IT pro social network launched in SA

2016-05-13 14:33 - Duncan Alfreds, Fin24
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Office worker. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Cape Town – A new platform is aimed at linking local information officers to boost capacity in the face of digital business growth.

Xuviate has started a series of Mastermind Groups to facilitate brainstorming and support sessions aimed mainly at IT professionals in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“While both entrepreneurs in start-ups as well as IT leaders in big corporates already have support networks in place, our 20 years of experience in the SME sector have shown that these constructs are severely lacking in small and mid-sized organisations,” Mathias Tölken, chief operating officer of Xuviate, told Fin24.

He added that the isolated nature of IT professional in these enterprises exacerbated the need for additional support.

SMEs have been identified as an engine of economic growth as highlighted by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s Budget Speech in which he indicated support for business-friendly policy.

Barriers

“I need to emphasise that additional spending on higher education, small business development, and amounts set aside for responding to the drought and other contingencies, are accommodated through stringent cost containment measures across all departments,” Gordhan said.

Because companies are on different levels as far as their digital skills are concerned, the Xuviate Gap Analyzer is expected to overcome barriers so that leaders can help assist each other.

But sharing does not mean theft of intellectual property, said Tölken.

“This is where the selection of group members comes in and we have developed and are constantly upgrading a set of guidelines for optimal group matching to ensure maximum benefit for the members whilst minimising potential problems.

“One of the main factors is that we do make 100% sure that there is no competition and/or conflict of interest between the group members and their respective organisations. As our individual Mastermind groups comprise of only six-10 members, members do have an input in the group composition and our target market is global, we have not had any problem with this to date and also do not foresee any difficulty in finding an appropriate group for any IT leader,” he added.

The disruption that digital technology from SMEs will bring to the economy implies the need to accelerate development of IT expertise.

Internet Solutions recently announced the launch of Ignite which is aimed at boosting SMEs and Discovery chief executive Adrian Gore announced a R1.5bn fund to help SMEs.

READ: SMEs get R1.5bn boost

“It has been less the economic climate and more the accelerating need for digital transformation in businesses that has led to this development,” said Tölken of the Mastermind Groups which will meet online every two weeks for two hours.

While the motor car and financial industries have established technology leadership, Tölken said that all industries are headed for digital transformation.

“We have not found an industry that does not need it. Current attendees hail from organisations in various industries - manufacturing, travel and leisure, agriculture, non-profit and software development to name but a few.”


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