HP kicked off the South African leg of its worldwide Discover Performance Tour 2013 yesterday in Midrand, Gauteng, and used the opportunity to engage with local customers, partners and clients about international best practices and how these can be applied in the domestic market.
The global software company has announced its intention to delve deeper into SaaS and managed services across the continent, as well as address growing requirements for cloud services and enterprise software within developing markets.
HP views Africa as a high growth market.
Paul Muller, senior HP Executive, described the company’s global Enterprise 2020 initiative and explained that it seeks to identify the dynamics of a changing world and predict, through a combination of research and expert opinion, what the scenario will look like for businesses operating in the year 2020.
There are several takeaways from this ongoing hypothesis of where commerce is being directed that is relevant to the African marketplace – including security and the growth of organised crime, the volume of data and increasing population.
“There is a pattern within environments that are physically isolated, like Johannesburg for example. One finds a two-speed IT economy, in terms of best practices, and you have a group of independent thought leaders across various sectors focused on best practices and processes. There is also a great export of talent and leading best practices. Then, simultaneously, because it is a relatively skills challenged environment, there is huge competition for talent – specific to SA – and that creates a stange tension. Businesses know they have to upskill their people, but as they upskill them, what is the chance of them losing those people? There is a focus on doing more with less, on automation to address the retention of IP,” said Muller.
North of the border
HP describes the skills base throughout the rest of the continent as being “patchy” rather than low and emphasise the important role that partnerships are playing.
“There is a need to develop that local talent base and that skills base. We seem to find that partners are able to maintain that consistency and high level of skill that maybe some of the small medium enterprises can’t afford to maintain. And, as we say, once they train them, the risk of losing them is such that they are better off working with a partner that can hold on to those people and can afford to maintain a competitive market rate for the talent…so they kind of act like a talent pool for our customers within the medium sized businesses,” Muller continues.
According to HP when one considers the situation North of the border, the focus shifts from ‘running your own IT services’ to that of cloud orientated services that make sense to business – including cloud orientated application testing, security and monitoring.
“It helps not only because you don’t own the licence, which lowers your capex requirements, but a lot of what I call the cost of ‘feeding and watering’ of those systems – the maintenance and upgrading of those systems – is born by HP rather than our own end user customers. SaaS and managed services has become more important to the North of us,” Muller continues.
Going forward the company’s software strategy is based fundamentally on SaaS and simplification.
HP’s global Enterprise 2020 initiative has, thusfar, reiterated the relevance of security and security systems and the shift to early detection and correction, that software will define the organisation and people will emerge as a key resource within the process of change.
This facet or what HP calls MOC (Management of Organisational Change) has been identified by business leaders as the biggest challenge.
Chris Tredger, Online Editor