Chairman’s Year End Message

Our flagship SAPHILA conference in July undeniably stood out as the highlight of the year, setting a golden standard with a heartening reception. Your active participation and enthusiasm have fueled our ambition to reach even greater heights with the upcoming 2025 event.

This year, the transformative force of AI transcended into the business landscape, with SAP launching various Business AI offerings. The actual impact of AI on Business will vary across industries, contingent upon factors like regulatory developments, technological advancements, and businesses’ readiness to adopt, adapt and embrace AI-driven changes.

We also welcomed Tracy Bolton (COO – SAP Southern Africa) and Aveena Mothilall (CIO – Engen) onto the AFSUG board of directors. The board stands to gain significantly from their valuable contributions and leadership.

In November we broadened user groups collaboration by participating in the Swedish SAP User Group (SAPSA) Impuls 2023 Conference in Stockholm, enhancing networking and knowledge exchanges. In April and November, the Board’s senior leadership engaged in candid dialogues with SAP Executives at the SUGEN Face-to-Face meetings in Walldorf, fostering valuable insights for user groups to share with their members. Our Vice-Chairman’s role in the Core Leadership Team (CLT) of SUGEN is a source of pride for us.

By 2030, SAP ECC will reach its end of life, signaling the need for customers still using ECC to transition. Maintenance for Enhancement Pack (EHP) 4 and 5 continues until 2025, EHP 6 and 7 until 2027, with a subsequent increase in maintenance costs thereafter. A technical migration to S/4HANA offers less business value; companies should pursue a migration approach that allows redesign and optimization of business processes. SAP is ready to support customers with tools and commercial assistance for transitioning to the cloud, including the cloud extension program or ECC on-premises to Cloud Extension.

The launch of the SAP and UNICEF Educate to Employ (E2E) skills development program represents a significant milestone in nurturing fundamental business and SAP skills. This initiative is geared towards enhancing youth employability and ensuring the integration of essential skills within the broader SAP ecosystem.

We concluded the year with an AFSUG strategic session, where SIG members and board members charted the course for strategic themes to drive in the coming year. This sets the stage for another year of growth, innovation, and shared success. In 2024, we will focus mainly on launching strategic programs, formalizing the incorporation of certain SAP user communities within Africa into the AFSUG stable, and ensuring SIG re-alignment to best serve the needs of our customers and partner members.

Your collective efforts, active participation and continued support have defined the success and vibrancy of this user community. The AFSUG Board expresses gratitude for your dedication, and I eagerly anticipate our continued success in 2024.

Wishing you a joy-filled festive break. Let’s return in the new year with renewed energy and commitment to propel AFSUG to greater heights.

Duke Mathebula – AFSUG Chairman