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Vol: 02
Issue: 04
2024
The CIO is no longer just a
. They are a
TECHNOLOGIST
strategic ,
BUSINESS LEADER
driving digital transformation
and .
INNOVATION
www.thecioworld.com
“Strategy is about
shaping the future.”
H
aving a plan is about creating the future. This
important idea captures the core of thinking
ahead and making plans in today's ever-growing
world. In a world that is always changing and can be
confusing, being able to imagine and shape what's to come
is what sets successful companies and leaders apart.
Being a strategist and leaders in the field, CIOs have quietly
led the sector of technology, ensuring smooth operations
behind the scenes. However, in this era, their roles have
transcended mere maintenance. As organizations
increasingly rely on technology to drive innovation and
gain competitive advantage, CIOs have emerged as pivotal
figures in shaping the future trajectory of their companies.
CIOs are no longer entirely responsible for IT infrastructure
management and technical problem-solving. Today, they are
strategic decision-makers who influence business strategies
and drive digital transformation programs. CIOs, with a
Editor’s
Note
- Max McKeown
distinctive blend of technical expertise and commercial
competence, have the vision to see how emerging
technologies may be used to meet corporate goals.
In our latest edition of The CIO World, we present South
Africa's 10 Most Influential CIOs to Watch, highlighting
the CIOs who serve an integral part in establishing the path
toward resilience and long-term viability by directing
initiatives to fortify digital defenses, leverage data analytics
for actionable insights, and promote an innovative culture
that propels the organization forward.
Have a great read ahead!
- Alaya Brown
Managing Editor
Editor-in-Chief
Deputy Editor
Managing Editor
Assistant Editor
Visualizer
Art & Design Head
Art & Design Assitant
Business Development Manager
Business Development Executives
Technical Head
Assitant Technical Head
Digital Marketing Manager
Research Analyst
Circulation Manager
Chidiebere Moses
Sam Carter
Alaya Brown
Maria Evans
Chris Carter
Millie Simon
Judy Smith
Phoebe Jacob
Aisha, Olivia
David Walker
Mia Rodricks
Helena Smith
Eric Smith
Richard Martinez
Copyright © 2024 The CIO World, All rights reserved. The content and images used in this magazine
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RNI No.: MAHENG/2018/75953
Descrip on
Featuring
10X Investments
www.10x.co.za
AVBOB Mutual
Assurance Society
South Africa
www.avbob.co.za
World Sports Be ng
www.worldsportsbe ng.co.za
eThekwini Municipality
www.durban.gov.za
TTS - Top Talent
Solu ons
www. s-talent.com
DRDGOLD Limited
www.drdgold.com
CIB
www.cib.co.za
The Johannesburg
Stock Exchange (JSE)
www.jse.co.za
Andriij Beer
CIO
Anton Eser
CIO
Helen Constan nides
Chief Informa on Officer
Ivan Zaltsman
CIO
Mahomed Shaik
CTIO
Nomazwi Mhloma
Deputy Chief
Informa on Officer (CIO)
Renier Lewis
CIO
Shalin Naidoo
Chief Informa on Officer
Shoaib Nathie
CIO
Tebalo Tsoaeli
CIO
Andriij Beer is the Chief Informa on Officer at Ocean
Basket Holdings, bringing strategic IT leadership to drive
innova on and digital transforma on in the dynamic world
of seafood dining.
Anton Eser, the Chief Investment Officer at 10X Investments
since 2021, leads strategic growth in investment capabili es
and client outreach. Specializing in long-term mul -asset
inves ng, we offer systema c exposure to global markets
through low-cost ETFs and Uts.
Helen, a skilled technologist, possesses the ability to
conceptualize, create, and implement solu ons with the
poten al to transform the way people live, work, and connect.
Ivan Zaltsman, a seasoned professional, serves as the Chief
Informa on Officer at World Sports Be ng, leveraging
exper se in technology to drive innova on and excellence in
the sports be ng industry.
With over two decades of experience, including a decade as a
management consultant in diverse sectors and other leading
industry ini a ves, Mahomed brings a wealth of exper se to
the table.
Mhloma's journey began with her tenure as an ICT Service
Delivery Manager at Transnet, where she honed her skills in
IT service management. Her subsequent role as an ICT
Campus Manager at the University of Johannesburg.
Renier Lewis serves as the Chief Informa on Officer at TTS -
Top Talent Solu ons, driving innova on and technology
strategies to enhance organiza onal success and efficiency.
Appointed as the CIO of DRDGold in November 2020, Shalin
brings a wealth of experience, including a decade as an IT
consultant and notable posi ons at companies like Anglo
Pla num and Arysta LifeScience.
A highly skilled and experienced IT Execu ve with 24 years of
industry exper se, adept at op mizing IT departments in
manufacturing, engineering, distribu on, financial services,
and mobile telecommunica ons sectors.
Tebalo, hailing from Maseru, Lesotho, embarked on an
educa onal journey that led to a BSc in Computer Science,
an MBA from Rhodes University, and a fervent love for
technology.
Ocean Basket Holdings
ww.oceanbasket.com
Company
Blue Label Telecoms
www.bluelabeltelecoms.co.za
C T
Helen
Constantinides
From Childhood Dreams to Technology
Leadership
08
C O V E R
S T O R Y
T S
16
20 28
32
24
36
A R T I C L E S
P R O F I L E S
MAHOMED SHAIK
THE POWER OF
HYPERAUTOMATION!
SYNERGY
IN ACTION!
SHALIN NAIDOO
NOMAZWI MHLOMA
TEBALO TSOAELI
Cultivating the
Resilience Essential for
Business Triumphs
Structuring Business
and Technology
Teams for a Seamless
Flow of Work
A Step-by-Step Guide to
Building Intelligent
Digital Workforces
Driving Operational
Excellence and Building
Strategic IT Functions
Empowering Communities
Through Digital Innovation
Crafting Technology
Strategies Aligned with
Strategic Ambitions
P
R
O
F
I
L
E
A
R
T
I
C
L
E
A
R
T
I
C
L
E
P
R
O
F
I
L
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P
R
O
F
I
L
E
P
R
O
F
I
L
E
FROM
CHILDHOOD
DREAMS TO
TECHNOLOGY
LEADERSHIP
Helen
Constantinides
Our boundless ideas, unrelenting energy,
and resolute dedication have the potential
to usher in groundbreaking innovations
and catalyze transformative shifts. It is our
duty to seize these opportunities, to act
boldly, and to leave an indelible mark
imbued with a sense of respect.
C O V E R S T O R Y
,
,
,
,
Embracing Change, Leading Innovation, and Shaping the
Future of Business!
e live in a world where technological
Wadvancements occur at breakneck speed. From
artificial intelligence to blockchain, from
biotechnology to space exploration, the digital revolution
has touched every facet of our lives. Within this versatile
environment, it's the leaders who harness these innovations
and steer them toward meaningful impact that truly stand
out.
Meet Helen Constantinides, the Chief Information
Officer at AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society South
Africa, whose journey embodies the essence of
adaptability, perseverance, and a relentless pursuit of
excellence.
As a child, Helen's dreams revolved around becoming a
doctor or a lawyer, noble pursuits that promise to make a
difference in people's lives. Little did she know that her
path would take a different direction, leading her into the
dynamic world of technology. But the seeds of her early
aspirations laid the foundation for her future endeavors.
"Our childhood aspirations," she reflects, "Shape our
values and ambitions, guiding us even when our path
diverges."
Helen's career in technology wasn't just a choice; it was an
embrace of adaptability and a thirst for new challenges.
Technology, she believes, is the driving force behind
positive transformations in our world. It's a realm that
demands continuous learning, positioning its practitioners
at the forefront of innovation. Helen is not just an observer
of change; she is a catalyst for it.
Venturing into the realm of technology has allowed her to
actively shape the future. As a CIO, her role is not confined
to overseeing IT infrastructure; it's about driving change
within businesses and enhancing people's lives through
technological advancements. She's not content with simply
reacting to change; she's determined to be its architect.
The journey of a CIO in today's business landscape
demands more than just technical expertise. It calls for
qualities like strength, persistence, courage, and unrelenting
focus. Helen Constantinides embodies these traits and
more. Her commitment to continual learning ensures that
she stays ahead in a field where standing still means falling
behind.
Helen believes in breaking through barriers and adopting a
solution-oriented mindset. She is a pioneer of innovative
problem-solving approaches that not only solve immediate
challenges but also set new standards for the industry.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Visionary: Technological Impact and Achievements
Helen, a skilled technologist, possesses the ability to
conceptualize, create, and implement solutions with the
potential to transform the way people live, work, and
connect. Her endeavors in the technology sector, whether
they involve pioneering software development, designing
user-friendly interfaces, or contributing to cutting-edge
research, hold the promise of disrupting established norms
and making a lasting impact on various businesses,
industries, and society as a whole.
In her current role, she holds the esteemed position of Chief
Information Officer and Executive Member for the AVBOB
Mutual Assurance Society and the Group. Helen is proud to
have received prestigious honors, including being
recognized as one of the '10 Best CIOs of 2022' and as a
finalist for the 'Visionary CIO' in both 2019 and 2020. In
addition to these achievements, she has had the privilege of
serving as a member of the DASA DevOps Jury Panel in
both 2022 and 2023, as well as contributing her expertise as
a board member for Wired4women.
Vision for Digital Transformation
As the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Helen considers
her role to be that of a visionary and catalyst for the future.
She is deeply committed to unlocking new achievements
and opportunities for AVBOB. Her mission is to inspire and
influence her peers in the effective utilization of
Information Technology (IT) to create customer value,
foster growth, improve profit margins, and enhance
shareholder wealth. Currently, AVBOB's most extensive
and strategically vital project is the comprehensive end-to-
end application transformation and modernization initiative.
This program represents the convergence of customer and
employee engagement and experience—digital
transformation. The IT and business units across the
AVBOB Group are collaboratively working to revamp and
automate processes and introduce modernized applications
and technologies, all while managing changes and
equipping the workforce with modern skills.
South Africa's 10 Most Influen al CIOs to Watch
WE STAND AS A
DRIVING FORCE
PROPELLING
CHANGE AND
ADVANCEMENT
WITHIN THE
INSURANCE AND
FINANCIAL
INDUSTRY,
OFFERING A FRESH
PERSPECTIVE AND
DELIVERING
INVALUABLE
CONTRIBUTIONS
TO THIS EVER-
EVOLVING SECTOR.
Helen Constan nides
Chief Informa on Officer
AVBOB Mutual Assurance
Society South Africa
,
,
,
,
The digital transformation journey at AVBOB revolves
around advancing a digital agenda of change that adds
substantial value. The overarching goal of the IT
department is to establish a sustainable, inclusive, and
service-oriented digital workplace for both customers and
employees. The purpose is to drive innovative digital
solutions that unlock value and fortify business resilience.
The integration of digital technology across all operations is
revolutionizing customer engagement, ensuring a consistent
and accessible experience anytime, anywhere.
The ICT strategy serves as a strategic roadmap guiding
AVBOB towards achieving its overarching objectives.
Currently, the AVBOB Group is actively pursuing various
digital initiatives aimed at enhancing customer-centricity
through self-service, automation, and intuitive data
solutions. In today's highly competitive landscape,
delivering immediacy, personalization, and accessibility to
customers is of utmost importance.
Helen firmly believes that each leader encounters unique
challenges and opportunities while navigating their roles.
As they construct technological bridges within the
organization, it is essential to embrace authenticity and
personal accountability while remaining steadfast in the
vision for progress along the digital transformation journey.
The bridges forged must be robust enough to facilitate
candid discussions that drive meaningful change and
transformation in the realms of technology and business.
Shaping Tomorrow by Embracing Change
The digital transformation program is viewed as highly
significant. It has captured the attention of AVBOB's board
and holds a prominent place in their strategic initiatives.
This program represents a shift from the old to the new,
where what was once never-ending now becomes a fresh
start. Its objective is to replace outdated systems with
modern solutions, ultimately shaping AVBOB into a
company that meets present demands and prepares for the
future. The progress made in AVBOB's digital
transformation journey has been truly transformative. They
have taken a leading role in this journey, fostering
connections and deeply ingraining digital transformation
principles into their organizational culture. This
comprehensive approach includes automation,
modernization, seamless integration of data and
applications, optimization of existing systems, and
maintaining a high level of competitiveness in the ever-
evolving digital landscape.
Elevating Security and Efficiency
Maintaining a delicate equilibrium between robust
cybersecurity measures and the seamless operation of IT
processes is a pivotal responsibility for AVBOB's Chief
Information Officer (CIO). In response to the escalating
cyber threats, AVBOB consistently evaluates and enhances
the Group's cybersecurity defenses, reinforcing safeguards
against potential breaches and cyberattacks.
The insurance industry operates within a highly regulated
framework. AVBOB's steadfast commitment to continuous
action ensures the company's compliance with all relevant
laws and industry standards governing information
technology and data management.
In the relentless pursuit of excellence, AVBOB remains
vigilant in tracking the latest technological trends and
identifying innovative solutions that enhance the efficiency
of operations and elevate the experiences of valued
customers. This dedication is a daily imperative.
By embracing a proactive and comprehensive approach to
cybersecurity, one that encompasses the triad of people,
processes, and technology, the CIO can effectively shield
data while preserving the efficiency and responsiveness of
IT operations to meet the ever-evolving needs of the
business. The meticulous balancing act required to
prioritize these facets demands perpetual vigilance and a
steadfast commitment to staying one step ahead of
emerging threats.
Collaborative Digital Transformation
Fostering collaboration is an imperative that guides
AVBOB's daily endeavors. The evolving landscape of their
business continually underscores the need for enhanced
technological capabilities. Technology serves as the
cornerstone of AVBOB's future, empowering them to
embark on an ongoing digital journey that significantly
impacts their service delivery to individuals across South
Africa.
At its core, the digital transformation program spanning the
entirety of the AVBOB Group is, fundamentally, an
inclusion initiative. It aspires to seamlessly integrate digital
technology into every facet of its operations, thereby
reshaping operational paradigms and enriching the value
provided to members, consumers, and dedicated employees.
AVBOB's mission is to empower technology to align
with the strategic imperatives of their business,
bridging the gap between IT and overarching business
objectives. The velocity of this transformation is
intricately tied to their business strategy, foremost
priorities, and designated timelines. While they remain
acutely attuned to external influences such as customer
trends, local market dynamics, and competitive forces,
these factors serve to inform and, at times, challenge
their timelines. Nevertheless, their unwavering
commitment to safeguarding their reputation dictates
that they prioritize doing things the right way for their
customers, even if it necessitates additional time and
diligence.
Data-driven Approach
AVBOB's use of data analytics and insights to enhance
its services and provide more value to its customers is
driven by a commitment to data-driven decision-
making. In today's technology-driven world, data plays
a crucial role in transforming industries and improving
business performance. It recognizes the importance of
harnessing the power of data to make informed
decisions, optimize business operations, and
personalize customer interactions and services. By
leveraging data, it empowers its customers and
members by providing them with valuable insights into
its services and products.
Technological innovation is a key focus for AVBOB, as
it strives to equip its customers with the necessary tools
to navigate the digital landscape. This includes offering
self-service options and introducing customer-facing
digital channels. These advancements are aimed at
enhancing personalization, integrating data seamlessly,
and delivering high-quality customer application
services.
AVBOB's commitment to its customers goes beyond
just providing services. The company takes a holistic
approach to customer lifetime value, ensuring enduring
satisfaction and success. This commitment is evident in
its ongoing investments in data analytics to gain deeper
insights into customer preferences, behaviors, and
needs. By doing so, it can tailor its services and
effectively support its members.
Overall, AVBOB's use of data analytics and insights
underscores its dedication to enhancing customer
experiences and creating value through personalized
services.
