30 top level speakers, 13 sponsors and partners and over 350 professionals attended, making it Africa’s largest gathering of IT Executives. “The enablement of digital needs to be integrated into the business strategy – IT value cannot exist on its own,” explained advisory panellist, Vijay Naidoo, CIO, Parmalat, in the opening discussion. Prof. Pete Janse Van Vuuren, Director, Africa CIO Forum, CIO Council of South Africa added, “We need to look at the run-side of IT versus the growth and transformation strategy of the organisation as a whole, as well as the business goals and objectives, and use IT solutions to solve this.” “Customer Experience Management has matured rapidly in South Africa and has become an inescapable, must-have for any company hoping to get ahead of the pack,” says Shannon Mackrill, Joint Managing Director of Kinetic. Here are three game-changers on how to get it right.))) Digital Disruption
Many keynotes and discussions alluded to the fact that disruption is a major consideration for IT Leaders in Africa today. “Disruption has to be affordable. It has to read a new market that has never been tapped into before. Your product has to be simple. Your service has to be simple,” explains Thabo Ndlela, CIO, Tiger Brands. C-level executives need to know their market and be able to think ahead so as to not be blindsided by the constantly emerging disruptive technological advances. “Possibilities exist within the digital ecosystem, for corporate to collaboratively disrupt. For example, Pick ‘n Pay is currently operating like a bank with over 50 million cash withdrawals in the last year,” said Richard Van Rensburg, Deputy CEO, Pick ‘n Pay.
IT integration into the business strategy
“The Board members may or may not understand what new technologies work, but they care that the organization leverages the right ones at the right time to remain competitive, or to seize an advantage,” explained Malcolm MacDonald, CIO, Clientele Limited. IT is no longer the concern of its own department, but rather the concern of the organisation as a whole. C-level IT executives need to engage with the board by expressing the business opportunity that IT can bring rather than IT in itself, and shift from IT and business alignment to convergence.
Cyber security is a priority
“Security is front-and-centre”, said Pieter Botha, Head: CIB Security, Standard Bank when discussing potential trends for the future of IT in Africa. “We need to disrupt the security situation. Previously, we have been preventing attacks, and also detecting, and responding, but something needs to happen before that to avoid having weak spots in the organisation. We need to probe for gaps.” IT Leaders are looking to pre-empt potential cyber-attacks and avoid the damage control that they are left with post-breach. 2017 Lead Sponsor, Mimecast, held ‘The Anatomy of a Cyber-attack’ on Day One of the summit, which hosted a number of speakers delving into topics such as Social Engineering, the influence of regulation and legislation on cyber security, as well as a panel discussion on how C-level executives handle security breaches. 'Kinetic relishes the opportunity to map the growth of Customer Experience Management on the continent, through a Summit that directly echoes the proliferation of the industry,” concludes Shannon Mackrill, Joint Managing Director of Kinetic.
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