There are several reasons for this, not the least because the sector represents a myriad of different types of enterprises with very different requirements and processes. Another is that the freedoms offered by modern digital platforms come with properties such as data sovereignty that can act as barriers.
Yet a crucial element and one that deserves much more attention is the need for decisive leadership around ICT deployment among state organs. This again is a challenge found across all sectors, but manifests most sharply in the broad and complex public environments.
“It’s a key challenge for the public sector,” said Musa Mahlaba, Public Sector Regional Sales Director at Dell EMC. “There is currently some direction around the most important points of what will make the economy and country work. But at a political level, we haven’t had someone that knows ICT and reads it correctly so it is able to cascade down and be understood by the people who have to execute.”
“We have certainly and still do have some competent office bearers, who have a genuine interest, but the subject itself has not been presented as such that it could change the political or economic fortunes of South Africa. If and where it has been presented, the political has not been strong enough to act, sustain momentum and create an environment of continuity. Impact, sustainability and continuity are the principles that could lead us to leapfrog areas where we are laggards” Mahlaba continued to emphasise.
Technology is being lost in translation and this has become the problem of CIOs. They, in turn, have been doing their best to promote the right messages:
“In my engagements with CIOs over the years, a lot of them have taken this in their stride. They do quite a lot to get close to the political and strategic feeds of the departments, including the boards, CEO’s and CFO’s where some of these decisions are being made or need emphatic support.”
This could be a point of argument in certain quarters, but such approaches work. Some examples include SARS, the integration by the Post Office with the grants systems, and the Department of Home Affairs. As with all digital projects, these departments have taken steps back as they moved forward, but they still prove that in principle if there is engagement between the political and technological minds in a department, great things can happen.
The right engagement models demonstrate how technology can meet the requirements of a department. Defining such models starts with conversations that aren’t technology driven, but focused on what leaders want:
“If you start talking the language of outcomes – how can technology deliver better governance, efficiency and serve citizens? – the leaders are willing to listen. This in actual fact, includes the different financing models as well as creation of new revenue, which CFO’s and potential investors care about due to budget cuts and ever-increasing costs.
Modernisation and digitisation are really in the core of most discussions at this point. But if we are able to then link it back to what modernisation means to a department for economic benefit, for citizen benefit, that’s where change happens.”
How can engagement start at this level? Vendors should play a role by bringing context and perspective to the different pain points in a department, by listening and engaging. It’s a big opportunity that Mahlaba aims to push:
“As long as we boil conversations back down to the fundamentals of governance, that’s when we’ll get the attention that we need. Dell EMC’s position as an end-to-end (from client solutions, to the network edge, into the data centre and the cloud journey) participant in creating digital transformation is key.
Having mastered and embedded ourselves as a key player of IT Transformation, we understand the various moving parts. Working with CIOs, we aim to make topics such as;
- Digital Transformation
- Security Transformation
- Workforce Transformation
relevant to leaders in the Public Sector. Instead of technology being a distant investment, we can talk to them about the value they want to create and how that can be achieved. This is possible, and we know it works. But now we have to listen and engage in order to see the results.”
3D printed room-service? Visit the hotel of tomorrow
To mark its 100th birthday, Hilton predicts the trends that will change travel and hospitality in the next 100 years.
Intergalactic getaways, fast-food nutrient pills, 2-3 hour working days and adaptable, personalised rooms that can transport guests everywhere from jungles to mountain ranges. These are some of the predictions for the next 100 years that the Hilton hotel group has put together in celebration of its 100th anniversary.
In a report supported by expert insight from the fields of sustainability, innovation, design, human relations and nutrition, findings reveal the impact of the growing sophistication of technology and climate change on the hotel industry in the future.
Key predictions for the hotel of the future include:
Personalisation is King
- Technology will allow every space, fitting and furnishing to continuously update to respond to an individual’s real-time needs – the Lobby will conjure up anything from a tranquil spa to a buzzy bar, giving every guest the perfect, personal welcome
- From temperature and lighting, to entertainment and beyond, microchips under the skin will enable us to wirelessly control the setting around us based on what we need, whenever we need it
The Human Touch
- In a world filled with Artificial Intelligence, human contact and the personal touch will be more critical and sought after than ever
- Technology will free up time for hotel staff to focus on what matters most: helping guests to connect with one another and building memorable moments
‘Sustainable Everything’ – The Role of Responsibility
- Only businesses that are inherently responsible will survive the next century
- Sustainability will be baked into everything about a hotel’s design – from weather-proofed domes, to buildings made from ocean-dredged plastic
- Hotels will act as the Town Hall of any community, managing local resources and contributing to the areas they serve with community-tended insect farms and vertical hydroponic crop gardens
Menu Surprises and Personalisation
- Our diets will include more plant-based recipes and some surprising sources of protein – Beetle Bolognese, Plankton Pies and Seaweed Green Velvet Cake will be menu staples!
