AFSUG Website Board Members Duke Mathebula


2020 – A Year of Disruption and Resilience for AFSUG

Since my keynote address for the EPI-USE virtual user conference recorded in November, South Africa has officially entered its 2nd wave of COVID-19 infections resurgence on 10 December 2020. Globally, many countries are heading into the festive season deep in the midst experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 infections resurgence. There is hope given the recent ambitious drives by many countries that have started to roll out vaccines to as many people globally. However, we all probably need to reset our expectations about how quickly we’re going to be able to be vaccinated. The situation remains fluid. Time will tell.

2020 has been a year unlike any other and an extra-ordinary year for AFSUG and our community at large. Even with all the pandemic related disruption, AFSUG adapted quickly and thrived in keeping our community engaged all year round. Your loyalty to our community never wavered, even though we all dealt with incredible amounts of disruption to our personal and professional lives. 

There is no doubt that this is a Community on the move, as demonstrated by the key highlights of 2020:

  • We moved swiftly to conducting all our special interest group activities virtually, and we saw increased attendance compared to the face to face sessions pre-pandemic. We saw an impressive array of speakers, content and customer transformation journeys, which we have become accustomed to. This is what enhances AFSUG’s unique value proposition as a user group.
  • Whenever we elect and appoint new members to our Board of Directors, I am inspired by their excitement and willingness to serve. We welcomed 2 new great additions to the board: Louise Steenekamp (Aspen) and Corlia van Zyl (Distell).
  • We completed a successful rebranding with the launch of our new look website.
  • We saw increased social media engagement activity, notably the profiling of all the board members, Women’s Day Campaign and continuous information about AFSUG’s membership value proposition.
  • The board decided to keep membership fees unchanged for 2021.
  • We supported COVID food redistribution in SA, with a R100k donation to FoodForward SA.
  • Hosted a strategy session and were privileged to have Simon Carpenter as our keynote speaker and sharing “The expanded Intelligent Enterprise Framework” with our Special Interest Group members with some great takeaways on “How SAP helps organizations to thrive in a Disruptive Digital Economy”. We especially liked how he explained the phrase: “Intelligence is the ability to learn from experience, anticipate problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations” a real punchy sentence talking about data, AI, Analytics, Prediction, Transformation and Business Networks! The consolidated strategy session outcomes will drive our actions in 2021 and beyond. These will be shared with all the members in early 2021. 
  • Saw continued collaboration and alignment with SAP locally and internationally, as a result, AFSUG enjoyed great media coverage within the continent and internationally.
  • Represented AFSUG at the SUGEN Executive Exchange meetings with SAP Executives. The highlight was the interactive session with Christian Klein (SAP CEO) as he re-affirmed the value and role of SAP user groups within the SAP Ecosystem. Furthermore, he explained how SAP aims to address some operational fundamentals and its cloud strategy, “We are at an inflection point. I am not willing to trade value to our customers for short-term margin optimization”. 

As many of you are aware, this was my first year as the AFSUG Board Chairman. Even though I took over in the middle of a pandemic, it has been a privilege to serve and to be a part of helping to propel AFSUG to be the best it can be. I would like to thank Reg Barry our Board Vice-Chairman, who was the architect of the succession planning for my transition to the Chairman role and the endless support from the AFSUG Board members. I am honored to lead AFSUG during this historic time and excited to see where we go next. 

It’s a team effort and I can honestly say that we have a fantastic Board of Directors, Special Interest Group (SIG) Steering Committee members, who all take great pride and serve our SAP community with passion and enthusiasm, and who have done a tremendous job. They volunteered their precious time to serve the AFSUG community, and we are so lucky to have the best volunteers. A special thank you to our back office Team: Amanda, Genevieve and Tracey. Under immense pressure, they were the fuel that the kept the AFSUG engine running smoothly all year round. I am really proud of how we have steered AFSUG towards a progressive direction and changed the game in several aspects!

To our AFSUG members, thank you very much for your continued support. This has been the year where I think a lot of us have been more appreciative of what we have, and even though we have missed seeing the community face to face, we have continued to enjoy positive virtual engagements in informing, collaborating, educating, and ensuring that you realize the full benefits of your SAP technology investments to support your transformation journeys. 

On behalf of the AFSUG Board, may you have a wonderful time with family and friends during the festive season and come back refreshed and ready to tackle the year head on!

As we look forward to 2021, we must not compromise in our efforts to continue to practice social distancing and wear our masks at all times.

Stay healthy and keep safe.

Duke Mathebula

Chairman, AFSUG Board