Business Objects to open offices in South Africa

In a move to expand and strengthen its presence in South Africa, Business Objects SA (BO) is opening offices throughout SA. It aims to double its local market share, and revenue — both currently comprising one per cent of its overall international operations — by the end of its next budget year, October 2005.

BO says that it plans to open about five branches around the provinces, all of which will be run by local staff. “Our markets are already mature in other countries, and we believe we can be as successful in SA as we have been in the US and EU,” said Thierry Nicault, regional director of EMEA, during the recent visit of company management to SA.

The process of establishing local permanence began in July with BO’s appointment of Gary Broomberg to the post of MD of the SA operation. Broomberg maintains that the move will not have any major impact on BO’s channel as the company will not be competing with its existing partners. He says BO’s strategy is rather to focus on enlarging its presence and ensuring better site coverage.

“We aim to be the number one BI company in SA very soon, and to develop a solid customer base, but we are also realistic. In the past our priorities have been to consolidate positions in Western Europe and the US, but we want to start running good operations in other countries, and SA has become a top priority in achieving this. We have 250 customers in the country, and we can see the value that would result from us deploying more licences for our products, improving our local services and increasing efficiency,” says Broomberg.

He says the company will be embarking on an aggressive marketing strategy, targeting the SA financial services sector, the mining sector and government. “We are specifically targeting bigger organizations that need to track data by making potential customers understand the kind of value we can offer,” he adds.

“Customers are currently interested in single point solution packages that incorporate data warehousing reporting, functionality, analysis as well as the ability to predict future trends,” says Jean-Pierre Brulard, country manager for France.

“I managed to speak to a number of IT managers, and I have a strong impression of the maturity of IT in this country, all the companies have programs for awareness in data storage, which is an important criterion for us to assess the market,” says Brulard. “We are now in an era of BI and analytics, which is about extracting the best value out of existing infrastructure,” he explains.

Broomberg says the company will comply with the requirements of the ICT BEE Charter. “We have taken cognizance of local rules, and will make sure that it is part of our international business plan, because we believe the global way of doing business is local effectiveness,” says Nicault.

BO also says it will be bringing specific products and pricing packages for SMMEs to the local market.

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