26 October 2016 marked a first for Africa. Software solutions company SAP launched its first Co-Innovation Lab (COIL) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
COIL offers a worldwide network of expertise and best-in-class technologies and platforms to drive progress through co-innovation with partners. While previously established in Palo Alto, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, India, Singapore, China, South Korea and Japan, this year saw the first COIL hub launched in South Africa, with six African SAP partners.
Each of these partners will rely on a structured and guided global approach to facilitate project-based co-innovation and collaboration as they seek to bring new solutions to customers.
"Our technology partners are an essential component to drive innovation across the continent. Through the approach of COIL and our network of expertise, we will collectively be better positioned to solve issues specific to Africa," says Elke Simon-Keller, Innovation Lead, SAP Africa.
"One of the biggest threats to innovation is the space between concept and execution," says Brett Parker, Managing Director, SAP Africa, who went on to say: "Far too often, great ideas are lost. Consequently, businesses are looking for smarter, quicker and more efficient ways to innovate."
To counter the loss of potentially great ideas and expedite the process of transforming these concepts into business-ready solutions, SAP and its partners are given the opportunity to take advantage of COIL's agile prototyping of ideas, their faster time-to-market, the decreased development costs with lower risks, their dedicated knowledge transfer and exclusive access to SAP technology, as well as ongoing project support, which will accelerate development and improve quality.
The Britehouse Group is one of six African SAP partners chosen to participate in this pilot project. Having previously participated with COIL in Germany, the Britehouse Group has already had the privilege of using the advantages afforded by COIL, together with their own ingenuity, to develop and launch two applications on the global SAP Store. These include a timesheet-keeping app and a company-wide people app.
The BriteTime app is a standalone timesheet management solution allowing employees to easily capture their hours and provide supporting information. By using a "mobile first" approach, it ensures a great overall user experience, and while it is standalone, the app seamlessly integrates with existing SAP Human Capital Management and SAP Financial Accounting & Time Management systems, but also into newer cloud-based solutions like SucessFactors.
The My Company app allows employees to reward, connect and retain people through network externalities. This platform enables companies to communicate various key focus areas with its users, which includes on-boarding, gamification, communication, feedback/surveys, performance management, and payslips, to name a few.
"Both of these platforms were developed out of a concentrated focus on improving productivity, increasing efficiency, and driving customer-based solutions within an African context," says Deon du Preez, Director Innovation, Britehouse.
This year through COIL, the Britehouse Group has partnered with MineRP, an independent software vendor with a special focus on developing Mine Technical Systems (MTS) integration platforms. With a globally diverse, world-class portfolio of operations and projects as well as several exploration programmes, each company is ideally positioned to work together to develop an innovative offering that will grow their businesses exponentially, contribute to job creation, and stimulate and drive progress throughout the continent.
"Collaborative innovation in partnership with SAP, through the SAP Co-Innovation Lab in Africa, has provided MineRP with benefits beyond what we ever envisaged," says John Megannon, Executive Vice-President: Strategy, MineRP.
Having entered into an agreement with the Britehouse Group, the two like-minded partners have focused on developing a blueprint for a rapid deployment solution, which will be taken to market as a solution. The solution is geared to integrate MTS with SAP Planning and execution. The unified and integrated business planning solution will accelerate mining houses on a journey of digital transformation, and ensure sustainability in a highly competitive market. The extended partnership between SAP, the Britehouse Group, and MineRP exponentially accelerates delivery, increases the accuracy of the solution, and ensures completeness of vision is translated into completeness of solution.
Said John Megannon, "It is rare to experience collaboration with large companies as personal, intimate and respectful. We can rightly say we achieved that and more in this partnership and look forward to what this ecosystem will achieve in the future."
The launch of COIL in Africa is an event that is marked by an air of anticipation. The future is made that much brighter by providing highly innovative companies like the Britehouse Group with access to SAP competencies from around the globe, and bringing together partners that are eager to make the dream of a true digital enterprise achievable to the benefit of the customer community in Africa.