epic ERP keeps information flowing for Agriplas


epic ERP keeps information flowing for Agriplas

“Accessing accurate historical data allows us to leverage the power of information when approaching customers. Analysing costing information that comes through the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, creates opportunities to reduce costs and adjust prices to be more competitive in the market. This type of information can also be used in our customer relationship management architecture to demonstrate improvements in lead times, stock availability and reductions in response times. This builds confidence in our customer base.”


Craig Matthew

Executive Manager: Operations


Company facts

  • Client – Agriplas
  • Location – Brackenfell, Cape Town
  • Industry – Agricultural water management solutions



  • Paper-based, manual invoicing and workflow processes led to business process delays.
  • Difficulty in forecasting due to lack of data and information control.
  • Inaccurate stock management.


The solution

  • Epicor ERP


About Agriplas

Agriplas is a water management solution supplier to the agricultural, industrial mining and environment sectors. The company partially imports and partially manufactures its product range.


Modernising to accelerate performance

While Agriplas aims to supply perfect water management solutions as the basis for helping its customers grow their business, Agriplas was held back in achieving its own growth aims by inconsistent, inaccurate and delayed information. The result was persistent difficulty in forecasting and making important capital expenditure decisions to achieve a return on investment.


“We knew that manual business processes could compromise the sustainability of the organisation. It is my mandate to ensure that we are making the right investments and achieving a return on this outlay. Assessing business performance became more difficult because of the lack of visibility into key data,” says Matthew.


Crucially, historical data was often either unavailable or stored on disparate systems. “This meant management did not have full visibility of live and historical information, which delayed and hampered decision-making.”


Delayed information reduces agility

“Our market changes constantly.  In order to maintain excellent customer relationships, we need to stay ahead of our customers’ needs and stay relevant by developing new products and adapting our offering continually. We needed a system that could help us to remain agile and meet customer demands,” says Matthew.


The solution

“With Epicor ERP in place, each day that goes by adds to our database and improves our ability to forecast. We’re making informed business decisions, with improved business analytics which allow us to leverage our existing capabilities and to pick up anomalies quickly. That provides the basis for continuous business process improvement, which improves efficiency and drives down costs,” Matthew says.


The implementation

“Our focus is primarily on the logistics and manufacturing side of the business – from orders being placed and entered into the system. We are currently re-evaluating the way we configured the MRP module. Once we have reconfigured it to suit our internal processes, our focus can shift to enhancing our planning function. We used the Epicor ERP system to control jobs, bills of materials, transfers and receiving, including monitoring our production machinery. It has enhanced our operations control dramatically,” he says.


“The first step was to focus on getting Epicor Advanced MES live and then to go live with the Epicor ERP functionality. From the initial state the complete rollout took 12 months.”


Agriplas has been able to demonstrate significant improvements in costing, which has enhanced capabilities to identify cost reduction opportunities for the benefit of customers. “Drawing from historical data not only allows us to become more competitive on the costing front but provides easily interpreted breakdowns of the value our customers have reaped from using our solutions. This has been helpful in building customer confidence.


“We are also now in a better position to determine which stock we need to have available at any particular time of the year. This allows us to respond more quickly to customer needs. As a result, we are a more reliable supplier, which encourages repeat orders. If we could not forecast and predict accurately, our customers may go somewhere else. Regular use of the ERP system has been absolutely key to improving our operational excellence.”


Agriplas is now much more confident in stock management. “Stock is obviously an expensive overhead. At any given time Agriplas can hold millions of Rands in stock. If that is inappropriate or unsuitable stock, it could lead to write-offs. With the Epicor solution in place, we are now positioned to make smarter stockholding decisions – a significant benefit for the business,” says Matthew.


Seamless integration

According to Matthew, Epicor ERP will integrate with Epicor Advanced MES to provide seamless planning and scheduling capability. “At the moment we are manually planning our machines and scheduling, whereas once the MRP is up and running and the planning model is running properly, that will all integrate directly into the machine. As soon as an order comes in, the MRP will extract that information.