Enhancing Customer Experience in Funeral Services
AVBOB has embraced digital transformation to enhance the
customer experience in the funeral services industry. By
integrating technology thoughtfully, it aims to offer greater
convenience, support, and personalization during what can
be a sensitive and challenging time for families. To achieve
this, AVBOB has developed a web and mobile app that
provides easy access to essential information, FAQs, grief
support resources, and immediate assistance to answer
common questions, available 24/7.
Additionally, it has created digital tools that empower
customers to make informed decisions, expedite claim
payments, and reduce stress during difficult times. They
have implemented secure online document storage for
important end-of-life documents and convenient digital
payment options to streamline financial transactions for
grieving families.
Recognizing the importance of their employees' role in
providing exceptional customer service, AVBOB has
invested in technology initiatives to equip their staff with
digital tools. They have also developed internal support
systems to assist employees in managing the emotional
challenges that arise when dealing with grieving families.
In the interest of security and privacy, AVBOB utilizes
digital solutions to protect customer data, particularly
considering the sensitive nature of the funeral services
industry. They comply with data protection regulations,
building trust with customers regarding the safety of their
personal information.
To continuously enhance the customer experience, it
actively seeks feedback from both customers and
employees. This feedback helps them identify areas for
improvement and innovation in their services.
Ethical Approach to Integrating Emerging Technologies
AVBOB's approach to integrating emerging technologies
while maintaining ethical practices and customer trust is
centered around a "Zero compromise" and "Zero tolerance"
stance. This commitment to ethical behavior is deeply
ingrained in its values and reflects the organization's culture
of integrity and trust. It recognizes the increasing
importance of ethical considerations as technology
continues to advance and become more pervasive in our
lives. The company is dedicated to safeguarding the use,
storage, and sharing of data, with an emphasis on obtaining
consent for the use of personal information from its
members. Protecting data from breaches and unauthorized
access is seen as an ethical duty, and AVBOB takes
measures to ensure this is upheld.
Furthermore, AVBOB is mindful of the ethical implications
surrounding the production and disposal of IT assets. The
company also prioritizes the use of "green energy" in its
data centers, demonstrating a commitment to environmental
responsibility.
In the design of its applications and employee and member
engagement platforms, as well as social media platforms
and websites, it places importance on inclusivity and
bridging the digital divide in South Africa. This ensures that
all users have equal access and opportunities to engage with
its services and offerings. AVBOB's approach extends to
adhering to regulation and legislative governance, ensuring
that ethical practices are not only upheld within the
organization but also in line with external requirements.
CENTRAL TO OUR
ETHOS ARE
CONSIDERATIONS
AND RESPECT FOR
OTHERS, SELF-
RESPECT, AND AN
UNRELENTING
COMMITMENT TO
DELIVER AND EXCEL.
,
,
,
,
Overall, its integration of emerging technologies is guided
by a steadfast commitment to ethical practices and the trust
of its customers.
Commitment to Innovation
Attracting and retaining skilled IT professionals is crucial
for AVBOB's commitment to technological innovation. Its
strategic positioning as a forward-looking company focused
on creating shared value has been instrumental in driving
growth and fostering innovation, resulting in tangible
economic benefits for members and communities. To adapt
to the changing work landscape, AVBOB prioritizes
enhancing its workforce by offering upskilling opportunities
and equipping staff with new capabilities to enrich service
offerings. It is proud to have received the prestigious Top
Employer award in South Africa for six consecutive years,
highlighting its dedication to advancing the employee value
proposition through progressive human resource practices.
The success of AVBOB relies not only on having
individuals with the necessary skills to deliver top-tier
services to customers but also on the collective knowledge,
diverse expertise, and unwavering commitment of its
employees to drive sustainable value creation. It is
determined to attract and retain top talent in the IT field,
recognizing its crucial role in driving innovation and
maintaining a highly skilled workforce. This involves a
focus on talent development, fostering a positive workplace
culture, offering competitive compensation, engaging
employees in challenging projects, and valuing diversity.
Collaboration is highly valued, and it takes pride in
recognizing and rewarding exceptional talents that
contribute to its ongoing success.
Qualities and Advice for Aspiring Professionals
As a prominent CIO, the personal qualities that drive
passion for IT leadership are essential in shaping the future
of the insurance and financial industries. By offering a fresh
perspective and delivering invaluable contributions, they
have the potential to usher in groundbreaking innovations
and catalyze transformative shifts. It is their duty to seize
opportunities, act boldly, and leave an indelible mark
imbued with respect. In this dynamic arena, aspiring IT
professionals should embrace the prospect of thriving as
future leaders. Engaging in a profession that is rewarding
and inherently impactful requires consideration and respect
for others, self-respect, and an unwavering commitment to
deliver and excel. A personal tenet of successful IT
professionals revolves around the perpetual quest for
learning in life. By drawing lessons from diverse
experiences, they can propel themselves forward and
maintain an enduring sense of momentum.
In today's rapidly evolving world, technology serves as
the catalyst for positive change, shaping not only
organizations but also the lives and communities they
touch. Beyond merely streamlining processes and
automating tasks, technology has the power to revolutionize
the way we live, work, and interact with one another. When
harnessed effectively and aligned with overarching business
goals, technological initiatives become transformative
forces, empowering employees, customers, and our
businesses to work smarter, make informed decisions, and
achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency. By embracing
innovation and leveraging technology as a tool for progress,
we unlock boundless potential to uplift individuals, enhance
communities, and drive positive global impact.
Mahomed Shaik, the CTIO of Blue Label Telecoms, is
keen on driving meaningful changes at the intersection of
technology, business and digital innovation. With over two
decades of experience, including a decade as a management
consultant in diverse sectors and other leading industry
initiatives, Mahomed brings a wealth of expertise to the
table.
In our discussion with him, he talked about his primary
responsibilities at Blue Label Telecoms.
Below are the highlights of our conversation!
Please brief us about yourself and what inspired you to
embark on this sector.
I am Mahomed Shaik, passionately immersed in the
intersection of technology, business, and digital innovation.
My journey began as an entrepreneur in fashion retail,
cultivating the resilience essential for business triumphs.
Shifting gears to financial management, I mastered the art
of interpreting and applying numerical insights, laying the
foundation for my evolution into a technology-focused role.
I have always been captivated by the intersection of finance
and technology, and this fascination ultimately led me first
to dive into the dynamic world of retail and now fintech.
From an early age, I found myself captivated by the rapid
advancements in technology, from the rise of personal
computing to the dawn of the internet age. I started coding
at the age of 12, although I won't say which language, as it
will give my age away. This fascination only deepened as I
witnessed the transformative power of technology to
revolutionize industries, connect communities, and shape
the way we live, work, and interact.
What began as a fascination with gadgets and gizmos soon
evolved into a deeper appreciation for the underlying
principles of computing, coding, transformation, and digital
innovation. As I delved deeper into the world of technology,
I became increasingly drawn to its potential to tackle some
of the world's most pressing challenges. Whether it's
harnessing the power of technology applications to improve
and drive efficiency and productivity, leveraging blockchain
technology to revolutionize finance and supply chain
management, or exploring the boundless possibilities of
artificial intelligence, data, or augmented and virtual reality,
I saw technology not just as a tool but as a catalyst for
positive change.
My journey in the technology sector is driven by a passion
for exploring the frontiers of innovation, unraveling the
mysteries of emerging technologies, and harnessing their
potential to create a better, more connected world. It's a
journey marked by relentless curiosity, continuous learning,
and a steadfast commitment to pushing the boundaries of
what's possible. My journey into the fintech industry is a
blend of a deep-rooted interest in finance and a keen
awareness of the transformative power of technology.
With a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from
the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), I laid the
foundation for a career that seamlessly merges my
academic knowledge with hands-on experience. Over the
years, I have accumulated expertise in Retail, Financial
Services, Management Consulting and Fintech.
Could you give our readers an insight into Blue Label
Telecoms and its inception story?
Blue Label Telecoms is a mobile technology company that
specializes in prepaid products and the electronic
distribution of virtual merchandise and value-added
Mahomed
Shaik Cul va ng the Resilience
Essen al for Business Triumphs
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
16
Mahomed Shaik
Group Chief Technology and
Informa on Officer (CTIO)
Blue Label Telecoms
South Africa's 10 Most Influen al CIOs to Watch
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
17
services, including the full and seamless reconciliation of
billions of nano transactions.
"Anything that has alphanumeric characters, a barcode, or a
QR code can be vended. As long as it can be digitized, it
can be sold. The imagination becomes the limitation."
These are the words of Blue Label Telecoms Co-CEOs
Mark Levy and Brett Levy. In the early 2000s, prepaid
airtime for cell phones could only be accessed via a
physical card, which was very impractical. The man in the
middle (the distributor) may have only needed to stock up
on a certain denomination of prepaid card (e.g., ZAR55)
and would require a stock quantity of ten. Distributing 10
cards was logistically problematic, as it would mean the
distributor only received them in two to three weeks' time.
The two brothers realized in the early 2000s that prepaid
cellular products could be simplified for the customer
(user), the distributor, and the supplier. This was the start of
digitizing prepaid airtime through an electronic top-up pin.
And as they say, the rest is history. Blue Label Telecoms
now has an extended product range such as prepaid
electricity, vouchers, gaming vouchers, ticketing (events
and transport), and data solutions. Furthermore, Blue Label
Telecoms has broad distribution channels (retail, financial
services, etc.) and continues to grow its ecosystem.
Blue Label Telecom's philosophy is to relentlessly drive
financial inclusion for the mass market. This is achieved
through our entrepreneurial flair and our proprietary
technology platforms.
As a CIO, what do you consider your primary
responsibility in driving the organization's digital
strategy and technology initiatives?
As the Group Chief Technology and Information Officer
(CTIO), my primary responsibility in driving the
organization's digital strategy and technology initiatives
revolves around aligning technology with the overall
business objectives and ensuring that technology
investments deliver tangible value and competitive
advantages. Here are some key aspects of my role:
Ÿ Strategic Planning: I work closely with the executive
team to understand the organization's strategic goals and
identify how technology can support and enable those
objectives. This involves developing a comprehensive
digital strategy that outlines the roadmap for technology
adoption, innovation, and transformation.
Ÿ Technology Innovation: My team and I continuously
assess emerging technologies and industry trends to
identify opportunities for innovation that can drive
efficiency, enhance customer experiences, and create
new revenue streams. This involves evaluating the
potential risks and benefits of adopting new
technologies and championing innovation initiatives
within the organization. Currently, we are modernizing
our legacy technology platforms from the ground up so
they apply the latest architecture approaches
(microservices, composable, etc.), are API-first, and
have security built in as a foundation.
Ÿ Infrastructure and Operations: I oversee the
management of the organization's IT infrastructure,
ensuring that systems, networks, and applications are
secure, reliable, and scalable to support business
operations. This includes implementing robust
cybersecurity measures to protect against threats and
ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
Together with the rest of the Blue Label business, I lead the
organization's digital transformation efforts, guiding the
adoption of digital technologies and processes to streamline
operations, improve efficiency, and enhance agility. This
includes digitizing manual processes, leveraging cloud
computing, and implementing enterprise-wide digital
platforms. At Blue Label, not only do we invest in
technology to drive our digital transformation, but we also
#leavenohumanbehind. Our workforce is key to our
success, and as a result, we also invest in programs and
training that transform our mindsets, our insights, and our
competencies to succeed in this new digital world.
Stakeholder Engagement: I collaborate with key
stakeholders across the organization, including business
leaders, department heads, and external partners, to ensure
that technology initiatives are aligned with their needs and
priorities. This involves fostering strong relationships,
communicating effectively, and managing expectations
throughout the project lifecycle.
My journey in the
technology sector is driven by
a passion for exploring the
fron ers of innova on, unraveling
the mysteries of emerging
technologies, and harnessing
their poten al to create a be er,
more connected world.
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
18
Talent Development: I ensure that the organization has the
skills and expertise needed to support its technology
initiatives. This includes promoting a culture of continuous
learning and providing opportunities for professional
growth and advancement. We have recently introduced a
technology graduate program, which is resulting in
tremendous value for technology and building a talent
pipeline.
In your role, how do you prioritize and balance
innovation with maintaining the stability and security of
the organization's IT infrastructure?
Blue Label, by nature, is very entrepreneurial. In fact,
entrepreneurship and being innovative are rooted in our
organizational values. Anchored in this entrepreneurial
spirit that drives both our organization and myself, my team
and I recognize the importance of striking this delicate
equilibrium. It's a dynamic journey where our shared
ambition sometimes propels us ahead of our own
expectations. By seamlessly integrating cutting-edge
advancements with robust risk management practices, we
fortify our systems against potential threats while fostering
a culture of forward-thinking solutions. This journey is
underpinned by a commitment to continuous learning and
proactive vigilance, empowering our team to safeguard our
digital assets. Through this approach, we not only drive
sustained growth but also cultivate unwavering trust and
confidence among our stakeholders.
Continuous improvement is key in technology. Can you
share an example of how you've implemented process
improvements or innovations to enhance IT efficiency?
Upon joining our organization, I immediately recognized a
critical bottleneck hindering our ability to deliver new
products, features, and updates to production in a timely
manner. The existing software deployment process relied
heavily on manual steps for code review, testing, and
deployment, leading to inconsistencies, errors, and
prolonged lead times.
I took the reins in modernizing and streamlining our
development process to tackle this challenge head-on and
drive IT efficiency to new heights. This endeavor
commenced with a thorough assessment and analysis of our
existing processes, pinpointing bottlenecks, evaluating team
structure and skills, and identifying areas ripe for
improvement.
Armed with insights from our assessment, we swiftly
implemented a series of transformative measures. We
prioritized projects based on strategic importance,
reorganized our delivery and development teams into
focused business and application squads, and appointed
scrum masters and product owners to spearhead day-to-day
delivery and management tasks.
The pièce de résistance of our overhaul was designing and
implementing a cutting-edge Continuous
Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline. This
revolutionized our approach to software deployment,
automating key processes and drastically reducing lead
times.
The results speak volumes. Complex projects and solutions
that might have taken over a year to deliver now take less
than half that time. This monumental improvement has
enhanced our efficiency and empowered our organization to
tackle complex strategic projects with unparalleled agility
and precision.
As a leader, how do you encourage a positive and
innovative culture within your IT team, fostering
creativity and professional growth among your team
members?
In my role as CTIO, I prioritize the establishment of trust
by consistently delivering on commitments and
empowering my team members. In fact, it's a top priority
for us. My entire team now uses a trust equation within
technology so that we can build trust with stakeholders,
customers, and colleagues, which lays the foundation for
productive collaboration and growth.
I believe in granting autonomy and ownership to our team
members, fostering a sense of accountability and
motivation. Besides, with the team I am blessed with, not
only do I not need to micromanage, they won't let me!
Embracing diverse perspectives and embracing both
successes and failures as learning opportunities is key to
our continuous improvement journey. We provide avenues
for learning and development, coupled with regular
feedback, to ensure that each team member has the tools
they need to excel. While we work hard, we also play hard.
The Blue Label technology team certainly loves a good
party which allows us to let our hair down every now and
again.
By creating an environment where creativity is encouraged
and achievements are celebrated, we cultivate a culture
where innovation thrives and our collective potential is
unleashed.
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
19
A Step-by-Step
Guide to Building
Intelligent Digital
Workforces
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
20
To keep up with the competitive market, businesses
are constantly seeking ways to optimize their
operations, improve efficiency, and stay ahead of
the competition. One strategy that has gained significant
traction in recent years is hyperautomation.
Hyperautomation represents the next evolution of
automation, leveraging advanced technologies like artificial
intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotic process
automation (RPA), and other intelligent automation tools to
streamline processes and enhance productivity across the
organization.
