CIO SA Tech news roundup: MTN in talks to buy Telkom, Wiley Edge report reveals why techies are leaving their jobs, and SAP Africa Appoints New CFO


MTN in talks to acquire Telkom

MTN South Africa, Africa’s largest mobile phone operator, has announced that it is in early talks to buy Telkom. MTN said in a statement it had entered into discussions to buy the entire issued share capital of Telkom in return for shares or a combination of cash and shares in MTN.

“Discussions are at an early stage and there is no certainty that the transaction will be consummated,” says MTN.

Morale matters in the war for talent

According to a Wiley Edge report, of more than 2,000 people pursuing a career in tech, half of respondents aged 18 to 28 blamed company culture for leaving or wanting to leave a tech job.

Gartner's Christie Struckman, VP of research, dismissed the notion that the rise in job-hopping is due to a generational divide. There is, however, a difference in life stages, according to her.

“When you’re young, you feel like you’ve got your future in front of you. You don’t have things tying you down to any geography,” Struckman said. “I think you’re more open to moving and less tolerant of crap,” she says.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are one way for businesses to recruit and retain employees. However, these initiatives fail when employees do not see themselves in higher positions.

According to Buck's 2022 Wellbeing and Voluntary Benefits Survey, there is a direct link between ineffective DEI initiatives and employee attrition. It is up to executives and CIOs leading tech teams to assess DEI efforts to ensure that they support the diverse workforce that they wish to retain.

SAP Africa appoints new CFO

Business management software maker SAP Africa has appointed Sandi de Souza as its new CFO for the Africa region.

“Sandi has been an integral part of our organisation’s financial operations for more than a decade, where she has led various transformation initiatives while playing a pivotal role in supporting our business as we drive digital transformation across the African continent. We wish her well in her new role and look forward to her expert guidance and support in the coming months,” says Cathy Smith, MD at SAP Africa.

The appointment comes at a time when SAP is changing its business model to focus more heavily on cloud services in order to better support the digital transformation efforts of African small, medium, and large enterprises.

“As an organisation we are at a pivotal moment of our journey as we set a new course for the future. I am proud to be part of the team that is helping drive transformation across our finance functions to provide the needed support as SAP transitions to its exciting new cloud-first path,” says Sandi.

She will focus on supporting SAP’s growth by improving customer-centricity, process excellence, and people development across the continent through the development of agile and scalable financial service delivery models.

Covid-19 accelerating digital transformation

According to the Internet of Things (IoT) Industry Council of South Africa (IOTIC), the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed businesses in South Africa toward IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), automation, and the cloud.

According to Jeremy Potgieter, executive member at IOTIC, this shift is accelerating digital transformation in the country and creating a greater focus on IoT projects that allow organisations to improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and drive return on investment.

As more projects move from the pilot phase to full-scale deployments this year, the shift has reached a tipping point. The IOTIC recommends that local IoT device manufacturers seize control of the South African landscape through inventive ideas and smart innovation.

“There is a clear change in digital direction taking place and this is seeing an acceleration in IoT projects, as well as a commitment to ensuring these projects achieve their full potential.

“However, the local IoT manufacturer landscape is largely non-existent, which has resulted in a huge dependency on imports and parts. There are a few outliers in this field that have, owing to international funding, broken some ground, but not to the extent of making a notable impact,” Jeremy says.

Because legacy systems are approaching end-of-life, a greater effort from both the private and public sectors is required to drive local production of components, parts, and solutions, implying that the transition to digital is both inevitable and profitable.

In the face of global shortages in silicon and hardware components, local manufacturing and sourcing could be extremely beneficial in terms of managing local availability and service delivery.

With a thriving South African manufacturing sector, the country could support local solution development and avoid reliance on international supply chains, all while improving job creation, time to market, and economic growth.

“As enterprises continue to focus on automation, AI and service optimisation to increase revenue and diversify market opportunities, they need IoT platforms and services that will make their, and their customers’ lives, easier. This means that the time for local manufacturers is now,” he says.

INQ. acquires Enea Edge IP for edge orchestration capability

Inq., a global provider of Edge solutions, has announced an agreement with Enea AB to license the Enea Edge Intellectual Property (IP) via a perpetual software development licence.

Enea Edge is a platform for open virtualisation and management of Edge devices such as white box uCPEs. It has a small footprint and focuses on maximum performance, particularly for networking and edge applications.

“Enea Edge IP is extremely strategic for Inq. We have been working steadily towards being a global edge leader and have embarked on having Edge as part of our core strategy. While Inq. has been mainly focusing on Edge applications such as AI, SDN, NFV and IoT, with the IP licensed from Enea, Inq. will now be able to enter the Edge orchestration space,” says Andile Ngcaba, executive chairman of Inq.

With access to Enea Edge’s Software Development Kit and IP, Inq. is now positioned as an Edge Technology company with full-stack ownership, encompassing everything from devices and hypervisors to Edge orchestration and applications.

“Inq. is now building a product roadmap for ENEA Edge in the Inq. Development Centre in India. We will be able to provide business and technical support to ENEA Edge’s existing client base and a licensing arrangement for global telcos, ISPs and MSPs for uCPE and Whitebox deployment,” says Pramod Venkatesh, group CTO at Inq.

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