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Home > Building Relevance in South African Technology

Building Relevance in South African Technology

18 Dec, 2020
Using local technology to create relevant solutions for South African public sector and business that will transform industry and economy.
It has been a long, hard year for government and citizens alike. The lockdown has placed necessary limitations on business and industry, impacting on service delivery, growth and economy. As the country moves into the second wave of the COVID-19 infection and we remain hopeful, as new vaccines emerge, this is the time to focus on local innovation and technology investment to aid digital transformation and shift the boundaries set in place by the pandemic to ensure business continuity. According to Sina Mvoko, Managing Executive: Public Sector at BCX, it is time for South African innovation to come to the fore and for companies to develop locally relevant solutions that can transform the sector and economy.

“There are many different route that public and private sectors can take right now, but perhaps the most important is one of collaboration and shared innovation,” she adds. “There is opportunity amidst the complexity, but to find it there needs to be a commitment to growth and engagement that allows for all levels of industry to thrive.”

According to the World Economic Forum, Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies are pure potential. They can help government overcome complex challenges such as poverty, climate change, inequality and environment. There are barriers, of course, but these can be managed with responsible technology governance, leadership, partnerships for collaboration and collective action, and breakthrough innovation. The key words here are – partnership and innovation.

“It has been a year that has thrust government and business straight into the heart of digital transformation at a speed that nobody could have predicted,” says Mvoko. “Government has had to leapfrog into digital to mitigate the risks of the virus while improving essential service delivery to citizens. This has been mirrored by the sudden changes made by enterprise as 1, 000 people working from one office are suddenly being managed from 1, 000 remote offices. It has been innovation and adaptation on a grand scale, but the changes made can take South Africa into a dynamic future.”

Digital is more than just hype and potential; it is the key to empowering the public sector to achieve its goals and to take the citizenry into a future that’s defined by efficiency and accessibility. The pandemic may have accelerated this process but the road ahead is still complex and rocky, moving legacy systems and business architecture into 4IR is not a quick win, it is a journey. However, this is definitely the right time to take what has been cobbled together at speed in 2020 and translate it into long-term sustainable solutions.

“There are some essential things that government needs to focus on now to embed digital going forward,” says Mvoko. “The first is the cloud. This has proven itself in 2020 and is easily one of the most ubiquitous tools for helping government move legacy to digital. Particularly as many solutions now ease the concerns of risk-averse government by taking existing information into cloud without impacting on service delivery or security.”

Of course, security should be on the agenda. The rise in cybercrime throughout 2020 is testament to the need for robust and reliable infrastructure, as well as skills development for people. Defensive and proactive security, data and analytics, and mobility come together with cloud to create an ecosystem that can be used to bake digital into government infrastructure. Now that much of the wariness that surrounded cloud has been dispersed by the necessities of the pandemic, this is the ideal opportunity to pull these different elements together into a cohesive and strategic digital roadmap.

“This roadmap can fundamentally change how the public sector moves forward and reaches its 4IR goals,” concludes Mvoko. “To support the change that has taken place, and to ignite the change that still needs to happen, government must implement solid policies, take regulatory lead, and push for collaborative innovation with enterprise. This will kickstart the infamous South African innovative spirit – the spirit that has pulled this country through adversity – and pull the country towards a digitally empowered future.”

The BCX strategy for digital enablement within the public sector is to work with stakeholders to uncover pain points, identify urgent areas of change, gain visibility into the overall journey, and create a roadmap that drives comprehensive and sustainable transformation. BCX works with government and enterprise to build digital solutions that change the African innovation conversation.

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