The Trends which Shaped 2019


In an age of disruption, the business landscape has changed forever. The rise of new technologies has led to a new digital ecosystem, but it is an exciting time to venture beyond the digital frontier.

Technological advancements, like machine learning (ML), the cloud, analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI) have transformed businesses and industries alike. And with it, new barriers have emerged.

Companies are finding it tough to keep pace with this digital revolution with enterprise technologies that are seemingly inflexible and becoming increasingly obsolete. At the same time, customers have become increasingly demanding, expected speed of service, personalization, and improved quality.

Many organizations are transforming, while others are grappling with outdated technologies, and are quickly losing their market share.

With everyone fighting for a piece of the pie, how do enterprises and industries alike keep up in this fast-paced digital economy?

The answer is simple, leverage new technologies and cater towards changing customer demands. In fact, 66% of South African internet users believe new technologies offer more opportunities than risks, according to a report by We Are Social.

With worldwide spending on technology having reached $3.36 billion in 2019, according to Statista, it is evident that the world has seen the relevance and importance of technology this year, paving a solid foundation for the future.


With an influx of devices, all of which are becoming increasingly interconnected, IoT has become more prevalent than ever, gathering data while allowing for actionable insights.

All of this has fuelled organizations to add IoT and AI to their products to capitalize on them. Companies are now able to invest in tools and processes that ultimately increase profit and productivity, as well as customer satisfaction.

Organizations are creating new revenue streams and differentiating themselves using data to predict possible issues and pinpoint defects.


With machine learning, AI has become one of the best and most essential collaboration tools manufacturers can use.

Technology has made it possible for organizations to realize the return on investment (ROI) and become more innovative while disrupting entire business models.


More and more organizations are using robotic process automation (RPA) while deploying intelligent automation at the same time.

According to Deloitte, 58% of executives surveyed say they have started their automation journey, while 28% are piloting, 12% implementing, and 8% are automating at scale – twice as many as in 2018.

By transforming business processes, companies can achieve higher speed and accuracy by automating decisions based on unstructured and structured inputs.

Africa’s uptake to technology could be described as delayed, with organizations often reluctant to make the initial investment into adopting new technologies. However, they will reap the benefits long-term. According to Deloitte, the majority of organizations expect an average payback period of just 15 months, and nine months in the scaling phase.

Streamlining processes

The way processes are managed are often fragmented, managed using a wide variety of methods instead of one integrated system. As such, workflows become complex, with handoffs seen between jobs, functions, and information systems. Each represents the likelihood of added costs, delays, and errors.

Process fragmentation is seen as the main barrier to automation adoption. In Deloitte’s recent survey, 36% of respondents reference process fragmentation as their biggest hurdle to adopting automation, while 17% consider IT readiness as the ultimate obstacle.

Fragmentation requires additional effort to deliver value to customers and hinders a company’s ability to adapt to environmental changes. In some cases, organizations cease to exist.


While many organizations are taking advantage of new technologies, some industries are missing the mark.

For example, manufacturers in South Africa are running far below capacity. As of November 2019, manufacturing under-utilization rose to the highest levels seen in four years, sitting at 19.7%, according to Statistics South Africa.

The missing link? Local manufacturers have fallen behind the curve of rapid advances in connectivity that make emerging technologies possible, according to The Mobile Corporation in South Africa 2019 study conducted by World Wide Worx, in partnership with SYSPRO.

Future-forward solution

To reach full potential, businesses should begin to seek an all-in-one solution that provides them with both mobility and constant connectivity. For example, SYSPRO Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) offers a number of solutions that enable mobility and leverage IoT, such as SYSPRO Espresso and SYSPRO Cloud ERP.

SYSPRO’s ERP allows organizations to plug in new and emerging technologies to enhance operational efficiencies. For example, plugging in ML and AI provides improved user experience and enables organizations to take advantage of these new technologies to become more efficient. Providing companies with a 360-degree view of all activities across their supply chain, SYSPRO ERP automates processes and enhances operations.

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