“Once the material is in store, the jobs will be created and then automatically scheduled. In terms of working directly with Epicor Advanced MES, Epicor will help us a lot.”


Strategic benefit

“The best part of having Epicor running in the organisation is that we have access to live information – an enormous amount of data that gives us the ability to make intelligent decisions. In general, together with ERP, we will streamline the system and empower our employees because it will be more user-friendly and efficient. It will provide all employees with information to help them make quicker and better decisions.


“What we have noticed is that working with Epicor ERP has significantly reduced time spent on certain tasks. Time spent doing stock management, cycle counts, stock counts and posting transactions has effectively been halved and the processes have been simplified. Going forward, we see Epic ERP partnering with us in terms of streamlining our processes. We use them as a sounding board where we discuss ideas and opportunities we see in the market. Through that integration, we can unlock new opportunities for improvement and new features that ensure long-term business sustainability.”

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Collaborating with Absa to Offer Clients Secure Digital Solutions

absa header-12-12

– featured in Absa’s media centre – 


Absa Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) has collaborated with two major Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) providers in the manufacturing and legal sectors Epic ERP and AJS respectively. This collaboration is to implement integrated seamless payment solutions which will reduce inefficiencies and minimise fraud and operational risks which are common with online banking payment systems.


John Molanda, Head Product Innovation, says many business clients perform their financial transactions using an online banking system, which creates inefficiencies due to recapturing data and increases the risk of payments files being intercepted. While the alternative is to create a host-to-host connection to transfer data between their line of business systems and the bank, this invariably results in high costs and is technically challenging.


The bank has been working with the two collaborators to launch seamless banking solutions like integrated payments and reconciliations. Furthermore, with the advent of Covid-19, this latest innovation is yet another example of how Absa is responding to adopting digitised interventions to limit manual processes, and enhance the client experience.


AJS is a leading provider of trusted business software applications for the legal and corporate markets. Justin Perfect, Support and Project Manager of AJS, says he is delighted to be associated with a financial partner like Absa, and looks forward to unlocking even more synergies that will naturally benefit both AJS and Absa clientele.


“Not only have we as a software development house embraced the integration with Absa, but more importantly our clients have too. They have experienced first-hand the motto of “more for less” bearing fruit, as a task that took more than twenty minutes, now takes five minutes to complete. Added to this is the reduction in risk to the firm that has put them at ease. As we continue our journey with Absa, we are excited by the value that we will be able to offer our clients,” says Perfect.


EPIC ERP is the master reseller for EPICOR software in Africa. Epicor primarily focuses on manufacturing clients in the mid-market segment.


Stuart Scanlon, Managing Director of Epic ERP, says the company is proud to be associated with a bank like Absa, whose ambition is to become the leading Pan-African corporate and investment business, through placing focus on collaborations at the core of creating innovative solutions and gaining access to new markets.


“We look forward to working with Absa as this relationship represents a powerful opportunity for Epicor and Epic ERP customers to not only improve banking processes but help in reducing fraud,” says Scanlon.


“Leading up to this collaboration, the Absa Transactional Banking teams conducted extensive client research, which substantially enriched our understanding of client operating environments. Through this research, we discovered that while bank platforms are pivotal in helping run a client’s business they can also be points of inefficiency and risk. With this understanding, we deliberately looked for organisations with whom we could collaborate to offer our clients an even more secure and efficient way of doing business,” he says.


“We have used bank API’s to connect to the ERP’s in this way we can ensure that we personalize the client experience and that the relevant bank response is real time. We are excited with the collaboration and this gets us closer to making sure that our clients can get business done,” says Molanda.


Absa’s transactional banking strategy is to build digitally scalable solutions for corporate clients. “This initiative forms a critical part of our digitisation journey. We are investing in critical API infrastructure to be able to offer our clients seamless banking experience. Working with a technology like Epic ERP and AJS, has been great for us to be able to push the boundaries of our technical capabilities. We are excited with the collaboration and this gets us closer to bringing our clients possibilities to life,” says Molanda.

