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Friday, September 22, 2023

Revolutionizing ERPs: An Exclusive with Halsimplify’s Umar Shariff

In today’s fast-paced world of business, having an efficient and intuitive ERP system can be the difference between leading the pack or playing catch up. Umar Shariff, with a Bachelor’s in Engineering from MIT, Chennai, recognized this essential need in the market. As the CEO and Founder of Halsimplify Solutions, Umar has dedicated his career to reinventing and streamlining the way businesses operate. In this interview, we delve deep into his journey, from his initial forays in the IT industry to the creation of an AI-driven Conversational ERP system that’s challenging the status quo. Join us as Umar shares insights from his illustrious career, the inspiration behind Halsimplify, and his vision for the future.

Could you share a brief overview of your career journey, including key milestones and transitions?

I started my career in IT with the MNC, Cognizant. After working there for 3.5 years, I found my calling in the educational field. I observed many operating without basic processes and organization. I’ve worked as the Director of a group of schools in Chennai, aiding from setup to scaling to full capacity, and also helped establish a school in Riyadh, KSA. As I received multiple invitations from around the world to set up and lead schools, I introspected and realized that many approached me for my expertise in systems and process. Thinking that I might not be able to set up more than 20+ large schools in my lifetime with this model, I sought a better way. That’s when Halsimplify was born. Along with my partner Mohamed Azher, who has strong technology skills, we created HAL ERP which automates core functions and processes for schools and SMEs. When our mutual friend Issam Siddique, ex Thought works and tech enthusiast  joined us, it became a bonus for us to solidify our growth in the Middle East.

How has your education influenced your career choices and success in this industry?

My education has equipped me to apply engineering principles to everything I do, whether it’s in technology, management, or even sales. This rigorous scientific approach and propensity for experimentation allow me to predict results and outpace the competition.

How do you tackle challenges in your field amidst changing market dynamics and technological advancements?

We prioritize constants over variables and fancy stuff, as we believe that constants have enduring value. Businesses today want to operate at a quicker pace, and none will express a desire to slow down in the future. At HAL, our primary goal is to help businesses run faster. When new technologies like AI emerge, we integrate them, always keeping our core value proposition in mind: Running Businesses Faster.

How do you ensure your company remains adaptable to emerging trends and technologies?

We have a “north star” goal of transforming ERPs from form-based systems to ones that are conversational and natural, similar to how you’d talk to a colleague or secretary. To achieve this, we consistently monitor emerging technological trends. Even before the ChatGPT era, we made our ERP conversational using RASA as the backend. When ChatGPT was introduced, our progress accelerated exponentially.

What are your future plans or goals for your career and company?

We aim to reinvent ERP and inspire our competitors to do the same. We’re weary of the outdated methods from the 1980s, which rely on countless forms/screens. We’re committed to bringing about a positive change. Hence, our current focus is on making HAL ERP #Go-Form-Less, and we are expanding our presence in the Middle East.

What valuable lessons have you learned throughout your career?

Team Halsimplify Solutions

There are many lessons to take note of. Just to list a few:

  • A team may seem slow initially, but once established, they deliver more effectively and faster than individuals.
  • Remove emotions from your business decisions.
  • Avoid making assumptions about your competitors.
  • Consistency is the key.
  • Design everything with your ideal customer profile in mind, not for yourself, your partners, or even VCs.

How do you differentiate your services from competitors in the current market?

We are the first AI-driven Conversational ERP, focused on ensuring people spend minimal time on our system. Our commitment is to revolutionize the way users interact with ERPs, setting us distinctly apart from our competitors.

What are the most important qualities or skills you believe beginners should cultivate in order to thrive in this industry?

They should assemble a team promptly, test ideas rapidly rather than relying on assumptions, and establish a strategy, including weekly outcome plans, to stay ahead of the game.

What is the problem your product solves and how big is the space?

SMEs often struggle with resources and are unaware of best practices. This leads to slowness and inefficiencies in running their business operations. We, Halsimplify, help SMEs in the Middle east with our HAL ERP to run their business faster, easier and smarter. That in turn will become their competitivdirect e edge in the market.

“Globally, businesses are spending $6.4 billion on accounting software, which is expected to reach $10.5 billion by the end of 2027, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4 per cent. In Saudi Arabia, the market exceeds $500 million and is growing more than 13 per cent annually, while the adjacent market opportunity exceeds $2 billion, said Abdullah Altamami, founding partner and CEO of Merak Capital”

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest countries in the middle east  with more than 1.4 million registered businesses. As per the Tax Authority of Saudi Arabia (Zatca), of the lot, less than  400,000 businesses only have access to some level of digitization.  Right now they are pushing all into the fold with electronic invoicing so the country needs Accounting/ERP/Point of Sale players to accelerate the transformation. This presents a huge opportunity for startups like Halsimplify. Check us out www.halsimplify.com

What made you start this journey and how is it going so far? We asked Umar Shariff

We observed that the software available in the market:

  • Lacked sufficient systems for smooth operations.
  • Was challenging for users to operate.
  • Offerred limited financial visibility, often leading businesses to take months to close their books.

Given these gaps,we chose to develop a user-friendly, intuitive, and business-centric ERP focused on the speed of achieving end results. Our journey has been rewarding, and we have secured more than 12,000+ licenses in the Middle East.

Connect with Umar Shariff on LinkedIn.

Also find Mohamed Azher and Issam Siddique on LinkedIn.

Find Halsimplify Solutions on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram

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