SAP (Systems, Applications and Products) Africa, a market leader in enterprise application software that helps companies of all sizes and industries run well, has held its Innovation Day in Accra. Among many other things, the forum discussed how digital transformation is the key to unlocking Africa’s future.
SAP Innovation Day aims at exploring potential of digital technologies in Ghana. Attending companies gained key insights into the changes they need to implement to enable them to quickly and cost-effectively deliver more useful, meaningful customer experiences.
Head of Technology at SAP Africa, Simon Carpenter urged African government to put in place mechanisms to benefit from global technology boom. According to him, the world is fast moving towards technological solution to economic challenges.
Mr. Carpenter warned that even companies on the Fortune 500 List are not immune to these challenges, opining that “52% of the Fortune 500 firms are gone due to disruptive technology and innovations.
According to him, technological advancements would streamline the work of business by 2020 and make many of the challenges of the past redundant.
Darrel Orsmond, Head of Banking Industry at SAP also revealed that most Ghanaian banks are vulnerable to hacking because they do not utilize cloud software to store their data.
Cloud software allows the user to run computer applications over the Internet, without having to buy, install or manage their own servers. This means a company can run its IT operations with only a browser and an Internet connection
According to experts, cloud software could enhance up to 50 percent operations in banks. This is because it has integrated capabilities to deliver para systems and address challenges associated with the banking industry.
“The banks in Ghana have large legacy problems like a lot of banks across Africa, they’ve built one piece of software system that does savings account, there’s another one that does credit cards, and another does HR and sometimes they haven’t got a finance system and a lot of excel spread sheets,” Darrel Orsmond said.
He noted that banks in Ghana access their data from their servers, which are mostly located in one of the bank’s branch offices instead of cloud software as it is done in developing countries including African countries like South Africa and Kenya.
Unlike cloud centers that deal with all levels of securities, banks in Ghana choose only one or two levels of security, which makes them vulnerable to hackers.
Darrel explained further that, “In the past, banks would buy some software and install it on their own computer in the bank but with clouds somebody runs that software for you in a computer center and when you are doing your transaction you access that data without going to your machine in your basement. Once they go onto the cloud they focus on running the business which is what they should be doing.”
He added that: “The real benefit comes when you need to develop new products or make changes. These can take the banks years to do but can be done on the cloud within 60 to 90 days.”
On his part, the head of technology at SAP Africa, Simon Carpenter noted that there is a global technology boom which African governments must take advantage of.
From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition.
SAP applications and services enable more than 345,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably.