What do two of the top three district municipalities and six of the top 10 local municipalities in the 2011 Municipal Productivity Index have in common? They are all users of Bytes Systems Integration’s SAMRAS enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for local government .The Municipal Productivity Index is an annual ranking that combines financial and non-financial data to assess the ability of individuals and economic agents to operate productively in their municipalities.
The latest version of the Index shows that the most productive district municipality in South Africa, the West Coast Municipality, as well as the third-ranked Overberg District Municipality are both users of the SAMRAS software. Among the top-10 local municipalities, number-one ranked Saldanha Bay, plus Overstrand (2), Bitou (3), George (4), Breede Valley (6) and Witzenberg (8) also use the same product. So do another 28 other municipalities.
SAMRAS, or the South African Municipal Resource System, is an ERP system developed by Bytes for local government. The Classic portion of the system (SAMRASclassic) has been in existence for several decades, and now also includes a Plus version built on Microsoft technologies which include several additional modules.
“SAMRAS has been refined over the years in close collaboration with the SAMRAS user groups, which meet once a quarter. This means that it is tailored to the needs of South African local government like no other enterprise software,” says Brian Brougham-Cook, general manager for SAMRAS at Bytes Systems Integration. “It’s also enormously stable and our growing team of consultants is on hand not only to assist where necessary but, crucially, to transfer knowledge so that municipal staff can use the technology effectively and maximise service delivery.”
Brougham-Cook says that SAMRAS competes with leading enterprise resource planning solutions from the likes of SAP and Oracle, but is considerably less expensive to implement and much more closely tailored to local requirements. For example, SAMRAS is constantly updated to accommodate the requirements both of the provincial administration and National Treasury. Recently, additional functionality such as NT Reporting was added to support the automatic population of Excel-format returns for submission to the National Treasury, thus improving accuracy and productivity.
“Local government has perhaps the most vital role to play in delivering services to the country’s citizens, and government is making it a priority to correct poor performance,” says Brougham-Cook. “SAMRAS, as this research shows, can play a role in helping municipalities to deliver. This is a South African solution tailored for South African local government—and it shows!”