Mr Deinde Johnson is the Managing Director/CEO of erpSOFTapp, an enterprise-wide planning solution that runs on the Odoo Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform. A trained Chemical Engineer with international experience, Mr Johnson has worked for leading companies in Europe including FTSE and NYSE listed companies in the area of ERP. In this interview, he speaks on the importance of ERP solutions to SMEs, the challenge of getting SMEs to embrace ERP and the importance of ERP to overcoming challenges posed by the global pandemic among others.
What is erpSOFTapp all about?
erpSOFTapp is about giving businesses the same set of tools to improve their operations that have been the preserve of bigger companies who could afford to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Odoo ERP is a cloud Software as a Service (saas) platform that transforms companies by enabling them to work seamlessly across departments to improve productivity. Odoo ERP is user friendly, modern and has the lowest total cost of ownership for an ERP system with mobile responsive apps.
erpSOFTapp is about levelling the playing fields for SMEs to be more professional with the use of ERP systems and hence make it easier for them to improve productivity and grow their business.
What influenced your decision to start erpSOFTapp? What are your core objectives?
I have always been interested in improving SMEs operations by providing them with transformational programs and tools that will level the playing field between them and big corporations in terms of enterprise tools and resources .
The evolution of the ERP market and the pace of innovation has enabled this market to proceed at a faster pace within the last 10 years than has occurred in the previous 30 years. This has led to exciting innovations in resource planning, of which Odoo is a clear leader.
ERP implementations are complex projects to execute regardless of the platform. Having a set of tools such as Odoo which is user friendly for improving business processes has been a key factor in starting erpSOFTapp. Being able to help companies overcome the hurdles involved in running their operations and accelerating their digitisation process was a key consideration to starting erpSOFTapp in Lagos.
African businesses will have the potential to survive and evolve much faster over the next few years if they run their operations on a platform like Odoo ERP.
How would you describe the journey so far? What milestones have you achieved?
It’s been an interesting and fulfilling journey. We have grown to be the number one Odoo ERP implementation partner in West Africa since 2017 and the first Gold Partner in West Africa .
We have the largest number of certified consultants to ensure the quality of our service delivery to our clients is first rate and we maintain this across multiple versions of the software. We have clients across multiple industry sectors and support clients in Africa, Europe and Asia. We have won the Best Africa Partner for 2018, 2019.
We are very proud of our employees professionalism and continuously improve the service level to ensure our customers experience is positive and we evolve with this at the core of our operations.
What was your greatest challenge breaking into the software market in Nigeria? What has been the general response of the public?
The biggest challenge has been convincing companies about the value a system like Odoo brings to their operations and at what stage they should prioritise the adoption. In fact, many companies are still unaware of Odoo ERP as a core solution to unify their operations and tend to not make a decision to implement an ERP due to the considerable cost hurdle of the known solutions.
Due to the fact that Odoo has an open source version and is the only main ERP vendor to provide one, the market place is fragmented. There are a lot of mediocre operators who treat ERP implementation as an IT project and end up creating shoddy solutions, leaving their clients unhappy.
erpSOFTapp is presently an Odoo Gold partner. Can you explain what that means? What else makes erpSOFTapp unique over the rest of Odoo consultants?
Attaining the Odoo Gold partner status means that as a company we have shown the ability to implement and retain clients consistently over the last few years. We are also judged on the quality of our services and the number of clients we have implemented onto the solution.
Being a Gold partner also requires that our consultants are trained to a high level which is a requirement to achieve this status by attaining certificates for the most recent versions of the software.
erpSOFTapp consultants are unique in the level of knowledge and advice we impart onto our clients to enable them to maximise their investment in the ERP system.
Our methodology also guarantees we “hand hold” and support our clients post delivery for the long term to ensure they enhance their operations in the most efficient manner on the platform either with the standard solution or a bespoke element.
Your slogan is ‘move your business to the next level’, what businesses are your main focus and how can erpSOFTapp assist them?
We focus on corporate businesses across all sectors of the economy from startups to 30 year old plus companies. These companies are in various sectors of the economy including finance, oil and gas, hospitality, health, logistics, ecommerce, retail, education, etc .
How did COVID 19 impact your business?
Having Odoo ERP as our central platform minimised the worst effects on our operations as our employees were able to work remotely and safely even though we had a slowdown with clients who were about to embark on an implementation. We were able to overcome that with time because we work in a cloud system. We were able to continue to support our current clients and deliver a number of new projects which were underway remotely.
After the initial impact, with most businesses realigning their operations to ensure they undertake a digital transformation program we have seen strong growth over the last 2 quarters.
What next for erpSOFTapp? What should Nigerians look forward to from you and your team?
Our next goal is to tackle some of the difficulties startups have with being able to get reliable support and access to using systems such as Odoo at a sensible price point. Odoo was developed for SMEs and should be used to empower all individuals to remove operational barriers that give businesses a high chance of succeeding by monitoring cash flow and having digital records.
Our mission is to improve the accessibility to business services to enable the use of Odoo ERP to be viable for all companies.