Johannesburg, 26 Apr 2018
4Sight Holdings, a diversified holding company that invests in industry 4.0 technology businesses, today announced it has acquired professional services firm AccTech Systems and its subsidiary Dynamics Africa Services, for R120 million and R30 million respectively.
The acquisition follows the listing of 4Sight Holdings on the JSE's AltX board, where the company raised capital to fund its expansion plans through strategic acquisitions.
According to Antonie van Rensburg, Chief Executive at 4Sight Holdings, the buy-out of AccTech and Dynamics Africa Services, an independent software vendor (ISV) that focuses on Microsoft Dynamics NAV (formerly Navision) and GP (formerly Great Plains) Enterprise solutions, is an integral step in realising 4Sight's strategic vision.
"Our objective is to provide industry 4.0-related solution services and implement relevant end-to-end technology stacks across key industry verticals, to help companies visualise, digitise, analyse and optimise their data, systems and operations," he explains.
"Since its inception in 1994, AccTech has become a leading provider of enterprise applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), human resources (HR), business process management (BPM) and business intelligence (BI). The development of our own Intellectual Property since 1998 resulted in over 33% of our user base adopting these technologies, especially in BPM, to enhance their operational efficiencies, a key pillar of digital transformation," explains Tertius Zitzke, CEO of AccTech.
Before the advent of cloud computing, these enterprise applications were provisioned on-premises and in silos. However, the digitisation of platforms, communications, systems, services and processes now necessitates the seamless integration of technology stacks.
"Due to the inherent complexity of stitching together enterprise applications, cloud computing has become the underlying enabler of this integration, effectively making cloud migration a strategic imperative for companies that want to operate successfully in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR)," elaborates Van Rensburg.
"Digital transformation is therefore reliant on a series of iterative advances in a company's technological capabilities, with cloud computing serving as the foundation. With this in place, we're then able to build out and integrate IOT, cyber security, operational and communication systems, big data and data science capabilities, mixed reality, and automation."
And as one of the largest value-added resellers (VAR) for the Microsoft Dynamics channel in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), with a strong footprint in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, Dynamics Africa Systems is ideally positioned to enable enterprise cloud migration on the world's most pervasive software platform.
The ISV manages all transactions, on-boarding and licensing for Microsoft on behalf of its channel partners in Africa, positioning it as a key digital transformation enabler for hosted Microsoft Dynamics environments. The companies have a presence in 15 countries, servicing 1 200 customers and over 43 000 users across Africa.
"The accelerated uptake of Microsoft's cloud services and the imminent expansion of the Microsoft Azure data centre network into South Africa has also driven unprecedented cloud migration on the continent, with adoption rates in Africa set to become the highest globally over the next five years," continues Zitzke.
"We therefore invested heavily last year to ready the business for the delivery of the Microsoft Azure stack. We already have a referenceable test site in the Azure cloud, which showcases our ability to deliver an end-to-end cloud integration, from a company's enterprise resources all the way down to the office suite."
This early-mover play favourably positions AccTech and Dynamics Africa Systems to facilitate the expectant rise in demand for cloud-based solutions by African businesses, and has helped secure a sales pipeline that will establish the business as the biggest indirect cloud solution provider (CSP) for Microsoft in the MEA region by 2022.
"The company's established customer base, combined with this growth potential, made AccTech an extremely attractive acquisition target," says Van Rensburg. "While working together with the team on a number of 'mine of the future' deployments to integrate a client's SAGE ERP with our 4IR technology stack, we identified synergies across our respective technical proficiencies and capabilities, and also found that there was a good cultural fit."
Following the acquisition, AccTech will be better positioned to integrate client systems with other industry 4.0 solutions and services offered within the 4Sight Holdings group of companies, explains Van Rensburg.
Once clients migrate into the cloud, AccTech can also bundle additional products such as fully geo-redundant data storage, archiving and backups, and integrate business intelligence tools, which can boost operational efficiency and meet the growing regulatory compliance requirements of businesses operating in the digital age.
"Any service provisioned from the cloud is also scalable, which can help clients to rapidly expand into the many burgeoning growth markets in Africa, while leveraging a cost-effective opex model that mitigates the need for massive capital expenditure," adds Zitzke.
Medium-term growth is envisaged in the development and delivery of customised solutions that leverage AccTech's unique skill sets and Microsoft's compatibility with open source software. "When combined with Dynamics Africa Systems' cloud deployment capabilities, numerous opportunities arise to assist companies across a diverse range of industries," continues Van Rensburg.
"By seamlessly converging operational and information systems with data from smart devices, IOT sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning, companies can digitise processes to deliver augmented decision support and enable fingertip control of virtual assets, people and projects in various industry verticals. Currently, major applications are being seen in mining and manufacturing processes, but e-learning, mobility and property are other key growth areas we've identified. We also envisage the creation of industry 4.0 box-drop solutions for small-to-medium sized enterprises in the longer term as our combined teams develop and deploy modular technology stacks in the cloud," he concludes.
AccTech and Dynamics Africa now become subsidiaries of 4Sight Holdings, effective from 1 April 2018.