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High calibre keynotes to take to the stage for Saphila 2014

“Electrifying” and “innovative” are just two of the many words used to describe highly sought-after international keynote speaker, Frans Johansson. Visiting South African shores for the very first time, the charismatic founder and CEO of innovation and strategy consulting firm, The Medici Group – who is also a best-selling author – is the latest must-see keynote presenter to have signed on for the African SAP User Group (AFSUG) biennial African event, Saphila 2014. 

Johansson’s debut book, The Medici Effect, is touted to be “the definitive book on how diversity drives innovation”. Available in 18 languages, The Medici Effect was named one of the “Best Books on Innovation” by BusinessWeek and one of the top 10 best business books of the year by His highly acclaimed follow up, The Click Moment, focuses on how the rules for business are changing to incorporate factors such as randomness, luck and serendipity – an unprecedented approach prior to the book’s launch in 2012.

His extraordinary methodology on how diversity is critical to both business innovation and profit has captured and held the attention of high profile global companies, like Nike and Caterpillar. With a palpable energy onstage, Johansson will take Saphila 2014 delegates on a rollercoaster of ideas designed to inspire and motivate local organisations, helping them to move out of their comfort zones and seize opportunities within an unpredictable world.

Masterful motivational speaker, Vusi Thembekwayo has confirmed his Saphila 2014 speaking slot. Well-known for his strength of content and insightfulness, Thembekwayo was ranked as the number one public speaker in Africa at the young age of 17 and went on to place third in the world at the English Speaking Union International Competition. He has held many leading South African organisations under his thrall and the Saphila audience will be no different.

Another keynote address not to be missed by African SAP users is by dynamic Eskom CIO, Sal Laher, who will cover the organisation’s major SAP transformation, including its achievement of the title of SAP Customer Centre of Excellence and the building of a local powerhouse of SAP skills.

Named as Visionary CIO for 2013, Laher earned the title for the unprecedented task of taking the utility’s beleaguered IT division and turning it into Eskom’s top performing division within a 14-month period. With more than 30 years of technical, management and blue-chip business experience, he has been recognised for his farsighted leadership in the use of technology to support and grow business and his role in the transformation of the South African IT industry. Laher is also the AFSUG vice chairman and is leading the team to organise and implement Saphila 2014.

Says Tracey Greig, AFSUG marketing manager and Saphila programme manager: “Sal’s extensive experience - both within the local ICT market and abroad - will be invaluable to the Saphila 2014 audience. From an African SAP user perspective, you really couldn’t ask for a higher calibre set of speakers to share their knowledge.”

“Saphila 2014 will be the most important, innovative and engaging ICT conference on the African continent for 2014,” she adds. “Miss it and you’ll miss out on a truly mind-blowing experience.” Greig also confirms that an abundance of SAP customers, speakers and VIPs are being lined up for this year’s event.

Saphila 2014 will take place from 9 to 11 June at the Sun City Resort in North-West Province. The Saphila 2014 Executive Forum kicks off on 8 June. For more information or to register for the upcoming event, please visit