• Engaging with effective governance

      Giving South African municipalities access to the tools and technologies it needs to thrive, was the driving force behind BCX SOLAR. Giving South African municipalities access to the tools and technologies it needs to thrive, was the driving force behind BCX SOLAR.

      Mining Sector

      Increase productivity & build a culture of innovation

      Financial Sector

      Meet the challenges of disruption & cyber security

      Healthcare Sector

      Empower your patients & leverage data by deploying customised solutions

      Retail Sector

      Embrace the changing retail landscape & know your customer

      Government Sector

      Use digital transformation to grow the economy & build capacity

      Industries Overview >

    • Cloud
      Reimagine success

      Accelerate your business ambitions with cloud computing solutions from BCX.

      Digital Innovation Awards

      BCX Digital Innovation Awards


      Computing for today & the future

      Digital Transformation

      Intelligent systems upgrading


      Data that works for you


      Tools to streamline operations


      Strategies for efficient ICT
      Healthcare Solutions

      Healthcare Solutions

      Applications for healthcare
      BCX ERP Solutions

      SOLAR ERP Solutions

      Connect, integrate, and optimise


      Protection for your critical systems


      Processes & network foundations


      Connections within & without


      Partnerships moving business forward
      BCX HR and Payroll

      HR and Payroll Solutions

      Everything to manage people & payroll

      Solutions Overview >

    • Our Offices
      BCX Head Office
      1021 Lenchen Avenue North
      Centurion, Gauteng
      South Africa









      United Kingdom

      Our Global Footprint Overview >

    • Speak To An Expert
      We'll need just a few details from you, and one of our specialists will be in touch as soon as possible.

      Employee Entrance:

      1021 Lenchen Avenue North
      South Africa

      Visitors Entrance:

      1266 South Road
      South Africa
Home > Is 4IR a re-inventing of the wheel or a modernising of it?

Is 4IR a re-inventing of the wheel or a modernising of it?

18 December, 2020

As South Africa’s digital transformation continues apace during these difficult times, the maxim that the fourth industrial revolution is a journey and not a destination is a mantra that will serve the country well.

While digitisation is a sea-change of approach for some, that does not necessarily mean businesses need to approach 4IR and their technology systems as though they are reinventing the wheel. It is as much about the modernisation of systems and structure to introduce the necessary competences that will see them well on this journey.

What they need is advice, direction and innovative edge expertise to be able to increase the capability of those systems, to upskill staff, and to ensure their businesses are future proof. At BCX, we talk of ecosystems that provide effortless innovation. They must be adaptable and agile, because those are the traits modern business requires now and for the future.

This is important because businesses are looking at us not to help them, for example, reduce costs. The cost-efficiency conversation is still there – keeping the lights on, managing applications – but they really want us to help them generate additional revenue and increase demand for the products and services they are selling.

There is a perception that digital transformation and 4IR requires substantial capital investment, but how companies spend their money on technology is changing. Much of the cost is being borne by service providers.

The conversation around 4IR and digitisation at board level is happening between capital expenditure (capex) and operational expenditure (opex). What 4IR is doing for us, is moving that pendulum towards an opex conversation. IT companies are doing the investment in large assets – transformational outsources, digital platforms, data centres, connectivity, network, etc – and businesses are consuming those services from us at an operational perspective rather than them going out and investing a significant amount of capital on large assets. 

In August, BCX launched Exa, a division to advise and co-create digital transformation solutions for its clients. It has worked with the Department of Health to produce the ground-breaking COVIDconnect solution. Exa, said Rajpal, is a symbol of what is possible in South Africa’s 4IR journey in how people work, learn and live. The team now have produced a ground-breaking disease management platform. South Africa has the technology and the capabilities to provide innovative and, sometimes, simple solutions that look ahead to a future that will continue to require effortless innovation.

Collaboration, co-creation, cooperation, connectedness, cross-functionality, capability, customer-centric and commitment, these are the traits that businesses should be looking at in their transformation.

Within our Digital Platforms business, we are working with customers on the journey of 4IR to modernise, automate and transform businesses to ensure they can benefit from 4IR. We have to spend time. We, as Africans, were left behind in the last three industrial revolutions. There is no reason why we should be left behind in the fourth.

We don’t want to wait for government to be able to help us. BCX has taken on the task to develop a department that will work together with higher education and our customers. Let’s do on-the-job training, let’s work with our customers and drive digital transformation.

Some businesses have IT legacy systems that were built years ago, and that are an integral part of their infrastructure and culture but are not based on the open architecture systems needed to integrate with 4IR. For some, change will require a sea change in approach and a willingness to implement the necessary shift to be part of the 4IR journey. It will be a key challenge for, as someone recently put it, “How do you service a jumbo jet when it is in the air?”

The 4IR will be a continually evolving journey of innovation that has no fixed end point. Businesses and society should not approach it as a linear programme with a series of deadliness. It is a multi-layered transformation, a modernisation of the way we once did things.

It’s vital for us not to think this is a sequential thing. That something must happen before we must invest, for example. We have to execute and do things in parallel. COVID-19 has shown us what is possible. It has proven that we as Africans have the infrastructure to transform quickly and effortlessly, for example, allowing people to work productively from home. We have the capability, and people are using the technology. There is no need for South Africans to wait. We will be dragged kicking and screaming into 4IR if we think this is something we have to wait to make happen.



 We'll just need a few details from you, and one of our specialists will be in touch.

Please read our Privacy Statement & Consent Clause to understand what happens to your personal information.