Software solution emerges to keep track of BEE`s moving targets

Lorge Press Office

The constantly changing landscape of broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE) has thrown out serious challenges to the local IT industry to develop solutions that will standardise and simplify the monitoring and evaluation of this uniquely South African condition of business.

“We have identified a local software company that has taken up the challenge and developed a Web-based program that streamlines, manages and controls all of the many complex requirements of BEE regulation and process implementation,” says Errol Wills, managing director of mid-market business and technology solutions provider Lorge.

Because of the importance of BEE processes and their integration with financial and accounting software solutions, Lorge invited specialist software, database and communications solutions company B1SA (Be One South Africa) to introduce its BEE software solution to delegates at a Lorge business presentation.

In the presentation, B1SA director Andrew Bromley said BEE is a moving target and with new codes of practice constantly emerging it is difficult for businesses to keep track, particularly with respect to `preferential procurement` statistics. “This is the area which provides most companies with apparently insurmountable challenges,” he told delegates.

Three years ago, B1SA began developing its BEE Management Information System, a software program designed to help companies of any size cope with the onerous administrative requirements inherent in the rating, monitoring and reporting of broad-based BEE. The system was launched in July last year, and has been implemented at numerous large corporations, SME companies and State-owned enterprises, facilitating the collation of BEE information of the user companies and over 50 000 of their suppliers.

“Companies of all sizes need to control and monitor information flows and policy and legislation changes. They also need to tackle information disparities by compiling and collating different ratings in various formats submitted by different companies into a single format. Only then can they begin to effectively monitor and track ongoing progress,” Bromley said.

“It is difficult to achieve perfect parity and objectivity when rating service providers or suppliers that conduct their business in different sectors and under different industry charters. We have seen many companies that choose compromised solutions to the problem, like requesting information according to their own scorecard and not that of their own suppliers. Some were simply requesting narrow-based information (ownership and control), or choosing to only monitor their major suppliers. This is simply not good enough and defeats the spirit and core intentions of broad-based BEE.”

However, the B1SA software system overcomes these problems by providing individual suppliers with industry-aligned electronic questionnaires accessed through company branded, Web-based platforms that allow the user companies to maintain their own corporate identity.

The system is founded upon specific building blocks, namely communication, procurement, scorecards, integration (with back office accounting software) and internal reporting. It also includes links to leading BEE auditing and verification agencies for the formal endorsement of supplier scorecards.

“Basing the BEE MIS on the Internet ensures the system dynamically handles the constant change in preferential procurement statistics and scorecard formats,” added Bromley. “The system also allocates weightings, calculates the points ratings and builds the scorecard as a living, breathing entity. The software has powerful tools that dynamically link underlying information to specific sections of the scorecard so that supplier BEE progress can be closely monitored. It also simplifies and streamlines the comparison of various companies for procurement purposes.”

There are online “guidance notes” that detail the requirements and objectives of industry scorecards and all system information and calculations are automatically aligned to any published changes in the BEE regulatory environment. A market reports feature creates graphs and surveys companies or groups of companies at any required level of BEE information. Watch lists of companies and suppliers can be created that will be automatically updated when any company on the list updates its BEE credentials.

“These are features that allow easy collation of a wide array of BEE data. Users can quickly generate individual company BEE reports and dynamically extract and make use of specific information sets to gauge the current status and monitor the progress of any supplier at any time.”

At the conclusion of the presentation, Wills stressed the urgent need for electronic technology solutions that will enable companies to monitor BEE criteria such as skills development and preferential procurement.

“It is also important that these solutions easily integrate into best-of-breed back office accounting and financial software applications to ensure the greatest possible benefit to the overall business community.”

Issued by: Copywise


Lorge is the preferred supplier and implementer of mid-market business and technology solutions. A deep pool of experience and skills accumulated over 19 years ideally places Lorge to provide independent and consistent expertise in the implementation, development, support and maintenance of business and accounting software systems. Innovative solutions that provide businesses with strategic and competitive advantage are designed and implemented throughout southern Africa.


B1SA is a South African information technology company providing a range of software, database and communications solutions to local businesses. The B1SA BEE Management Information System is its flagship solution, designed to assist any size of company with the administrative requirements of BEE rating, monitoring and reporting.

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