In this article, we'll explore the power of hyperautomation
and provide a step-by-step guide to help businesses build
intelligent digital workforces.
Understanding Hyperautomation
Hyperautomation is not just about automating repetitive
tasks; it's about orchestrating end-to-end processes,
integrating systems, and leveraging data-driven insights to
drive intelligent decision-making. By combining RPA with
AI and ML capabilities, organizations can automate
complex workflows, handle unstructured data, and adapt to
changing business requirements in real-time.
The key components of hyperautomation include:
Robotic Process Automation (RPA): RPA involves the use
of software robots, or "bots," to automate repetitive tasks
traditionally performed by humans. These bots can mimic
human actions, interact with multiple systems, and execute
tasks with speed and accuracy.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI technologies such as natural
language processing (NLP), machine learning, and
computer vision enable systems to understand, interpret,
and learn from data. AI-powered algorithms can analyze
vast amounts of information, make predictions, and
automate decision-making processes.
Machine Learning (ML): ML algorithms allow systems to
improve performance over time by learning from data
patterns and feedback. ML models can recognize patterns,
detect anomalies, and optimize processes without explicit
programming.
Process Mining: Process mining involves analyzing event
logs and transaction data to visualize, monitor, and optimize
business processes. By identifying inefficiencies and
bottlenecks, organizations can streamline workflows and
improve operational performance.
The Power of Hyperautoma on!
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
21
Building an Intelligent Digital Workforce: A Step-by-
Step Guide
Now let's delve into the step-by-step process of building an
intelligent digital workforce through hyperautomation:
Step 1: Identify Opportunities
Begin by identifying the processes and tasks within your
organization that are ripe for automation. Look for
repetitive, rule-based activities that consume significant
time and resources. Conduct process assessments and
engage stakeholders to prioritize automation opportunities
based on impact and feasibility.
Step 2: Design Workflows
Once you've identified automation opportunities, map out
the end-to-end workflows and processes. Define the inputs,
outputs, decision points, and integration points involved in
each process. Collaborate with cross-functional teams to
design efficient and scalable workflows that align with
business objectives.
Step 3: Select Automation Tools
Evaluate and select the appropriate automation tools based
on the requirements of each process. Choose RPA platforms
that support AI and ML capabilities, as well as integration
with existing systems and technologies. Consider factors
such as ease of use, scalability, security, and vendor
support.
Step 4: Develop Automation Solutions
Work with your automation team or vendor partners to
develop and deploy automation solutions tailored to your
organization's needs. Leverage RPA bots to automate
repetitive tasks, AI models to handle unstructured data, and
ML algorithms to optimize processes. Test the solutions
rigorously to ensure reliability, accuracy, and compliance.
Step 5: Monitor and Optimize
Continuously monitor the performance of your automation
solutions and gather insights from operational data. Use
process mining tools to visualize workflows, identify
bottlenecks, and measure key performance indicators
(KPIs). Iterate on your automation solutions based on
feedback and analytics to drive continuous improvement.
Step 6: Scale and Expand
As you gain confidence and experience with
hyperautomation, scale your digital workforce by
automating additional processes and expanding automation
capabilities across the organization. Foster a culture of
innovation and collaboration to drive adoption and
maximize the value of automation investments.
The Benefits of Hyperautomation
By embracing hyperautomation, organizations can unlock a
wide range of benefits, including:
Improved Efficiency: Hyperautomation streamlines
processes, reduces manual effort, and accelerates task
completion times.
Enhanced Accuracy: Automation eliminates human errors
and ensures consistent, error-free execution of tasks.
Cost Savings: By automating repetitive tasks, organizations
can lower operational costs, increase productivity, and
achieve a higher return on investment (ROI).
Scalability: Hyperautomation enables organizations to scale
their digital workforce quickly and efficiently to meet
growing business demands.
Better Decision-Making: AI-driven insights and analytics
empower organizations to make data-driven decisions and
optimize business outcomes.
Enhanced Customer Experience: By automating customer-
facing processes, organizations can deliver faster response
times, personalized experiences, and improved satisfaction
levels.
In conclusion, hyperautomation represents a paradigm shift
in how organizations approach process automation and
digital transformation. By combining RPA, AI, ML, and
process mining technologies, businesses can build
intelligent digital workforces that drive efficiency, agility,
and innovation. By following the step-by-step guide
outlined in this blog, organizations can harness the power of
hyperautomation to unlock new levels of productivity,
competitiveness, and growth in today's digital economy.
- Alaya Brown
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
22
Two roads diverged
in a wood, and I—I
took the one less
traveled by, And
that has made all
the difference.
- Robert Frost
www.thecioworld.com
Nomazwi
Mhloma
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
24
Leveraging Transformation for Enhanced Efficiency and
Service Delivery in the Public Sector!
In a time of swift technological progress, the topic of
whether technology can transform public sector service
delivery is a significant one. The rising reliance of
societies on digital solutions for routine chores has raised
expectations for government services to be more
streamlined and effective than before. Can technology in
the public sector, however, really meet these expectations?
This question has been a guiding light for Nomazwi
Mhloma, the Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) at
eThekwini Municipality. With a relentless passion for
leveraging innovation in IT service management, her
journey through the technology sector has been nothing
short of transformative.
In her current role at eThekwini Municipality's Information
Management Unit, Mhloma focuses on ICT customer
services, spanning Customer Relationship Management,
Service Management, and End User Support management.
Her career trajectory reflects a deep-seated fascination with
the potential of technology to solve complex challenges and
enhance efficiency in the public sector.
Mhloma's journey began with her tenure as an ICT Service
Delivery Manager at Transnet, where she honed her skills in
IT service management. Her subsequent role as an ICT
Campus Manager at the University of Johannesburg further
solidified her belief in the transformative power of
technology. Now, as the Deputy CIO at eThekwini
Municipality, Mhloma is at the forefront of driving digital
transformation in one of South Africa's most dynamic
municipalities.
For Mhloma, the opportunity to contribute to the digital
transformation of eThekwini Municipality represents more
than just a career path; it's a chance to make a tangible
difference in service delivery. Recognizing the pivotal role
of technology as a basic instrument in government service
delivery, Mhloma is dedicated to harnessing innovation to
improve the lives of citizens.
Below are the interview highlights:
Could you give our readers an insight into your
company and its inception story?
EThekwini municipality is the third-largest municipality in
South Africa. It has 3.9 million residents, according to the
latest census, and contributes 34.7% to the province's
population. eThekwini holds a pivotal economic role,
boasting a GDP contribution of 59.88%. The city has
diversified strengths from manufacturing to tourism and has
identified catalytic projects worth R276 billion. Notably,
eThekwini received recognition for its COVID-19 response.
The vision for the city is to become Africa’s most caring
and liveable city, where all citizens live in harmony, guided
by core values such as sustainability, economic success,
compassion, smart development, and poverty reduction.
As a CIO, what do you consider your primary
responsibility in driving the organization's digital
strategy and technology initiatives?
As the Deputy CIO, my primary responsibility is to align
technology initiatives with the overall strategic objectives
of eThekwini Municipality, ensuring they contribute
directly to organizational goals. This involves leading the
development and execution of the digital strategy and
ensuring that IT projects contribute to the municipality's
goals of improved service delivery, enhanced efficiency,
and citizen engagement. I work closely with other leaders to
identify opportunities where technology can be a catalyst
for positive change and growth. I must champion
innovation, manage technology investments to ensure ROI
and foster a culture of digital transformation. This involves
assessing emerging technologies, mitigating risks, and
ensuring collaboration across departments. Ultimately, my
role is to leverage technology to enhance operational
efficiency, drive business growth, and maintain a
competitive edge in the rapidly evolving digital landscape.
Can you share a specific example of a challenging IT
project you successfully led, highlighting your problem-
solving and leadership skills?
Led the challenging Microsoft 365 Enterprise Agreement
project, navigating complexities in negotiation and
implementation. Faced issues like varying departmental
needs and budget constraints. Employed strategic problem-
solving by conducting thorough stakeholder consultations
to understand specific requirements. Leveraged effective
negotiation skills to reach a favorable agreement with
Microsoft, aligning licensing with departmental needs.
Demonstrated leadership by coordinating seamlessly
between IT, finance, and department heads. Successfully
implemented the agreement, optimizing licensing costs
while ensuring all departments had access to necessary
M365 features. The project showcased my ability to lead
complex IT initiatives, negotiate effectively, and ensure
alignment with organizational goals.
South Africa's 10 Most Influen al CIOs to Watch
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
25
In your role, how do you prioritize and balance
innovation with maintaining the stability and security of
the organization's IT infrastructure?
I prioritize innovation by assessing its potential to align
with business goals and enhance efficiency. Simultaneously,
I maintain stability and security by implementing robust
cybersecurity measures, regular system audits, and
compliance checks. Striking a balance involves careful risk
assessment, phased implementations, and a responsive
incident management framework. This ensures that, while
driving innovation, the organization's IT infrastructure
remains resilient, secure, and capable of adapting to
emerging challenges.
How do you stay updated on emerging technologies and
trends, and how do you ensure your IT team remains
well-informed and adaptable?
I continuously analyze online publications, attend webinars,
and monitor industry reports to stay abreast of emerging
technologies. For my IT team, I foster a culture of
continuous learning through regular training sessions,
encourage participation in conferences, and provide access
to relevant online courses. Additionally, we engage in
knowledge-sharing forums to exchange insights and ensure
collective adaptability.
Collaboration is crucial in technology leadership. Can
you provide an instance where you fostered effective
collaboration between IT and other departments to
achieve a common goal?
In August 2023, I led and coordinated a transformative
Learning Exchange Workshop in collaboration with our
Municipal Learning Academy, demonstrating my
commitment to effective collaboration in technology
leadership. By inviting internal eThekwini departments,
provincial and national government stakeholders, as well as
private sector representatives, we created a platform for
diverse perspectives and insights. The workshop facilitated
open discussions on shared challenges and opportunities in
technology adoption. Through interactive sessions and
collaborative activities, participants gained a deeper
understanding of each other's needs and capabilities. This
event not only fostered cross-departmental collaboration but
also strengthened partnerships with external stakeholders
and encouraged working together as spheres of government
and the private sector. As a result, the workshop laid the
foundation for ongoing collaboration, leading to shared
goals and enhanced technological initiatives.
What methodologies or frameworks do you find most
effective in managing IT projects, and why?
PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is
considered ideal for its structured approach, clear stages,
and emphasis on business justification. Its focus on defined
roles, effective communication, and flexibility in adapting
to project changes enhances overall project control.
PRINCE2 provides a comprehensive framework that
promotes efficiency, risk management, and stakeholder
involvement, making it a robust methodology for managing
IT projects with diverse requirements and dynamic
environments.
Given the increasing importance of cybersecurity, how
do you approach ensuring the organization's data and
systems are adequately protected?
Ensuring robust cybersecurity is paramount. I adopt a
multi-layered approach to safeguarding the organization's
data and systems. Firstly, I implement BitLocker for
comprehensive hard drive and data encryption, ensuring
sensitive information is protected from unauthorized access.
Additionally, I leverage Trend Micro as the antivirus
solution, providing real-time threat intelligence and
proactive defense against evolving cyber threats. Regular
security audits and vulnerability assessments are conducted
to identify and address potential weaknesses. Employee
training on cybersecurity best practices is also prioritized.
This integrated strategy, combining encryption measures
like BitLocker with advanced antivirus solutions, forms a
resilient defense, safeguarding our data and systems against
cyber threats.
Continuous improvement is key in technology. Can you
share an example of how you've implemented process
improvements or innovations to enhance IT efficiency?
I implemented CA Service Desk automation by integrating
AI-driven chatbots for routine issue resolution, reducing
response times by 30%. Introduced predictive analytics to
anticipate potential IT issues, preventing downtime and
improving system reliability. Utilized automation to
streamline ticket routing, leading to a 20% increase in issue
resolution efficiency. Established a self-service portal with
an AI-driven knowledge base, empowering users to
troubleshoot common problems independently, reducing the
service desk workload by 25%. These innovations enhanced
IT efficiency, allowing the team to focus on more complex
tasks and strategic initiatives, ultimately improving overall
IT service management effectiveness.
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
26
As a leader, how do you encourage a positive and
innovative culture within your IT team, fostering
creativity and professional growth among your team
members?
I foster a positive and innovative culture by promoting
open communication, recognizing and rewarding creative
contributions, and encouraging a mindset that embraces
learning from failures. I provide autonomy, allowing
team members to explore new ideas and allocate time for
personal projects. Regular skill development
opportunities, mentorship programs, and a collaborative
environment contribute to continuous professional
growth, creating a culture that values both innovation and
individual advancement.
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
27
Structuring Business
and
Teams for a
Flow of Work
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
28
C
ollaboration between technology and business
teams is more important than ever in today's
interconnected world. Companies are using
technology more and more to improve consumer
experiences, increase operational efficiency, and spur
innovation. Still, many firms struggle to get business and
technology departments to work together seamlessly.
In this article, we'll explore the concept of synergy in action
and how structuring business and technology teams
effectively can lead to a seamless flow of work and
improved outcomes.
Understanding Synergy:
Synergy is the concept of two or more entities working
together to produce a result that is greater than the sum of
their individual efforts. In the context of business and
technology teams, synergy entails aligning goals, processes,
and communication channels to leverage each other's
strengths and expertise effectively. It's about breaking down
silos and fostering a collaborative environment where
cross-functional teams can thrive.
The Importance of Synergy:
Effective synergy between business and technology teams is
critical for several reasons:
Innovation: Collaboration between business and technology
enables the identification and implementation of innovative
solutions to address business challenges and opportunities.
Efficiency: By working together, teams can streamline
processes, eliminate redundancies, and optimize resources,
Synergy in Ac on!
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
29
leading to increased efficiency and productivity.
Customer Satisfaction: Seamless collaboration ensures that
technology solutions meet the needs and expectations of
customers, leading to improved satisfaction and loyalty.
Agility: In today's rapidly evolving business landscape,
organizations need to adapt quickly to changes. Synergy
enables agility by facilitating rapid decision-making and the
implementation of changes.
Structuring Business and Technology Teams for
Synergy:
Achieving synergy between business and technology teams
requires a deliberate approach to team structure, processes,
and culture. Here are some key strategies to consider:
Cross-Functional Teams: Instead of operating in silos,
organizations should form cross-functional teams that
include members from both business and technology
departments. These teams should be empowered to
collaborate closely on projects, with a shared understanding
of goals and priorities.
Clear Communication Channels: Effective communication
is essential for synergy. Establishing clear communication
channels, such as regular meetings, collaboration tools, and
shared documentation, ensures that team members stay
informed and aligned throughout the project lifecycle.
Common Goals and KPIs: Aligning goals and key
performance indicators (KPIs) across business and
technology teams encourages collaboration and ensures that
everyone is working towards the same objectives. This
shared sense of purpose fosters synergy and drives
collective success.
Mutual Understanding: Business and technology teams
often have different perspectives and priorities.
Encouraging mutual understanding and empathy between
team members helps bridge the gap and fosters a culture of
collaboration and respect.
Continuous Learning and Development: Investing in the
professional development of both business and technology
team members enhances their skills and knowledge,
enabling them to contribute more effectively to
collaborative efforts. Cross-training programs and
workshops can facilitate knowledge sharing and skill
transfer between departments.
Case Study: The Power of Synergy
Let's take a hypothetical example of a retail company
looking to enhance its online shopping experience.
Traditionally, the business team might focus on market
research, customer preferences, and product selection,
while the technology team would handle website
development, infrastructure, and security.
However, by adopting a synergy-driven approach, the
company forms a cross-functional team comprising
members from both departments. Together, they collaborate
to understand customer needs, identify pain points in the
existing online shopping experience, and brainstorm
innovative solutions.
