Ian Foster talks about his role as Managing Director at Embrace ERP Software, the objective behind the software, the industries it serves and the key features that make Embrace ERP stand apart from competitor products in the market.

1)     Please introduce your product and give a brief about your role within the organization.

Developed in South Africa, Embrace is an end-to-end mid-tier enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Comprehensive and industry-built, the solution addresses the needs of financial, distribution, service, rental and manufacturing enterprises with a fully integrated and flexible offering. Business driven software design, leveraging the latest technlogies ensures our clients competitive edge today and well into the future. The system is scalable and can be deployed on premise, in the cloud or in a hybrid environment.

My name is Ian Foster and as Managing Director it is my privilege to lead a dedicated team of sales, development, project and customer support professionals committed to prioritising the customer experience. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, I have a hands-on approach and work in close collaboration with the team to ensure every client receives a fit-for-purpose solution, a tangible return on investment and that we maintain our 100% implementation success rate.

Ian Foster MD ACS Embrace web

 2)     What was the objective behind coming up with this software?

Embrace ERP was founded in 1985 with the aim of providing cutting-edge, customisable software solutions for companies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our core objectives were to create a cost-effective solution that was easy to use, compliant with local regulations, and could be tailored to meet the specific needs of businesses. We also sought to provide world-class support and expertise locally, ensuring our clients have the best possible experience.

Over the past 38 years, we have continually researched and developed our software solution, working closely with clients and industry experts to ensure it remains up-to-date and flexible enough to meet the ever-changing needs of modern businesses. Today, Embrace is an established, comprehensive solution with a proven track record of delivering results for our clients.

 3)     How is your software beneficial from a value addition perspective to clients compared to other software alternatives available in the market?

Several factors make Embrace stand out from other alternatives in the market, adding value to our clients, including being a local product, developed and implemented by a local company that provides unparalleled customer support, which is evidenced by our 100% implementation success rate.

Additionally, Embrace offers end-to-end integration that eliminates information silos, gives everyone across the business access to a single source of truth which enables a consistent, cross-functional view of the company. The system is also able to streamline diverse processes and automate repetitive tasks, which saves time and eliminates errors.

Designed with the end-user in mind, our software is user-friendly, with a consistent user experience that improves efficiency and adoption rates.

Embrace also includes well-defined integration services and APIs that extend beyond the enterprise to incorporate new digital technologies, enabling clients to connect their entire business ecosystem.

Our flexible deployment options, purpose-built software, and ability to fit unique business requirements are among Embrace's greatest differentiators.

4)    What industries do you generally cater to? Which industries in general are highly benefiting by using your software?

ACS-Embrace has been delivering world-class business solutions to some of Africa’s leading companies across a broad spectrum of industries. We have clients in the financial, automotive & capital equipment, spare parts, pharmaceutical & chemical, manufacturing, equipment service and rental, logistics & supply chain and electronics sectors.

Industry built, from the ground up, Embrace is ideal for medium (200+ employees/50+ users) and large (1000+ employees/150+ users) businesses, covering all aspects of those business environments.

5)     What are the key features of your software that makes it stand apart from your competitor products in the market?

Embrace has numerous unique features across the different modules that set it apart from our competitors. As an example, our Service and Workshop Module includes an integrated Tyre Management system for large vehicle fleets.

Most importantly, all Embrace modules are fully integrated. There are no bolt-ons, which means that the data is always in sync and access rights permitting, users have visibility to reliable real-time information throughout the business.

Key capabilities of Embrace include financial management, sales and order management, pricing, purchasing, inventory management, warehouse management, manufacturing, distribution, equipment service and rental management and much more.

Embrace Modules

Leveraging leading edge technology and best-in-class business functionality Embrace delivers unparalled value to fast growing businesses. A multi-company, multi-branch, multi-site, multi-currency solution, Embrace enables our clients to expand and manage their local and global businesses with ease. Embrace is configurable, scalable, and adaptable, enabling businesses to add new capabilities and address changing requirements quickly. It can be easily and cost-effectively customised to specific needs, providing a competitive advantage.

Embrace prioritises system security, with strong data encryption and granular access controls, to provide peace of mind for businesses handling sensitive data. Mobile access to data and functionality provides employees with the flexibility to work from anywhere, at any time, boosting overall productivity. Embrace provides robust reporting, visualisations and analytics capabilities that help businesses make data-driven decisions and gain insights into key performance metrics.

New and emerging technologies such as AI, ML, IoT and advanced analytics are easily integrated, using the Embrace OpenAPI web services suite, extending the reach of the Embrace environment to last-mile solutions that further streamline and automate business processes and improve customer experience.

6)     What is the customer satisfaction rate according to you? What steps do you take to cater to your customer’s needs and requirements?

