CIO SA tech news round-up: Elon Musk takes over Twitter, tech billionaires’ fortunes plummet, Gartner’s CIO survey finds there’s pressure to reap digital dividends, and Crypto winter intensifies

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Elon Musk removes entire Twitter board to take sole control

Elon Musk has appointed himself as Twitter’s sole director, removing the company’s entire board. He is preparing for major changes at the social media company following his $44 billion (R800 billion) takeover.

According to a US regulatory filing, Elon dissolved Twitter’s board, which included chairman Bret Taylor and eight other board members.

The decision to remove the company’s entire board came as Elon ordered Twitter staff to work non-stop on plans to charge celebrities and influencers $20 (R365) per month to keep their ‘blue tick’ status symbol on Twitter. “The whole verification process is being revamped right now,” says Elon.

Elon removed board members including Baroness Lane-Fox, the British technologist and founder of Lastminute.com; and Patrick Pichette, Google’s former chief finance officer.

Tech billionaires fortunes take a big knock

Billionaires made a fortune in the early stages of the pandemic, but 2022 has not been kind. Indeed, some of the world's wealthiest tech billionaires, including Mark Zuckerberg of Meta Platforms, Elon Musk of Tesla, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon, have seen their fortunes dwindle by tens of billions of dollars since the beginning of the year.

According to data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, several tech billionaires’ net worths have suffered year-to-date losses (as of October 30).

Interestingly, despite the shaky economy, billionaires in other industries have seen their net worth rise this year. The Koch and Mars families’ fortunes, for example, have increased by more than $4 billion.

But, given how high valuations were a year or two ago, the staggering losses by tech’s wealthiest people may not be realised losses, as wealth in some (or most) cases is tied to investment holdings.

Gartner: CIOs need to accelerate time to value from digital investments

According to Gartner'’ annual global survey of CIOs and technology executives, CIOs and IT leaders must take action to accelerate time to value and drive top- and bottom-line enterprise growth from digital investments.

“The pressure on CIOs to deliver digital dividends is higher than ever. CEOs and boards anticipated that investments in digital assets, channels and digital business capabilities would accelerate growth beyond what was previously possible. Now, business leadership expects to see these digital-driven improvements reflected in enterprise financials,” says Daniel Sanchez-Reina, VP Analyst at Gartner.

“CIOs expect IT budgets to increase 5.1 percent on average in 2023 – lower than the projected 6.5 percent global inflation rate. A triple squeeze of economic pressure, scarce and expensive talent and ongoing supply challenges is heightening the desire and urgency to realise time to value.”

According to the survey findings, CIOs can deliver digital dividends and demonstrate the financial impact of technology investments by prioritising the right digital initiatives, creating a metrics hierarchy, contributing IT talent to a business-led fusion team, and bridging the talent gap with unconventional resources.

Crypto winter to intensify

A crypto winter, also known as a cryptocurrency winter, is a prolonged period of low asset prices in the cryptocurrency markets.

According to the co-founder of blockchain platform Tezos, the current crypto winter will "only get worse" as the industry adjusts to a higher interest rate world.

When asked about the price drop of many crypto assets this year, Kathleen Breitman told CNBC news, “A lot of this was inflated on cheap money, and a lot of this was backed, basically, by VCs trying to pump.

“There was a lot of easy money going into the system, and I think it was artificially stoking a number of different things, primarily valuations of these companies,” she said to CNBC’s Karen Tso on Wednesday at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

According to Dune Analytics data, trading volume on NFT marketplace OpenSea fell from $2.9 billion (R53 billion) in September 2021 to $349 million (R6.4 billion) in September 2022.

Teraco completes big data centre expansion

Teraco, Africa’s largest vendor-neutral data centre and interconnection platform provider, has completed the first phase of JB4, its new hyperscale data centre addition to the Bredell Campus in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg.

The new facility will help to meet the growing demand for data centre capacity among enterprises and cloud providers. JB4 provides highly resilient and secure colocation services, in line with Teraco’s long-term goal of enabling digital transformation across Africa.

As one of Africa’s economic powerhouses, Gauteng (the greater Johannesburg Metropole) is a logical destination for Teraco’s continued investment in data centre infrastructure on the continent, Teraco said in a statement.

JB4 is a strategic addition to Teraco Platform, providing enterprises and cloud providers with a scalable platform for IT infrastructure deployment while maintaining performance, reliability, security, and the most comprehensive network choice. JB4’s first phase includes 30,000m2 of building structure, 8,000m2 of data hall space, and 19 megawatts (MW) of critical power load. Teraco has secured adjacent land and power for Phase 2 expansion, bringing the facility’s total critical power load to 50MW at completion.

Teraco’s growing data centre platform now has 126MW of critical power load capacity, which includes the Isando Campus JB1/JB3 (40MW), Bredell Campus JB2/JB4 (64MW), Cape Town Campus CT1/CT2 (21MW), and Durban Campus CT1/CT2 (21MW) (1MW).

According to Jan Hnizdo, Teraco’s CEO, this data centre facility significantly expands Platform Teraco’s capacity in South Africa. “Forming a vital part of the African IT landscape, Platform Teraco is an essential part of the modern enterprise’s digital transformation strategy with its diverse industry ecosystems and open interconnection marketplace,” he says.

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