The business team brings insights into consumer behavior,
market trends, and competitive analysis, while the
technology team leverages its expertise in user experience
design, web development, and data analytics. By working
together, they develop and implement a personalized
shopping platform that offers tailored recommendations,
seamless checkout, and real-time inventory updates.
The result? An online shopping experience that delights
customers, drives sales, and sets the company apart from
competitors. By harnessing the power of synergy, the
business and technology teams have achieved more
together than they could have individually.
Conclusion:
In today's interconnected world, synergy between business
and technology teams is essential for driving innovation,
efficiency, and customer satisfaction. By structuring teams
effectively, fostering clear communication, and promoting a
culture of collaboration, organizations can unlock the full
potential of their workforce and achieve greater success.
Embracing synergy isn't just about bringing teams together;
it's about harnessing the collective intelligence and
creativity of individuals to achieve remarkable results. As
businesses continue to navigate an increasingly complex
and competitive landscape, those who prioritize synergy
will emerge as leaders in their industries.
- Alaya Brown
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
30
Success is not how
high you have
climbed, but how you
make a positive
difference to the world.
- Roy T. Bennett
www.thecioworld.com
Naidoo
Driving Opera onal
Excellence and Building
Strategic IT Func ons
Shalin Naidoo
Chief Informa on
and Technology Officer
DRDGOLD
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
32
In a world constantly shaped by technological
advancements, industries with deep-rooted traditions
find themselves at a crossroads. Traditionally
conservative sectors, such as manufacturing, agriculture,
and construction, are undergoing a transformative journey
fueled by technology. The integration of smart sensors,
Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and automation is
streamlining processes, enhancing efficiency, and reducing
manual labor. The intersection of legacy practices and
cutting-edge technology poses a compelling question: Can
technology breathe new life into age-old industries?
This question sparked the journey of Shalin Naidoo, Chief
Information and Technology Officer at DRDGOLD,
through the uncharted realms of the mining sector. In a
world captivated by innovation, his fascination with the
transformative power of technology led him to an industry
deeply rooted in tradition. As the CIO of one of South
Africa's leading gold producers, he has made it his mission
to redefine mining operations, placing sustainability and
efficiency at the forefront.
Recognized as one of South Africa's Top 8 Visionary CIOs
by the Institute of IT Professionals and nominated for the
2019 CIO of the Year by the International Data
Corporation, Shalin has been a driving force at the
intersection of technology and mining. His tenure as the
CIO at Lenmed for six years showcased his prowess in
leveraging technology for healthcare, setting the stage for
his transformative role at DRDGOLD.
Appointed as the CIO of DRDGold in November 2020,
Shalin brings a wealth of experience, including a decade as
an IT consultant and notable positions at companies like
Anglo Platinum and Arysta LifeScience. His journey also
saw him at the helm of IT for Africa and the Middle East at
Arysta LifeScience and as the head of business applications
SA at Tronox.
His academic achievements mirror his professional success,
boasting an MBA from Pretoria University and a Masters in
Digital Business from Wits Business School. His dedication
to the fusion of business acumen and technological
innovation has positioned him as a thought leader in the
dynamic landscape of CIOs.
Below are the highlights from the interview!
Could you elaborate on the historical background and
inception story of DRDGOLD in the South African
mining sector?
DRDGOLD, with its rich history in the South African
mining sector, has evolved through innovative practices in
gold recovery. Our inception story is one of resilience and
adaptation, consistently striving to set benchmarks in
environmental responsibility and economic efficiency in
mining. DRDGOLD's journey began over a century ago,
embodying a spirit of innovation and resilience. We've
transitioned from traditional mining to becoming leaders in
gold recovery and land rehabilitation, continuously
adapting to the evolving economic and environmental
landscape and shareholders' needs. Our inception is a story
of transformation, mirroring South Africa's own growth and
challenges in the mining sector.
What are the key aspects of your primary responsibility
as CIO of DRDGOLD?
My primary responsibility involves steering DRDGOLD's
digital strategy, ensuring that technology initiatives align
with our overarching goal of operational excellence. This
encompasses digital transformation, IT infrastructure
enhancement, and fostering a culture of innovation within
the team. Leading DRDGOLD's digital strategy, my role
extends beyond managing technology. It involves driving
digital transformation, enhancing our IT infrastructure, and
embedding a culture of innovation. This strategic direction
is crucial to maintaining our competitive edge and ensuring
sustainable growth.
What were some of the challenging projects you
spearheaded?
There are a number of projects always underway, and each
of them has its own intricacies and challenges. By far the
most challenging project we are currently busy with is the
reconciliation of costs with production and production
activity. It is a multifaceted project with numerous variables
and trends that can only be found in the details of the
wealth of big data that we are currently generating. This
challenge requires not just technical expertise but also
leadership in coordinating diverse teams and aligning the
project with strategic business goals.
In your role as CIO, how do you balance innovation
with stability and security?
Innovation at DRDGOLD doesn't come at the expense of
stability and security. We prioritize a balanced approach
where cutting-edge solutions are rigorously tested and
evaluated before integration, ensuring a secure and robust
IT environment. Our approach to innovation is holistic,
South Africa's 10 Most Influen al CIOs to Watch
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
33
ensuring that new technologies are stable and secure before
integration. We rigorously test new solutions, balancing the
need for innovation with the imperative of maintaining a
secure and reliable IT environment.
What strategies do you apply to stay abreast of
emerging technologies?
To remain at the forefront of technology, I actively engage
in industry forums and establish partnerships with tech
leaders. I ensure my team is equally informed and adaptable
through continuous programs and workshops. They strive to
continuously train and are encouraged to explore new
technologies, ensuring DRDGOLD stays ahead of the
curve.
As the CIO, how do you foster collaboration between
different departments?
Effective collaboration was exemplified in our cross-
departmental efforts to streamline data management. By
bridging IT and operational teams, we developed a unified
system that enhanced both data integrity and accessibility,
fostering better decision-making processes. Collaboration is
key to our IT strategy. An example is our project to unify
data management across departments, which improved data
integrity and accessibility. This initiative exemplified the
power of cross-departmental collaboration in enhancing
operational efficiency.
What are some of the effective IT Project Management
methodologies you incorporate at your workplace?
Agile methodologies have proven most effective, allowing
for flexibility and iterative improvement in our projects.
This approach aligns well with the dynamic nature of the
mining industry, where adaptability is key and allows us to
respond quickly to new challenges and opportunities,
ensuring continuous improvement in our projects.
What measures do you take to ensure cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is a top priority. Our cybersecurity strategy is
robust and multi-layered, encompassing regular audits and a
strong culture of security awareness among all staff. We
continuously evolve our defenses to stay ahead of emerging
cyber threats, ensuring the integrity and security of our
systems.
How do you implement continuous improvement in IT?
Continuous improvement is integral to our IT strategy. A
recent focus has been optimizing our cloud infrastructure,
which has enhanced our scalability and performance while
also reducing costs. This ongoing improvement is crucial to
maintaining our competitive advantage.
What strategies do you apply to encourage a positive
and innovative team culture?
We foster a culture of creativity and growth by encouraging
open dialogue, recognizing individual contributions, and
providing opportunities for professional development. We
firmly believe in nurturing a team environment that
encourages creativity, encourages open dialogue, and
recognizes individual contributions. This culture not only
motivates our team but also fosters innovative thinking,
essential for our success in the technology-driven mining
sector.
What client testimonials and recognitions has
DRDGOLD received?
DRDGOLD's commitment to excellence is reflected in
positive client feedback and industry awards. These
accolades are a testament to our innovative practices and
the impactful contributions of our IT department to the
mining sector.
Hereby ending the interview thanking Shalin Naidoo for his
invaluable insights.
I foster a culture of crea vity
and growth by encouraging
open dialogue, recognizing
individual contribu ons, and
providing opportuni es for
professional development. This
approach not only mo vates
the team but also sparks
innova ve solu ons.
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
34
Global
Subscription
To encourage
innova on, I
encourage team
members to
experiment with new
technologies and
methodologies.
Tebalo Tsoaeli
Chief Information Officer (CIO)
The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)
South Africa's 10 Most Influen al CIOs to Watch
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
36
hat sparks a lifelong passion? For Tebalo
WTsoaeli, it all began with a single line of code.
Born in the picturesque town of Maseru,
Southern Lesotho, his journey from a young dreamer to
Chief Information Officer at The Johannesburg Stock
Exchange (JSE) is nothing short of remarkable.
Raised in a nurturing environment, Tebalo's thirst for
knowledge led him to Machabeng College, the International
School of Lesotho, where he laid the foundation for his
future endeavors. It was here that he first delved into the
world of programming, igniting a spark that would shape
his career trajectory.
Fueled by his newfound passion for technology, he
embarked on a journey of academic excellence. He pursued
a BSc in Computer Science at the University of Natal,
followed by an honors degree at the University of the Free
State. But his thirst for knowledge didn't end there. In 2012,
Tebalo achieved a significant milestone by obtaining his
MBA from Rhodes University, solidifying his expertise in
both technology and business management.
Armed with a diverse skill set and a relentless drive for
success, Tebalo's professional journey led him to the
pinnacle of the financial world—the Johannesburg Stock
Exchange. As the CIO, he plays a pivotal role in steering
one of Africa's largest and most influential financial
institutions towards technological innovation and digital
transformation.
During our conversation with him, we had the opportunity
to discuss his vision for crafting technology strategies in
line with the JSE’s strategic ambitions.
Below are excerpts from the interview!
Please brief us about yourself and what inspired you to
embark on this sector.
My journey began in the picturesque town of Maseru, in
southern Lesotho, where I spent my childhood years. As
education played a crucial role in shaping my life path, I
obtained my high school qualifications from Machabeng
College—International School of Lesotho. There, my
interest in IT blossomed when, during my second year, I
was exposed to programming and ultimately wrote my first
piece of code. Further fueling my passion for knowledge
and technology, I subsequently pursued a BSc in Computer
Science at the University of Natal, followed by an honors
degree at the University of the Free State. Then later, in
2012, I successfully attained my MBA from Rhodes
University.
Could you give our readers an insight into your com-
pany and its inception story?
The JSE was established by Benjamin Woollan on Novem-
ber 8, 1887. His goal was to provide a platform for gold
mining companies to raise capital to make the most of
South Africa's first gold rush.
Today, the JSE is the largest stock exchange in Africa,
located in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is one of the top
20 exchanges in the world by market capitalization. The
JSE provides a platform for the buying and selling of
company shares listed on the exchange, as well as other
financial instruments such as bonds, derivatives, and
exchange-traded funds. It plays a crucial role in facilitating
investment and capital formation in South Africa and the
broader African continent.
As a CIO, what do you consider your primary responsi-
bility in driving the organization's digital strategy and
technology initiatives?
Cra ing Technology Strategies Aligned with Strategic Ambi ons
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
37
Leading the way in developing and implementing innova-
tive solutions and initiatives for the JSE technology
portfolio is a top priority. Ensuring that the current techno-
logical landscape is effectively managed to surpass service
levels, enhance cost-effectiveness, and deliver exceptional
quality and service is paramount. Additionally, crafting the
JSE Group's technology strategy in line with its strategic
ambitions is a key focus.
Can you share a specific example of a challenging IT
project you successfully led, highlighting your problem-
solving and leadership skills?
In 2022, we deployed an innovative information service,
JSE Trade Explorer, leveraging big xyt’s Liquidity Cockpit
for security analytics. Using the Trade Explorers’ unique
peer group rankings, trading firms can explore their market
share, examine how they interact with the order book, and
view their trading performance.
When dealing with the intricate process of implementing
cloud technology, I firmly believe that, as a leader, it is my
responsibility to set a precedent by leading from the front
and by example. During moments of uncertainty, it is vital
for leaders to demonstrate their presence and guide their
teams through the storm. This principle has been ingrained
in my leadership approach throughout my various experi-
ences.
Ultimately, thanks to the collective hard work of the team,
our adoption of cloud technology has set us up in good
stead with regards to implementing a modern scalable data
platform that will enable our clients easy and seamless
access to JSE data through a variety of modern channels
(APIs, streaming services, digital portals, e.t.c.), introduce
flexibility to our pushed and streaming data services, and
re-imagine our data platform through flexibility and
modernization.
In your role, how do you prioritize and balance innova-
tion with maintaining the stability and security of the
organization's IT infrastructure?
As CIO at the JSE, I prioritize and balance innovation with
maintaining the stability and security of our IT infrastruc-
ture by aligning our IT initiatives with the JSE's overall
strategic objectives, ensuring that any innovations support
and enhance our core business operations. This entails
constant risk assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities
and understand the potential impact of new innovations on
the IT infrastructure's stability and security.
Furthermore, I collaborate closely with other business
leaders, department heads, and operational teams to
understand their needs and requirements. This ensures that
any innovation introduced aligns with their objectives,
while also incorporating necessary security measures.
Additionally, at the JSE, we invest in robust infrastructure
by allocating sufficient resources to maintain a stable and
secure IT infrastructure. This includes implementing the
latest security measures, regularly updating and patching
systems, and conducting ongoing monitoring and testing.
How do you stay updated on emerging technologies and
trends, and how do you ensure your IT team remains
well-informed and adaptable?
As a CIO, staying updated on emerging technologies and
trends is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge. To
achieve this, I prioritize continuous learning by attending
industry conferences, seminars, and workshops. These
events provide opportunities to gain insights into emerging
technologies and trends, as well as to network with experts
in the field. I also allocate time for research and analysis of
emerging technologies and their potential impact on the
financial industry. This involves reading industry publica-
tions, research papers, market reports, and monitoring
technology news.
Furthermore, I regularly conduct research on industry
publications, reports, and online resources. This helps me
stay updated on the latest technological advancements and
trends relevant to our organization's IT needs. Additionally,
I maintain a strong network of industry professionals and
experts. By regularly interacting with them, I gain insights
into cutting-edge technologies, best practices, and market
trends. I also collaborate with technology partners, vendors,
and consultants to exchange knowledge and insights.
Collaboration is crucial in technology leadership. Can
you provide an instance where you fostered effective
collaboration between IT and other departments to
achieve a common goal?
In 2023, the JSE launched Colo 2.0 in partnership with
Beeks and IPC. This advanced managed infrastructure as a
service (IaaS) solution provides JSE clients with cloud-
based colocation services.
This launch required the input of several key market players
and divisions within the JSE. From IT and Capital Markets
to Marketing and Corporate Affairs. This was a crucial step
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
38
in the JSEs IT space, but everyone made crucial contribu-
tions to the successful launch and continued operations of
the platform.
What methodologies or frameworks do you find most
effective in managing IT projects, and why?
I firmly believe in creating and showing value in the early
stages of an initiative. Therefore, an agile methodology of
delivering projects is one I find to be very effective, as not
only does it allow you to show value in the early stages of a
project, but it also allows you to fail fast and pivot when
necessary. In addition, it helps mitigate the risk of failing at
the end of a project and having to end up writing off
exorbitant implementation costs.
Given the increasing importance of cybersecurity, how
do you approach ensuring the organization's data and
systems are adequately protected?
Ensuring the security and protection of the JSE’s data and
systems is of utmost importance to us; as such, we follow a
comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. By conducting
regular and thorough risk assessments to identify potential
vulnerabilities and threats, we are able to understand the
risks we face and prioritize our efforts accordingly.
We have a robust security framework that aligns with
industry best practices and international standards. This
includes implementing a combination of technical,
administrative, and physical controls to protect our systems
and data.
We conduct regular assessments and audits to evaluate the
effectiveness of our security measures. This helps us
identify any existing or emerging vulnerabilities and take
appropriate actions to address them promptly. Finally, we
recognize that human error can be a significant factor in
cybersecurity incidents, as such, we mandate the comple-
tion of several employee awareness and training modules.
