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Is this the most powerful business smartphone you can buy?

Samsung Galaxy Note 10
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. Image supplied by Samsung

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 is now available in South Africa, a device the South Korean tech titan describes as the most powerful business smartphone yet.

Available for the first time in two size options – a 6.8-inch Note10+, the biggest screen on a Note yet, and a more pocket friendly, but slightly less feature rich 6.3-inch Note10 – both still feature the Note line’s trademark S Pen stylus, now boasting more functionality than ever before.

Both models feature an edge-to-edge nearly bezel-less AMOLED display interrupted only by the small, centrally placed cut out for the front camera, making for a more balanced design than those on the S10 line which are on the left.

Important on a device which power users may be looking into for hours each day, the Eye Comfort display reduces blue light without affecting colour quality for comfortable viewing.

Note users typically put a premium on productivity and the two new models feature some impressive new features in this respect.

With Handwriting to Text, Note 10 owners can use the re-designed, unibody S Pen to jot down notes, instantly convert their handwriting to digital text in Samsung Notes, and export it to a variety of different formats, including Microsoft Word.

Users can now also customise notes by shrinking, enlarging, or changing the colour of the text. In just a few taps, meeting minutes can be formatted and shared; bursts of inspiration can quickly become editable documents.

The Galaxy Note 10 builds on the Bluetooth Low Energy-enabled S Pen capabilities introduced on the Note 9 by adding air actions, allowing users to control certain aspects of the device using gestures with the S Pen.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and 10+ with stylus
Both the 6.8-inch Note10+ and the 6.3-inch Note 10 feature the Note line’s trademark S Pen stylus. Image supplied by Samsung

Better DeX-terity

Samsung’s DeX line of devices have in the past allowed users to create a desktop PC-like experience by connecting their Galaxy smartphones to a monitor or TV screen. The Note 10 extends Samsung DeX’s capabilities, now making it easier for users to work between their phone and a PC or Mac.

The latest iteration of DeX dispenses with the puck and pad devices of the past. Now, with a simple, compatible USB connection, users can drag and drop files between devices, and use their favourite mobile apps with a mouse and a keyboard, while keeping their data secure on their phone through Samsung Knox.

The Galaxy Note 10 integrates Link to Windows directly into the Quick Panel. With one click, users can connect to their Windows 10 PC. There, they can see notifications, send and receive messages, and review recent photos without pausing to look down at their phone.

Other power features are Super-Fast Charging, which Samsung claims will get you through a full-day’s use on just 30 minutes of charge using the Note10+ and Wireless PowerShare which lets users wirelessly recharge their Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Buds, or another Qi-enabled device with the either of the Note 10 models.

The Galaxy Note10 and Galaxy Note10+ are available in Aura Glow, Aura White and Aura Black. – GeekWire.co.za

Sars digitisation drive, COVID-19 impact among hot topics at Deloitte budget dialogue

Mark Freer, Director Deloitte Africa Tax and Legal
Mark Freer, Director Deloitte Africa Tax and Legal. Picture by Alan Cooper

Relief at government’s decision not to hike taxes, tempered by the daunting challenge of keeping state-owned enterprises like SAA and Eskom afloat, as well as the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak were key themes to emerge from a post-Budget breakfast dialogue hosted by Deloitte KwaZulu-Natal on 3 March 2020.

Guests attending the annual event, held at the professional services firm’s La Lucia Ridge offices, also heard how digitisation efforts by the South African Revenue Service (Sars) could pave the way for a time when tax information was collected and the amounts owed calculated automatically with no need for annual returns.

Deloitte KZN Office Managing Partner Ruwayda Redfearn set the scene by referring to a potted aloe featured prominently on the stage, emulating Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s example when opening his Budget speech.

“The aloe thrives when times are tough. It needs less water, qualities we’ll all need in the months ahead,” she said.

