Bluekey’s Winning Recipe with SAP Business One

Bluekey’s Winning Recipe with SAP Business One

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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Looking beyond mobile device management

Mobile device management as a platform for increased efficiency

“I have been working in stealth mode over the past few months, collaborating with industry experts to create new content on trends and topics that are important in the mobile industry. I am excited to introduce you to the new “Mobile Sense” thought leadership series. Mobile Sense will be all about making sense of enterprise mobility topics, trends and issues. We’ll introduce new topics to you on a monthly basis via whitepapers, webcasts, chats, blogs, podcasts and more.

 

The first whitepaper in this series is about looking beyond mobile device management to ‘Enterprise Mobility Management’ (EMM). I love the term Enterprise Mobility Management because it takes what we commonly have referred to as mobile device management (through our Afaria product) and tells the broader story of what an enterprise really needs to think about when managing and security mobile data and devices. I hope by sharing this with you that you will broaden your perspective on what you really need in your enterprise.

 

The paper was written by mobility expert and thought leader Philippe Winthrop of the Enterprise Mobility Foundation. In the ‘Looking Beyond Mobile Device Management to Enterprise Mobility Management’ whitepaper (link to be shared soon), Philippe discusses how over the last 18 months we’ve seen an important shift where organizations are now increasingly looking beyond just mobile email to create and deploy a wide variety of applications that connect to the organizations’ back end systems and help mobilize internal business processes. Because of this shift, IT departments also need to shift the way they look at traditional mobile device management.

 

Today’s highly mobile workforce faces a number of new challenges that they did not face before – most notably the greater need for information loss protection and prevention. Philippe discusses how in order to address these potential risks, IT decision makers are have been turning to “mobile device management” solutions.  The problem is that the term Mobile Device Management (MDM) is often misused and misunderstood. It is my mission to share with you how MDM and EMM are different – and why you should think about the broader requirements of EMM when considering your strategy.

 

I agree with Philippe that it seems that over the last year or so “Mobile Device Management is being used as an umbrella term for all things related to mobility management”.  I think we have lost focus on the important issues at hand.  When talking about “mobile device management,” we have forgotten about the broader story of enterprise mobility management. Philippe outlines that EMM is all about:

  • Mobile Inventory/Asset Management
  • Mobile Application Management
  • Mobile Security
  • Wireless Expense Management
  • Mobile Operations Management
  • Mobile Help Desk

 

This is a big topic, so I’ll pause and stop here for now. In my next post I’ll talk a bit more about each of the areas of EMM, and I’ll share the link to the full whitepaper.  Stay tuned for a webcast on this topic in early September where Philippe Winthrop will share his thoughts. Registration will be coming soon and I’ll share the link here.”

 

Milja Gillespie is the director of mobility at SAP and drives thought leadership programs for the company’s leading edge mobility products.

SAP Business One for Blackberry

Running SAP Business One one your Blackberry device

 

Managers, sales reps and service personnel all have exactly the right information they require for their daily work and decisions to be made while with customers.

  • Online and offline access to corporate SAP Business One data through your Blackberry
  • No investment or costly software configuration required
  • No changes need to be made to SAP Business One to access business information on your Blackberry
  • Software on a subscription basis per user (SaaS)
  • Standard modules for all applications in the business
  • Thanks to cloud technology, data is available and ready for use immediately

 

Reports & DashboardsThe dashboards are graphical analyses, providing you with clear and quick information on current company figures. Continuous synchronization with SAP Business One means that the graphics are always up to date and visible on your Blackberry.

 

Alerts Don’t miss alert messages from SAP Business One anymore. You can have messages sent to you triggered by default, or you can define them in advance. For example, if an important customer places an order, you will be informed automatically.

 

EmployeesThis HR function allows you to contact your colleagues at any time and from any place. You can make calls or send e-mails directly from the app. Information about their location is visible, as well as information on the projects and customers managed by the respective colleague.

 

Business Partner – All useful data on your Business Partners is displayed on your mobile device. A quick glance gives you an overview of the distribution of responsibilities in the company and enables you to view information such as addresses, telephone numbers, current sales figures and KPIs, open invoices, past activities and much more.

 

Approvals – The responsible person can manage approval process even outside of the office. Thanks to coresuite mobile you get an overview of the Invoice, Order or any document that needs to be approved and can grant or reject the Approval Request instantly from your Blackberry. The back office receives the decision after the synchronization and can continue their work without delay.

 

In coresuite mobile we have created a product which makes master company data available on various smartphones as well as on tablets and laptops. No additional infrastructure is required for synchronization via coresuite cloud and the solution can be commissioned immediately.

 

Alchemex for SAP Business One

Alchemex for SAP Business One saves CP Group 60 hours a month

 

Communication Products, a leading ICT solutions provider, recently implemented ‘Alchemex for SAP Business One’ to improve efficiencies in reporting across the organisation.

