A tussle between an Indian firm and a local ICT company over business with another has ensued.Zimbabwean firm, Twenty Third Century Systems (TTCS), has moved to correct misconceptions over its business ties with German multinational software corporation SAP, as a competitor in the region has been mischievously misconstruing the state of this relationship.
The competitor, a named Indian firm, has been using a limited contract termination between TTCS and SAP in 2019 to misrepresent to potential clients in the region that TTCS is no longer providing SAP services. But the agreement between TTCS and SAP, which was terminated in July 2019, was only limited to a SAP Value Added Reseller (VAR) partnership.
Even though that limited partnership was ended due to foreign currency issues beyond TTCS’ control, the local firm is still a key provider of SAP services in Zimbabwe and in the region.
Said TTCS Zimbabwe managing director Michael Gonese: “As an Agency for SAP, Twenty Third Century Systems was expected to collect software and maintenance fees when due on behalf of SAP. It was Twenty Third Century Systems’ obligation to remit to SAP even when local customers had not paid, failure of which TTCS would be in breach thereby leading to termination of SAP partnership.”
TTCS would collect these fees in local currency and then source foreign currency from the Reserve Bank to remit to SAP.
“It is important to note that TTCS was the debtor to SAP on behalf of all customers. With effect from July 1, 2019, SAP terminated this VAR partnership, as TTCS was in breach of failing to remit the foreign currency to SAP, due to scarcity coupled by TTCS’ customers with huge obligations who failed to honour their maintenance and software obligations.
“The above is the only reason why the Agency was terminated. This had nothing, directly or indirectly to do with Twenty Third Century System’s capacity to deliver SAP Services. In our local market, Twenty Third Century Systems remains the most experienced and most equipped ICT entity to provide SAP Implementation and Support Services, which are critical services in ensuring that the Software is configured and tuned in alignment with the purpose of the processes of the targeted clients.”
Mr Gonese said TTCS’ capacity to implement and provide support services on SAP applications was not affected by the ending of the Agency agreement.
“The capacity that Twenty Third Century System built over the past 25 years on the SAP environment to the level of accreditation as a certified partner centre of excellence on SAP services is all still intact. This is an accreditation that Twenty Third Century System is the only one who ever received in Zimbabwe and remains so today,” he said.
“Despite the agency lapse; the management and technical skills; the support processes and infrastructure for the centre of excellence remain in place and active.”
TTCS is wary of manoeuvres by the new entrant to discredit its capacity to potential clients in the region.
“The new entrant (name supplied) is alleging that they are the only ones who can provide SAP Services and that since Twenty Third Century Systems no longer has an agency relationship with SAP, they are no longer authorised to provide SAP services,” said Mr Gonese.
“They are also misinforming the market that they are the only SAP partners whereas there are other partners — in fact more than six others. Furthermore, they have gone ahead to influence some sectors/organisations in the market to include some clauses in tender documents in order to foreclose non-SAP agents in participating in such tenders.”
In the region, TTCS is currently also working with the Zambian and Malawi governments, as well with institutions such as the African Development Bank (AfDB). The lucrative software industry, both in the region and globally, has typically seen dirty tactics being employed as players in the industry eye greater market share.