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‘SMEs need new partners to recover from COVID-19’

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Following the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small and medium businesses, Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing (SAP) has stressed the need for new technology partners that would provide maximum value to companies.

Head of Channel for Africa at SAP, Lilian Serobatse, noted that the economic impact of the pandemic had disrupted most companies’ blueprints, and altered expectations from their technology partners.

“The new currency is lifetime value. It bothers on how partners provide ongoing value to my organisation and help them make decisions that support the achievement of their business goals.

“It is not enough to sell a product or solution. Channel partners are now saddled with helping customers to extract maximum value over time from their technology investments,” she said.

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She further asserted that the change in expectations had subsequently birthed a unique breed of partners and organisations that are ready to understand customer pains and develop solutions that would have a long-term impact.

SAP’s Regional Director, Central Africa, Pedro Guerriro, highlighted the impact of the lockdown on most companies, adding that SMEs, which were more likely to retain productivity and keep their operations running, had adopted cloud services before the lockdown.

Also stressing that SMEs constitute a larger percentage of SAP’s clients, its Head of General Business for Africa, Amin Meqdadi, said available solutions could make a huge difference in how enterprises recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nearly 80 per cent of SAP’s global customers are SMEs. And with a two-week implementation period, the solutions available to SMEs can transform how they operate quickly enough as they recover from a rough trading period due to COVID-19,” he said.

Besides, African chief executive officers (CEOs) have expressed confidence that businesses would rebound in 2021 and urged public authorities to cooperate and support them as they push towards digitisation.

This was disclosed in a recent survey carried out by the Africa CEO Forum and Deloitte. According to the survey, up to 95 per cent of respondents affirmed that the pandemic had heavily affected their business operations.

The African CEOs also expressed hope in the continent’s growth and economic integration.

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