Digital determination was the theme at the IDC CIO Summit, held recently at Zimbali Lodge in KwaZulu-Natal. Kathy Gibson reports


Digital determination the new key to success

In 2019, digital transformation is well advanced, with various degrees of success seen in organisations around the world.

To stay ahead of the curve it’s no longer enough to just embark on digital transformation – organisations have to be determined to succeed at it.

Mark Walker, associate vice-president: South Africa at IDC, explains that, around the world, there are 275 unicorns – new companies valued at more than $1-billion. The defining characteristic of these companies is that they are based on digital technology.

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The DNA of digital transformation winners

When it comes to making a digital transformation journey, it’s useful to look at how organisations have been successful.

The intelligent enterprise that will thrive in the digital environment needs to embrace a unified data management and digital platform strategy, says Peter Blignaut, pre-sales manager: digital platform, Africa at SAP.

He cites his own example of actually only using data when it was made available once he was confident it was trustworthy and current.

Importantly, successful organisations are making this information available at all levels of the business.

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Tech unlocks business value

Implementing new technology is not just about new systems: it is about changing the way organisations do things to unlock new value.

“People are astonished at how these things are moving, but we are doing genuinely new things with technology,” says Jonathan Tullett, senior research manager: IT services, Africa at IDC.

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Untangling the data management conundrum

Modernisation creates numerous benefits for organisations, but there are also major challenges associated with the paradigm.

Arguably, chief among these are the challenges associated with data and its management.

“We are all in the environment where there are numerous apps going up, virtualisation and various services, and companies are looking at how to manage this environment,” says Gerhard Fourie, district channel manager: South Africa at Commvault.

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AI and its use in digital transformation

Artificial intelligence (AI) is undoubtedly the next era of interest when it comes to future trends and it has a massive role to play in digital transformation.

“At IBM, we pay a lot of attention to digitalisation and using AI across the stack,” says Hein Badenhorst, client technology adviser at IBM

“We focus on AI capabilities as part of our day-to-day operations,” he adds. “There is a lot of manual intervention that we cannot afford.”

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The case for AI in fighting financial crime

Among the earliest gains from artificial intelligence (AI) has been in the field of fraud detection.

Banks have been compelled to reconsider the way they do business, says Lawrence Muravha, head: financial crime at African bank.

New technologies have driven the reimagining of the business model, he adds. “For any business, you need to look at your business strategy to ensure there is proper alignment to achieve what you need to achieve as a business.

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New technologies in the real world

South African companies across the board are embracing new technologies to help drive business change.

All of the technologies that are making waves today – AI, ML, RPA, CX and more – have to make a difference in either revenue generation or cost-cutting, says Mark Walker, associate vice-president: South Africa at IDC.

For instance, as the Internet of Things (IoT) evolves, the application of the technology is moving from descriptive to prescriptive and starting to add real value.

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The relentless march of digitalisation

By 2022, at least 60% of global GDP will be digitised, with growth driven by digitally-enhanced offerings, operating and relationships driving $7,5-trillion in IT-related spending.

This digital revolution has been driven by the emergence of the 3rd Platform of technology along with innovation accelerators, says Ranjit Rajan, associate vice -president: research (META) at IDC.

These technologies have moved beyond experimentation to innovation and the emergence of a platform that brings scale to innovation.

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