CIO SA tech news round-up: Accenture partners with AWS to launch cloud acceleration platform, Crossgate Technologies launches new card production facility in Cape Town, and more

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Accenture joins forces with AWS

Accenture and Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) today announced the release of Velocity, a platform that will assist clients in driving up to 50 percent faster business transformation by removing the complexity of building and operating enterprise-scale applications and estates in the cloud.

Velocity, a jointly funded and co-developed platform with AWS, is based on the lessons learned from thousands of Accenture and AWS projects. The product, which will be available on a subscription basis, will allow customers to quickly adopt innovations from both tech giants. It will assist clients in adopting new AWS services without having to recreate time-consuming, labour-intensive work and recurring costs at the beginning of each project.

“By assimilating learnings from nearly 40 solutions for 16 industries with proven use-case relevance, Velocity also serves as a foundation for an expanded set of new, co-developed industry solutions,” said Accenture.

Accenture and AWS intend to broaden their portfolio of differentiated solutions across industries in order to accelerate Velocity-powered innovation.

“For years, Accenture and AWS have collaborated to combine our shared resources, technical capabilities, and industry knowledge to help customers unlock innovation, drive business value, and support growth through cloud adoption and transformation,” says Matt Garman, senior vice president of sales, marketing, and global services at AWS. “Velocity marks the next step in our collaboration as we continue to deliver innovation and industry-specific offerings that help customers move to the cloud faster than ever before.”

Accenture has previously collaborated with Amazon Web Services on 30+ competencies and service delivery designations. Data and analytics, DevOps, life sciences, mobile, SAP, migration, government, financial services, IoT, security, Microsoft Workloads, machine learning, industrial software, public safety and disaster response, and retail are among the shared competencies.

“This year, we are delivering on a major step in our five-year investment to help our clients to grow and innovate across the cloud continuum for total business reinvention,” says Karthik Narain, global lead of Accenture Cloud First.

Crossgate Technologies launches card production facility in Cape Town

Crossgate Technologies, a payment services company, has opened a new R25 million card production facility in Cape Town to localise EMV card production for South African banks and other organisations.

EMV is a payment standard that is used in chipped banking cards and other smart cards around the world. The standard’s founders, Europay, Mastercard, and Visa, inspired the name.

Payment schemes use EMV to promote interoperability among chip-based payment cards, which store and encrypt sensitive cardholder information on a microprocessor chip. These chip cards will be encoded and fulfilled at the new Western Cape personalisation facility before being distributed to banking customers and cardholders.

According to Crossgate, the facility is the first 100 percent South African-owned EMV card personalisation facility in Cape Town to be certified by the Payment Card Industry Card Production (PCI-CP), and it will see additional investment in locally developed IP and technology, as well as more secure supply chains.


According to the group, this will result in cards being processed and delivered faster and more securely in the country, while at least three local banks have signed on to adopt new ways of provisioning cards, including wearable devices.

“(Crossgate) will be provisioning cards to wearable and mobile devices on behalf of banks and fintech issuers. Three major local banks and two African banks that share Crossgate’s vision of taking South Africa and Africa’s banking into the future have already finalised agreements.
“Crossgate has also extended its offering to enable fintech innovation and Banking as a Service capability,” the group says.

Microsoft backs African startups

Microsoft hopes to accelerate the growth of 10,000 African startups over the next five years. These were the sentiments expressed by Kunle Awosika, managing director of Microsoft’s Africa Transformation Office (ATO), during a virtual media briefing.

Kunle, who was appointed MD in August, hosted the briefing, which followed a meet-up event centred on the founder’s role in the startup ecosystem.

The event also looked at how corporate organisations, venture capital investors, tech accelerators, and incubators can help to accelerate startup innovation and growth across the continent.

The software giant stated that it is currently supporting around 1,000 startups and hopes to reach 3,000 businesses in the coming years in order to accelerate digital transformation.

Microsoft has formed industry alliances and partnerships with venture capitalists, allowing it to access $500 million (R8.7 billion) in potential funding.

“There is huge potential for Africa to become a thriving hub of digital innovation on the global startup landscape,” Kunle says. “Our ambition is to see an explosion of local invention and innovation that will contribute positively not just to Africa’s digital economy, but to global society.”

Alibaba Global Initiatives’ produces 86 African entrepreneur graduates

Alibaba Global Initiatives (AGI) has announced the graduation of 86 African entrepreneurs from the latest edition of the Alibaba Netpreneur Training (ANT) Programme.

The Africa-specific edition, which ran from mid-October to mid-November, was made possible by the Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition, a philanthropic initiative that aims to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs.

In the midst of a global shift toward digital channels, the ANT Programme provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to learn and experiment with digital technology in order to grow their businesses and contribute to the local economy. The online programme took participants through the latest trends and practices shaping China’s digital economy, as well as approaches and frameworks for entrepreneurs to build a successful and innovative business in today’s digital world, over a four-week period.

The 86 graduates were chosen after successfully completing a series of classes, assignments, and assessments that demonstrated their understanding of the fundamentals of the digital economy and their ability to apply their newfound knowledge in their respective businesses. They represent a wide range of industries, including agriculture, education, information and communication technology (ICT), and trading.

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