The recent Gartner Symposium has highlighted the need to not compare apples with oranges when talking about the latest IT trends in developed versus developing markets. It appears that trends in Africa and South Africa include more of a different approach, often characterized by current ERP implementers leapfrogging over old legacy systems directly onto the latest technology.
The rapid adoption rate of mobile in Africa is evidence of this market difference with most internet users for example clearly choosing to go online via a mobile device versus a PC or laptop. Accessibility is an issue and so is affordability for users, unlike in developed markets where these factors are not that big an issue.
So too then in the ERP space, we find local adopters, instead of meshing together old and new technologies, in line with the latest trumpeted IT term ”bi-modality”, we rather see them jumping straight over directly onto the latest technology.
This means for some of our customers they can move onto the latest ERP solutions rapidly, including our mobile solution SYSPRO Espresso, without being slowed down by integrating old legacy systems onto new platforms.
In Africa, consumers for example immediately adopted cellular phones as soon as the technology and airtime became affordable, leaping over landline technology to become connected while also accessing the internet.
Another example of this can be found in Kenya where people in rural areas can register their newborn children online via mobile in order to benefit from state resources without having to make a long journey into the city.
At the end of the day these market forces remind us to take with a healthy pinch of salt the generalizing claims of what exactly the latest IT trends are from developed economy analysts. This is Africa, a continent of extremes, with markets that follow their own rules and behaviors. One size does not fit all.