Why Cloud Security Must Be Prioritised

the importance of prioritising cloud security

-By Stuart Scanlon, MD of epic ERP, and featured in IT Online

South African businesses are now facing the truth that the cloud is an indispensable part of standard operating procedures required for the digital landscape.
The arrival of multinational data centres in the country, means more decision-makers are experimenting with transitioning their solutions and data to this online environment. However, the essentials of cyber security must never slip.


Data is fundamental in the connected environment and now more than ever companies rely on data analytics to draw insights and customise offerings. End-users must be comfortable sharing their personal information and safeguarding this information must be a business priority.


Data sensitivity


The reality is that nobody is safe, and no organisation can afford to assume they will not be targeted. According to the 2018 Cost of a Data Breach Study, the average cost of a data breach globally is more than R56 million. Given the complex regulatory environment when it comes to data protection, businesses can ill afford to only pay lip service to security.


Statistics show that almost a quarter of files in the cloud contain sensitive data. This can range from financial records to business plans. The same research found that sharing sensitive data with an open, public link has increased 23% over the past two years. Companies must do more to educate users on the risks associated with this.


The reality is that while the service provider takes responsibility for the data once it reaches their servers, the path the data takes to get there puts the onus firmly on the organisation. Companies must investigate the opportunities that private and hybrid cloud solutions provide.


Changing approaches


Going the private or hybrid route provides a range of benefits. These offerings typically deliver automated, real-time, and exception-based options for organisations to carefully manage sensitive data.


According to Gartner, the biggest problem is not in the security of the cloud but rather in the control of technology. One of its most concerning statistics is that by 2022, at least 95% of cloud security failures will be the fault of the organisation and not the service provider itself.


These failures can link back to clicking on malicious links or misconfiguring servers and network devices. In fact, this has been classified as ‘inadvertent insiders’ (employees who unwittingly cause security incidents through negligent actions) accounted for nearly two-thirds of all data records that were compromised in 2017.


The human element


Human error being one of the most notable contributors to a lack of security, means that organisations must assess how they approach internal user education. Worldwide, most organisations admit that traditional security solutions do not work in cloud environments. Prominent risks are data loss, leakage, threats and breaches of confidentiality.


Clearly, anti-virus and firewall solutions are not comprehensive enough to protect against these threats. Everything from educating employees, encrypting data, implementing multi-factor authentication, limiting access control, testing security measures, and other elements must be considered indispensable.


By taking time to assess and strategise effective protection measures, organisations will be able to mitigate the risks inherent to data. Don’t be left open for attacks that can potentially result in the business having to close its doors.

Demystifying the (ERP) Cloud


-By Dr Daneel van Eck, software architect at epic ERP, and featured on ITWeb, BusinessIT and Gadget –

The arrival of multi-national data centres in the country makes the cloud a business priority. It is an essential tool in how a company remains competitive in a changing digital environment. It’s here that enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions play a critical role.


Gartner estimated that the global public cloud services market will grow 17.3% this year to $206.2 billion, up from the $175.8 billion in 2018. The transition to the cloud needs to be logical and made either through an ERP solutions or collaborative assessment.


Traditionally ERP is viewed as expensive, cumbersome and inflexible solutions that integrate different business components. But the modern ERP environment is quite different, especially for the small business sector.


Cloud first


Part of this can be attributed to the success of the cloud when it comes to delivering cost effective secure solutions and more computational power. SMEs do not care about the cloud or even ERP as a concept. They just want to get business value with little disruption to operations.


ERP in the digital/cloud landscape should be viewed as a more intelligent way of managing a business, irrespective of a company’s size. ERP must be able to integrate data and deliver on business expectations with an all-in-one solution that transcends IT knowledge.


