CIO SA tech news round up: SAS reveals CX insights in the EMEA region, BCX and Alibaba Cloud sign cloud-technologies deal, and Binance relaunches its futures products in South Africa

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SAS survey: EMEA region companies understand importance of delivering experiences that matter

More than half (62 percent) of companies in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) intend to increase their investments in customer experience (CX) solutions by up to 50 percent by 2024. Twenty-two percent intend to more than double their spending on technologies such as analytics, personalisation, and smart assistants. These are the key findings of a recent survey conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review Connections with support from SAS, a global leader in analytics and AI solutions, for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

Return on investment (ROI) expectations are also high. Within the next 24 months, MEA is expected to increase from 19 percent to 38 percent.

In the MEA region, so-called ‘CX champions’ are primarily skilled at developing and managing CX by integrating customer experience initiatives into an enterprise-wide digital strategy. More than two-thirds (72 percent) of MEA respondents believe their company has already successfully implemented this integration.

The allocation of responsibilities to cross-departmental teams that make recommendations to managers is an important factor for a successful customer experience. The proportion of survey participants from Europe and the Middle East and Africa who are aware of this is around 70 percent in each case. Documented CX workflows, which approximately 65 percent of EMEA companies have established, are critical here.

Similarly, solutions and platforms that facilitate collaboration are required to create a single source of truth and centrally manage CX processes.

Across the MEA region, 56 percent of companies believe their organisations provide collaborative software and platforms that enable cross-functional teams to manage CX processes from a single point. This is lower than the European average of 63% and similar to the global average of 64 percent.

One of the most likely reasons for this is that companies in MEA face unique challenges, including their unique organisational cultures, when attempting to build momentum for CX collaboration. Furthermore, African businesses face additional challenges.

“When it comes to the quality of their CX, companies in the MEA region often still lag behind their international competitors,” says Andreas Heiz, director of customer intelligence solutions, EMEA, at SAS. “Technology can help create more momentum for CX. To achieve this, companies need comprehensive data expertise, a so-called Minimum Lovable Product (instead of Minimum Viable) and a suitable leadership culture.”

BCX and Alibaba Cloud strike deal to bring cloud technologies to South Africa
Business Connexion (BCX) has announced a strategic partnership with Alibaba Cloud, the Alibaba Group’s digital technology and intellectual backbone, to bring best-in-class cloud technologies to South African businesses and drive local digitalisation.

The two parties signed an exclusive distribution agreement, which gives BCX exclusive rights and authority to distribute Alibaba Cloud’s products and services in the country.

“Partners have always been a key focus for Alibaba Cloud, and we are committed to providing them with strong support for our ongoing co-creation and value-add – both technologically and commercially – to further empower our customers,” says Selina Yuan, President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence International.

According to the two companies, the partnership will benefit the South African market by providing more options, competitive pricing, and high-performance ICT and cloud technologies.

The companies intend to combine their technological capabilities, expertise, and strengths to provide services that enable businesses to grow and evolve by leveraging cloud computing technologies.

Binance relaunches futures products in South Africa
Binance, one of the world's leading blockchain ecosystems and cryptocurrency infrastructure providers, has relaunched its futures products in South Africa in collaboration with Fivewest OTC Desk, one of the country’s leading trading pair fintech service providers.

These products were relaunched after a lengthy period of compliance and governance-related processes and activities, and they are now available to South African customers under Fivewest’s licence (Authorised FSP 51619). South African clients will be able to trade Binance USD-Margined and Coin-Margined Futures, with Binance handling all operations and services.

“We are pleased to be relaunching crypto futures in partnership with Fivewest as it delivers on our core focus on ensuring local industry compliance while enabling greater access to digital assets for South Africans,” said Hannes Wessels, director of Binance in South Africa.

“South Africa is a very important market to us and we will continue to provide the best and most diverse services to support financial accessibility. We remain focused on building user trust through regulatory compliance, security, and strategic partnerships,” said Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance.

Kaspersky’s open call for Secur’IT Cup ’22
Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company, has announced an open call for Secur’IT Cup ’22, an international competition for talented motivated students and young researchers who want to change the world of technology by improving its security.

Kaspersky’s international Secur’IT Cup ’22 returns for the fifth year: to support young talent, allowing them to bring innovation to the world of cybersecurity and turn bright ideas into real solutions that can help solve issues in its landscape.

“This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Secur’IT Cup that, we can say for sure, has reached its adulthood, and our team is very proud of the project that has already united more than 6,000 participants! A substantial innovation we’ve initiated last year – and continue in 2022 – is to add socially responsible categories to our scope. We think it really is important not only to look for solutions for technological issues in cybersecurity, but also to contribute to building awareness of how cybersecurity solutions may influence the lives of vulnerable groups of people. We hope to keep up this pace in future. And wish all our participants creativity, innovative thinking and to make the best out of their experience as they engage in our competition,” says Evgeniya Russkikh, academic affairs group manager at Kaspersky Academy.

The competition’s online registration closes on 7 November 2022. Participants will then have two weeks, until 20 November 2022, to submit a detailed project description or research abstract, as well as a project prototype. An expert jury comprising industry experts and members of the Kaspersky team will review all of the projects and select a shortlist for the final. Participants may enter individually or in groups. In addition, the Kaspersky Academy will host a series of local events in Asia Pacific, Russia and the CIS, and the META region to make it easier for students to participate in the global competition. These events’ dates will be announced later.

The final event will be held online on 14 December 2022, with the winner receiving $10,000 (R180,000). Second-place winners will receive a professional certification cover of their choice (i.e. CISSP, CISA, CISM, etc.). Those who finish third will be given the opportunity to enrol in a professional course of their choice on one of the world’s MOOC platforms.

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