Embrace has a remarkably high customer satisfaction rate, evidenced by our incredible client retention – we have many clients that have used Embrace for over 35 years, in some cases over 30 years! We remain committed to meeting their unique and evolving needs, regularly release new versions and encourage clients to stay current and up-to-date to leverage the latest technology and functionality for their competitive edge.

We maintain open communication with our clients and are responsive to their feedback and concerns. More than a technology and business solution, Embrace is a partner invested in our clients’ success.

With a 100% implementation success track record spanning 38 years, our clients trust Embrace ERP to accelerate growth, maximise innovation and boost profitability.       

7)     Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what is the percentage of repeat customers that you have? 

Not repetitive, but definitely long standing!! An investment in Embrace ERP is a long-term investment, bearing fruit over many years, and to that end we are committed to providing our clients with ongoing support and ensuring that they continue to derive value from their Embrace ERP system. Whilst we don't consider clients "repeat customers", we do pride ourselves in the long-term partnerships we have established with our clients.

Tarsus celebrates 30 years with Embrace ERP

Our customers have the flexibility to choose between running Embrace on-premise or in the cloud through a monthly subscription model. As part of their subscription, they receive all system upgrades, ensuring that they have access to the latest features and enhancements.   

8)     Does your software product provide any resource or knowledge section for its users? If yes, what kind of material is provided to your users to help them get acquainted with your product?

We provide comprehensive user training as part of the implementation, including on-the-job training and assistance during “Go-Live”, as well as on-going support and assistance via our dedicated Support Centre.
The following resources are also available:

  • Detailed user manuals and guides - which help users understand the features and functions of the Embrace ERP system.
  • On-line Help and Prompts – provides quick and easy access to information as well as step-by-step guidance on how to perform specific tasks within Embrace. This key resource helps users become more efficient and effective in using the system, reduces the need for external support and improves user satisfaction.
  • Helpdesk support - to assist users with any questions or issues they have with the system.
  • Knowledge base - that includes frequently asked questions (FAQs), troubleshooting tips, and other helpful resources.
  • User forums – to provide users with a platform to interact with other users and share their experiences and best practices.
  • Customised documentation - that is specific to the user's industry and business processes which helps users better understand how to use the system in the context of their own business.

9)     What kind of support system do you offer to your clients for catering to their queries and issues?

We believe that excellent Customer Service is the most powerful differentiating factor for businesses today and have aligned our team strategy to meet the demands and challenges in an ever-changing IT environment, ensuring that we deliver Service Beyond Excellence.

To this end we offer a comprehensive support system to our clients, which include:

Support Centre & Help Desk – provides a single point of contact for clients and assists with any technical issues or queries related to the software. This streamlines the support process and ensures that issues are tracked, prioritised and resolved in a timely manner. Escalation processes ensure that critical issues are addressed promptly and effectively.

Dedicated Account Managers - assigned to specific clients providing personalised and proactive support, the account manager works closely with the client to understand their business processes and challenges, and ensure that the Embrace ERP solution is continually meeting their needs. They provide thought leadership, identify areas for improvement and offer guidance on system upgrades and updates.

Overall, our support system is responsive, reliable and customer-focussed, with the goal of helping users get the most value of the Embrace ERP solution.

Customer behaviour and working practices have fundamentally changed. Businesses are looking to their ERP solution to help them adapt to the new norms of doing business during a global pandemic and beyond. The focus is on simplifying and automating processes, saving time and emerging stronger than their competitors.

Local Expertise

10)     Where do you see your product in the next 10 years?

In a technology landscape that is rapidly evolving it is difficult to predict with certainty where Embrace ERP will be in 10 years. Our product roadmap sets out the adoption of these new technologies and we expect that Embrace will continue to evolve, incorporating advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning capabilities.
We currently have a clearly defined but adaptable roadmap, which provides for:

  • More automation with the ability to handle even more routine tasks without the need for human intervention.
  • Incorporation of more advanced AI and machine learning capabilities to enable Embrace to predict business outcomes and automate decision-making processes.
  • Greater integration with other third-party business solutions as unique business needs change, providing more insight and improve the overall management within the business.
  • Continued enhancement of the user experience with more intuitive interfaces exploiting the evolving mobile accessibility offerings.
  • Overall, Embrace will become more sophisticated, intelligent and user-friendly, providing businesses with greater flexibility and agility to respond to changing market conditions and the next new normal.

About ACS-Embrace

ACS-Embrace provides innovative, industry-built, end-to-end ERP business solutions, tailored for small, medium and large-enterprise companies. Built on a future-proof platform with open architecture, the system is scalable, flexible and power packed with functionality to embrace changing and growing business needs. On-premise or in the cloud, Embrace ERP empowers your entire workforce anytime, anywhere, on any device.
Delivering beyond solutions for 38 years, Embrace ERP enables the most agile, effective and lean operations, improved customer service and increased profits. With a legendary 100% success track record, end-to-end accountability, local expertise and unrivalled support, ACS-Embrace partners with you to grow your business.