Mark Freer, Director Deloitte Africa Tax and Legal, unpacked the key taxation elements of the Budget. “There was a huge collective sigh of relief that the widely predicted tax increases failed to materialise, but there are still some major concerns. While attempts are being made to strengthen Sars, the R63bn collection deficit is worse than that predicted in the Mid-term Budget Statement and tax revenue growth is barely keeping pace with inflation,” he said.

On the positive side, Freer said he was impressed with Sars’ digitisation efforts, and that a smartphone app and chatbot tied into its eFiling system, along with efforts by the revenue authority to populate returns with more third party data, could pave the way to a day when “tax just happens” automatically without the need for annual returns. 

Commenting on the Coronavirus outbreak, Isaac Matshego, a Group Economist at Nedbank, said it was too early to predict its impact on the South African economy, but that these would almost certainly be significant. “As China is our chief trading partner, the virus will certainly have negative effects on supply chains, minerals exporters and miners,” he said.

Political analyst Judith February said the Finance Minister’s ability to achieve tough goals like cutting the public sector wage bill by R160bn and bringing alternative power sources online would prove key tests of his and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ability to stand up to regressive elements within their own party. On the challenge to provide a stable power supply, February singled out Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, who is also the ANC’s national Chairperson.

Political analyst Judith February. Picture by Alan Cooper

Stumbling block

“In both these respects, Mr Mantashe could be a major stumbling block. He is seemingly addicted to coal and complicating a move to a more sustainable energy mix is that Mantashe is a union man through-and-through. We’re in for an interesting power struggle over the coming months,” she said.

Sisa Ntlango,Director of Deloitte’s Risk Advisory Business then chaired a panel discussion, with speakers answering questions from the floor on matters ranging from the ‘Sugar Tax’ and the phasing out of tax incentives to the impact on the economy of illegal immigration and the billions looted from state coffers.

Commenting on the impact of the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, Freer said that when conceived it was intended to target makers of sugary beverages.“As it turns out, the beverage makers have been less affected that initially thought due to reformulation and reduction in pack sizes. The biggest impact appears to be on the sugar millers and growers,” he said, adding that the tax netted a relatively small R2bn to R3bn annually.

Answering a question regarding government’s intention to restrict the tax incentives for the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Freer said, “Fortunately, both KwaZulu-Natal’s SEZs – Dube TradePort and Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone – have already been approved, so won’t be affected by the moratorium”.

In her closing remarks, February also alluded to the aloe. “The key to its survival in harsh times is that it’s an unsentimental plant and ruthlessly sheds dead weight. The million-dollar question is whether our government can emulate the humble aloe’s example and shed the dead weight required to turn our economy around,” she said.

The event was held before the release of data indicating that the SA economy entered a technical recession in the second half of 2019.

SMEs take Note

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
Samsung's new Galaxy Note 10 Lite could be a boon for small business owners. Picture supplied by Samsung.

Lite version of top business phone lands in SA

There’s good news for South African small business owners looking for the power of one of the world’s most popular business focussed phone, but at a lower price.
Samsung is bringing the new Galaxy Note10 Lite to the country. It made the announcement at a media event in Sandton Johannesburg recently.
Building on the legacy of the Galaxy Note series, the Lite model brings key premium features such as the latest camera technology, signature S Pen, immersive display and a long-lasting battery at an accessible price point.
The Galaxy Note10 Lite was due to start rolling out with all major cellular networks in February. Samsung has positioned the it strategically between the Galaxy A Series and its flagship devices, with a recommended retail price of R12,999 and monthly contracts starting at R599.
“The Galaxy Note devices have met consumer demands around the world and has proven to be popular in South Africa. These devices represent our continuous effort to deliver industry leading innovations, from performance and power to intelligence and services,” said Justin Hume, Director: Integrated Mobility at Samsung South Africa.
“The Galaxy Note10 Lite will introduce those distinct key premium features that make up a Galaxy Note experience at an affordable and unrivalled value.”

