Software AG boosts investment in SA

Software AG has announced that will more than quadruple the size of its existing South Africa (SA) operation and take back responsibility for its large customer base in the country.

This is as a result of the company’s decision not to renew its local distribution and maintenance contract with Dimension Data Holdings PLC for its Adabas/Natural product stream.

The decision is in line with Software AG’s new global delivery strategy and confirms its positive outlook for the SA market for Adabas/Natural and XML products and services, said Software AG executive board member Mark Edwards.

Announcing the development last month, Edwards said he is looking forward to continuing the business relationship with Dimension Data, which bodes well for a seamless transition.

By not renewing its contract with Dimension Data, Software AG now has direct contact with its over 80 local customers, including financial institutions such as Standard Bank and government sites such as SARS.

In terms of the agreement reached, it will take over the 15 staff members of Dimension Data’s Natural/Adabas business unit, bringing its local contingent up to 17.

Commenting on the developments, Edwards said Software AG had always enjoyed a positive and productive relationship with Dimension Data. However, to bring its SA business in line with its global strategy, it was necessary for the company to have a direct line into its users.

“Like all global players, Software AG was negatively affected by the worldwide slump in the ICT market in the late 1990s. Responding quickly, it developed a strategy that has already delivered positive results.

“In terms of this strategy, Software AG is focusing on two product lines: mainframe modernization and XML business integration. More importantly, it has developed a culture of putting the customer first, and it is this strategic requirement that prompted us to extend our presence in SA,” he said.

“Of course, Software AG will remain closely engaged with Dimension Data, as both companies’ products and services are complementary in the SA market.”

In the past 12 months, Edwards has visited SA several times to meet customers and familiarize himself with the SA market, and rates managing the outcome as one of his highest-profile projects for the next 24 months.

“Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than win-win situations and fostering relationships on which to build,” he said.

“From a strategic point of view, the deal makes a great deal of sense for Software AG, particularly as we see great opportunity in the market for both our product lines. We’ll be taking over an existing skills base, instead of starting from scratch, and will be able to capitalize on the market’s historical successful relationship with the brand.

“Our customers benefit because the transition will be seamless, they will continue to deal with the same people, and — for the first time — they will be fully integrated into the Software AG family.

“Equally importantly, for those who’ve come across to join us, there’ll be extensive investment in personal and technical training, auguring well for their future in the ICT industry. Furthermore, for a period of no less than six months, a business integration team will facilitate their integration into the Software AG family to ensure fairness and delivery. We’re also searching for a dynamic country manager with a proven track record to lead them and make certain they take up their rightful place as one of Software AG’s most successful regions.”

Edwards adds that customer response to the development had been positive. Likewise, its business partners such as ADC and Bateleur Holdings support the move and are anticipating enhanced business opportunities.

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