Continuous improvement is key in technology. Can you
share an example of how you've implemented process
improvements or innovations to enhance IT efficiency?
In 2022, we deployed an innovative information service,
JSE Trade Explorer, leveraging big xyt’s Liquidity Cockpit
for security analytics. Using the Trade Explorers’ unique
peer group rankings, trading firms can explore their market
share, examine how they interact with the order book, and
view their trading performance. In 2023, the JSE, in
collaboration with Beeks and IPC, deployed an advanced
managed infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solution that
would provide cloud-based colocation services to JSE
clients. The solution offers on-demand computing and
analytics, allowing the JSE to provide its clients with a
cutting-edge IaaS solution in a fully built, pre-installed
environment.
As a leader, how do you encourage a positive and
innovative culture within your IT team, fostering
creativity and professional growth among your team
members?
I understand the importance of fostering a positive and
innovative culture within our IT team. To encourage this, I
promote open communication. I believe in fostering an
environment where team members can freely express their
ideas and opinions. Regular team meetings and one-on-one
sessions provide opportunities for open communication.
This allows team members to share their innovative ideas
and provide input on projects, fostering a collaborative and
inclusive culture.
I encourage a culture of continuous learning by providing
access to training and development resources. This includes
encouraging team members to attend relevant industry
conferences, workshops, and webinars. Additionally, I
support and sponsor certifications and professional
development courses to enhance their skills and knowledge.
Furthermore, I am a strong advocate of experimentation. To
encourage innovation, I encourage team members to
experiment with new technologies and methodologies.
Please provide us with a few client testimonials as well
as any awards or recognition that accurately reflect your
achievements in this industry.
In 2016, I participated in The Future CIO Programme by
the Gordon Institute of Business and WIPRO. I was also a
member of the International Executive Development
Programme (IEDP) with BANKSETA and Duke Corporate
Education. Then in 2017, I was awarded second place in the
FNB CodeFest Hackathon. My proudest achievement,
however, will always be my two beautiful daughters, aged
12 and 5.
February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com
39
Leadership is not about
titles, positions, or
owcharts. It is about one
life inuencing another.
J O H N C . M A X W E L L
www.thecioworld.com
www.thecioworld.com

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South Africa's 10 Most Influential CIOs to Watch.pdf

  • 2. The CIO is no longer just a . They are a TECHNOLOGIST strategic , BUSINESS LEADER driving digital transformation and . INNOVATION
  • 4. “Strategy is about shaping the future.” H aving a plan is about creating the future. This important idea captures the core of thinking ahead and making plans in today's ever-growing world. In a world that is always changing and can be confusing, being able to imagine and shape what's to come is what sets successful companies and leaders apart. Being a strategist and leaders in the field, CIOs have quietly led the sector of technology, ensuring smooth operations behind the scenes. However, in this era, their roles have transcended mere maintenance. As organizations increasingly rely on technology to drive innovation and gain competitive advantage, CIOs have emerged as pivotal figures in shaping the future trajectory of their companies. CIOs are no longer entirely responsible for IT infrastructure management and technical problem-solving. Today, they are strategic decision-makers who influence business strategies and drive digital transformation programs. CIOs, with a Editor’s Note - Max McKeown
  • 5. distinctive blend of technical expertise and commercial competence, have the vision to see how emerging technologies may be used to meet corporate goals. In our latest edition of The CIO World, we present South Africa's 10 Most Influential CIOs to Watch, highlighting the CIOs who serve an integral part in establishing the path toward resilience and long-term viability by directing initiatives to fortify digital defenses, leverage data analytics for actionable insights, and promote an innovative culture that propels the organization forward. Have a great read ahead! - Alaya Brown Managing Editor
  • 6. Editor-in-Chief Deputy Editor Managing Editor Assistant Editor Visualizer Art & Design Head Art & Design Assitant Business Development Manager Business Development Executives Technical Head Assitant Technical Head Digital Marketing Manager Research Analyst Circulation Manager Chidiebere Moses Sam Carter Alaya Brown Maria Evans Chris Carter Millie Simon Judy Smith Phoebe Jacob Aisha, Olivia David Walker Mia Rodricks Helena Smith Eric Smith Richard Martinez Copyright © 2024 The CIO World, All rights reserved. The content and images used in this magazine should not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission from The CIO World. Reprint rights remain solely with The CIO World. Follow us on www.facebook.com/thecioworld www.twitter.com/thecioworld We are also available on RNI No.: MAHENG/2018/75953
  • 7. Descrip on Featuring 10X Investments www.10x.co.za AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society South Africa www.avbob.co.za World Sports Be ng www.worldsportsbe ng.co.za eThekwini Municipality www.durban.gov.za TTS - Top Talent Solu ons www. s-talent.com DRDGOLD Limited www.drdgold.com CIB www.cib.co.za The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) www.jse.co.za Andriij Beer CIO Anton Eser CIO Helen Constan nides Chief Informa on Officer Ivan Zaltsman CIO Mahomed Shaik CTIO Nomazwi Mhloma Deputy Chief Informa on Officer (CIO) Renier Lewis CIO Shalin Naidoo Chief Informa on Officer Shoaib Nathie CIO Tebalo Tsoaeli CIO Andriij Beer is the Chief Informa on Officer at Ocean Basket Holdings, bringing strategic IT leadership to drive innova on and digital transforma on in the dynamic world of seafood dining. Anton Eser, the Chief Investment Officer at 10X Investments since 2021, leads strategic growth in investment capabili es and client outreach. Specializing in long-term mul -asset inves ng, we offer systema c exposure to global markets through low-cost ETFs and Uts. Helen, a skilled technologist, possesses the ability to conceptualize, create, and implement solu ons with the poten al to transform the way people live, work, and connect. Ivan Zaltsman, a seasoned professional, serves as the Chief Informa on Officer at World Sports Be ng, leveraging exper se in technology to drive innova on and excellence in the sports be ng industry. With over two decades of experience, including a decade as a management consultant in diverse sectors and other leading industry ini a ves, Mahomed brings a wealth of exper se to the table. Mhloma's journey began with her tenure as an ICT Service Delivery Manager at Transnet, where she honed her skills in IT service management. Her subsequent role as an ICT Campus Manager at the University of Johannesburg. Renier Lewis serves as the Chief Informa on Officer at TTS - Top Talent Solu ons, driving innova on and technology strategies to enhance organiza onal success and efficiency. Appointed as the CIO of DRDGold in November 2020, Shalin brings a wealth of experience, including a decade as an IT consultant and notable posi ons at companies like Anglo Pla num and Arysta LifeScience. A highly skilled and experienced IT Execu ve with 24 years of industry exper se, adept at op mizing IT departments in manufacturing, engineering, distribu on, financial services, and mobile telecommunica ons sectors. Tebalo, hailing from Maseru, Lesotho, embarked on an educa onal journey that led to a BSc in Computer Science, an MBA from Rhodes University, and a fervent love for technology. Ocean Basket Holdings ww.oceanbasket.com Company Blue Label Telecoms www.bluelabeltelecoms.co.za
  • 8. C T Helen Constantinides From Childhood Dreams to Technology Leadership 08 C O V E R S T O R Y
  • 9. T S 16 20 28 32 24 36 A R T I C L E S P R O F I L E S MAHOMED SHAIK THE POWER OF HYPERAUTOMATION! SYNERGY IN ACTION! SHALIN NAIDOO NOMAZWI MHLOMA TEBALO TSOAELI Cultivating the Resilience Essential for Business Triumphs Structuring Business and Technology Teams for a Seamless Flow of Work A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Intelligent Digital Workforces Driving Operational Excellence and Building Strategic IT Functions Empowering Communities Through Digital Innovation Crafting Technology Strategies Aligned with Strategic Ambitions P R O F I L E A R T I C L E A R T I C L E P R O F I L E P R O F I L E P R O F I L E
  • 11. Our boundless ideas, unrelenting energy, and resolute dedication have the potential to usher in groundbreaking innovations and catalyze transformative shifts. It is our duty to seize these opportunities, to act boldly, and to leave an indelible mark imbued with a sense of respect. C O V E R S T O R Y , , , ,
  • 12. Embracing Change, Leading Innovation, and Shaping the Future of Business! e live in a world where technological Wadvancements occur at breakneck speed. From artificial intelligence to blockchain, from biotechnology to space exploration, the digital revolution has touched every facet of our lives. Within this versatile environment, it's the leaders who harness these innovations and steer them toward meaningful impact that truly stand out. Meet Helen Constantinides, the Chief Information Officer at AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society South Africa, whose journey embodies the essence of adaptability, perseverance, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. As a child, Helen's dreams revolved around becoming a doctor or a lawyer, noble pursuits that promise to make a difference in people's lives. Little did she know that her path would take a different direction, leading her into the dynamic world of technology. But the seeds of her early aspirations laid the foundation for her future endeavors. "Our childhood aspirations," she reflects, "Shape our values and ambitions, guiding us even when our path diverges." Helen's career in technology wasn't just a choice; it was an embrace of adaptability and a thirst for new challenges. Technology, she believes, is the driving force behind positive transformations in our world. It's a realm that demands continuous learning, positioning its practitioners at the forefront of innovation. Helen is not just an observer of change; she is a catalyst for it. Venturing into the realm of technology has allowed her to actively shape the future. As a CIO, her role is not confined to overseeing IT infrastructure; it's about driving change within businesses and enhancing people's lives through technological advancements. She's not content with simply reacting to change; she's determined to be its architect. The journey of a CIO in today's business landscape demands more than just technical expertise. It calls for qualities like strength, persistence, courage, and unrelenting focus. Helen Constantinides embodies these traits and more. Her commitment to continual learning ensures that she stays ahead in a field where standing still means falling behind. Helen believes in breaking through barriers and adopting a solution-oriented mindset. She is a pioneer of innovative problem-solving approaches that not only solve immediate challenges but also set new standards for the industry. Below are the highlights of the interview: Visionary: Technological Impact and Achievements Helen, a skilled technologist, possesses the ability to conceptualize, create, and implement solutions with the potential to transform the way people live, work, and connect. Her endeavors in the technology sector, whether they involve pioneering software development, designing user-friendly interfaces, or contributing to cutting-edge research, hold the promise of disrupting established norms and making a lasting impact on various businesses, industries, and society as a whole. In her current role, she holds the esteemed position of Chief Information Officer and Executive Member for the AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society and the Group. Helen is proud to have received prestigious honors, including being recognized as one of the '10 Best CIOs of 2022' and as a finalist for the 'Visionary CIO' in both 2019 and 2020. In addition to these achievements, she has had the privilege of serving as a member of the DASA DevOps Jury Panel in both 2022 and 2023, as well as contributing her expertise as a board member for Wired4women. Vision for Digital Transformation As the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Helen considers her role to be that of a visionary and catalyst for the future. She is deeply committed to unlocking new achievements and opportunities for AVBOB. Her mission is to inspire and influence her peers in the effective utilization of Information Technology (IT) to create customer value, foster growth, improve profit margins, and enhance shareholder wealth. Currently, AVBOB's most extensive and strategically vital project is the comprehensive end-to- end application transformation and modernization initiative. This program represents the convergence of customer and employee engagement and experience—digital transformation. The IT and business units across the AVBOB Group are collaboratively working to revamp and automate processes and introduce modernized applications and technologies, all while managing changes and equipping the workforce with modern skills. South Africa's 10 Most Influen al CIOs to Watch
  • 13. WE STAND AS A DRIVING FORCE PROPELLING CHANGE AND ADVANCEMENT WITHIN THE INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL INDUSTRY, OFFERING A FRESH PERSPECTIVE AND DELIVERING INVALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THIS EVER- EVOLVING SECTOR. Helen Constan nides Chief Informa on Officer AVBOB Mutual Assurance Society South Africa , , , ,
  • 14. The digital transformation journey at AVBOB revolves around advancing a digital agenda of change that adds substantial value. The overarching goal of the IT department is to establish a sustainable, inclusive, and service-oriented digital workplace for both customers and employees. The purpose is to drive innovative digital solutions that unlock value and fortify business resilience. The integration of digital technology across all operations is revolutionizing customer engagement, ensuring a consistent and accessible experience anytime, anywhere. The ICT strategy serves as a strategic roadmap guiding AVBOB towards achieving its overarching objectives. Currently, the AVBOB Group is actively pursuing various digital initiatives aimed at enhancing customer-centricity through self-service, automation, and intuitive data solutions. In today's highly competitive landscape, delivering immediacy, personalization, and accessibility to customers is of utmost importance. Helen firmly believes that each leader encounters unique challenges and opportunities while navigating their roles. As they construct technological bridges within the organization, it is essential to embrace authenticity and personal accountability while remaining steadfast in the vision for progress along the digital transformation journey. The bridges forged must be robust enough to facilitate candid discussions that drive meaningful change and transformation in the realms of technology and business. Shaping Tomorrow by Embracing Change The digital transformation program is viewed as highly significant. It has captured the attention of AVBOB's board and holds a prominent place in their strategic initiatives. This program represents a shift from the old to the new, where what was once never-ending now becomes a fresh start. Its objective is to replace outdated systems with modern solutions, ultimately shaping AVBOB into a company that meets present demands and prepares for the future. The progress made in AVBOB's digital transformation journey has been truly transformative. They have taken a leading role in this journey, fostering connections and deeply ingraining digital transformation principles into their organizational culture. This comprehensive approach includes automation, modernization, seamless integration of data and applications, optimization of existing systems, and maintaining a high level of competitiveness in the ever- evolving digital landscape. Elevating Security and Efficiency Maintaining a delicate equilibrium between robust cybersecurity measures and the seamless operation of IT processes is a pivotal responsibility for AVBOB's Chief Information Officer (CIO). In response to the escalating cyber threats, AVBOB consistently evaluates and enhances the Group's cybersecurity defenses, reinforcing safeguards against potential breaches and cyberattacks. The insurance industry operates within a highly regulated framework. AVBOB's steadfast commitment to continuous action ensures the company's compliance with all relevant laws and industry standards governing information technology and data management. In the relentless pursuit of excellence, AVBOB remains vigilant in tracking the latest technological trends and identifying innovative solutions that enhance the efficiency of operations and elevate the experiences of valued customers. This dedication is a daily imperative. By embracing a proactive and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity, one that encompasses the triad of people, processes, and technology, the CIO can effectively shield data while preserving the efficiency and responsiveness of IT operations to meet the ever-evolving needs of the business. The meticulous balancing act required to prioritize these facets demands perpetual vigilance and a steadfast commitment to staying one step ahead of emerging threats. Collaborative Digital Transformation Fostering collaboration is an imperative that guides AVBOB's daily endeavors. The evolving landscape of their business continually underscores the need for enhanced technological capabilities. Technology serves as the cornerstone of AVBOB's future, empowering them to embark on an ongoing digital journey that significantly impacts their service delivery to individuals across South Africa. At its core, the digital transformation program spanning the entirety of the AVBOB Group is, fundamentally, an inclusion initiative. It aspires to seamlessly integrate digital technology into every facet of its operations, thereby reshaping operational paradigms and enriching the value provided to members, consumers, and dedicated employees.