Stylus smarts

Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) support means users can navigate a presentation, control video content or take a picture, all with a simple click of the S Pen stylus.
“The Samsung Notes app makes note taking faster and easier when on the go. And now, you can turn those handwritten notes into text for easy editing and sharing.”
The Note10 Lite boasts a 6.7-inch edge-to-edge Infinity-O display and a 4,500mAh battery with “super-fast charging capabilities”. It also comes with Samsung’s ecosystem of apps and services, including Bixby, Samsung Pay, Samsung Health and security platform Samsung Knox.

The budget-friendly Samsung Galaxy A51 will also be available from February 2020. Picture supplied by Samsung.

A-OK

At the same event, Samsung South Africa also unveiled the Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51, the latest additions to its wildly popular Galaxy A Series, with Hume revealing that the South Korea headquartered company had sold a staggering four million A-series devices to South African customers to date.
“We are committed to bridging the gap between flagship features and affordability. I believe the Galaxy A Series offers the best value in its segment. Additionally, the power of the Note10 Lite and its famous S Pen is now accessible to more people in South Africa,” said Hume.
The Galaxy A71 and Galaxy A51, will also be released in the country from February. Both devices include flagship features at an affordable price.
“We are proud to connect with a new generation of consumers from the value-seekers to the power users. We will continue to listen to the needs of the local market and bring innovation that empowers all,” said Chief Marketing Officer Cambridge Mokanyane.
Head of Content and Services Kagiso Khaole highlighted the role of Samsung’s integrated ecosystem and the additional value it adds. “This includes the safety and convenience of Samsung Pay, which has generated more than 1,4 million transactions since 2018 as well as the peace of mind that Samsung Care+ offers Galaxy A-series customers.” – GeekWire.co.za

2020: The tide is turning for South Africa

Doug Woolley, GM of Dell Technologies South Africa
Doug Woolley, GM of Dell Technologies South Africa. Picture supplied by the company.

Thanks to seeds sown last year, 2020 will be a positive turning point for the country, writes Doug Woolley, GM of Dell Technologies South Africa

What does it take to complete a marathon? You definitely have to get up and compete on the day. But that’s not what decides the outcome. It resulted from getting up every morning to train. It required reprioritising lives to prepare for the marathon. It was eating right and maintaining focus on the goal. It relied on support, both within and from friends and family.

We tend to look at people who do great things and tell ourselves they are talented. Yes, they are, but so are we all. The difference isn’t natural ability but the will to keep going even when it was really hard to do so. This difficulty is why nobody just decides to spontaneously run a marathon today. Success comes from many small steps.

When asked about South Africa’s future, I base my opinion on this philosophy. Don’t just look at where we want to be – look at what we’re doing right now. I believe 2019 has been significant in that respect and is setting the stage for 2020 to go even further.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s investment drive secured R363 billion in 2019, 17% more than from 2018 and a total of R663 billion since he took office in October 2018. These are commitments from both local and foreign investors.

In November, the state launched BizPortal, an online and integrated portal for inexpensive and quick business registrations. This service is not a small development: the complicated process of registering a business in South Africa has long been an issue and barrier to economic growth. This administration turned that around in a year.

Smart city

The high-tech Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone broke ground in November. This enormous smart city development will massively increase our automotive industry’s revenue and employment. The President’s 4IR commission has already delivered its first report, and there is credible momentum behind assigning much-needed spectrum for digital connectivity.

We do have significant challenges as well. It’s effortless to see where South Africa falls short. We could point to slowing GDP growth or expanding unemployment. Problems are easier to spot than solutions. But there are solutions on the ground, and they are part of a greater positive trend.

There have been big changes in attitudes and actions towards SA’s problems. I won’t sugar coat our reality. But, just as someone preparing for a long marathon, the signs of progress don’t only count in the final event. They are significant because of the hard work, focus and determination that went in beforehand.

Let’s not forget the Springboks are rugby world champions, again, and the only team to have held the trophy three times. The Springboks prove the value of resilience and playing the long game.

