The Bosch Africa head of information systems says hard work and dedication opens doors.
Reinhardt Hoffmann, the head of information systems for Bosch in Africa, began working for the German multinational, a technology and services company, in August of 2020 where he oversaw IT across South Africa, Kenya and Angola. In May of 2021, his scope was extended to northern and western African regions which include Ghana, Nigeria, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt. “I’ve worked my whole life to reach this milestone. I said I was lucky, but I don’t believe in luck. It’s hard work, dedication that opened the doors to meeting my goals,” he says
Reinhardt’s role involves demonstrating to management the value of all the systems that have been implemented and showcasing the type of technology the company has. This task can be challenging due to the multi-dimensional structure of the organisation, with the added dynamic of dealings with our organisational offices across Africa. Being an IT business partner to them is key.
Bosch in Africa is also currently migrating to Microsoft 365, which involves moving all mail servers into the cloud. Interestingly, the company refers to Information Technology (IT) as Corporate Information (CI).
Holding the IT responsibility for the African continent holds its challenges, with the team stationed in various locations, and lockdown adding to this. Reinhardt values being able to meet team members face-to-face to build a relationship with them which he has not been able to do yet, for several locations in Africa.
“I am aiming to visit Morocco this year and maybe Egypt on the same trip. I’ve got some resources there and they don’t have a manager on-site. Although we engage almost daily, it’s nice to go and meet them and see the environment they work in,” he says.
He matriculated in 1996 and his first job was to market medical aid funds. He then shifted towards IT by fixing personal computers, printers as well as dealing with servers and networks. Reinhardt discovered that his interests lay more into “putting a bit of science into IT”. However, he later found himself at a crossroads about whether to stay or leave the industry as he was not enjoying the technical side. He then completed a project management course to help him tackle IT from a different angle, a suggestion he received from someone he knew.
In 2008, he landed his first IT management job at a state-owned entity exposing him to governance, and policies and procedures, while at the same time, implementing an IT strategy with consideration to risk management and ultimately displaying value to stakeholders.
He has worked in industries ranging from insurance, manufacturing, law and accounting. In the role of a business developer, he built IT solutions for clients.