ERP is vital in the modern environment driven by data. Consider some of these statistics. By 2020, every person will generate approximately 1.7MB of data per second. Also, the accumulated volume of big data will increase from the current 4.4 zettabytes to approximately 44 zettabytes (equal to 44 trillion GB). Google now processes more than 40 000 search queries per second. According to InternetLiveStats.com, when the company was founded in 1998, it was serving 10 000 search queries per day.




With corporate budgets under pressure, everything from human resources to IT spend needs to be managed. The cloud has the ability to scale up or down according to the needs of the business. Cloud providers offering all these services in a hosted environment, so companies can focus less on spending resources on hardware and software, and more on service delivery.


An ERP world


By migrating ERP systems to a cloud-environment, organisations can free up internal IT resources. These employees can focus on delivering value instead of performing ongoing maintenance. Now IT can be geared towards the growth of the business.


ERP in the cloud means that solutions always stay up to date. Updates in the cloud happen with minimal disruption. Some service providers offer sandbox functionality for customers to test out significant new features before they are rolled out.


A critical benefit of ERP in the cloud is mobile access. Given the growth of mobility in South Africa and the rest of the continent, linking mission-critical data to professionals in the field, in real-time ensures business value is delivered as close to the source as possible. All relevant information is accessible from the convenience of a smartphone or tablet.


A cloud-driven ERP environment provides a more secure way of benefitting from a digital approach to business. Those organisations willing to embrace it will be the ones to gain a significant competitive advantage.

Digital is disrupting the traditional CFO role


The role of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has conventionally centred on financial planning, data and reporting, but in an increasingly digital world, this responsibility is beginning to change.

Digital transformation has ushered in technology like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and augmented and virtual reality. Not only does the CFO of today need to understand what these new technologies mean but also how they impact every aspect of the business, the investment required to implement them, how they affect other business functions and how they can be used strategically to drive business growth.

But that’s only the beginning.

In this new multifaceted role, the CFO isn’t required to be a technology specialist but must have a confident and comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of new digital technology. The CFO’s responsibility is no longer a back-office function, where reports are compiled on past financial activities, instead it’s about looking forward to uncover new sources of revenue and to help strategically shape the long-term financial future of the business.

In addition, the new CFO is expected to:

  • Recognise the value of real-time data in order to make faster, smarter decisions
  • Pinpoint technology that will improve internal efficiencies
  • Bring attention to the legacy systems that expose the business to risk
  • Embrace the role of change agent and drive change in people and processes
  • Identify emerging digital technology trends that will add value to the whole business
  • Empower CEOs with strategic digital insights
  • Shape the customer experience
  • Reduce digital risks

While the CFOs of the future will need to collaborate more with their CEOs, to identify technology investments that will drive new business, they must also engage more with operational leaders, using financial data to guide operational decision-making.

Take the example of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), new software technology that is beginning to replace repetitive manual functions such as balancing a company’s books. CFOs must investigate and implement digital technology solutions, such as robust enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, that will streamline and simplify operations, reduce costs and improve the quality of the financial data being produced. In an evolving finance department, the CFO needs to also prepare staff, so that they embrace – rather than fear – digital technology changes.

With their unique bird’s-eye view of the business, the modern CFO should be at the centre of digital transformation, identifying opportunities, collaborating on strategy, building value and ultimately driving top-line growth. In a world where competition is becoming global, organisations must embrace digital transformation – with their redefined CFOs taking the lead.


Image source: Blackline

Manufacturing for Tomorrow


Smart machines, IoT and Industry 4.0 are enabling manufacturers to digitally transform their operational processes and evolve into faster, leaner businesses. Those manufacturers that aren’t making any moves to implement these technologies and strategies run the risk of falling further behind their competitors.

Here are six industry trends for the year ahead:

  1. Smart machines

Small to mid-size manufacturers will increasingly be able to afford smart production machines, enabling them to run unattended, for longer shifts and with increased safety. Being better connected and operating more efficiently will mean businesses are more competitive, flexible and ultimately more profitable, compared to traditional machinery and automation.

