”

Softline has been part of the Sage Group for many years and over this time we have continued to grow in prominence. We believe that it is now time to leverage the global power of the Sage Group and align ourselves fully with the brand,” said Ivan Epstein, Softlineco-founder and CEO of Sage AAMEA, following the name change announcement.

The company’s name change has resulted in name changes across all divisions, including Sage VIP (formerly Softline VIP), Sage ERP Africa (Formerly Softline ACCPAC) and Sage Pastel (formerly Softline Pastel), with Alchemex to be known as Sage Alchemex.

“Our current and future customers will continue to enjoy the benefits of our locally and globally developed products that they have come to know and trust, while this alignment creates further opportunities to leverage global insights and collaborations,” Epstein notes.

Fenner continues: “Innovation remains at the forefront of the entire Sage Group’s identity. Sage ERP X3 offer the option for a decentralised approach to improving our products for the mining industry, including the ability to use the software in offline mode. Connectivity, especially in some areas in Africa where mines are situated, can be both expensive and inconsistent, which is why we have integrated an option to work offline with our Sage ERP X3 product.”

Sage ERP Africa

Sage ERP Africa recently opened its offices in West Africa – in Lagos, Nigeria, and in Nairobi, Kenya – as it seeks to further its interest on the African continent. “The opening of these offices is an indication of our intent to continue with our aggressive expansion into the African market,” Fenner outlines. He attributes the success of Sage ERP Africa in African markets to its established, competent, partner channels, such as Deloitte. “Our partnership with Deloitte has helped us to understand what the midmarket players in Africa need and we have had lots of success thus far.”

Fenner says that the company has not experienced any challenges in Africa owing to its well-established distribution networks, adding that the company is well positioned to penetrate the regions that it operates in. The company says that business looks promising in the future and has a number of projects in the pipeline.

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