  • 15. AVBOB's mission is to empower technology to align with the strategic imperatives of their business, bridging the gap between IT and overarching business objectives. The velocity of this transformation is intricately tied to their business strategy, foremost priorities, and designated timelines. While they remain acutely attuned to external influences such as customer trends, local market dynamics, and competitive forces, these factors serve to inform and, at times, challenge their timelines. Nevertheless, their unwavering commitment to safeguarding their reputation dictates that they prioritize doing things the right way for their customers, even if it necessitates additional time and diligence. Data-driven Approach AVBOB's use of data analytics and insights to enhance its services and provide more value to its customers is driven by a commitment to data-driven decision- making. In today's technology-driven world, data plays a crucial role in transforming industries and improving business performance. It recognizes the importance of harnessing the power of data to make informed decisions, optimize business operations, and personalize customer interactions and services. By leveraging data, it empowers its customers and members by providing them with valuable insights into its services and products. Technological innovation is a key focus for AVBOB, as it strives to equip its customers with the necessary tools to navigate the digital landscape. This includes offering self-service options and introducing customer-facing digital channels. These advancements are aimed at enhancing personalization, integrating data seamlessly, and delivering high-quality customer application services. AVBOB's commitment to its customers goes beyond just providing services. The company takes a holistic approach to customer lifetime value, ensuring enduring satisfaction and success. This commitment is evident in its ongoing investments in data analytics to gain deeper insights into customer preferences, behaviors, and needs. By doing so, it can tailor its services and effectively support its members. Overall, AVBOB's use of data analytics and insights underscores its dedication to enhancing customer
  • 16. experiences and creating value through personalized services. Enhancing Customer Experience in Funeral Services AVBOB has embraced digital transformation to enhance the customer experience in the funeral services industry. By integrating technology thoughtfully, it aims to offer greater convenience, support, and personalization during what can be a sensitive and challenging time for families. To achieve this, AVBOB has developed a web and mobile app that provides easy access to essential information, FAQs, grief support resources, and immediate assistance to answer common questions, available 24/7. Additionally, it has created digital tools that empower customers to make informed decisions, expedite claim payments, and reduce stress during difficult times. They have implemented secure online document storage for important end-of-life documents and convenient digital payment options to streamline financial transactions for grieving families. Recognizing the importance of their employees' role in providing exceptional customer service, AVBOB has invested in technology initiatives to equip their staff with digital tools. They have also developed internal support systems to assist employees in managing the emotional challenges that arise when dealing with grieving families. In the interest of security and privacy, AVBOB utilizes digital solutions to protect customer data, particularly considering the sensitive nature of the funeral services industry. They comply with data protection regulations, building trust with customers regarding the safety of their personal information. To continuously enhance the customer experience, it actively seeks feedback from both customers and employees. This feedback helps them identify areas for improvement and innovation in their services. Ethical Approach to Integrating Emerging Technologies AVBOB's approach to integrating emerging technologies while maintaining ethical practices and customer trust is centered around a "Zero compromise" and "Zero tolerance" stance. This commitment to ethical behavior is deeply ingrained in its values and reflects the organization's culture of integrity and trust. It recognizes the increasing importance of ethical considerations as technology continues to advance and become more pervasive in our lives. The company is dedicated to safeguarding the use, storage, and sharing of data, with an emphasis on obtaining consent for the use of personal information from its members. Protecting data from breaches and unauthorized access is seen as an ethical duty, and AVBOB takes measures to ensure this is upheld. Furthermore, AVBOB is mindful of the ethical implications surrounding the production and disposal of IT assets. The company also prioritizes the use of "green energy" in its data centers, demonstrating a commitment to environmental responsibility. In the design of its applications and employee and member engagement platforms, as well as social media platforms and websites, it places importance on inclusivity and bridging the digital divide in South Africa. This ensures that all users have equal access and opportunities to engage with its services and offerings. AVBOB's approach extends to adhering to regulation and legislative governance, ensuring that ethical practices are not only upheld within the organization but also in line with external requirements. CENTRAL TO OUR ETHOS ARE CONSIDERATIONS AND RESPECT FOR OTHERS, SELF- RESPECT, AND AN UNRELENTING COMMITMENT TO DELIVER AND EXCEL. , , , ,
  • 17. Overall, its integration of emerging technologies is guided by a steadfast commitment to ethical practices and the trust of its customers. Commitment to Innovation Attracting and retaining skilled IT professionals is crucial for AVBOB's commitment to technological innovation. Its strategic positioning as a forward-looking company focused on creating shared value has been instrumental in driving growth and fostering innovation, resulting in tangible economic benefits for members and communities. To adapt to the changing work landscape, AVBOB prioritizes enhancing its workforce by offering upskilling opportunities and equipping staff with new capabilities to enrich service offerings. It is proud to have received the prestigious Top Employer award in South Africa for six consecutive years, highlighting its dedication to advancing the employee value proposition through progressive human resource practices. The success of AVBOB relies not only on having individuals with the necessary skills to deliver top-tier services to customers but also on the collective knowledge, diverse expertise, and unwavering commitment of its employees to drive sustainable value creation. It is determined to attract and retain top talent in the IT field, recognizing its crucial role in driving innovation and maintaining a highly skilled workforce. This involves a focus on talent development, fostering a positive workplace culture, offering competitive compensation, engaging employees in challenging projects, and valuing diversity. Collaboration is highly valued, and it takes pride in recognizing and rewarding exceptional talents that contribute to its ongoing success. Qualities and Advice for Aspiring Professionals As a prominent CIO, the personal qualities that drive passion for IT leadership are essential in shaping the future of the insurance and financial industries. By offering a fresh perspective and delivering invaluable contributions, they have the potential to usher in groundbreaking innovations and catalyze transformative shifts. It is their duty to seize opportunities, act boldly, and leave an indelible mark imbued with respect. In this dynamic arena, aspiring IT professionals should embrace the prospect of thriving as future leaders. Engaging in a profession that is rewarding and inherently impactful requires consideration and respect for others, self-respect, and an unwavering commitment to deliver and excel. A personal tenet of successful IT professionals revolves around the perpetual quest for learning in life. By drawing lessons from diverse experiences, they can propel themselves forward and maintain an enduring sense of momentum.
  • 18. In today's rapidly evolving world, technology serves as the catalyst for positive change, shaping not only organizations but also the lives and communities they touch. Beyond merely streamlining processes and automating tasks, technology has the power to revolutionize the way we live, work, and interact with one another. When harnessed effectively and aligned with overarching business goals, technological initiatives become transformative forces, empowering employees, customers, and our businesses to work smarter, make informed decisions, and achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency. By embracing innovation and leveraging technology as a tool for progress, we unlock boundless potential to uplift individuals, enhance communities, and drive positive global impact. Mahomed Shaik, the CTIO of Blue Label Telecoms, is keen on driving meaningful changes at the intersection of technology, business and digital innovation. With over two decades of experience, including a decade as a management consultant in diverse sectors and other leading industry initiatives, Mahomed brings a wealth of expertise to the table. In our discussion with him, he talked about his primary responsibilities at Blue Label Telecoms. Below are the highlights of our conversation! Please brief us about yourself and what inspired you to embark on this sector. I am Mahomed Shaik, passionately immersed in the intersection of technology, business, and digital innovation. My journey began as an entrepreneur in fashion retail, cultivating the resilience essential for business triumphs. Shifting gears to financial management, I mastered the art of interpreting and applying numerical insights, laying the foundation for my evolution into a technology-focused role. I have always been captivated by the intersection of finance and technology, and this fascination ultimately led me first to dive into the dynamic world of retail and now fintech. From an early age, I found myself captivated by the rapid advancements in technology, from the rise of personal computing to the dawn of the internet age. I started coding at the age of 12, although I won't say which language, as it will give my age away. This fascination only deepened as I witnessed the transformative power of technology to revolutionize industries, connect communities, and shape the way we live, work, and interact. What began as a fascination with gadgets and gizmos soon evolved into a deeper appreciation for the underlying principles of computing, coding, transformation, and digital innovation. As I delved deeper into the world of technology, I became increasingly drawn to its potential to tackle some of the world's most pressing challenges. Whether it's harnessing the power of technology applications to improve and drive efficiency and productivity, leveraging blockchain technology to revolutionize finance and supply chain management, or exploring the boundless possibilities of artificial intelligence, data, or augmented and virtual reality, I saw technology not just as a tool but as a catalyst for positive change. My journey in the technology sector is driven by a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation, unraveling the mysteries of emerging technologies, and harnessing their potential to create a better, more connected world. It's a journey marked by relentless curiosity, continuous learning, and a steadfast commitment to pushing the boundaries of what's possible. My journey into the fintech industry is a blend of a deep-rooted interest in finance and a keen awareness of the transformative power of technology. With a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), I laid the foundation for a career that seamlessly merges my academic knowledge with hands-on experience. Over the years, I have accumulated expertise in Retail, Financial Services, Management Consulting and Fintech. Could you give our readers an insight into Blue Label Telecoms and its inception story? Blue Label Telecoms is a mobile technology company that specializes in prepaid products and the electronic distribution of virtual merchandise and value-added Mahomed Shaik Cul va ng the Resilience Essen al for Business Triumphs February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 16
  • 19. Mahomed Shaik Group Chief Technology and Informa on Officer (CTIO) Blue Label Telecoms South Africa's 10 Most Influen al CIOs to Watch February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 17
  • 20. services, including the full and seamless reconciliation of billions of nano transactions. "Anything that has alphanumeric characters, a barcode, or a QR code can be vended. As long as it can be digitized, it can be sold. The imagination becomes the limitation." These are the words of Blue Label Telecoms Co-CEOs Mark Levy and Brett Levy. In the early 2000s, prepaid airtime for cell phones could only be accessed via a physical card, which was very impractical. The man in the middle (the distributor) may have only needed to stock up on a certain denomination of prepaid card (e.g., ZAR55) and would require a stock quantity of ten. Distributing 10 cards was logistically problematic, as it would mean the distributor only received them in two to three weeks' time. The two brothers realized in the early 2000s that prepaid cellular products could be simplified for the customer (user), the distributor, and the supplier. This was the start of digitizing prepaid airtime through an electronic top-up pin. And as they say, the rest is history. Blue Label Telecoms now has an extended product range such as prepaid electricity, vouchers, gaming vouchers, ticketing (events and transport), and data solutions. Furthermore, Blue Label Telecoms has broad distribution channels (retail, financial services, etc.) and continues to grow its ecosystem. Blue Label Telecom's philosophy is to relentlessly drive financial inclusion for the mass market. This is achieved through our entrepreneurial flair and our proprietary technology platforms. As a CIO, what do you consider your primary responsibility in driving the organization's digital strategy and technology initiatives? As the Group Chief Technology and Information Officer (CTIO), my primary responsibility in driving the organization's digital strategy and technology initiatives revolves around aligning technology with the overall business objectives and ensuring that technology investments deliver tangible value and competitive advantages. Here are some key aspects of my role: Ÿ Strategic Planning: I work closely with the executive team to understand the organization's strategic goals and identify how technology can support and enable those objectives. This involves developing a comprehensive digital strategy that outlines the roadmap for technology adoption, innovation, and transformation. Ÿ Technology Innovation: My team and I continuously assess emerging technologies and industry trends to identify opportunities for innovation that can drive efficiency, enhance customer experiences, and create new revenue streams. This involves evaluating the potential risks and benefits of adopting new technologies and championing innovation initiatives within the organization. Currently, we are modernizing our legacy technology platforms from the ground up so they apply the latest architecture approaches (microservices, composable, etc.), are API-first, and have security built in as a foundation. Ÿ Infrastructure and Operations: I oversee the management of the organization's IT infrastructure, ensuring that systems, networks, and applications are secure, reliable, and scalable to support business operations. This includes implementing robust cybersecurity measures to protect against threats and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. Together with the rest of the Blue Label business, I lead the organization's digital transformation efforts, guiding the adoption of digital technologies and processes to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and enhance agility. This includes digitizing manual processes, leveraging cloud computing, and implementing enterprise-wide digital platforms. At Blue Label, not only do we invest in technology to drive our digital transformation, but we also #leavenohumanbehind. Our workforce is key to our success, and as a result, we also invest in programs and training that transform our mindsets, our insights, and our competencies to succeed in this new digital world. Stakeholder Engagement: I collaborate with key stakeholders across the organization, including business leaders, department heads, and external partners, to ensure that technology initiatives are aligned with their needs and priorities. This involves fostering strong relationships, communicating effectively, and managing expectations throughout the project lifecycle. My journey in the technology sector is driven by a passion for exploring the fron ers of innova on, unraveling the mysteries of emerging technologies, and harnessing their poten al to create a be er, more connected world. February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 18
  • 21. Talent Development: I ensure that the organization has the skills and expertise needed to support its technology initiatives. This includes promoting a culture of continuous learning and providing opportunities for professional growth and advancement. We have recently introduced a technology graduate program, which is resulting in tremendous value for technology and building a talent pipeline. In your role, how do you prioritize and balance innovation with maintaining the stability and security of the organization's IT infrastructure? Blue Label, by nature, is very entrepreneurial. In fact, entrepreneurship and being innovative are rooted in our organizational values. Anchored in this entrepreneurial spirit that drives both our organization and myself, my team and I recognize the importance of striking this delicate equilibrium. It's a dynamic journey where our shared ambition sometimes propels us ahead of our own expectations. By seamlessly integrating cutting-edge advancements with robust risk management practices, we fortify our systems against potential threats while fostering a culture of forward-thinking solutions. This journey is underpinned by a commitment to continuous learning and proactive vigilance, empowering our team to safeguard our digital assets. Through this approach, we not only drive sustained growth but also cultivate unwavering trust and confidence among our stakeholders. Continuous improvement is key in technology. Can you share an example of how you've implemented process improvements or innovations to enhance IT efficiency? Upon joining our organization, I immediately recognized a critical bottleneck hindering our ability to deliver new products, features, and updates to production in a timely manner. The existing software deployment process relied heavily on manual steps for code review, testing, and deployment, leading to inconsistencies, errors, and prolonged lead times. I took the reins in modernizing and streamlining our development process to tackle this challenge head-on and drive IT efficiency to new heights. This endeavor commenced with a thorough assessment and analysis of our existing processes, pinpointing bottlenecks, evaluating team structure and skills, and identifying areas ripe for improvement. Armed with insights from our assessment, we swiftly implemented a series of transformative measures. We prioritized projects based on strategic importance, reorganized our delivery and development teams into focused business and application squads, and appointed scrum masters and product owners to spearhead day-to-day delivery and management tasks. The pièce de résistance of our overhaul was designing and implementing a cutting-edge Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline. This revolutionized our approach to software deployment, automating key processes and drastically reducing lead times. The results speak volumes. Complex projects and solutions that might have taken over a year to deliver now take less than half that time. This monumental improvement has enhanced our efficiency and empowered our organization to tackle complex strategic projects with unparalleled agility and precision. As a leader, how do you encourage a positive and innovative culture within your IT team, fostering creativity and professional growth among your team members? In my role as CTIO, I prioritize the establishment of trust by consistently delivering on commitments and empowering my team members. In fact, it's a top priority for us. My entire team now uses a trust equation within technology so that we can build trust with stakeholders, customers, and colleagues, which lays the foundation for productive collaboration and growth. I believe in granting autonomy and ownership to our team members, fostering a sense of accountability and motivation. Besides, with the team I am blessed with, not only do I not need to micromanage, they won't let me! Embracing diverse perspectives and embracing both successes and failures as learning opportunities is key to our continuous improvement journey. We provide avenues for learning and development, coupled with regular feedback, to ensure that each team member has the tools they need to excel. While we work hard, we also play hard. The Blue Label technology team certainly loves a good party which allows us to let our hair down every now and again. By creating an environment where creativity is encouraged and achievements are celebrated, we cultivate a culture where innovation thrives and our collective potential is unleashed. February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 19
  • 22. A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Intelligent Digital Workforces February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 20