Dell Technologies signed up as sponsors just after their disastrous loss to the All Blacks. Back then, the team committed to winning the Rugby World Cup. They have talent, yes, but they got there with focus, dedication and continual improvement. That final match wasn’t easy, yet the Springboks crushed the English team by being focused and cohesive. Many small steps create such habits.

South Africa is delivering its own small steps. There is more decisive action and visible movement. We are a strong country that has been to the brink many times and taken blows that would have sunk other nations. Yet we still stand and, in 2020, I believe South Africa will become even stronger. – GeekWire.co.za

The sky’s no limit for 3D printing tech

British Airways 3D printing
British Airways is tapping into the power and flexibility of 3D printing. Image supplied by BA.

British Airways is exploring the possibility of using 3D printers to create aircraft parts. These printers would be located at airports around the world to reduce delays for customers and emissions caused by transporting items.

The airline’s innovators predict that non-essential cabin parts will be first on the list to be generated, including pieces of tray tables, entertainment systems and toilets.

While these components do not impact the safe operation of the flight, they can reduce the number of seats or toilets available for customers and cause delays as engineers wait for the parts to be flown to wherever the aircraft is.

Ricardo Vidal, Head of Innovation at British Airways, said this area of technology had never been more important to ensure sustainability and a seamless travel experience.

“We work with start-ups and innovation partners from around the world to explore and implement the very latest technologies, from artificial intelligence to speed up turnaround times to biometrics, helping us to deliver a seamless airport experience for customers. 3D printing is yet another advancement that will keep us at the forefront of airline innovation.”

He said 3D printing was an essential step towards the sustainable future of aviation, as the printers can produce parts that, while as strong and durable as traditional components, weigh up to 55 per cent less. Every kilogram removed saves up to 25 tons of CO2 emissions during the lifespan of an aircraft.

British Airways’ exploration of 3D printing follows the airline’s BA2119: Flight of the Future programme in celebration of its centenary. Its research into the future of the customer experience suggested that within the next decade, biological scanners gathering travellers’ physiological and nutritional needs could suggest food and drink to meet individual requirements and print these on board the aircraft.

In addition, the research predicts that jet lag could become be a thing of the past, with 3D printers producing personalised health supplements. – Geekwire.co.za

Appy days for SA SMEs

Fundaba is an app-based entrepreneurship learning programme. Image supplied by FNB

FNB launches app-based entrepreneurship education programme and fee-free business account

In what it describes as a response to the barriers faced by micro, small and medium-sized businesses in South Africa, FNB has launched Fundaba, a digital app-based entrepreneurship learning programme and First Business Zero,

a digital no monthly account fee business bank account.

Fundaba is free interactive e-learning business education platform that has been developed inside the FNB banking app. Jesse Weinberg, head of the SME Customer Segment at FNB, described it a “first-of-its-kind offering in South Africa”. It comprises multimedia content such as videos, podcasts, quizzes, templates and tools for all FNB customers to learn about entrepreneurship and running a business.

He said the Bank had conducted extensive research and worked with hundreds of local business owners and mentors to provide users with critical knowledge and practical help to assist them as they navigate the business journey; from incubating a business idea, to starting, running and growing a business in South Africa.

The app also allows SMEs to actively share and provide feedback on various educational chapters to constantly increase the effectiveness and relevance of the content.

The name Fundaba is a combination of the South African words “Fundi” (colloquially means “expert”) and “Indaba” (discussion).

“As a leading business bank in South Africa, a core part of our strategy is to help develop SMEs by supporting entrepreneurs through their journey, and a key part of this journey is entrepreneurship knowledge and skills which we believe can help on a large-scale using our digital infrastructure,” said Weinberg.

The Fundaba educational programme consists of 12 modules across four lifecycle stages of a business (incubate, start, run and grow) and follows a South African entrepreneur’s journey as he builds his first business – ‘Lebo’s Bakery’. All audio and video content isavailable in five local languages including, IsiZulu, isiXhosa, Sesotho, English and Afrikaans.

