With the launch of a branch in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Bluekey – the leading SAP Business One partner in Africa – adds a fifth full-service office to its growing geographic coverage in Africa.

The new branch will be supported by Bluekey’s successful Nairobi (Kenya) based office, and aims to meet the needs of Tanzanian companies for professionally implemented business management systems, as well as providing services to Kenyan and South African subsidiaries active in Tanzania.

It’s also an affirmation of the growing importance of Dar es Salaam as a gateway between Africa and Asia, and as a thriving commercial hub in its own right.  With GDP growth in Tanzania running at 6%,   Bluekey is the ideal IT partner to assist companies to capitalise on new opportunities and equip them with business systems to manage expansion efficiently and profitably.

Bluekey has enjoyed substantial growth since its establishment in 2004, and today is responsible for almost 50% of SAP Business One sales in South Africa and East Africa.  From small beginnings in 2004, the business has expanded well beyond core ERP offerings and incorporates development, networking, business intelligence, and mobility divisions.

“We need to constantly innovate and refresh our products and services; it’s essential if we are to retain the trust of our customers and deliver incremental value” says Dennis Marketos, Bluekey Group Managing Director.  The business today has a staff complement edging to the 100 mark, with a quarter based in East Africa.  “We see the Africa region as an economic hotspot in the near term and the rate of growth of the East African business eclipsing that of our South African units,” says Marketos, adding: “That makes for some interesting internal dynamics!”

A key differentiator for Bluekey is the fundamental belief that a ‘one size fits all’ is seldom appropriate when designing and implementing ERP solutions. This is especially true for many of the family-run groups that are such a powerful driver of economic output in East Africa.

Mala Bhatt, Managing Director of Bluekey East Africa explains: “These are complex businesses with a mix of vertical integration and horizontal diversification. Through the initial process of blueprinting, essential complexities are noted. The live system must incorporate these requirements so each project calls for a variable blend of software configuration, industry specific add-ons, process re-engineering and old-fashioned development around the core SAP Business One ERP”.

With in excess of 180 implementations of SAP Business One in Africa over the past 7 years, Bluekey consultants are experienced enough to streamline the process.

“To keep the project scope manageable, consultants continually strive to find that fine balance between the variables; the recipe is different each time, but the outcome must meet the customers’ expectations” says Bhatt.

Setting up a new operation from scratch can be a risky business, but the Bluekey team feels that they now have a formula that works.  It means anchoring a new branch with experienced technical and consulting staff, and putting the new business in centre position in Bluekey’s virtual consultancy. Whenever necessary, specialists can quickly be deployed to assist – either remotely or on the ground.

At the same time a structured training program takes local resources with an ERP, accounting or technology background and schools them in SAP Business One. “We use well-developed methodologies refined over the years so the learning curve is shorter” says Santone Lange, the local Bluekey branch manager.

In the long run it pays to have local, skilled, experienced consultants to bind the business to the economy – and that provides the continuity of service that customers need.

Says Marketos “ERP is not just about the product -; it’s the sum of the product, industry experience, local knowledge and people on the ground.  For an ERP project to be successful it takes the application and dedication of the right people from both Bluekey and the customer. “

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