The argument over the next ‘killer app’ for Windows may have been answered.
According to an AMR report (login required) Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) has become hugely important for Microsoft. The product is now in its third version and, according to AMR, ”is the fastest-growing product in Microsoft’s history, gaining more than 100 million client access licenses in a few years; that’s roughly one-fifth of the legally licensed Microsoft Office installed base.”
Watch out for the third-party add-ons and specialised apps to start appearing.
Next week, South Africa has only 2 working days in the week. Many of the companies we do business with have decided that its probably not worth starting up the manufacturing plant for just 2 days, so they will not be operating.
The reason for this strange week is partly historical and partly a government/trade union decision. 27th April is a public holiday to celebrate the first open free-and-fair election in SA in 1994. Because the 27th falls on a Sunday, the law says that Monday is a public holiday. 1st May is also a public holiday mainly because the ANC government of SA wanted to appease its trade union and Communist Party allies, and so we have Workers’ Day on Thursday.
That should have meant that Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday were working days. However, 2008 had a very unusual date for Easter, Easter Friday was on 21st March. 21st is also a public holiday to commemorate the Sharpville Massacre in the early 1960s. The trade unions pointed out that in the national Constitution there are a certain number public holidays stated, but because of the overlap on 21st, the number of holidays was reduced. So they complained to government, who then decided to make Friday 2nd May a public holiday.
When I read analyst reviews of what’s going on in various markets, I often get the feeling that none of it applies to South Africa. Now I understand why.
In a recent AMR note about Oracle in Africa and the Middle East, Bruce Richardson made the telling comment that AMR hadn’t visited SA in 11 years.
11 years ago I was the Alliance Manager at Digital Equipment SA responsible for, among others, 10 ERP players. In the hardware vendor market, there were at least twice as many players as there are now. In South Africa, we still had Nelson Mandela as president, and there had been only one open general election. The local IT environment had developed significantly, and we aren’t so dominated by international players.
Shame on you AMR. South Africa has changed hugely in 11 years, and you haven’t even bothered to update yourselves.
Yesterday I attended a presentation by SYSPRO to its resellers in Johannesburg. One of the sessions featured Kay Nash of Yellowwood, a company described as a ” leading specialist marketing and brand strategy organisation”. Looking at their client list, they must have some special talent.
Kay has been working with SYSPRO for some years, and her talk covered the work she has done to develop and position SYSPRO’s brand. The key word she used to describe that brand is “tenacious”.
As she said, the ERP world is fiercely competitive, and dominated by really big international players (SAP, Oracle, Microsoft), but SYSPRO has managed to not only survive for 30 years but also thrive, in South Africa, as well as US, Canada, UK, and other places. She is obviously pretty impressed with what SYSPRO has done.
In my opinion, the tenaciousness of SYSPRO shows a particular South Africa trait to push through. From the early settlers of the Cape, to the Boers trekking north, to the diamond mining in Kimberley and the gold mining on the Rand, South Africans just had to get on with things because we were so far away from anyone, and could not rely on someone else to quickly come and help.
SYSPRO’s strength is in the small-medium business (SMB) space, and its ability to deliver value to business managers and owners led Yellowwood to come up with a tag line for SYSPRO –
“simplifying your success”.
For me it’s a pity that the major analyst groups are US or European, and don’t seem to have grasped the significance of a major ERP player ”down in Africa”.