  1. Mobile ERP

The ability to access business information from anywhere and at any time through mobile ERP, is providing manufacturers with a major competitive advantage. The benefits of this enabling technology are many, including the ability to capture data more accurately, better inventory management control and improved operational efficiencies. With a mobile ERP solution, business owners can make better decisions when it comes to potential threats and potential opportunities.

  1. Real-time monitoring

While real-time monitoring reveals actual productivity on the shop floor and current progress towards goals, the rich data also allows manufacturers to improve operations and positively impact inventory reconciliation, scheduling accuracy and production line performance. Real-time monitoring is driving success in the manufacturing industry.

  1. Products must be smart and connected

Widely available wireless connectivity is providing the platform for innovative manufacturers to move towards smart, connected products, which will replace legacy products. These smart, connected products not only provide opportunities for new functionality, but they are more reliable, efficient and create a leaner, more cost-effective manufacturing ecosystem.

  1. Analytics and business intelligence (BI)

With a wealth of valuable data created through real-time monitoring, manufacturers will increasingly rely on scalable analytics and BI to improve production and resource planning. By gathering and intelligently analysing data, manufacturers can see patterns that would otherwise be impossible, allowing them to also streamline operations and save costs.

  1. The Internet of Trusted Things (IoTT)

Businesses around the world are investing billions in Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which has the potential to revolutionise all industries, including manufacturing. While IoT has grown rapidly in the past few years, one of the biggest challenges it faces is that of security. Enter the Internet of Trusted Things (IoTT), which, while it still faces many challenges, is intended to secure a company’s ecosystem. This will be done, for example, through smart contracts that ensure access to important data is restricted to certain people who meet specific requirements.

Early adopters of these trends will likely surpass their competitors by improving business operations, streamline efficiencies, reducing production delays and generating greater revenue.

Epic ERP encourages industries to embrace disruptive technology to improve business efficiency and profitability


~ Top minds come together at the Epicor Customer Summit Africa to validate digital technology trends that improve South African Businesses ~


Epic ERP, a Southern African distributor for Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software to promote business growth, hosted the Epicor Customer Summit 2019 where the highlight of the day was intense debate on how digital technology trends and relating disruptive technologies are in the space now to make or break business.


In South Africa, manufacturing only contributes 13% of the annual GDP. KPMG recently reported that two out of three manufacturing CEOs are anxious about their ability to keep pace with technology.  If modern technology was embraced, the International Monetary Fund’s(IMF) prediction of South Africa reaching 1.4% in GDP growth in 2019 is a distinct possibility.


Andy Coussins, Senior Vice President and Head of International for Epicor Software says, “Change is happening, and many South African companies now find themselves trapped with legacy technologies.  In order to capitalise on future growth opportunities a change in mindset is needed.  Adopting disruptive technology will allow companies to adapt to changing market conditions, gain competitive advantage, and improve overall operations and profits.”


Chantell Ilbury, a leading scenario strategist and one of Africa’s most strategic creative thinkers, sheds light on South Africa’s mind set when it comes to new technology adaptation that will be perceived as disruptive to the existing status quo.


Ilbury advises, “Most South African companies are afraid of change and would rather be locked into legacy systems to feel safe. But without becoming more agile and moving forward they are simply letting their business stagnate, they will soon find out that companies who have embraced and adapted to rapid market changes through technology will be successful.”


In order to enable digital transformation capabilities, companies need to realise that they have to overcome the barriers/processes that limit their IT infrastructure from digitising.


To do so, logic dictates that the necessary IT services have to be in place to facilitate rapid availability and scale. This will make it easier to deliver demand-oriented access to innovative applications at any time, whether for pilot projects or standard processes, allowing your company to embrace the advantages of ‘disruptive’ technologies and ensure sustainable growth and enhanced market relevance.


Some examples of advantageous disruptive technology include:


Digital twinning

Digital twinning enables engineers to create virtual product prototypes and maintain virtual representations of these products, making necessary amendments to optimise its business performance. Digital twinning is valuable for product development and digital twins can be utilised to simulate an asset’s operations through the creation of digital simulations.


