This year’s CIO survey results were released at a prestigious gathering of top leaders in South Africa’s IT industry. I was privileged to present a keynote message at the ITWeb & Brainstorm CIO Banquet in which I covered the role of business, government and education in the sector. I also touched on cyber-security, the importance of a city-level response to disruptive technology and the role of leaders through the empowering of cross-functional teams in the workplace.
“The third aspect is the corporate IT environment and we can include government IT here as well, large SA firms and state owned enterprise IT departments that have built up strong and robust IT architectures, skilled teams and management structures to support and run these. South Africa has proudly exported numerous firms across many industries to overseas listings and international expansion, much of these operations enabled and supported by homegrown, South African built IT platforms.
new ways of working require broader, top down support
We’ve seen teams in these corporate and government environments adopt new ways of working such as agile and devops which squeezes out extra productivity and efficiencies but often only really work when there is broader, top down support for enterprise agility that ensures business and IT work effectively and harmoniously together. In our industry, Standard Bank is well recognised for adopting these new ways of working and driving these methods across the organisation, while our own federated, owner manager culture in FNB leads to much more team-based adoption and experimentation.
most industries are looking to change traditional thinking
IQbusiness’s recent state of Agile survey in South Africa showed that although financial services are driving this transformation, most industries are looking to change traditional thinking, and not only adopt 2-speed IT but ensure that CIOs and IT leaders remain trusted advisors and technology providers to their business counterparts.
professionalization of the IT career and sufficient industry research
So it’s the small business, big business, government IT and education of the current and future crop of IT professionals that we can influence and help to power a large portion of growth in the IT industry. Bodies like the Institute for IT professionals in SA, Joburg Centre for Software Engineering and the SA Institute of Computer Scientists and IT professionals help ensure professionalization of the IT career and sufficient industry research that keeps us abreast of the trends that matter and the insights that are significant.
COSATU previously blocked a Pick n Pay pilot of self service checkouts
Government also understands the importance of a strong ICT sector with the IDC and CSIR leading with partnerships and funding worth hundreds of millions in 3D printing and nanotechnology as specific examples. However, there is extreme caution around the impact of 4th industrial revolution technologies on unionised labour – COSATU previously blocked a Pick n Pay pilot of self service checkouts although more recently their bitcoin pilot proved to be reasonably successful. The Square Kilometre Array is an excellent example of South Africa putting its best technology foot forward and showcasing the world class science, engineering and technology skills that we have to offer.
incredible women in the project break the stereotypes
The international SKA partnership also features an excellent local programme that encourages girls to take up related studies by highlighting the incredible women in the project so that with successful role models in the field they hope to break the stereotypes that have resulted in under-representation of women in the sciences.”