Tag Archive: South African Business


South African businesses are confident about their own prospects, but they are worried about the country’s economy. That’s one of the key insights to emerge from the Sage Business Index for 2013, an annual survey of more than 11,500 SMEs around the world. More than 1200 South African SME’s also participated in this survey.

Business partners , media and Sage staff joined us on 18 October at our Woodmead offices to hear the local results of this annual survey. In addition to presentations from Sage’s Ivan Epstein and Rob Wilkie, Alec Hogg presented a very encouraging view of South Africa’s economic future. Pavlo Phitidis also led a fascinating panel discussion about the future of small business in South Africa.

Delegates heard that global scores this year were the highest since the Business Index began in February 2011, suggesting that business confidence is returning worldwide in the wake of the global economic crisis. But South African companies, on the whole, were concerned about conditions in their own country.

Some 23% of South African businesses say their biggest challenge is the preponderance of bureaucracy and business legislation. And 15% name the government’s handling of current economic challenges as an obstacle.

Close to half (48%) argue that skills development and education is one of the most important things the government could do to boost confidence, followed by bringing stability to exchange rates (47%) and reducing bureaucracy and business legislation (42%).

For more findings from the Sage Business Index look out for future posts or visit businessindex.sage.com

BEE123 Panel Debate

By Thulani Fakude - Business Development Executive at BEE123

Thulani Fakude  (BEE123 Business Development Executive) , Kganki Matabane (Director, Transformation and Internal Affairs – BUSA),  Don Mkhwanzi (Member of the Presidential B-BBEE Council), Herman Radali, (BMF JHB Chair)  Saul Symanowitz (BEE123 Divisional Director) and Nkululeko Silimela, (BMF JHB EXCO)

Thulani Fakude (BEE123 Business Development Executive) , Kganki Matabane (Director, Transformation and Internal Affairs – BUSA), Don Mkhwanzi (Member of the Presidential B-BBEE Council), Herman Radali, (BMF JHB Chair)
Saul Symanowitz (BEE123 Divisional Director) and Nkululeko Silimela, (BMF JHB EXCO)

BEE123, a subsidiary of Softline Pastel, hosted its first Panel Debate on the 12 June 2012 entitled “18 years on…has BEE missed the mark”.  Co-hosts for the evening were the Black Management Forum.

The event was massively oversubscribed with approximately 300 guests in attendance.

The panellists’ comprised the following thought leaders in the BEE space:

  • Don Mkhwanazi, BEE Pioneer and Member of the Presidential B-BBEE Council
  • Kganki Matabane, Director, Transformation and Internal Affairs – BUSA
  • Teddy Daka, Executive Chairman, Tedaka Technologies
  • Lerato Ratsoma, Managing Director of Empowerdex
  • Jacob Maphutha, Director of BEE Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement, DTI

The debate was facilitated by respected and prominent journalist and  3rd Degree executive producer Debora Patta.

Debora Patta

Debora Patta

Deliberations on the topic highlighted that, BEE has faced a number of challenges/ shortcomings but remained an essential policy to transform South Africa’s economic landscape. Panellist’s also encouraged companies to move from a tick- box approach to an attitude/culture of transformation that embraces BBBEE implementation as a mechanism aimed at addressing inequalities and mobilising the energy of all South Africans, to ensure that our country  achieves its full economic potential wherein together  we contribute to  sustained economic growth, development and social transformation.

Denis Becket (prominent social commentator and journalist ) with Saul Symanowitz (BEE123 Divisional Director)

Denis Becket (prominent social commentator and journalist )
with Saul Symanowitz (BEE123 Divisional Director)

Moreover, panellist’s sighted an on-going concern that fronting in corporate companies continues to persist. Thereby welcoming changes to the BBEE Act of 2003, as a significant milestone towards ensuring that such negative practices don’t continue to set us back in the pursuit towards the establishment of an equitable society.

Closing on a positive note, Mr Kganki Matabane of BUSA indicated that there has been an increased adoption of BBBEE within various businesses that have demonstrated commitment to transformation and empowerment of its greatest assets; the men and women who selflessly contribute to the sustainability and profitability of these corporations. Furthermore, Don Mkwananzi of the BBBEE Presidential Council commended BEE123 for the tools it has developed towards assisting companies to better understand and implement BBBEE in their respective companies.

BEE123 is a newly launched division of Softline Pastel.

BEE123 is South Africa’s leading a one-stop BEE Portal that offers a complete range of useful tools, software, news, information and BEE network partners ensuring that BEE is easy to understand and implement. Developed using Softline Pastel’s infrastructure, and with a partner network of South Africa’s leading Verification Agencies and BEE service providers, BEE123 is at the cutting-edge of the BEE services industry.

Web: www.bee123.co.za

Email: info@bee123.co.za

Tel: 0861 BEE123 (233 123)

85 Percent of small-to-medium sized businesses surveyed opt to host payroll or accounting software on PC’s or local servers rather than in the cloud. This according to the Sage Business Index, which surveyed over 2,000 South African SME’s in late 2011. “The concept of the cloud, and the benefits thereof, are not yet widely understood by small business owners in South Africa,” says Ivan Epstein, CEO of Softline and Sage AAMEA (Asia, Australia, Middle East and Africa).

Nearly half of the Index respondents say that they have some of the organisations software in the cloud, and Epstein says the main factors for the gradual move are broadband penetration and security concerns. “Companies are concerned about losing control when moving their data into the cloud, so it is clear that trust, transparency, understanding of the cloud and the options available, are key education and information points for our customers.”

According to the Sage Business Index, the two biggest reasons for introducing new technology in an organisation would be to help improve efficiency (64 percent) and help provide a better customer service (54 percent). Further to this, 38 percent said they would adopt new technology to save costs. “In any size business there is always a drive to reduce service and infrastructure costs and cloud based products and services offer this benefit. Rising cost pressure might force the hand of some business owners to adopt web-based solutions, but I believe that once they have made the leap they will be pleased with the result,” says Epstein.

In November 2011, the IP EXPO Corporate Cloud Survey 2011[1], a report by World Wide Worx commissioned for the IP EXPO technology trade show, stated that out of 100 large JSE-listed corporations interviewed, just under half (46 percent) were already using cloud computing. Interestingly, almost the same percentage of SME respondents in the Sage Business Index said the same. “Small business is not far behind large enterprise when it comes to technology adoption, but unlike larger companies, the expense to replace existing technology or systems is a barrier for SME’s (53 percent of respondents cited this as the biggest obstacle).”

Epstein says that web strategy is a big focus for Softline and Sage in 2012, “We are pursuing a two-pronged strategy based on ‘Connected services’ and ‘Online business solutions’.  Connected services bring the benefits of the web to existing users of desktop-based products by connecting and extending their desktop software and increasing their lifetime value. “The benefit for SME’s is that the deployment is swift, seamless, affordable and secure,” says Epstein.
‘Online business solutions’ have been developed to address a new way of working, either through new products designed purely for the web or adapting existing products to live online. “The strategy combines best of both worlds by offering the reach and convenience of the web with the richness, control and resilience of desktop solutions. It offers our customers a choice of solutions best suited to their needs,” comments Epstein.


[1] The full results of the IP EXPO Corporate Cloud Survey 2011 and analysis of its findings were presented at the IP EXPO conference on 15 November 2011. The research was conducted with 100 JSE-listed companies each employing 200 people or more. Download the presentation by clicking here.