“Through our research and first-hand engagements with SMEs, we discovered that there is a knowledge gap amongst many existing and aspiring entrepreneurs when it comes to starting, running and growing a business. We feel we have a role to play to help close this gap, and at the same time help catalyse a country-wide dialogue of increasing entrepreneurship skills and knowledge sharing,” Weinberg said.

Zero monthly fees

First Business Zero card
First Business Zero, is a digital no monthly account fee business bank account. Image supplied by FNB

The second innovation launched by the bank is First Business Zero, a digital on-platform business bank account offered by FNB from 1 November 2019. The offering is designed specifically for sole proprietor businesses with an annual turnover up to R5 million and can be opened on the FNB App within a few minutes using the bank’s “Selfie” process to identity and verify the user.

According to Mike Vacy-Lyle, FNB Business CEO, key features of the First Business Zero proposition include no monthly account fee, unlimited free POS card swipes, inter-operable QR code for accepting payments, linked saving pocket to ring-fence savings and earn interest, and an FNB Connect SIM card that includes free data, minutes and SMSs (up to 100mb data, 30 voice minutes, 30 SMSs).

Businesses will also get free access to FNB Business’ suite of free value-added services, including Instant Accounting software, Invoicing, Cash Flow and Payroll.

“FNB has invested billions of Rands in developing a business banking platform that offers holistic and integrated financial solutions to all types of businesses,” said Vacy-Lyle.

“To maintain our market leading position, it is essential that our business model continually evolves to provide relevant solutions for customers, from learning how to start, run and grow a business, to registering a company, opening a bank account, applying for credit and managing the businesses daily affairs.”

He added that during the past financial year to June 2019, FNB Business banked SME lending reached more than R40 billion on the back of simple, scored, digital lending, with a credit approval taking less than three minutes in many instances. The bank further extended over R8 billion to women-led businesses during the same period.

“Better use of data, understanding client context, easier credit applications through scoring and digitisation, as well as lower origination costs, have led to better, deeper credit underwriting and quicker turnaround times. This has made borrowing from FNB Business a much better experience with better pricing,” said Vacy-Lyle.

“Continued digitisation of the commercial banking experience, at scale, has resulted in improved efficiencies and a lower cost of banking. This benefit of scale will be passed on to the customer through more affordable banking solutions like these.” –GeekWire.co.za

How fintech is shaking up African banking

The onslaught of challenger banks in Africa will continue to disrupt the competitive landscape in the financial services sector and these banks are aggressive digital-first players looking to change the industry.
That’s according to Greg Dwyer, Treasury Subject Matter Expert at Andile Solutions, who added: “Not only are they changing the industry, but they are helping to transform the African continent through financial systems that serve everyone”.
He said Andile recently helped usher two significant fintech evolutions into the African market. “We identified real needs for a modern treasury system, one that embraces digital transformation, is quick on time-to-market with our local market knowledge and reduced total cost of ownership to name a few.
“These are some of the typical challenges faced by Africa’s challenger banks, a new breed of financial institutions that leverages technology and modernity to bring better and cheaper services to the continent’s customers.”
He said treasury projects in Africa have in the past been hobbled by poor implementations and legacy technology. “African banks have been treated like any other international bank, with little local context.
“Calypso has addressed this with their Bank-in-A-Box program, which has enabled Andile to reduce their implementation time and thereby significantly reduce implicit and explicit cost to new clients. Such treasury system projects are accomplished through Andile’s partnership with Calypso.”
Calypso is a leading global provider of cross-asset front-to-back technology solutions for financial markets, recently named Best Treasury Management System in the bobsguide Awards for 2019.
One of Andile’s success stories is the implementation of Calypso for Fidelity Bank, the leading market player in Ghana’s Fixed Income and Debt Capital Market. Another recent success is the implementation of Calypso for Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO). It was delivered in just five months as part of their digital transformation strategy.


