CIO SA Tech news roundup: SAP S/4HANA migration’s biggest challenges, CIOs as trend masters, and Africa’s first cyber security fusion centre

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Biggest hurdles to SAP S/4HANA migration

According to a LeanIX survey, only 12 percent of current and prospective SAP ERP users have completed the transition to S/4HANA, SAP’s cloud-based ERP suite based on the HANA in-memory database. The survey included 100 enterprise architects, IT managers, and other IT professionals from the United States and Europe.

The report indicates that another 12 percent of those polled intend to migrate but have delayed the start of their S/4HANA transformation, and 74 percent of enterprises are only in the evaluation and planning stages of their ERP transformation journey.

SAP launched S/4HANA in 2015, expecting its existing customer base of 35,000 (as estimated by Gartner) to migrate to the new ERP system. However, according to SAP’s earnings report, S/4HANA has been attracting more new users than existing SAP ERP customers. In the fourth quarter of 2021, roughly half of all S/4HANA users were new, and in the previous two quarters, 60 percent of S/4HANA users were new SAP customers.

According to nearly 66 percent of respondents, the most difficult challenge in S/4HANA migration is alignment, particularly among IT teams.

Only 33 percent of respondents described the collaboration between the SAP and enterprise architecture teams in their organisation as close, while 22 percent said there is no collaboration at all. A further 38 percent of all enterprise architects polled feel sufficiently involved with a transformation project.

Due to a lack of collaboration with enterprise architecture teams, nearly half of respondents believe that defining the target architecture or roadmap, as well as identifying dependencies between ERP systems and the surrounding software landscape, will be difficult for SAP S/4HANA migration.

While Gartner estimates or prescribes a three-to-five-year transition period for S/4HANA, nearly 36 percent of respondents said it could take more than three years, with 33 percent estimating it would take less than two years.

When asked if the time currently planned for S/4HANA transition would be sufficient, 37 percent of respondents say they would be unable to provide an estimate, while 29 percent say they have not adhered to the time planned and have overshot it.

According to the report, only 33 percent of respondents believe they will be able to complete the ERP transformation on time.

A CIOs guide to mastering IT trends

According to Thornton May, founder, futurist, and executive director of the Digital Value Institute, the best way for CIOs to approach the sea of technology prognostication consuming the IT community is to recognise – and perfect – the four key roles IT leaders should play in keeping their organisations informed of and on top of the latest discussion and debate around IT trends.

CIO as trend collector: CIOs must, first and foremost, collect and impart meaning to the informational avalanche of IT trends. Traditional trend analysis entails watching the torpedo as it approaches. Today's CIOs must be proactive and preventative in order to ensure that their organisation is focusing on the right trends, in the right way, at the right time.

CIO as a trend communicator: CIOs must formalise the IT trend communication process in our digital age, where technology trends create opportunities and can materially change competitive circumstances. The CEO and their direct reports should receive a concise, purpose-driven briefing on key IT trends on a regular basis. It is conceivable that IT trends should be discussed at every board meeting, with a focus on positioning and the impact on key customer relationships. CIOs should make sure to emphasise the relationship to and impact on organisational objectives and human motivations when preparing the IT Trends briefing.

CIO as trend coroner: organisations can over-allocate, under-allocate, and mis-allocate resources to IT trend analysis. A significant portion of the CIO’s value proposition in the IT trend space is determining which trends do not require immediate attention or resources. The CIO acts as a trend coroner, detailing the ‘cause of death’ and ‘time of death’ – that is, why a particular trend should not be pursued at this time.

CIO as trend creator: too many people in the industry see IT trends as exogenous variables – billiard balls coming from outside the enterprise. In reality, IT trends reflect the desires, needs, and dreams of forward-thinking IT professionals. CIOs must make a decision. They can be trend setters or trend followers. To be trend masters, they must encourage businesses to think creatively about the future they want to live in and provide the tools to make it a reality.

