Business Ethics Still Bankable In Africa's ICT Sector

Just over six months after Epicor announced that it has signed epic ERP as a new value-added reseller in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, the two IT businesses marked the milestone by making the business case for ethical conduct in Africa’s ICT sector.

Danéel van Eck, director of strategy at epic ERP says selling IT business solutions across Africa in line with strict corporate governance and moral guidelines has paid off for the companies.

“When we set up Epic ERP it is something that we discussed right upfront in terms of how our ethics match and what kind of responsible business we want to conduct and what we are not willing to give up.

It turned out that Epicor’s values are very similar and they have a lot of formal compliance requirements from the FCPA as well as the UK bribery Act which all matches what we want to do, but they also say the right things and seem to be doing the right things which match our values and that makes it easier to work with them and do ethical business. Some people say to us that you have to pay people in order to get the business and we are saying that we are not willing to compromise on that.”

Van Eck says the demand for ethical conduct extends to employees, suppliers and customers.

Sabby Gill, Executive Vice President at Epicor International says Epicor and Epic ERP have signed on enough business over the last few months to confirm that the basis of their alliance, which is fair and ethical business practice, is solid.

“Integrity has to be part of everything you do. Everything we have seen so far leads us to think that we have chosen the right partner. The markers we use is the financial metric in relation to whether we are hitting the targets, but there is also the non-financial aspects on whether we are satisfying our customers and whether we have (a) voice within the market and whether we have the required number of impressions on social media. We look at more than just the financial elements..”

“When you look at the global market we have six main regions that we go after and that is the US, UK, Australian and New Zealand, Central Europe as well as Asia. South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa fit into that following a decision we made last year that we are looking at the markets where Epicor is under-penetrated. We looked at pretty much every market and this market came out tops for us. For us there is no clear number one in this region.”

Wayne Duvenage, Chairman of civil society group OUTA (Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance) and former CEO of rental car company Avis who joined Epic ERP and Epicor at the event says big business has to play a role in ensuring ethical practice by their counterparts and by government.

“Every single individual that contributes makes a difference. Unfortunately big business is still a little bit afraid and I know why because I was there. With more support civil society can do more.”

Marvelous Chibagidhi

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