 

Company introduction

Communication Products Group was established in 1990, incorporating Communication Products, Handset Solutions and Kalula Communications, and the group is the sole authorised importer of Plantronics communication headsets into southern Africa. Communicating is an essential part of people’s social and business lives. Plantronics headsets enhance this communication, providing phone and computer users’ greater mobility, comfort and productivity – whether at work, in the car or at home.

 

As the industry leader for more than 40 years, and as the only company dedicated solely to designing and manufacturing headsets, Plantronics has the most extensive headset expertise across a full range of communication segments. Plantronics product portfolio includes headsets for cordless and mobile phones, for computers, for small to medium-size offices, the enterprise and the contact centre markets.

 

Challenges faced

As the CP Group grew in prominence, it became crucial to have a structured system integrating the three companies and their various functions. For this they chose SAP Business One, successfully implemented by leading implementation partner, Bluekey Software Solutions. It was necessary to ensure flexible, scheduled and secure access to all relevant information, distributed at the right time to the right people across the organisation. This had proved challenging with their resident reporting tool.

 

Existing systems were too complicated and required a programmer to create the required reports and consolidations. Further, this information needed to be delivered to a familiar desktop environment like Excel, but at the same time eliminating “loose Excel spreadsheet use” to guarantee data integrity. Although SAP Business One, like most other ERP applications, comes with a host of standard reports, they very seldom cater for the specific needs of the business. This is why the CP Group chose ‘Alchemex for SAP Business One’ to cater for their diverse information requirements. (www.alchemex.com)

 

Planning

It was important to define what was required so that the Alchemex implementation was efficient and value could be obtained instantly. A significant portion of the requirements were available through the standard reports for SAP Business One and the rest were configured through the user-friendly interface supporting total flexibility and consolidations, from multiple data sources.

 

Outcome

“The Alchemex implementation has produced valuable consolidated management reports across our three companies,” says Nielle Truter, Financial Manager of Communication Products. “Alchemex is easy to use; I have been able to customise 30 new reports across sales, stock, general administration and finance over and above the valuable reports that come standard with Alchemex for SAP Business One. This is because the environment is user-friendly and the output is in Excel, so I am able to take advantage of native Excel skills to format and distribute my information as I choose.

 

“It is fantastic to be able to schedule reports overnight and know that they will be delivered via e-mail automatically to the people who need them, first thing the next day, no questions asked,” says Truter. “I sincerely believe that Alchemex has saved me at least three hours every day through automated reporting and distribution,” he adds. “This equates to 60 hours in time saved each month alone, allowing me to use this time more effectively.

 

“The one thing I really liked was that I could plug SAP Business One queries straight into the reporting engine and then configure my layout in Excel – just like that,” says Truter.

 

Companies that implement Alchemex for SAP Business One experience major efficiencies in the way information is:

1. Prepared – through automation
2. Distributed – through Excel (familiar environment)
3. Trusted – (no manual intervention)

Business in your pocket – Coresuite Mobile

Imagine being able to access your company data,  be up-to-date with business operations, and make informed decisions at any point during the day and everywhere you go. SAP Business One, in partnership with coresuite mobile,  has made this possible through their mobile application that integrates SAP Business One with mobile devices, such as the iPhone and iPad. Without the need for additional infrastructure and the ease with which the application can be downloaded, this mobile application can be used right away to access your ERP system and ‘get your business one the road’.

 

This application is an irreplaceable tool for executives, sales employees and service representatives as the data is stored on the mobile device, which allows you to access your data anywhere – even if you are offline. The data that is sent and downloaded via the mobile device is protected with a high standard of security with SSL encryption.

 

Reports and Dashboards

The dashboards are graphical analyses that provide you with quick and easy information about current company figures. At the touch of a button, you are able to view the current turnover and sales figures according to product group. Due to a constant synchronisation with your ERP, the graphics are always up-to-date on your iPhone.

 

Business Partner

Useful data about your business partners is displayed on your mobile device. A quick glance gives you an overview of the distribution of responsibilities in the company, enables you to retrieve information such as addresses, phone numbers, current sales figures, open invoices, past activities, and much more.

 

Service Calls

If the office receives a service call, it can be directly assigned to  service representative in the field via the mobile device. The service representative also receives information about the business partner, the contact person, the address and the details of the service call. This function guarantees more efficient personnel planning and improves the quality of customer service.

 

Time

Record your working hours on your mobile device and at the same time allocate them to customers. This time recording function is synchronised with the coresuite time Add-On in your ERP system. The capability to synchronise effort recordings and working hours from your mobile device to your ERP system helps you save time, and furthermore, the time recording allows a current overview of all hours worked.

 

Activities

All service calls and activities that were recorded in your ERP system are synchronised with the mobile device and can be accessed at any time. New activities can also be added. With the integrated calendar, you can plan your day and always be on top of your to-do tasks. With the automatic synchronisation between the ERP system and your iPhone or iPad, a time-consuming manual adjustment of your calendar at your desk is now a thing of the past.