Africa’s first-ever cyber security fusion centre

Liquid Cyber Security, a business of Cassava Technologies, has launched the first of its network of cyber security fusion centres in Johannesburg, South Africa. Liquid’s fusion centre aims to strengthen the country’s cyber security industry by addressing the growing threat of cyberattacks on governments and businesses of all sizes.

African businesses and governments will now have access to Liquid's network of security fusion centres located in key markets. These centres will provide threat intelligence and will consolidate the existing liquid cloud operations and liquid network operation centres, ensuring customers have complete support across cyber security, cloud, and networks for end-to-end security.

The centre will break down silos and improve threat visibility, resulting in greater collaboration across teams, and increased cyber resilience. Enterprises will be able to stay ahead of cyber-attacks thanks to the combination of security advisory, managed service, and integrated cyber intelligence.

“Our pan-African Cyber Security Fusion Centres will, when fully operational, leverage our ability to track and predict threats across the continent and will be enhanced by the capability of our international partners like Microsoft, ITC Secure and Xcitium,” says David Behr, CEO of Liquid Cloud and Cyber Security.

“The alarming rate of cyberattacks led us to launch Liquid Cyber Security in 2020, and today we are elevating the offering for our customers by launching the first Fusion Centre. As a result, we will ensure our South African customers have access to world-leading cyber security services, enabling them to mitigate potential threats timeously. Most importantly, customers can focus on their critical business needs while we manage their cyber security requirements 24/7/365 with the most cost-efficient and effective approach,” he adds.

“One of the most significant advantages of the Liquid Cyber Security Fusion Centre is the improvement in the time it would take for the organisation to detect and respond to threats faster and smarter. As a result, Liquid can now assist its customers in real-time and enable them to be proactive rather than reactive, as well as effectively handle the situation, especially in today’s complex threat landscape,” he concludes.

Sigfox SA invests billions in mass IoT adoption

Sigfox South Africa, which recently launched, has spent billions of rands building a reliable internet of things (IoT) network, with a goal of connecting a minimum of one million devices in the country. Sigfox South Africa is backed by a group of investors that includes Remgro’s Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH), Discovery Insure, Fidelity ADT, Macrocomm, and Buffet Investments.

Sigfox is a French global network operator founded in 2010 that builds wireless networks to connect low-power objects such as electricity meters and smartwatches.

According to Raymond Ndlovu, CEO of CIVH and non-executive director of Sigfox South Africa, the consortium has made significant investments in developing a tier one network in South Africa. He adds that the move makes perfect sense for widespread deployment throughout South Africa because the devices and signals would communicate over a wide area network via the Sigfox 0G network, which connects low bandwidth, battery-powered devices with low bit rates over long distances.

“We’ve built a tier one network that operates on a very sophisticated infrastructure, which we believe now with this reinvestment and the reincarnation of Sigfox SA, will bring down the cost and complexity of massive IoT adoption,” he explains.

“We had to make sure we don't ever return to our ecosystem partners and say there was an issue with the sustainability and liability of this network. We are targeting device manufacturers, device suppliers, agricultural crop monitoring and entities that have IoT proof-of-concept at mass scale, as well as the entire ecosystem, which continues to grow and develop in the South African economy.”

“South Africa as a territory is far advancing over other African territories. We see a world where − once we have gained ground and provided more stability – the speed of IoT adoption is going to massively upscale commercially, and once that happens we will gain advantage. The real challenge for us is to get people to understand how the technology can be deployed to gain value.”

Raymond went on to say that several municipalities across the country have implemented Sigfox technology, such as in water and electricity meters. The stolen vehicle recovery sector is also heavily reliant on the Sigfox 0G network. “Our solutions talk to anything which requires monitoring to enhance efficiency and drive lower costs, including supply chain and logistics, and organisations can track anything, such as parcels with DHL.

“I am very confident that together with the board of directors, and committed shareholders and stakeholders broadly, we are going to re-ignite economic opportunities in SA,” he concludes.

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