Battle tested
By leveraging its partnership with Calypso, Andile has been able to provide African banks with a battle-tested target operating model to meet their treasury needs. This enables the challenger bank to proactively adapt to ever-changing market conditions whilst being able to manage the risk associated efficiently.
“Our partner program is extremely successful. It provides our clients with a more nurturing engagement required to implement our leading technology to banks in Africa. We have to remain relevant to African markets by providing world-class and appropriate African oriented solutions,” said Dennis Belford, MD for Africa, Calypso Technology.
Andries Brink, CEO of Andile Group, said these are signs of Andile’s commitment to maintain and grow Africa’s place as a major player in the global financial workplace. “Methodologies and innovation evolving from our African experience are now being deployed by Calypso globally, demonstrating that world-class solutions wherever deployed in the global marketplace including Africa are key markers for success.” – GeekWire.co.za

Don’t let device deployment hamper your business transformation

Dell Unified Workspace
Dell says its Unified-Workspace service will significantly speed up the process of setting up new staff with company devices. Image supplied by Dell Technologies

By Jonathan Ryall

Finally, that open vacancy has been filled. After a process of attracting interest, vetting candidates and picking the best among the rest, a new employee has arrived at your company. They are ready and hungry to go from day 1.

But they don’t get a device until day five or 10 or even later. When they do, it’s often not as useful as anyone expected. The applications are generic, the type of device didn’t take their role into consideration and it can’t even do half the things they require from it.

Ten or more years ago, these were not major considerations. But devices were not as commonplace and role-centric as they are today. Work habits were also very different. Back then, we all mostly stayed in offices. But today, 81% of employees engage with work outside of their offices and 76% work in two or more places.

This requires a new way of managing workspaces, including devices, applications and user enrolment. It’s not just about efficiency, but also the future: companies that can get the workspace dynamic right are three times more likely to be digital transformation leaders. This makes sense: if your workforce is engaged and appreciative of modern technologies, they will carry the change with them.

But that can’t be done if you are still waiting a week to provision devices that are chosen for their convenience and not purpose. Why does this happen? IT departments simply don’t have the time to address every nuanced user need that is sent their way. Anything from resetting passwords to granting VPN access to installing applications takes time – multiply that over dozens or hundreds of employees and it’s amazing IT gets anything done at all.

Jonathan Ryall, Client Solutions Field Marketing Manager at Dell Technologies. Image supplied by company

Dell Technologies saw this problem and, in collaboration with VMWare, developed a solution that ticks all of the above boxes and more. Dell Unified Workspace is a holistic device, application and user management service, built and integrated with VMWare’s Workspace One platform.

It’s a strategy that supports all devices and gives users a consistent experience: provisioning and deploying the right devices with the right services to the right people. The processes dictating who gets what are automated, thus freeing IT’s resources while at the same time ensuring employees can hit the ground running from day one.

Unified Workspace is secure thanks to further collaboration with Secureworks. We all know that giving users access to any data on any device creates a much larger attack surface. It’s another reason why provisioning of devices, applications and access is so slow. But Unified Workspace offers a complete solution to these problems. Backed by ProSupport, it meets the ultimate goal: to take away the pain of end-user IT deployment without increasing risk.

The greatest digital strategies ever conceived are useless if your workforce can’t do their job effectively. A trivial issue such as deploying devices or services can undo business transformation. But with Unified Workspace, that is in the past. – GeekWire.co.za

Jonathan Ryall is Client Solutions Field Marketing Manager at Dell Technologies

Galaxy Fold coming to South Africa in September, Samsung honcho confirms

Sung-Yoon-President-CEO-Samsung-Electronics-Africa
Sung Yoon President & CEO of Samsung-Electronics Africa. Photo credit Alan Cooper, GeekWire.co.za

AFTER postponing the rollout of its Galaxy Fold phone-tablet hybrid following a string of high-profile failures among review models, Samsung has made improvements that it believes will solve the problems and get the ground-breaking folding screen device into stores sometime in September 2019.

That’s according to Sung Yoon President and CEO of Samsung Electronics Africa, speaking at last night’s launch of the company’s Galaxy Note and Note Plus smartphones.

