And that, folks, was 2012! After some gentle reflection, I’d like to use this last newsletter of the year to share the take outs of what was an excellent year for CRS Technologies.

We’re extremely proud to end the year offering 24 African countries our full suite of HR, payroll, software, training, compliance and legislative consulting services. Yes, 2012 has been the year of significant African growth for CRS as a result of so many organisations (including multinationals) expanding their footprint in the region.

There is no denying that the competition is out there (for all of us) but we strongly believe in being first to market in these new territories. Our ability to underpin our clients’ African growth with the right HR resources combined with our solid understanding of the statutory requirements is seeing them hit the ground running and thus seizing competitive advantage.

On the software side of the business, our developers have worked tirelessly on our .NET release, rolling out on January 1st. And, in a recent survey, we came under valid criticism over stability issues which has been the driving force behind our decision to address some of our software architecture.

We’re confident that the improvements and new features will further streamline administrative functions. Our DIY module is undergoing a facelift and once testing is complete early next year you can expect a fresh new front end with a more intuitive interface. We continue to ensure that our modules are scalable and blendable with that of other vendors’ should a more complex integration be required.

This year’s launch of the CRS Legislation department headed up by compliance guru Nicolette Nicholson has been a definite high point. The response has been excellent and now, rather than merely reacting to legislative and compliance information requests from clients, Nicolette’s strategy sees us taking a far more proactive stance whereby we automatically break the relevant news to you.

In this regard, many of you will have been receiving our Newsflashes, bringing your attention to announcements. These will continue next year so be sure to sign up if you’re not on the mailing list already.

We will be looking at social media too as a channel for legislation news and, in the first quarter, watch out for the launch of a new subscription-based online portal for CRS Legislation where clients will log in and access updates and announcements in real time. It’s all part of our drive to lower your business risk through keeping you informed.

Our Outsourcing offering – an industry as mercurial as ever – has also evolved and developed in new directions. Rather than just a transfer of data between client and us, our consultants are going into the organisation to manage and execute the deliverables on site. In essence, it’s more ‘HR business partner’ than ‘Outsourcing’ and significantly maximizes efficiencies. There’s also been a rise in multinationals appointing a middle man – HR broker if you like – to source African specialists in the field and we are looking forward to developing such relationships in line with our Africa strategy.

Training remains critical to the HR function and has been another area of improvement. Responding to your requests for tailored training courses, you will now see far more diversity and flexibility in our courses with the freedom to structure course content to your specific requirements. Legislation has also been added to the mix in terms of content.

Looking at recruitment in South Africa, it is sad to see a negative mindset creeping in around classic recruitment models with more HR managers attempting placements DIY-style through online job portals. Fact is, when it comes to specifics like meeting BEE requirements, recruitment specialists still have their place so don’t be hasty in thinking it’s quicker and cheaper to shop for your human capital online in your lunch break! Appointing the wrong talent is hugely costly in the long run, never mind the time wasted interviewing those just taking a long shot at the job.

Without wanting to give too much away about CRS in 2013, I think it is clear that our efforts have been and will continue to be focused on adding value every step of the way. Our vision remains simple – to be the best industry specialist in Africa. It is a vision that I firmly believe is attainable when I look at the incredible talent residing in CRS. I can say with certainty that 2013 is going to see us flexing our muscles on the continent more than ever.

A warm thank you to all clients, suppliers, staff, stakeholders, groupies and friends of CRS for the fantastic support this year! Before I leave you, be sure to check out our new look website and watch out for the new look newsletter in January. I call it Business Botox. But we can still frown.

Until Next time,

James McKerrell

The New CRS Website

Have you seen our new website? Have a look at the fresh new features: www.crs.co.za. and let us know what you think!