Many South African companies are expanding their product offerings and footprint into Africa, the continent offering a wealth of opportunity in previously untapped and developing markets.
Softline VIP, part of Softline and Sage Group plc, a leading global supplier of business software and related services, has done just that, and is currently operational in ten African countries that include Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Malawi, Angola, Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe and the DRC, with further developments in the pipeline.
Nairobi, Kenya is home to Softline VIP Payroll’s latest office that will be functioning as a central office for VIP’s East African operations. VIP Payroll opened the office to provide functional offices and training facilities to the operatives in the country. “Kenya boasts a growing economy that is eager to embrace innovative technology and processes. There is no clear market leader operational in the Kenyan payroll sector, which provides a golden opportunity for VIP Payroll to grow and develop,” says Sandra Swanepoel, Director of Softline VIP Payroll.
Softline VIP embarked on a strong drive to expand its footprint into Africa at the start of 2010, fuelled by a demand from its clients. “VIP Payroll is a known and trusted brand in South Africa that offers a bouquet of stable and dependable payroll & HR software systems that our clients are familiar and comfortable with. Many of our existing clients have extended their own business offerings into the African space and it makes business sense to simplify the process integration and governance of a multi-national company using a single payroll application, reducing the perceived risk involved,” explains Swanepoel.
Breaking into the African market is, however, a process that requires extensive research. Each African country possesses its own market compilation and a company based in South Africa may not necessarily be practical, says Swanepoel. “Payroll is a sensitive application that most regard as a critical process that requires support, and from that perspective companies prefer to work with established brand that has local representation that can offer support and infrastructure close by.”
For this reason, VIP Payroll has embarked upon strategic alliance partnerships with existing and well-known companies in each of the African countries that already have an existing business and that are familiar with the country’s business requirements and legislation.
The VIP Payroll product design includes a revolutionary tax engine that can seamlessly integrate any tax table into the programme. “The software can be individualised to comply with each country’s legislation and required statutory reports allowing us to customise the software to be country specific. When combined with the full-fledged Payroll and HR management software capabilities our various products offer, it provides the client with a product they are familiar with that will perform and deliver,” explains Swanepoel.
Language has not really posed any barrier to entry. “The universal language of business is mostly English. In every country Softline VIP Payroll operates in we offer comprehensive support from the country, allowing the client to speak to someone that is local and able to assist in a professional manner. On-going training and support from South Africa ensures that operators on the ground are equipped with the knowledge that is coupled with a tailored payroll solution that is stable and delivers,” concludes Swanepoel.