  • 23. To keep up with the competitive market, businesses are constantly seeking ways to optimize their operations, improve efficiency, and stay ahead of the competition. One strategy that has gained significant traction in recent years is hyperautomation. Hyperautomation represents the next evolution of automation, leveraging advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotic process automation (RPA), and other intelligent automation tools to streamline processes and enhance productivity across the organization. In this article, we'll explore the power of hyperautomation and provide a step-by-step guide to help businesses build intelligent digital workforces. Understanding Hyperautomation Hyperautomation is not just about automating repetitive tasks; it's about orchestrating end-to-end processes, integrating systems, and leveraging data-driven insights to drive intelligent decision-making. By combining RPA with AI and ML capabilities, organizations can automate complex workflows, handle unstructured data, and adapt to changing business requirements in real-time. The key components of hyperautomation include: Robotic Process Automation (RPA): RPA involves the use of software robots, or "bots," to automate repetitive tasks traditionally performed by humans. These bots can mimic human actions, interact with multiple systems, and execute tasks with speed and accuracy. Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI technologies such as natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, and computer vision enable systems to understand, interpret, and learn from data. AI-powered algorithms can analyze vast amounts of information, make predictions, and automate decision-making processes. Machine Learning (ML): ML algorithms allow systems to improve performance over time by learning from data patterns and feedback. ML models can recognize patterns, detect anomalies, and optimize processes without explicit programming. Process Mining: Process mining involves analyzing event logs and transaction data to visualize, monitor, and optimize business processes. By identifying inefficiencies and bottlenecks, organizations can streamline workflows and improve operational performance. The Power of Hyperautoma on! February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 21
  • 24. Building an Intelligent Digital Workforce: A Step-by- Step Guide Now let's delve into the step-by-step process of building an intelligent digital workforce through hyperautomation: Step 1: Identify Opportunities Begin by identifying the processes and tasks within your organization that are ripe for automation. Look for repetitive, rule-based activities that consume significant time and resources. Conduct process assessments and engage stakeholders to prioritize automation opportunities based on impact and feasibility. Step 2: Design Workflows Once you've identified automation opportunities, map out the end-to-end workflows and processes. Define the inputs, outputs, decision points, and integration points involved in each process. Collaborate with cross-functional teams to design efficient and scalable workflows that align with business objectives. Step 3: Select Automation Tools Evaluate and select the appropriate automation tools based on the requirements of each process. Choose RPA platforms that support AI and ML capabilities, as well as integration with existing systems and technologies. Consider factors such as ease of use, scalability, security, and vendor support. Step 4: Develop Automation Solutions Work with your automation team or vendor partners to develop and deploy automation solutions tailored to your organization's needs. Leverage RPA bots to automate repetitive tasks, AI models to handle unstructured data, and ML algorithms to optimize processes. Test the solutions rigorously to ensure reliability, accuracy, and compliance. Step 5: Monitor and Optimize Continuously monitor the performance of your automation solutions and gather insights from operational data. Use process mining tools to visualize workflows, identify bottlenecks, and measure key performance indicators (KPIs). Iterate on your automation solutions based on feedback and analytics to drive continuous improvement. Step 6: Scale and Expand As you gain confidence and experience with hyperautomation, scale your digital workforce by automating additional processes and expanding automation capabilities across the organization. Foster a culture of innovation and collaboration to drive adoption and maximize the value of automation investments. The Benefits of Hyperautomation By embracing hyperautomation, organizations can unlock a wide range of benefits, including: Improved Efficiency: Hyperautomation streamlines processes, reduces manual effort, and accelerates task completion times. Enhanced Accuracy: Automation eliminates human errors and ensures consistent, error-free execution of tasks. Cost Savings: By automating repetitive tasks, organizations can lower operational costs, increase productivity, and achieve a higher return on investment (ROI). Scalability: Hyperautomation enables organizations to scale their digital workforce quickly and efficiently to meet growing business demands. Better Decision-Making: AI-driven insights and analytics empower organizations to make data-driven decisions and optimize business outcomes. Enhanced Customer Experience: By automating customer- facing processes, organizations can deliver faster response times, personalized experiences, and improved satisfaction levels. In conclusion, hyperautomation represents a paradigm shift in how organizations approach process automation and digital transformation. By combining RPA, AI, ML, and process mining technologies, businesses can build intelligent digital workforces that drive efficiency, agility, and innovation. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this blog, organizations can harness the power of hyperautomation to unlock new levels of productivity, competitiveness, and growth in today's digital economy. - Alaya Brown February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 22
  • 25. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost www.thecioworld.com
  • 27. Leveraging Transformation for Enhanced Efficiency and Service Delivery in the Public Sector! In a time of swift technological progress, the topic of whether technology can transform public sector service delivery is a significant one. The rising reliance of societies on digital solutions for routine chores has raised expectations for government services to be more streamlined and effective than before. Can technology in the public sector, however, really meet these expectations? This question has been a guiding light for Nomazwi Mhloma, the Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) at eThekwini Municipality. With a relentless passion for leveraging innovation in IT service management, her journey through the technology sector has been nothing short of transformative. In her current role at eThekwini Municipality's Information Management Unit, Mhloma focuses on ICT customer services, spanning Customer Relationship Management, Service Management, and End User Support management. Her career trajectory reflects a deep-seated fascination with the potential of technology to solve complex challenges and enhance efficiency in the public sector. Mhloma's journey began with her tenure as an ICT Service Delivery Manager at Transnet, where she honed her skills in IT service management. Her subsequent role as an ICT Campus Manager at the University of Johannesburg further solidified her belief in the transformative power of technology. Now, as the Deputy CIO at eThekwini Municipality, Mhloma is at the forefront of driving digital transformation in one of South Africa's most dynamic municipalities. For Mhloma, the opportunity to contribute to the digital transformation of eThekwini Municipality represents more than just a career path; it's a chance to make a tangible difference in service delivery. Recognizing the pivotal role of technology as a basic instrument in government service delivery, Mhloma is dedicated to harnessing innovation to improve the lives of citizens. Below are the interview highlights: Could you give our readers an insight into your company and its inception story? EThekwini municipality is the third-largest municipality in South Africa. It has 3.9 million residents, according to the latest census, and contributes 34.7% to the province's population. eThekwini holds a pivotal economic role, boasting a GDP contribution of 59.88%. The city has diversified strengths from manufacturing to tourism and has identified catalytic projects worth R276 billion. Notably, eThekwini received recognition for its COVID-19 response. The vision for the city is to become Africa’s most caring and liveable city, where all citizens live in harmony, guided by core values such as sustainability, economic success, compassion, smart development, and poverty reduction. As a CIO, what do you consider your primary responsibility in driving the organization's digital strategy and technology initiatives? As the Deputy CIO, my primary responsibility is to align technology initiatives with the overall strategic objectives of eThekwini Municipality, ensuring they contribute directly to organizational goals. This involves leading the development and execution of the digital strategy and ensuring that IT projects contribute to the municipality's goals of improved service delivery, enhanced efficiency, and citizen engagement. I work closely with other leaders to identify opportunities where technology can be a catalyst for positive change and growth. I must champion innovation, manage technology investments to ensure ROI and foster a culture of digital transformation. This involves assessing emerging technologies, mitigating risks, and ensuring collaboration across departments. Ultimately, my role is to leverage technology to enhance operational efficiency, drive business growth, and maintain a competitive edge in the rapidly evolving digital landscape. Can you share a specific example of a challenging IT project you successfully led, highlighting your problem- solving and leadership skills? Led the challenging Microsoft 365 Enterprise Agreement project, navigating complexities in negotiation and implementation. Faced issues like varying departmental needs and budget constraints. Employed strategic problem- solving by conducting thorough stakeholder consultations to understand specific requirements. Leveraged effective negotiation skills to reach a favorable agreement with Microsoft, aligning licensing with departmental needs. Demonstrated leadership by coordinating seamlessly between IT, finance, and department heads. Successfully implemented the agreement, optimizing licensing costs while ensuring all departments had access to necessary M365 features. The project showcased my ability to lead complex IT initiatives, negotiate effectively, and ensure alignment with organizational goals. South Africa's 10 Most Influen al CIOs to Watch February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 25
  • 28. In your role, how do you prioritize and balance innovation with maintaining the stability and security of the organization's IT infrastructure? I prioritize innovation by assessing its potential to align with business goals and enhance efficiency. Simultaneously, I maintain stability and security by implementing robust cybersecurity measures, regular system audits, and compliance checks. Striking a balance involves careful risk assessment, phased implementations, and a responsive incident management framework. This ensures that, while driving innovation, the organization's IT infrastructure remains resilient, secure, and capable of adapting to emerging challenges. How do you stay updated on emerging technologies and trends, and how do you ensure your IT team remains well-informed and adaptable? I continuously analyze online publications, attend webinars, and monitor industry reports to stay abreast of emerging technologies. For my IT team, I foster a culture of continuous learning through regular training sessions, encourage participation in conferences, and provide access to relevant online courses. Additionally, we engage in knowledge-sharing forums to exchange insights and ensure collective adaptability. Collaboration is crucial in technology leadership. Can you provide an instance where you fostered effective collaboration between IT and other departments to achieve a common goal? In August 2023, I led and coordinated a transformative Learning Exchange Workshop in collaboration with our Municipal Learning Academy, demonstrating my commitment to effective collaboration in technology leadership. By inviting internal eThekwini departments, provincial and national government stakeholders, as well as private sector representatives, we created a platform for diverse perspectives and insights. The workshop facilitated open discussions on shared challenges and opportunities in technology adoption. Through interactive sessions and collaborative activities, participants gained a deeper understanding of each other's needs and capabilities. This event not only fostered cross-departmental collaboration but also strengthened partnerships with external stakeholders and encouraged working together as spheres of government and the private sector. As a result, the workshop laid the foundation for ongoing collaboration, leading to shared goals and enhanced technological initiatives. What methodologies or frameworks do you find most effective in managing IT projects, and why? PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is considered ideal for its structured approach, clear stages, and emphasis on business justification. Its focus on defined roles, effective communication, and flexibility in adapting to project changes enhances overall project control. PRINCE2 provides a comprehensive framework that promotes efficiency, risk management, and stakeholder involvement, making it a robust methodology for managing IT projects with diverse requirements and dynamic environments. Given the increasing importance of cybersecurity, how do you approach ensuring the organization's data and systems are adequately protected? Ensuring robust cybersecurity is paramount. I adopt a multi-layered approach to safeguarding the organization's data and systems. Firstly, I implement BitLocker for comprehensive hard drive and data encryption, ensuring sensitive information is protected from unauthorized access. Additionally, I leverage Trend Micro as the antivirus solution, providing real-time threat intelligence and proactive defense against evolving cyber threats. Regular security audits and vulnerability assessments are conducted to identify and address potential weaknesses. Employee training on cybersecurity best practices is also prioritized. This integrated strategy, combining encryption measures like BitLocker with advanced antivirus solutions, forms a resilient defense, safeguarding our data and systems against cyber threats. Continuous improvement is key in technology. Can you share an example of how you've implemented process improvements or innovations to enhance IT efficiency? I implemented CA Service Desk automation by integrating AI-driven chatbots for routine issue resolution, reducing response times by 30%. Introduced predictive analytics to anticipate potential IT issues, preventing downtime and improving system reliability. Utilized automation to streamline ticket routing, leading to a 20% increase in issue resolution efficiency. Established a self-service portal with an AI-driven knowledge base, empowering users to troubleshoot common problems independently, reducing the service desk workload by 25%. These innovations enhanced IT efficiency, allowing the team to focus on more complex tasks and strategic initiatives, ultimately improving overall IT service management effectiveness. February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 26
  • 29. As a leader, how do you encourage a positive and innovative culture within your IT team, fostering creativity and professional growth among your team members? I foster a positive and innovative culture by promoting open communication, recognizing and rewarding creative contributions, and encouraging a mindset that embraces learning from failures. I provide autonomy, allowing team members to explore new ideas and allocate time for personal projects. Regular skill development opportunities, mentorship programs, and a collaborative environment contribute to continuous professional growth, creating a culture that values both innovation and individual advancement. February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 27
  • 30. Structuring Business and Teams for a Flow of Work February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 28
  • 31. C ollaboration between technology and business teams is more important than ever in today's interconnected world. Companies are using technology more and more to improve consumer experiences, increase operational efficiency, and spur innovation. Still, many firms struggle to get business and technology departments to work together seamlessly. In this article, we'll explore the concept of synergy in action and how structuring business and technology teams effectively can lead to a seamless flow of work and improved outcomes. Understanding Synergy: Synergy is the concept of two or more entities working together to produce a result that is greater than the sum of their individual efforts. In the context of business and technology teams, synergy entails aligning goals, processes, and communication channels to leverage each other's strengths and expertise effectively. It's about breaking down silos and fostering a collaborative environment where cross-functional teams can thrive. The Importance of Synergy: Effective synergy between business and technology teams is critical for several reasons: Innovation: Collaboration between business and technology enables the identification and implementation of innovative solutions to address business challenges and opportunities. Efficiency: By working together, teams can streamline processes, eliminate redundancies, and optimize resources, Synergy in Ac on! February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 29
  • 32. leading to increased efficiency and productivity. Customer Satisfaction: Seamless collaboration ensures that technology solutions meet the needs and expectations of customers, leading to improved satisfaction and loyalty. Agility: In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, organizations need to adapt quickly to changes. Synergy enables agility by facilitating rapid decision-making and the implementation of changes. Structuring Business and Technology Teams for Synergy: Achieving synergy between business and technology teams requires a deliberate approach to team structure, processes, and culture. Here are some key strategies to consider: Cross-Functional Teams: Instead of operating in silos, organizations should form cross-functional teams that include members from both business and technology departments. These teams should be empowered to collaborate closely on projects, with a shared understanding of goals and priorities. Clear Communication Channels: Effective communication is essential for synergy. Establishing clear communication channels, such as regular meetings, collaboration tools, and shared documentation, ensures that team members stay informed and aligned throughout the project lifecycle. Common Goals and KPIs: Aligning goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) across business and technology teams encourages collaboration and ensures that everyone is working towards the same objectives. This shared sense of purpose fosters synergy and drives collective success. Mutual Understanding: Business and technology teams often have different perspectives and priorities. Encouraging mutual understanding and empathy between team members helps bridge the gap and fosters a culture of collaboration and respect. Continuous Learning and Development: Investing in the professional development of both business and technology team members enhances their skills and knowledge, enabling them to contribute more effectively to collaborative efforts. Cross-training programs and workshops can facilitate knowledge sharing and skill transfer between departments. Case Study: The Power of Synergy Let's take a hypothetical example of a retail company looking to enhance its online shopping experience. Traditionally, the business team might focus on market research, customer preferences, and product selection, while the technology team would handle website development, infrastructure, and security. However, by adopting a synergy-driven approach, the company forms a cross-functional team comprising members from both departments. Together, they collaborate to understand customer needs, identify pain points in the existing online shopping experience, and brainstorm innovative solutions. The business team brings insights into consumer behavior, market trends, and competitive analysis, while the technology team leverages its expertise in user experience design, web development, and data analytics. By working together, they develop and implement a personalized shopping platform that offers tailored recommendations, seamless checkout, and real-time inventory updates. The result? An online shopping experience that delights customers, drives sales, and sets the company apart from competitors. By harnessing the power of synergy, the business and technology teams have achieved more together than they could have individually. Conclusion: In today's interconnected world, synergy between business and technology teams is essential for driving innovation, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. By structuring teams effectively, fostering clear communication, and promoting a culture of collaboration, organizations can unlock the full potential of their workforce and achieve greater success. Embracing synergy isn't just about bringing teams together; it's about harnessing the collective intelligence and creativity of individuals to achieve remarkable results. As businesses continue to navigate an increasingly complex and competitive landscape, those who prioritize synergy will emerge as leaders in their industries. - Alaya Brown February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 30