- Decadent 3D-printed dinners and room service will provide unrivalled plate personalisation
- Chefs will be provided with biometric data for each guest, automatically creating meals based on preferences and nutritional requirements
Futuristic Fitness and Digital Detoxes
- Outswim a virtual sea turtle in the pool, or challenge yourself to climb the digital face of Mount Everest, your exercise routine will be as unique as you are. What’s more, exercise energy generated from workouts will be used to power the hotel, providing a zero-impact, circular system. Guests could even earn rewards based on reaching workout targets
- Pick up where you left off with trackable workouts and holographic personal trainers
- Offline will be the new luxury as we seek to find moments of tech-free time
“Since its inception in 1919, Hilton has pioneered the hospitality industry, introducing first-to-market concepts such as air-conditioning and in-room televisions. Last year, Hilton also became the first hospitality company to set science-based targets to reduce its environmental impact,” said Simon Vincent, EVP & President, EMEA, Hilton. “We enter our second century with the same commitment to innovation, harnessing the power of our people and technology to respond to guest demands. Our research paints an exciting future for the hospitality industry, highlighting the growing importance of human interaction in an increasingly tech-centric world.”
Futurologist Gerd Leonhard said: “In 2119 we will still be searching for unique experiences, but they will be more personalised than ever. As technology shapes our lives we will seek out moments of offline connection with others, including hotel team members who will help us truly get what we need from our stays. 100 years from now hotels will have to create opportunities to converse, collaborate and connect, delivering moments that matter, individually, to each and every guest.”
Gadget ed to chair Digital Council
Specialist financial services provider Sasfin Bank has established a Digital Advisory Council to provide the market with industry-leading expertise and insights on trends shaping the use of technology in financial services.
Digitalisation is one of the most powerful forces for change shaping Finance today. This has turned Fintech into one of the most vibrant sectors in both information technology and among start-ups, generating billions of dollars in investment and development globally. The South African fintech space is dynamic, and Sasfin is playing a leading role in the transformation of local financial services and the resulting enhancement of customer experiences.
“We have been investing in fintech development in-house and acquiring or integrating fintech start-ups,” says Sasfin CEO Michael Sassoon. “Over the last year we have built further digital offerings, integrated via APIs into leading businesses and invested in fintechs. We built and launched B\\YOND, an innovative digital business banking platform and SWIP, a digital wealth and investing platform. We have invested in Payabill, an online SME lender and DMA, a digital trading platform. We recently announced our alliance banking relationship, leveraging open banking, with Hello Paisa to offer seamless banking to the unbanked. We feel that there is a huge opportunity to improve the experience of South African businesses and savers through using technology. We have therefore created an independent forum to assess how to even better improve financial services for South Africans by leveraging the digital economy.”
Arthur Goldstuck, founder of high-tech research consultancy World Wide Worx, editor-in-chief of Gadget, and a globally respected technology analyst has accepted Sasfin’s invitation to head up the Sasfin Digital Advisory Council, an independent think tank that will help Sasfin and its clients decipher the fintech present and future.
“The Sasfin Digital Advisory Council is broader than providing only the bank with a source of insight on how digital services are evolving and lessons from across the world,” said CEO Michael Sassoon. “Sasfin has been involved in fintech investing for many years and we are leveraging this experience as well as the experience of independent experts such as Arthur to provide insights and guidance to interested stakeholders in this space.”
The team appointed to the Digital Advisory Council is being selected for the breadth and range of knowledge they would bring to the table, with further appointments to the Council being announced soon. There will also be room for the Council to co-opt specialist expertise as it is required.
Goldstuck, who has been covering the fintech sector as an analyst, commentator and columnist for many years, says he sees the role as a welcome challenge.
“There has been a long-standing need for a clear understanding of the impact being made by fintech today, and the exponential change it will cause tomorrow,” said Goldstuck. “My role will be, partly, to curate the wide spectrum of fintech and digitalisation knowledge and insights that the members will bring to the Digital Advisory Council, and help create scenarios that businesses and policymakers may use to navigate the future – both inside and outside Sasfin.”