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.”
New iPhone pricing for SA
The iStore has announced that the latest iPhones, the Xs and Xs Max, can now be pre-ordered at www.myistore.co.za , and will be available in stores starting 28 September 2018.
|iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max feature 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch Super Retina displays that offer remarkable brightness and true blacks while showing 60 percent greater dynamic range in HDR photos. iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max have an improved dual camera system that offers breakthrough photo and video features, A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, faster Face ID, wider stereo sound, longer battery life, splash and water resistance,
Pre-orders will be open for cash purchases and on iStore’s revised payment plan in partnership with FNB Credit Card, allowing customers to pay off their iPhone at a reduced interest rate. However, the contract period is 37 months rather than the usual 24 months.
Accenture opens Fjord design centre in Johannesburg
Accenture has launched its first design and innovation studio on African soil, Fjord Johannesburg.
The company says the move significantly expands its design capabilities and demonstrates its commitment to unlocking Africa’s innovation potential through the creation of experiences that redefine industries in our constantly evolving digital era.
The new studio, opening in November, will be located at Accenture’s new 3875m² offices in Waterfall. It will be led by Marcel Rossouw, design director and studio lead for Fjord Johannesburg.
Said Rossouw, “Brands are constantly asking, ’how does one take a business need or problem, build that out into a definition of a service experience, and then bring it to market?’ It’s about re-engineering existing service experiences, identifying customer needs, prototyping rapidly, iterating often and proving or disproving assumptions. But it’s also about getting feedback from customers. The combination of these factors helps companies advance towards the ultimate service experience.”
Fjord is the design and innovation consultancy of Accenture Interactive. The Johannesburg location marks its 28th design studio globally, solidifying its position as the world’s leading design powerhouse.
Working in the same location as Accenture Interactive will allow Fjord to fuse its core design strategy DNA with the digital agency’s expertise in marketing, content and commerce to create and deliver the best customer experiences for the world’s leading brands.
Accenture Interactive Africa‘s blend of intelligent design and creative use of technology has already been used by some of South Africa’s largest and most prominent brands, including Alexander Forbes, Discovery, MultiChoice and Nedbank. The digital agency has also earned industry accolades for its innovative and compelling business results, most notably two gold awards in the Service Design category at the 2017 and 2018 Loeries awards.
“Great design tells great stories,” says Wayne Hull, managing director of Accenture Digital and Accenture Interactive lead in Africa. “It unifies a brand, drives innovation and makes the brand or service distinctive and hyper-relevant in both the digital and physical worlds. This is critical to achieving results. Having Fjord Johannesburg as part of Accenture Interactive, and collaborating with all of Accenture Africa, will provide unique experiences and forward-thinking capabilities for our clients.”
“Businesses in South Africa are becoming more design-aware and are looking to take greater advantage of design skills to compete with the rest of the world,” said Thomas Müller, head of Europe, Africa and Latin America at Fjord. “We’re excited to open our first design studio on the continent and to be part of an emerging market that is ripe for design and innovation, and open for business. Developing markets like South Africa are challenging assumptions and norms about what digital services and products are meant to be, and we’ll strive to put design at the heart of the innovation being produced there.”