CIO SA Tech news roundup: Public acceptance of the metaverse is growing, keeping IT services costs in check, Standard Bank's Taxi Yam app, and the changing role of CIO


Public acceptance of metaverse technologies is expanding

According to a recent KPMG report, public acceptance of metaverse technologies for gaming, social media, and learning is growing. In July, the company polled 1,000 American adults. Sixty-five percent of respondents expressed interest in virtual work metaverse applications, and three-quarters believe the metaverse could improve job training and higher education.

Despite a general interest in the metaverse, four out of five respondents expressed privacy and data security concerns.

Luxury brands Gucci, Chipotle, Vans, and Nike have all experimented with virtual stores and branded locations in the world-building online game Roblox. According to a Goldman Sachs report from December, Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has invested an estimated $21.3 billion (R360 billion) in its Oculus products and metaverse technology over the last decade.

Gartner also predicts that a fully functional, interoperable metaverse with its own virtual economy will be available by 2030.

“There are protocols that have to be agreed upon, technologies that have to be invented and bandwidth and latency challenges – a lot of unsolved problems that are going to present themselves in very rapid succession, one of which is security around AI and protecting self-learning systems from data poisoning attacks,” says Cliff Justice, KPMG’s US leader of enterprise innovation.

Tips for CIOs to keep IT services costs in control
IT service costs are rising, owing in large part to global talent shortages and shifting economic forces. Here’s how CIOs can use sourcing partnerships to cut costs while increasing business value.

According to a recent Everest Group survey, 39 percent of respondents say their outsourcing prices have risen by more than 10 percent in the last year, while nearly half (48 percent) say they have risen by less than 10 percent. Nobody claimed that their IT service costs had decreased. “It’s hard to get people, and it’s hard to retain them,” says Amy Fong, partner in Everest Group's sourcing and vendor management practice.

“We have been in a state of increasing costs and talent shortages for at least six months,” she says, “and we’re still at a point of uncertainty. Many economists are forecasting a recession.”

Here are five tips for dealing with rising outsourcing costs and making the most of your outsourcing relationships.

Consider your commercial model mix: There are numerous methods for contracting IT services available today, ranging from the tried-and-true approach of paying by time and materials to outcome-based deals, in which the buyer pays only for the end result, putting more risk and cost management concerns on the supplier.

Location: Because of broader demographic trends such as an ageing workforce population and immigration issues, onshore geographies have been especially vulnerable. COVID-accelerated digital transformation initiatives are also putting a strain on supply.

According to Amy, while attrition and lead times may be levelling off, IT leaders seeking cost competitiveness should reconsider where they send their IT services work.

Cost analysis is an ongoing initiative: According to Everest Group, there has been a significant increase in full-time equivalent (FTE) prices offshore since the first half of 2021, with the highest increase in next-generation skills in IT infrastructure and applications.

Understand your end-to-end workforce strategy: To strategise end-to-end, IT leaders should collaborate with HR and other sourcing stakeholders. This will entail assessing future demand based on business needs and external scenarios, understanding the current supply profile and key gaps, evaluating talent sourcing options, iteratively matching supply and demand, and continuously monitoring the situation.

Beyond cost savings: IT and procurement executives should include more qualitative benefits in their outsourcing scorecards. At a time when IT may be struggling to meet cost-cutting goals, it is critical that outsourcing arrangements continue to deliver in other areas. It is critical to be open about the cost increases as well as the ongoing benefits provided by IT service providers.

The changing role of the CIO, a global perspective
Gartner’s Leadership vision for 2022 CIO presentation reveals that organisations have been undergoing digital transformation since 2015, and in some industries, even earlier. And this trend necessitates a change in the role of the chief information officer (CIO). Here are some examples of how the CIO’s role has evolved:

The CIO as a trusted business partner: In some cases, CIOs are losing their position within their organisations, prompting some observers to speculate that “the golden age of the CIO is over,” according to Johan Magnussun, director of the Swedish Center for Digital Innovation at the University of Gothenburg.

Career path to CIO: According to Kristin Lindmark, CIO of Telenor Sweden, the CIO job is still alive and well in Sweden, and providing a career path to the top is an important part of recruiting people into the IT department. Many candidates seek high-paying jobs at first, but eventually want to settle down somewhere.

“I don’t think being a CIO is something that you dream of when you are a little girl or a little boy,” she says. “In my case, I had an engineering background and then a lot of different roles, both on the consultancy side and in line organisation. This allowed me to learn the craft of running IT from many different perspectives.”

Digital transformation: “Looking back over the last decade, Lindmark has been a part of some successful transformations, such as the one she led as CIO at SPP. However, she has seen cases where transformation has failed. Those who succeed have a solid game plan, stick to it, and patiently carry on with their work as their business model changes,” she adds.

Kristin predicts a significant shift in the role of CIO in Sweden: “The world is changing fast. It’s already hard to know where you need to be in five years, and it’s getting even harder. Businesses need to position themselves to move quickly.”

Standard Bank set to launch Taxi Yam app
The app is designed to take the hassle out of paying for a minibus taxi fare.

“Taxi Yam is a complete mobility platform that will help taxi owners and drivers connect and interact with commuters,” says Motlatsi Mkalala, head of main markets at Standard Bank.

“Our goal is for the app to become a reliable part of the public transport system in South Africa and improve the lives of passengers, drivers, and owners. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for news about Taxi Yam.”

Taxi Yam will assist you in budgeting your monthly transportation funds and providing a safe, secure location to store them. You can use the app as a cashless payment solution to pay the exact amount for taxi fares without having to stop to withdraw cash.

Taxi Yam will also be updated in the future to notify you when taxis are unavailable, provide information on road accidents, and tell you what the taxi fare is on a new route. When you're in a hurry, the team is also working on a feature that will allow you to find and hail a taxi. Furthermore, with more data on commuters and their routes, taxi associations can begin analysing data and making more informed transportation decisions.

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