Consilia, a South African ICT services group established in 2012, has accelerated its growth over the past year by aggressively targeting the international market with its skills and services. Since 2014, it has expanded its headcount from just four people to more than 50, largely on the back of growing demand for enterprise resource planning (ERP) consulting skills.
The company has built a strong client list in South Africa and the rest of the continent, with a particular focus on the mining, manufacturing, transport, distribution, pharmaceuticals, and professional services industries. It now also has growing practices in the UK, Middle East and Australia, with plans to expand to the US next year.
Group CEO Johan Botes says that he started the business after he realised that many clients in South Africa were finding the traditional high-end ERP packages to be too complex and expensive for their requirements. He decided to build a business that would focus on rolling out Sage ERP X3 software - a solution designed to be more flexible and affordable for mid-range companies that has gained a great deal of traction worldwide in recent years.
One benefit of the heavy focus on Sage ERP X3 is that skills for this solution are in relatively short supply, compared to the abundance of SAP consultants. What’s more, says, Botes, these skills are not only scarce in South Africa, but also in many other countries where Sage ERP’s star is rising.
Botes is a charted accountant who started his career with Deloitte before going into private practice as an auditor. He returned to Deloitte for a five-year stint as of CEO Deloitte Mining Shared Services in 2007, during which time he learnt a great deal about the ERP market. Since he left Deloitte to found Consilia, the company has been self-funded.
In addition to implementing Sage ERP X3 and related products such as Sage CRM and Sage Human Resources Management, Consilia provides consulting and shared services, corporate taxation consulting, technology integration, and business process outsourcing. The average age of the company’s employees - besides the management team - is 27.
“The drive and energy of our team is one reason we’re growing so fast,” says Botes. “We recruit entrepreneurial, self-motivated people at a young age and embed them into our business. They’re adaptable, quick to learn and ready to work overseas independently. We’re very strategic in our recruitment process - we’ll only take people with the right cultural fit, business acumen, and energy level to succeed in a global workplace.”
Botes says that the immediate priority for Consilia is to bed down its businesses in its new offshore territories before looking at other markets. “We’ve been cash-generative since the start and have not had to take on debt to grow our business,” he adds. “We believe that if we offer a skill that is in demand worldwide and do good work at a good price, we’ll continue to grow strongly in the years to come.”