Artificial intelligence for robotics and planning 

Large manufacturing companies have already begun using AI to empower enhanced material purchasing and decision allocation. This will allow for more accurate prediction on delivery times and volumes based on capacity and planned and unplanned downtime. Others are exploring how predictive analytics and AI could enable them to reinvent capacity planning and achieve a more predictable performance


Real-time visibility for business decision making

Advance business analytics provide the visibility to make immediate and impactful decisions that drive bottom-line results. Having instant access to the data that underpins company performance allows for better planning, scheduling and resourcing as well as providing an actionable long term financial and operational outlook


Blockchain in the supply chain

Blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of transactions. This uses cryptography to manage secure access to the enterprise blockchain ledger, and once a block of data is recorded on the ledger, it is extremely difficult to change or remove.


Implementing blockchain technology can revolutionise the supply chain, delivering the transparency, scalability, and enhanced security that makes it easier and safer for businesses to work together over the internet. When connected to an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, this technology can also provide executives with real-time and robust data.


According to Hesham El Komy, Regional Vice Presidentfor Epicor Software in the Middle East, Africa and India (MEAI), “Legacy systems can lead to a data overload, making it difficult to manage a growing wealth of information – which includes details related to financial transactions, inventory and production processes. Information overload puts workers under pressure which can reduce their ability to make accurate business decisions. Transversely, modern technology, such as Epicor ERP, allows companies to be agile, adopt new technology and innovate at a greater rate than ever before.”


In its recent study, Deloitteobserves that organisations from every industry face mounting pressure to transform and make the shift from product-centric business models to capture other sources of value. Interviews conducted by Deloitte with manufacturing executives highlight a worrying trend that interviewees expressed concern that their organisations are not preparing or moving fast enough to address future disruptions on the horizon.


“From this Deloitte study we can see that the trepidation around embracing digital trends comes with the literal fear of disruption to legacy systems that have created cemented processes that hamper a company’s growth,” says Stuart Scanlon, Managing Director of epic ERP South Africa.


“That being said, we are proud to showcase at our event today the number of South African businesses that have managed to be ahead of the curve and embrace digital trends that made them far more competitive on the local market.”

It’s Time to Make Corporate Governance Your Business


A business is only as good as its reputation. And now, more than ever, we are living in a world where reputations can be made, and destroyed, overnight. It’s not just about keeping shareholders happy anymore – interest in corporate governance is becoming important to ever-growing segments of the population. Company leaders would be wise to take heed! This is an area that demands constant, rigorous attention, because the marketplace is the ultimate compliance officer.

But what exactly is good corporate governance? In its simplest terms, it’s a commitment to openness, honesty and transparency. It’s a willingness to adhere to a written and unwritten code of ethics and moral values, with every decision guided by independence, accountability and fairness. What’s important to note is that laws and regulations alone cannot guarantee fair practices. Every individual in the company – from top to bottom – must have a willingness to act ethically.


Is prevention better than cure?


When it comes to corporate governance, the answer is most definitely yes. You may have heard the old saying “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.” Open any newspaper and you’ll find an embarrassing number of institutions attempting to do just that – assuming they can get away with dodgy business dealings or treating their customers poorly. But in this age of near-instant information, word spreads. People find out. And they don’t easily forget.

According to Parmi Natesan, Executive: Centre for Corporate Governance at the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA), “Poor governance practices continue to hamstring our public sector institutions, and we need to understand the issues here so they are not repeated.” Indeed, when a company’s reputation is damaged it’s extremely difficult to fix it. Just ask VW, or Bell Pottinger, Facebook, Google, or the seemingly endless list of local SOEs who are in full damage control. Some will never recover, and their shareholders are understandably livid. If they’d simply focused more on ethical corporate governance from the start, many of them wouldn’t be in this situation today.

It’s an issue that has not gone unnoticed. In February’s hard-hitting State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa himself stated that “This is the year in which we will turn the tide on corruption in our public institutions.”

