BSG joins the supply chain gang

Although renowned for its business intelligence and performance management skills, Business Systems Group (BSG) has been industrious over the last few years in building up its reputation in the supply chain management solutions space. Its decision to shift focus is now paying off as regional enterprises wake up to the need for its expertise.

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By  Julian Pletts Published  August 20, 2008

Although renowned for its business intelligence and performance management skills, Business Systems Group (BSG) has been industrious over the last few years in building up its reputation in the supply chain management solutions space. Its decision to shift focus is now paying off as regional enterprises wake up to the need for its expertise.

Not too long ago, BSG took the strategic step of redefining its position in the market - despite building up a decade's worth of experience in the business intelligence sector where it partnered with leading BI software names like Business Objects and Cognos.

Instead, the company now cuts a swathe in the supply chain management solutions market.

Having changed its focus, managing director Nasser Tufail insists BSG has not looked back.

Despite the admission that competition across the sector is fierce, Tufail claims that BSG has managed to carve a strong foothold in the supply chain systems market and that this is reflected in the fact that the company recently picked up an industry award for its efforts.

"For the first three or four months following the new focus the productivity was basically zero. We weren't selling anything, we were not delivering anything and the overhead clock kept on ticking," conceded Tufail.

"That was the only difficult part. Our best move was the fact that we didn't go after six or seven parallel implementations at the same time. We carried out one and boot-strapped that operation. And then we matured from having two implementations in parallel to the position we are in now where we can handle maybe four to five, all in parallel."

Tufail is candid in his evaluation of the systems integration market for supply chain management solutions and says that although BSG is not the largest player in the space it can still offer the end-user a fresh proposition.

"We have got at least three or four industry folks who know the product inside out and the domain itself. I don't want to disparage the competition, and certainly EXC is a very reputable product, but I do feel - and this is coming from the customers - that it is somewhat rigid because that product was designed more than 20 years ago. Perhaps it is a more mature product, but this was back in the DOS days and it is cryptic," asserted Tufail.

"What we can accomplish in just a single screen will take many of our competitors multiple screens and many tabs," he claimed.

As far as BSG is concerned, systems integration, though a demanding business, does not necessarily have to be a waiting man's game when it comes to serving the end-user.

Citing implementations from competitors that take up to 18 months, Tufail claims that his company is more price-competitive, flexible and able to adapt to each individual customer's requirements.

It must also be noted that BSG, which is headquartered in Dubai, has not completely halted all involvements in the business intelligence field. Three of the company's employees, according to Tufail, still offer consulting services in business intelligence - a sector that has seen tremendous consolidation at vendor level during the past year.

An increase in competition and the need to educate end-users on the benefits of SCM solutions are the two major challenges that Tufail foresees in BSG's market. But he also feels that rising competition is conversely helping to answer his last concern.

"More players is one challenge, but that also means that there are more people educating the market," said Tufail.

"What we observed was that a lot of people that we engaged with had a rudimentary management system. When we engaged and showed them what we can do, they slowly came round to see it. As the market grows more people are going to see the need for real systems," insisted Tufail.

BSG

Address: Block 17, Office T03, Knowledge Village, PO Box 500271, Dubai, UAE

Contact: +971 4 363 1933

Headcount: 19

Vendor partners: Oracle, Business Objects, Informatica, Exactus, Psion Teklogix

Market focus:

BSG's focus is firmly on delivering supply chain execution solutions to customers based in the Middle East. After re-training and hiring new resources BSG now devotes the majority of its efforts in this field but still retains a small contingent of staff that offer BI consultancy.

Website: www.bsgme.com

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