CIO SA tech news round-up: Bold leadership elevates CIOs to the boardroom, Nokia inks deal with MTN to accelerate the rollout of 5G in South Africa, and Elon Musk recruits team to build ChatGPT contender

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Logicalis 2023 Global CIO Report: Bold leadership elevates CIOs to the boardroom

CIOs have identified innovation, strategy, and digital transformation as top priorities.

CIOs have stepped into the role of digital evangelist and strategic advisor, according to the 2023 Global CIO Survey from Logicalis, a global technology service provider. The study questioned 1,000 technology leaders and explores how the role of the CIO is evolving. This year’s survey, The Meteoric Rise of the CIO, demonstrates a monumental shift in the role of the CIO from tech implementer to business leader.

Today’s tech leaders are actively involved in creating business strategy – 41 percent have some level of responsibility for business strategy while 81 percent say they are spending more time on innovation. They are using their technology expertise to deliver innovative solutions that drive value and competitive advantage. More than three quarters (77 percent) are now spending more time selling ideas into the board.

“CIOs are playing a leading role in orchestrating transformation and are stepping up in response to the changing industry dynamics,” says Bob Bailkoksi, CEO at Logicalis. “Yet, CIOs are faced with challenges to navigate including a potential recession and talent shortages. In addition to this, they are experiencing increased pressure to deliver digital-based outcomes for their organisations, giving them more exposure to their boards and requiring a different way of operating.”

Orchestrating transformation on the journey towards a digital-first future means CIOs are forging a new path. The four critical areas of focus for CIOs identified in this year’s report include:

  • Innovation – 50 percent of CIOs are expected to deliver continuous innovation that elevates and differentiates customer and employee interactions.
  • Strategy – 80 percent of CIOs say that business strategy will become a bigger part of their role over the next two years.
  • Digital Transformation – 57 percent of CIOs say that building and operating new digital platforms is still a core part of their job.
  • Reimagining service partnerships – 74 percent of CIOs expect to increase spending on IT Outsource Management in 2023

“Modern CIOs have the right leadership skills and technology expertise to ensure their organisation is well equipped for the digital world,” Toby Alcock, CTO of Logicalis explains. Rather than just supporting business needs through technology, the CIO is now using technology to help create new business models and tap into more revenue streams.”

For more information and to explore additional key findings from the 2023 Logicalis Global CIO Report, visit https://www.logicalis.com/cio-report

Nokia inks deal with MTN to accelerate the rollout of 5G in South Africa

New deal with MTN South Africa replaces incumbent supplier, strengthens partnership and increases Nokia’s market share.

Nokia announced this week that it has been chosen as one of MTN South Africa’s (MTN SA’s) 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment providers for the first time. Nokia will modernise the existing 2G/3G/4G radio network and expand MTN’s 5G radio network across 2,800 sites in the country’s central and eastern regions, accelerating digitalisation across the African continent. MTN SA is a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, Africa’s largest mobile network operator with 272 million subscribers and operations in 17 countries.

Nokia will supply equipment from its next-generation, energy-efficient AirScale portfolio, which is powered by the company’s latest generation of ReefShark chipsets, including 5G AirScale baseband, massive MIMO active antennas, and remote radio heads (RRH) for all urban and rural scenarios. Nokia will also provide its Self-Organising Networks (SON) solution for network optimisation and assurance, ensuring that MTN’s network continues to operate optimally.

Nokia will also launch a training programme to help drive digitalisation in the country and across the African continent. The programme, which is open to 5,000 applicants, will focus on product development as well as entrepreneurship development. The programme is accredited by the Finnish National Agency of Education, and graduates will receive a diploma that will help them advance in their careers – as part of Nokia's commitment to South Africa.

“We need next-generation technologies, such as Nokia’s AirScale portfolio to ensure that South Africa is a leader in the digital era across the African continent and globally. Our partnership with Nokia allows us to rapidly expand our 5G network so that our citizens and their businesses can leverage the digital economy and reap the benefits of a modern connected life,” says Michele Gamberini, MTN South Africa’s chief technology and information officer.

The deal, according to Nokia president of mobile networks Tommi Uitto, will strengthen Nokia’s market position in South Africa and assist MTN in providing superior 5G experiences to its subscribers. “Our industry-leading energy-efficient AirScale portfolio will improve the coverage and capacity of MTN’s network performance while contributing to reduced carbon emissions. We look forward to a long-lasting and successful partnership with MTN,” he adds.

Musk recruits team to build ChatGPT contender

Billionaire businessman Elon Musk has approached artificial intelligence researchers in recent weeks about forming a new research lab to develop an alternative to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, according to people with direct knowledge of the effort, the Information reported this week.

According to the report, Musk has been recruiting Igor Babuschkin, a researcher who recently left Alphabet’s DeepMind AI unit.

The report comes after ChatGPT, an OpenAI text-based chatbot that can draft prose, poetry, or even computer code on command, gained widespread attention in Silicon Valley.

Musk, who co-founded OpenAI along with Silicon Valley investor Sam Altman in 2015 as a nonprofit start-up, had left its board in 2018, but chimed in with his take on the chatbot, calling it “scary good”.

Musk and Babuschkin have discussed forming a team to pursue AI research, but the project is still in its early stages, with no concrete plan to develop specific products, according to the report, citing an interview with Babuschkin.

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