Natesan adds, “The essential first step to achieving this laudable goal is to instil leadership that is both effective and ethical (as espoused in the first principle of King IV) across all sectors… The link between ethical and effective leadership is one of the distinguishing features of King IV, and I think recent events have shown us the fundamental truth of this.”

So where does that leave us? Certainly, effective, ethical leadership is vital, but leaders can only do so much without having systems in place to allow them to focus on the big picture.


Good corporate governance starts at the source


“It may sound like an old cliché,” says Stuart Scanlon, managing director of epic ERP – the official Southern African distributor of Epicor software, “but you cannot manage what you cannot measure. Corporate governance starts with having real-time access to information across the business. Disparate data sources and synchronised reporting databases simply cannot cut it anymore.” Solutions like Epicor CRM are instrumental in that they are able to consolidate multiple data pools into a system that allows for instant auditing and control over every aspect of your company’s interaction with your customers and prospects, all while providing the sort of transparency, agility and responsiveness that are vital to retaining them. In this real-time world, every minute gained can make a huge difference in ensuring that your corporate governance goals are being met, and that issues are addressed the instant they arise.


Ultimately, we all benefit


The impact of effective corporate governance can be far-reaching, extending beyond individual companies to the national economy as a whole. If everyone plays their part, public and investor confidence grows, which is especially important when one considers the increasingly international character of investment.

If we as a nation are to enjoy the benefits of the global capital market, and an increasingly globalised customer base, we must make it our priority to adhere to internationally accepted principles and corporate governance practices. It’s a win-win situation – both morally and financially.

SA Companies Caught Short With Corporate Governance and GDPR Compliance


Johannesburg (05 November 2018) – As implementation of new EU General Data Protection Regulations continues, many South African companies are finding themselves unprepared and likely to face stiff penalties if they don’t seek compliance as a matter of urgency.


Protection of personal information has been thrust squarely into the spotlight in recent years, spearheaded by the recent Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal where a third party app scraped millions of users’ data, allegedly to influence the outcome of the 2016 US election. While local laws such as POPI exist, the EU is taking a far more aggressive stance on just how much control citizens have over their personal data – specifically regarding sensitive subjects such as race, ethnicity, gender, bio-data, sexual orientation, and political and religious opinions – which cannot be handled without explicit consent. Companies must also delete information about a contact as and when requested. The regulations stipulate that it must be as easy for someone to withdraw their consent as it was to grant it. This has been termed “The Right to be Forgotten”.


According to the regulation, individuals have the right to:

– be informed
– be forgotten
– rectification
– object
– portability


In the case of a security breach, which poses a high risk for an individual’s rights, the controller must contact and inform them. If the person requires more details about the breach, this information must be conveyed in an easy and understandable language.


Even if a company is not based in the EU, it must adhere to these regulations if it holds data belonging to EU citizens. This is where many South African companies are getting caught short, according to Stuart Scanlon, managing director of epic ERP – a leading ERP planning software systems specialist. If found to be in breach, they could be fined by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) up to 2 percent of their global turnover or up to €20 million (R326 million), which is a significant amount.


So what can local businesses do to navigate the somewhat daunting road to compliance? Scanlon asserts that there are options available, such as epic ERP, which consolidates multiple data pools into a system that prioritises security, easy auditing and strict data access management, along with traceability and the use of accredited, certified data centres. When it comes to compliance, it pays to treat users’ data as seriously as the new regulations demand. And it is time for a renewed focus on effective, ethical corporate governance.


Far from being a reason to panic, the U.K. Direct Marketing Association sees this evolution as an opportunity for businesses to transform the way they see people, and how they interact with prospects and consumers. In their words: “Businesses should seize upon GDPR as the catalyst to transform their businesses into human-centric ones. They should use the GDPR framework as the foundation for an authentic and transparent relationship with their customers.” By streamlining, refining and focusing on improved data governance, the benefits of more effective data-driven marketing can certainly outweigh the effort required to be compliant.