2011: It’s onwards and upwards for HansaWorld

By Hayley Turner
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As demand for its solutions increases in Southern Africa, business software vendor HansaWorld has moved to new premises to accommodate a growing staff complement. The company officially opens its new offices at The Woodlands in Woodmead, north of Sandton Johannesburg, on 19 January 2011. Such is the value of the company's operations at the southern tip of the continent, that founder and CEO Karl Bohlin is in the country for the opening and to demonstrate new advances in HansaWorld technology.

Headquartered in Sweden, HansaWorld has over 74 000 customers globally; South African Country Manager Swati Desai is confident of substantial growth in Africa as she believes its flagship Integrated Business Platform (IBP) product, called Enterprise by HansaWorld, is particularly suitable for the great majority of companies on the continent.

“That's something which is being borne out by broad market acceptance of Enterprise in Africa; not only in South Africa but also in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana where market share is increasing rapidly,” says Desai. “The steadily increasing number of local reference sites, adding to those 74 000 international ones, means the name and reputation is definitely growing.”

While its competitors tend to describe their solutions as 'mid-market ERP', Desai prefers the term 'Integrated Business Platform'. “We are at the leading edge of IBP technology and this reflects the fact that HansaWorld integrates pretty much all the day-to-day transactional systems for growing business needs, from ERP through Customer Relationship Management to vertical market solutions, document management, e-mail, calendaring and scheduling with intranet capabilities. One of our latest modules, Webshop, includes the ability to integrate directly from the back office system to a web-facing presence. We feel each of these components should run on a single platform in the same system, as each interacts with each other, which makes the data so much more valuable in the IBP system."

With the development of HansaWorld's brand and reputation, so too does the infrastructural requirements of the vendor increase, Desai notes. “While moving offices is disruptive and downright time-consuming, it is a necessary growing pain. The primary focus for 2011 is to take our African operations to new heights,” she says.

Providing some insights into her plans and vision for the new year, Desai says that from solid foundations established in the company's 8 year history in Southern Africa, it intends to grow rapidly. “With a sound and expanding partner base, we will look to aggressively advance the profile of our solutions. That includes attention to channel and end-user marketing, where emphasis will be placed on cost-competitiveness in terms of the complete package: features and functionality, licensing, implementation timeframes, support and maintenance. Based on all these services, Enterprise stacks up very well against the competition – and especially when total cost of ownership calculations are made.”

Meanwhile, Desai says that in addition to opening the new premises, HansaWorld is demonstrating new advances to the latest Enterprise solution to keep its product offering ahead of its competitors. "We have also extended our commitment to mobile solutions by providing greater access to data via Nokia smartphones, iPhone, iPod touch and iPad client applications for example, for point of sales, stocktaking and restaurant order taking" continues Desai. "The new web client completes the cloud computing offering, supplementing the existing customer choice between traditional on-premises or hosted solutions. We're also very excited by the significant enhancements to our vertical market offerings for the retail and hospitality sectors."

With its solutions in the market since the 1980s, Bohlin notes that research and development has always played a key role in enabling the company to retain existing customers and attract new ones. “Already, we have developed a Point-of-Sale solution specifically for Africa, while further innovations are likely to drive the appeal, accessibility and performance of Enterprise for our customers in this region,” he says.

In conclusion, Desai says HansaWorld is positioned well for growth in 2011. “The company is stable internationally and profitable locally. Above all, we have a proposition which is based on mutual and fair value creation, which is very appealing to local companies. That will form the basis on which we will take HansaWorld forward.”