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Digital disruption, 'thingalytics' and mobility top-of-mind for CIOs

Digital disruption, 'thingalytics' and mobility top-of-mind for CIOs

The ability to leverage disruptive forces, including the just-in-time Internet of Things (IoT), mobility and big data, and to create revenue streams and take advantage of the digital age is front-of-mind for CIOs across Africa.

At the South Africa CIO Summit 2015 hosted by IDC in Johannesburg on 24 and 25 March, presenters spoke of megatrends impacting businesses in Africa.

Mark Walker, association VP, Sub-Saharan Africa, IDC, said a review of Africa shows the tremendous growth of regions like Kenya and Nigeria using mobility and cloud to overcome constraints within traditional bricks and mortar businesses.

"Everyone is using mobile for interaction... it is the de facto standard to interact with the world at large, be it for personal or work use."

He mentioned that mobile is the most important component of transformation and the realisation of the integration of the 3rd platform. "Mobile is the gateway... mobile enabled is the future in terms of processes, services and products."

Walker referred to a quote from Christina Hawley, managing director for new countries, Jumia, ’... Africa is a market that will adapt to any type of online communications faster than anywerhe else."

Another presenter Manoj Bhoola, director database and technology, SAP Africa, explained that today the focus is primarily on changing and adapting business models to take advantage of these megatrends, specifically just-in-time IoT.

He referred to the John Deere manufacturing brand and the company's adoption of a SAP Africa platform integrated as a backend application with John Deere tractors, equipped with 345 sensors, to communicate realtime analytic information to farmers.

"John Deere changed its model from selling tractors to selling services to farmers... they have experienced a significant turnaround," Bhoola said.

Riaaz Jeena, sales director at Software AG, expanded on the current business scenario when it comes to big data and analytics, generally, and said that 30% of big business has no big data plan, whilst 51% do not know what is being gained.

Jeena mentioned the term 'thingalytics', one developed within Software AG, as a reference to the combining forces of big data analytics and IoT.

"The digital business is disrupting business operations like never before .... Customers are more connected than ever before. The ability to interact 24/7 ... what does that mean to organisations. With IoT we have moved from information stores to connection... connected people and companies, and now to connected things."

Today, there is a move towards cross disciplinary analytic applications combining money, people and things. However, the issue of bandwidth and latency – specifically in South Africa – was raised as a concern. South Africa, although making progress, is believed to be lagging behind neighbouring countries in Africa.

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