“I can confirm that the Galaxy Fold will be available in South Africa in September,” he told an audience of mobile industry representatives and media in Sandton, Johannesburg following a live stream of Samsung’s #Unpacked event from New York.

The most common problem encountered by reviewers was a partial or complete failure of the screen after they removed the screen protector. Unlike the peel-off protectors that come with other smartphones, the one on the Galaxy Fold is not supposed to be taken off.

Sung said that to solve this problem, Samsung has tucked the screen protector under the bezel of the device. Previously there was gap between the screen protector and the edges of the phone making it appear like the standard removable protector found on other mobile devices.

Samsung is also reportedly beefing up the warning not to remove the screen protector that accompanies the phone, making it larger and placing it more prominently.

The second, less common, problem encountered by reviewers was a gap in the hinge area on the top and bottom of the folding device that lets dust, grit and other foreign objects in, potentially damaging the screen from below.  Samsung is said to be shrinking these gaps in an attempt to minimise this risk. – GeekWire.co.za

Taking companies on a digital adventure

Valter Adão, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer for Deloitte Africa
Valter Adão, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer for Deloitte Africa. Photo credit Alan Cooper, GeekWire.co.za

Deloitte recently concluded a week-long series of digital immersion sessions in KwaZulu-Natal, aimed at introducing leading companies operating in the region to the many exponential technologies available to them today.

“We positioned the week’s activities around the theme, ‘We’re on a new adventure’,” explained Ruwayda Redfearn, the professional services firm’s Regional Managing Partner: KZN.

“Until now much of the focus, where digital transformation is concerned, has been on the negative consequences of failing to adapt to the new digital reality, a ‘doom and gloom’ scenario. By contrast, Deloitte’s focus during the Digital Week and going forward is to underline the many opportunities presented by digital technology and how we are perfectly positioned to take our clients on a journey of possibilities in this exciting new world,” she said.

Incorporating the best elements of Deloitte’s acclaimed Greenhouse innovation centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town, the KZN immersion experience exposed participants to the gamut of Deloitte’s powerful digital assets. These range from Connected Retail, Supply Chain and Customer marketing solutions, as well as several locally developed analytics, predictive modelling and gamified performance management tools, to name a few.

“Deloitte has built some incredible digital solutions and offerings,” said Alex Moir, the firm’s supply chain lead for Consumer Services Sector – Africa. “Hosting the digital immersion week was an unrivalled opportunity to introduce these solutions to select KZN clients, specifically focussing on the fast moving consumable goods (FMCG) sector.”

Valter Adão, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer for Deloitte Africa, said companies considering adopting digital assets faced a bewildering, constantly evolving array of technologies and trends.

“Our aim during the KZN digital immersion week was to simplify the field and distil it down to the three most important things businesses need to think about when considering digital transformation.

“These are: leveraging digital technology to unlock exponential growth inside the business, boosting productivity inside organisations by allowing them to conduct the same business but at a lower cost point, and leveraging digital to uplift the experience customers have when engaging with the organisation,” Adão said.

Redfearn said feedback from the Digital Week attendees had been overwhelmingly positive.

“Many of our clients and prospective clients still view us as largely an audit firm, unaware that Deloitte are leaders within the digital transformation space.”

She added that this pre-eminence was underpinned last month when Gartner, the world’s leading information technology and advisory company, ranked Deloitte as the number one worldwide consulting service provider for the second consecutive year. Earlier this year, it named Deloitte the Undisputed Global Leader for CRM & Customer Experience Implementation Services as well as Global Leader in Public Cloud Infrastructure Managed and Professional Services. This follows recognition from ALM Intelligence last year of Deloitte as the Undisputed Global Leader in Innovation Strategy Consulting.

“Our KZN Digital Week was a decisive first step in launching this globally-acclaimed capability to the local market. We were able show attendees, many of them key decision makers for top companies, what we can do and get an idea of what their challenges and opportunities are in this arena,” Redfearn said. – GeekWire.co.za