  • 33. Success is not how high you have climbed, but how you make a positive difference to the world. - Roy T. Bennett www.thecioworld.com
  • 34. Naidoo Driving Opera onal Excellence and Building Strategic IT Func ons Shalin Naidoo Chief Informa on and Technology Officer DRDGOLD February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 32
  • 35. In a world constantly shaped by technological advancements, industries with deep-rooted traditions find themselves at a crossroads. Traditionally conservative sectors, such as manufacturing, agriculture, and construction, are undergoing a transformative journey fueled by technology. The integration of smart sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and automation is streamlining processes, enhancing efficiency, and reducing manual labor. The intersection of legacy practices and cutting-edge technology poses a compelling question: Can technology breathe new life into age-old industries? This question sparked the journey of Shalin Naidoo, Chief Information and Technology Officer at DRDGOLD, through the uncharted realms of the mining sector. In a world captivated by innovation, his fascination with the transformative power of technology led him to an industry deeply rooted in tradition. As the CIO of one of South Africa's leading gold producers, he has made it his mission to redefine mining operations, placing sustainability and efficiency at the forefront. Recognized as one of South Africa's Top 8 Visionary CIOs by the Institute of IT Professionals and nominated for the 2019 CIO of the Year by the International Data Corporation, Shalin has been a driving force at the intersection of technology and mining. His tenure as the CIO at Lenmed for six years showcased his prowess in leveraging technology for healthcare, setting the stage for his transformative role at DRDGOLD. Appointed as the CIO of DRDGold in November 2020, Shalin brings a wealth of experience, including a decade as an IT consultant and notable positions at companies like Anglo Platinum and Arysta LifeScience. His journey also saw him at the helm of IT for Africa and the Middle East at Arysta LifeScience and as the head of business applications SA at Tronox. His academic achievements mirror his professional success, boasting an MBA from Pretoria University and a Masters in Digital Business from Wits Business School. His dedication to the fusion of business acumen and technological innovation has positioned him as a thought leader in the dynamic landscape of CIOs. Below are the highlights from the interview! Could you elaborate on the historical background and inception story of DRDGOLD in the South African mining sector? DRDGOLD, with its rich history in the South African mining sector, has evolved through innovative practices in gold recovery. Our inception story is one of resilience and adaptation, consistently striving to set benchmarks in environmental responsibility and economic efficiency in mining. DRDGOLD's journey began over a century ago, embodying a spirit of innovation and resilience. We've transitioned from traditional mining to becoming leaders in gold recovery and land rehabilitation, continuously adapting to the evolving economic and environmental landscape and shareholders' needs. Our inception is a story of transformation, mirroring South Africa's own growth and challenges in the mining sector. What are the key aspects of your primary responsibility as CIO of DRDGOLD? My primary responsibility involves steering DRDGOLD's digital strategy, ensuring that technology initiatives align with our overarching goal of operational excellence. This encompasses digital transformation, IT infrastructure enhancement, and fostering a culture of innovation within the team. Leading DRDGOLD's digital strategy, my role extends beyond managing technology. It involves driving digital transformation, enhancing our IT infrastructure, and embedding a culture of innovation. This strategic direction is crucial to maintaining our competitive edge and ensuring sustainable growth. What were some of the challenging projects you spearheaded? There are a number of projects always underway, and each of them has its own intricacies and challenges. By far the most challenging project we are currently busy with is the reconciliation of costs with production and production activity. It is a multifaceted project with numerous variables and trends that can only be found in the details of the wealth of big data that we are currently generating. This challenge requires not just technical expertise but also leadership in coordinating diverse teams and aligning the project with strategic business goals. In your role as CIO, how do you balance innovation with stability and security? Innovation at DRDGOLD doesn't come at the expense of stability and security. We prioritize a balanced approach where cutting-edge solutions are rigorously tested and evaluated before integration, ensuring a secure and robust IT environment. Our approach to innovation is holistic, South Africa's 10 Most Influen al CIOs to Watch February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 33
  • 36. ensuring that new technologies are stable and secure before integration. We rigorously test new solutions, balancing the need for innovation with the imperative of maintaining a secure and reliable IT environment. What strategies do you apply to stay abreast of emerging technologies? To remain at the forefront of technology, I actively engage in industry forums and establish partnerships with tech leaders. I ensure my team is equally informed and adaptable through continuous programs and workshops. They strive to continuously train and are encouraged to explore new technologies, ensuring DRDGOLD stays ahead of the curve. As the CIO, how do you foster collaboration between different departments? Effective collaboration was exemplified in our cross- departmental efforts to streamline data management. By bridging IT and operational teams, we developed a unified system that enhanced both data integrity and accessibility, fostering better decision-making processes. Collaboration is key to our IT strategy. An example is our project to unify data management across departments, which improved data integrity and accessibility. This initiative exemplified the power of cross-departmental collaboration in enhancing operational efficiency. What are some of the effective IT Project Management methodologies you incorporate at your workplace? Agile methodologies have proven most effective, allowing for flexibility and iterative improvement in our projects. This approach aligns well with the dynamic nature of the mining industry, where adaptability is key and allows us to respond quickly to new challenges and opportunities, ensuring continuous improvement in our projects. What measures do you take to ensure cybersecurity? Cybersecurity is a top priority. Our cybersecurity strategy is robust and multi-layered, encompassing regular audits and a strong culture of security awareness among all staff. We continuously evolve our defenses to stay ahead of emerging cyber threats, ensuring the integrity and security of our systems. How do you implement continuous improvement in IT? Continuous improvement is integral to our IT strategy. A recent focus has been optimizing our cloud infrastructure, which has enhanced our scalability and performance while also reducing costs. This ongoing improvement is crucial to maintaining our competitive advantage. What strategies do you apply to encourage a positive and innovative team culture? We foster a culture of creativity and growth by encouraging open dialogue, recognizing individual contributions, and providing opportunities for professional development. We firmly believe in nurturing a team environment that encourages creativity, encourages open dialogue, and recognizes individual contributions. This culture not only motivates our team but also fosters innovative thinking, essential for our success in the technology-driven mining sector. What client testimonials and recognitions has DRDGOLD received? DRDGOLD's commitment to excellence is reflected in positive client feedback and industry awards. These accolades are a testament to our innovative practices and the impactful contributions of our IT department to the mining sector. Hereby ending the interview thanking Shalin Naidoo for his invaluable insights. I foster a culture of crea vity and growth by encouraging open dialogue, recognizing individual contribu ons, and providing opportuni es for professional development. This approach not only mo vates the team but also sparks innova ve solu ons. February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 34
  • 38. To encourage innova on, I encourage team members to experiment with new technologies and methodologies. Tebalo Tsoaeli Chief Information Officer (CIO) The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) South Africa's 10 Most Influen al CIOs to Watch February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 36
  • 39. hat sparks a lifelong passion? For Tebalo WTsoaeli, it all began with a single line of code. Born in the picturesque town of Maseru, Southern Lesotho, his journey from a young dreamer to Chief Information Officer at The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is nothing short of remarkable. Raised in a nurturing environment, Tebalo's thirst for knowledge led him to Machabeng College, the International School of Lesotho, where he laid the foundation for his future endeavors. It was here that he first delved into the world of programming, igniting a spark that would shape his career trajectory. Fueled by his newfound passion for technology, he embarked on a journey of academic excellence. He pursued a BSc in Computer Science at the University of Natal, followed by an honors degree at the University of the Free State. But his thirst for knowledge didn't end there. In 2012, Tebalo achieved a significant milestone by obtaining his MBA from Rhodes University, solidifying his expertise in both technology and business management. Armed with a diverse skill set and a relentless drive for success, Tebalo's professional journey led him to the pinnacle of the financial world—the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. As the CIO, he plays a pivotal role in steering one of Africa's largest and most influential financial institutions towards technological innovation and digital transformation. During our conversation with him, we had the opportunity to discuss his vision for crafting technology strategies in line with the JSE’s strategic ambitions. Below are excerpts from the interview! Please brief us about yourself and what inspired you to embark on this sector. My journey began in the picturesque town of Maseru, in southern Lesotho, where I spent my childhood years. As education played a crucial role in shaping my life path, I obtained my high school qualifications from Machabeng College—International School of Lesotho. There, my interest in IT blossomed when, during my second year, I was exposed to programming and ultimately wrote my first piece of code. Further fueling my passion for knowledge and technology, I subsequently pursued a BSc in Computer Science at the University of Natal, followed by an honors degree at the University of the Free State. Then later, in 2012, I successfully attained my MBA from Rhodes University. Could you give our readers an insight into your com- pany and its inception story? The JSE was established by Benjamin Woollan on Novem- ber 8, 1887. His goal was to provide a platform for gold mining companies to raise capital to make the most of South Africa's first gold rush. Today, the JSE is the largest stock exchange in Africa, located in Johannesburg, South Africa, and is one of the top 20 exchanges in the world by market capitalization. The JSE provides a platform for the buying and selling of company shares listed on the exchange, as well as other financial instruments such as bonds, derivatives, and exchange-traded funds. It plays a crucial role in facilitating investment and capital formation in South Africa and the broader African continent. As a CIO, what do you consider your primary responsi- bility in driving the organization's digital strategy and technology initiatives? Cra ing Technology Strategies Aligned with Strategic Ambi ons February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 37
  • 40. Leading the way in developing and implementing innova- tive solutions and initiatives for the JSE technology portfolio is a top priority. Ensuring that the current techno- logical landscape is effectively managed to surpass service levels, enhance cost-effectiveness, and deliver exceptional quality and service is paramount. Additionally, crafting the JSE Group's technology strategy in line with its strategic ambitions is a key focus. Can you share a specific example of a challenging IT project you successfully led, highlighting your problem- solving and leadership skills? In 2022, we deployed an innovative information service, JSE Trade Explorer, leveraging big xyt’s Liquidity Cockpit for security analytics. Using the Trade Explorers’ unique peer group rankings, trading firms can explore their market share, examine how they interact with the order book, and view their trading performance. When dealing with the intricate process of implementing cloud technology, I firmly believe that, as a leader, it is my responsibility to set a precedent by leading from the front and by example. During moments of uncertainty, it is vital for leaders to demonstrate their presence and guide their teams through the storm. This principle has been ingrained in my leadership approach throughout my various experi- ences. Ultimately, thanks to the collective hard work of the team, our adoption of cloud technology has set us up in good stead with regards to implementing a modern scalable data platform that will enable our clients easy and seamless access to JSE data through a variety of modern channels (APIs, streaming services, digital portals, e.t.c.), introduce flexibility to our pushed and streaming data services, and re-imagine our data platform through flexibility and modernization. In your role, how do you prioritize and balance innova- tion with maintaining the stability and security of the organization's IT infrastructure? As CIO at the JSE, I prioritize and balance innovation with maintaining the stability and security of our IT infrastruc- ture by aligning our IT initiatives with the JSE's overall strategic objectives, ensuring that any innovations support and enhance our core business operations. This entails constant risk assessment to identify potential vulnerabilities and understand the potential impact of new innovations on the IT infrastructure's stability and security. Furthermore, I collaborate closely with other business leaders, department heads, and operational teams to understand their needs and requirements. This ensures that any innovation introduced aligns with their objectives, while also incorporating necessary security measures. Additionally, at the JSE, we invest in robust infrastructure by allocating sufficient resources to maintain a stable and secure IT infrastructure. This includes implementing the latest security measures, regularly updating and patching systems, and conducting ongoing monitoring and testing. How do you stay updated on emerging technologies and trends, and how do you ensure your IT team remains well-informed and adaptable? As a CIO, staying updated on emerging technologies and trends is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge. To achieve this, I prioritize continuous learning by attending industry conferences, seminars, and workshops. These events provide opportunities to gain insights into emerging technologies and trends, as well as to network with experts in the field. I also allocate time for research and analysis of emerging technologies and their potential impact on the financial industry. This involves reading industry publica- tions, research papers, market reports, and monitoring technology news. Furthermore, I regularly conduct research on industry publications, reports, and online resources. This helps me stay updated on the latest technological advancements and trends relevant to our organization's IT needs. Additionally, I maintain a strong network of industry professionals and experts. By regularly interacting with them, I gain insights into cutting-edge technologies, best practices, and market trends. I also collaborate with technology partners, vendors, and consultants to exchange knowledge and insights. Collaboration is crucial in technology leadership. Can you provide an instance where you fostered effective collaboration between IT and other departments to achieve a common goal? In 2023, the JSE launched Colo 2.0 in partnership with Beeks and IPC. This advanced managed infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solution provides JSE clients with cloud- based colocation services. This launch required the input of several key market players and divisions within the JSE. From IT and Capital Markets to Marketing and Corporate Affairs. This was a crucial step February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 38
  • 41. in the JSEs IT space, but everyone made crucial contribu- tions to the successful launch and continued operations of the platform. What methodologies or frameworks do you find most effective in managing IT projects, and why? I firmly believe in creating and showing value in the early stages of an initiative. Therefore, an agile methodology of delivering projects is one I find to be very effective, as not only does it allow you to show value in the early stages of a project, but it also allows you to fail fast and pivot when necessary. In addition, it helps mitigate the risk of failing at the end of a project and having to end up writing off exorbitant implementation costs. Given the increasing importance of cybersecurity, how do you approach ensuring the organization's data and systems are adequately protected? Ensuring the security and protection of the JSE’s data and systems is of utmost importance to us; as such, we follow a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. By conducting regular and thorough risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities and threats, we are able to understand the risks we face and prioritize our efforts accordingly. We have a robust security framework that aligns with industry best practices and international standards. This includes implementing a combination of technical, administrative, and physical controls to protect our systems and data. We conduct regular assessments and audits to evaluate the effectiveness of our security measures. This helps us identify any existing or emerging vulnerabilities and take appropriate actions to address them promptly. Finally, we recognize that human error can be a significant factor in cybersecurity incidents, as such, we mandate the comple- tion of several employee awareness and training modules. Continuous improvement is key in technology. Can you share an example of how you've implemented process improvements or innovations to enhance IT efficiency? In 2022, we deployed an innovative information service, JSE Trade Explorer, leveraging big xyt’s Liquidity Cockpit for security analytics. Using the Trade Explorers’ unique peer group rankings, trading firms can explore their market share, examine how they interact with the order book, and view their trading performance. In 2023, the JSE, in collaboration with Beeks and IPC, deployed an advanced managed infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solution that would provide cloud-based colocation services to JSE clients. The solution offers on-demand computing and analytics, allowing the JSE to provide its clients with a cutting-edge IaaS solution in a fully built, pre-installed environment. As a leader, how do you encourage a positive and innovative culture within your IT team, fostering creativity and professional growth among your team members? I understand the importance of fostering a positive and innovative culture within our IT team. To encourage this, I promote open communication. I believe in fostering an environment where team members can freely express their ideas and opinions. Regular team meetings and one-on-one sessions provide opportunities for open communication. This allows team members to share their innovative ideas and provide input on projects, fostering a collaborative and inclusive culture. I encourage a culture of continuous learning by providing access to training and development resources. This includes encouraging team members to attend relevant industry conferences, workshops, and webinars. Additionally, I support and sponsor certifications and professional development courses to enhance their skills and knowledge. Furthermore, I am a strong advocate of experimentation. To encourage innovation, I encourage team members to experiment with new technologies and methodologies. Please provide us with a few client testimonials as well as any awards or recognition that accurately reflect your achievements in this industry. In 2016, I participated in The Future CIO Programme by the Gordon Institute of Business and WIPRO. I was also a member of the International Executive Development Programme (IEDP) with BANKSETA and Duke Corporate Education. Then in 2017, I was awarded second place in the FNB CodeFest Hackathon. My proudest achievement, however, will always be my two beautiful daughters, aged 12 and 5. February, 2024 www.thecioworld.com 39
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  • 43. Leadership is not about titles, positions, or owcharts. It is about one life inuencing another. J O H N C . M A X W E L L www.thecioworld.com