Modernization, disruption & the power of partnerships
Global enterprise software business, Software AG, recently held the South African leg of its global 2019 Innovation Tour in Johannesburg. The day was filled with insights from keynote speakers, customers, partners and Software AG executives and also proved the software company’s commitment to transformation through its enterprise development program.
Software AG VP and Country MD, Kholiwe Makhohliso kicked off the proceedings with a video celebrating the impact Software AG has had on the world as it celebrates its 50th year of turning data into value.
It all started in 1969, where Dr. Peter Schnell and 5 young software engineers founded Software AG at a time where software products did not exist. Today the company is older than any IT organization globally and is still going strong.
The first keynote address of the day drove home the importance of partnerships.
Avbob’s modernization journey
Being one of Africa’s largest and oldest (100 years) financial service providers, Helen Constantinides, CIO of Avbob, outlined the challenge of modernization in an interview with Erlend Asker, SVP Global Professional Services at Software AG UK Ltd.
With 33 years running on Software AG technologies, she contended that the future matters more than the past. “Over the last five years, we have grown closer to Software AG. They are more than just a partner, they are a strategic technology partner,” she said.
Avbob has over 50 000 applications that require modernization, with 1000s of processes deeply integrated into the code. Two years down the road and the Avbob modernization strategy has changed many times. “We are finally starting to develop a single view of our customer and are doing it with many Software AG tools,” said Constantinides.
The second wave of disruption
Flux Trends Trend Translator and Futurist, Bronwyn Williams, then provided a much needed wakeup call for many in the audience – lifting the veil off a fast-approaching future. “Just as we get used to the first wave of disruption, we have to get ready for another,” said Williams. “Now it is time for the collapse of the value chain, cutting out the middleman.”
She said that giant conglomerates, like Facebook, have been pivoting into these spaces for years, locking tech consumers into their ecosystems and making it much harder for smaller businesses to compete.
Her advice: “We need to lean into the pivot. Become responsive to change and the way we approach the business we work in and the world we live in. A new way of systems processes and businesses where disruption is the new norm, shifting from selling products to selling a purpose or solution.”
Commitment to transformation
Towards the end of the afternoon, as the sun was beginning to set and before drinks were in hand, Country MD, Kholiwe Makhohliso highlighted the company’s strategy and commitment to transformation.
She was joined on stage by Software AG Head of Transformation, Ndazi Nokoane, who highlighted the organization’s enterprise development programs and the internship program.
First, the company brought up Voyc, a young and dynamic duo working in the AI space. Next Veronica Motloutsi, CEO of Smart Digital Solutions, stepped up celebrating her winning the Standard Bank Women in IT award.
Software AG executives then handed over a cheque for R100k to the Sakhikamva Foundation along with laptops that will be used in coding lessons for underprivileged schools. As part of Africa Code Week, Software AG will be at these schools next week to solidify this commitment.
Software AG Head of Transformation, Ndazi Nokoane said, “As we celebrate our 50th year, to go forward another 50 years it is critical that we fully commit ourselves to help transform the world around us as we all venture into a brave new world together.
A perfect end to a perfect day
To end off the day and usher the delegates into the 50th celebration, 5FM DJ Fikile Moeti was ready to help delegates let their hair down. Software AG chose her because she would dedicate the proceeds of this gig towards her “Fix Scholarship”, which offers life-changing opportunities to social entrepreneurs.
As the program came to a close, the evening ended with two lucky winners who, thanks to the stickers under their seats, walked away with DJI Drones. It was fun to see a room full of people hunched over inspecting the bottom of their seats.
With Champagne in hand, Kholiwe Makhohliso & Patrick Shields kicked off the 50th celebrations with a toast, cake cutting, and incredible live performances from violinists, Bang Bang, and magician MO Magic, who had been with the event since the morning spreading joy and delight with his unique magic.