SAP has partnered with BMW Group to launch a BMW SAP Competence Hub in South Africa to supply specialized information technology services worldwide.
BMW’s other IT hubs are situated in the US and India but South Africa hub will specifically focus on building applications and software for BMW internal business processes that include production logistics, warehousing and production IT solutions.
Commenting on the initiative, Chief Information Officer, BMW Group, Karl Probst explained that “today, process requirements and process solutions extend beyond all departmental boundaries. Therefore, we require end-to-end considerations of the technical processes and customer interfaces.”
As a result of the further development, BMW Group IT has taken another decisive step towards customer orientation, standardisation, agility and internationalisation by opening a SAP Competence Hub in South Africa, Probst added.
Managing director, BMW SA, Bodo Donauer said the South African plant in Rosslyn had been exporting the BMW 3 Series sedan since 1992, but it was a little known fact that it had also been outsourcing its IT expertise to other BMW production locations globally over the past six years.
Kilfoil said IT was the biggest enabler of business for the group. “We’ve decided the IT drives business and that we will run IT like a business.”
He said the hub would not grow BMW SA’s balance sheet. Services will be charged out to BMW branches in the different countries. Establishment of the IT hub in South Africa had only required investment in hardware and real estate rental, but the monetary investment was not “huge”.
According to BMW, unlike the other markets, South Africa’s SAP skills are unique. About 60 percent of all South African SAP configurators are also SAP software developers. The advantage is attributed to the fact that the local market comprises medium-sized companies, which forces consultants to be multi-skilled to enhance their competitiveness, and this provided BMW with the access to a unique set of resources.
The company said the pooling of specific application-based software at the competence centres, which will share the global responsibility, promoted further industrialisation of BMW IT and further development of the IT organisation from a federal IT structure, among other things.
CEO at SAP Africa, Pfungwa Serima said the new BMW SAP Competence Hub will be delivering market-changing innovations for BMW subsidiaries across the globe.
He explained that “based on the SAP real-time platform, these application allow for better-informed decision making and transformative innovation in the global automotive market. When you can increase quality and manufacture efficiently while delivering excellent sales and service, you can significantly increase profitability and secure a competitive advantage. SAP is thus effectively powering the BMW value chain.”