May 19, 2020

Accenture: the state of innovation in South Africa

South Africa
Georgia Wilson
3 min
Accenture: the state of innovation in South Africa
Business Chief takes a look at the current state of technological innovation in South Africa...

Business Chief takes a look at the current state of technological innovation in South Africa.

Reflecting on the current state of innovation in South Africa, Vukani Mngxati, CEO for Accenture in Africa details that “Johannesburg is in the midst of a major technology revolution,” however, “South Africa continues to face multiple challenges such as high unemployment, slow economic growth and declining productivity to mention a few.”

To open up new opportunities Mngxati explains that innovation driven by digital disruption will create jobs, boost economic growth and address fundamental socio economic development and development issues. 

“South Africa needs to isolate the innovation gene and replicate it in all endeavours in all sectors of society where it can create value. This is not just the can-do kind of innovation that South Africa is known and recognised for, but true systemic, repeatable, collaborative, problem-solving innovation of the first order – the kind that disrupts and defines successful and resurgent nations,” adds Mngxati.

Disruption is inescapable and a growing challenge among industries in South Africa, “South African companies must ramp up their innovation capability and compete with global giants who are seeing Africa as the next mechanism for exponential growth. They need to invest in the talent at scale and rise to the next wave of challenges and opportunities.”

Accenture recently released its Innovation Maturity Index, which looked at the opportunities that technology innovation presents in South African businesses and their ability to turn opportunities into value. 

Key findings:

  • While 14% of global companies are innovating using digital technologies, only 7% of South African companies are doing the same

  • 62% of companies in South Africa are vulnerable to disruption, with weaknesses ranging from a lack of innovation to insufficient investment

  • Only 9% of South African industries demonstrate broad resilience and achieve consistent performance 

“One needs to recognise that business is changing and with it the business landscape. The old paradigms are being shifted by disruption and industries are converging to create channels to multiple services from singular entry points.” 

Accenture also conducted interviews with 100 South African C-suite executives from 14 industries to understand how their businesses are preparing for and are positioned to deal with disruption.

Key findings:

  • 50% of South African companies are not prepared for disruption

  • 75% expect their industry to be disrupted by new innovations in the next three years, especially from new competitors and technologies


For more information on business topics in Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief EMEA.

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Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

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