Deloitte SA Blog


Technical Debt Reversal: Technology Trends 2014

technical debt reversal

This take on the Trend: Technical Debt Reversal was written by Mmamathe Makhekhe, CIO of Johannesburg Water.

When it comes to technical debt reversal, understanding, containing, and mitigating technical debt can be a platform for a renewed level of trust and transparency with the business. This is especially an interesting field in the public sector where we are already using aspects of it in our operations.

Two of the key issues any public sector department face are that of business processes and how best to enhance them. When Johannesburg Water looked at its existing systems, the department closely examined how they were deployed, how they relayed to the architecture of the department, and whether they have been deployed to serve the needs of the department.

Similar to many organisations, a public sector department evolves over time and business requirements change. For us, many of our challenges revolve around the shortages of water faced by citizens. From a policy perspective, there has therefore been a need to transform to meet service delivery imperatives. The question then turns to how can technology be used in order to be pro-active and manage capital costs.

This is where technical debt comes into play.

Would you be interested to know your IT organisations propensity for Technical Debt accumulation? If so, fill your details in below and we will let you know when our online self-assessment tool for Technical Debt is released next month!

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According to the definition of this trend, technical debt is a way to understand the cost of code quality and the impacts of architectural issues. For IT to help drive business innovation, managing technical debt is a necessity. Legacy systems can constrain growth because they may not scale; because they may not be extensible into new scenarios like mobile or analytics; or because underlying performance and reliability issues may put the business at risk. But it is not just legacy systems: New systems can incur technical debt even before they launch. Organisations should purposely reverse their debt to better support innovation and growth, and revamp their IT delivery models to minimise new debt creation.

So in the wake of this, technical debt is a concept that we as a department have picked up on and started implementing. With our users or customers becoming more sophisticated, this approach has a lot of potential to pay dividends. People are more mobile and agile than ever before and are demanding more from their service providers because of it.

Unfortunately we are not unique from a public service perspective to be trapped with reduced budgets. This means that the prioritisation of key issues in terms of technical debt reversal becomes essential. I am fortunate to be in a position to deal with this heads-on.

Already, we have ensured that the required corporate governance is in place as well as many of the processes to integrate technical debt more into the department. However, there are still numerous of our systems trapped in a multi-vendor approach so this needs to be streamlined as a first priority. The question is how best do we plug them into the organisation and eliminate duplication? Through technical debt, this becomes a real possibility as the stakeholders within our structures see the value in the public sector. And as we are starting to see the benefits of this, many in the private sector will also experience significant improvement in their own processes.

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Cognitive Analytics: Technology Trends 2014

Cognitive Analytics

This take on the Trend: Cognitive Analytics was written by Mesfin Belachew (PhD), technical adviser to the Minister at the Ministry of Communication and IT in Ethiopia

As a disruptive trend, cognitive analytics is that which enhances the human decision-making process as a result of using ‘heavy’ data such as that gained from cloud computing or the knowledge that is shared in a community or group of people. It assists us to make conclusions around a specific area and to provide support for a more improved decision-making process.

While there are some relationships with business intelligence, especially when it comes to using raw data, cognitive analysis deals with long-time historical and very big data. It is simply much broader in scope than what business intelligence has to offer.

This concept is new when compared to other ICT initiatives. But with more discussions happening around cloud computing and open data, especially in the public sector, cognitive analytics is starting to gain momentum. It is especially important as it can provide direct assistance on maximising the technology usage of the cloud and other innovations. Developing countries might still be a bit slow in adopting it as it is a new concept but it is definitely not too late to work in this area.

Governments should be using this as it relates to step-by-step prototyping. But it can only be effective when cognitive analytics professionals are involved in very specific areas. To this end, it will be useful for the public sector to partner with those companies in the private sector who have already developed solutions around this. This will result in government getting qualified people in the area so raw and fundamental data and processes can be organised accordingly to benefit from cognitive analytics.

The benefits of this are numerous. By being able to make considered decisions using historical data in a more precise and accurate way will provide significant assistance when it comes time to decide on specific concepts that require open data. When any data analysis takes place, it is more difficult if a single person is responsible for it. So a collective effort is required especially around natural language processing, structured and unstructured data, and in generating ideas that are more exact. Cognitive analytics means that it is all up to the person to use the information and start implementing it.

It is only a matter of time before cognitive analytics permeate every effort from business and government. People have specific demands and want real-time decisions to be made. For example, only a decade ago it could take up to a year to complete a government department roll-out. Today the expectations have changed and it needs to be done within a few weeks. So it is clear that in order to do this, you need to be in a position to make decisions fast hence the importance of cognitive analytics.

And as with any other technology, whoever started earlier when adopting cognitive analytics has got the first-mover advantage. This is also not a single component but requires historical data, big data, and other resources to teach the system accordingly. This year is definitely going to be one to watch when it comes to implementing cognitive analytics systems and those in the government and private sector best be ready to embrace it.

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Technology Trends: What do they mean for CIO’s

Tech Trends Header

Technology Trends are rapidly disrupting and shaping the technology landscape as we know it. CIOs, more than ever, need to know what waves of disruption are going to hit their companies within the next 18 to 24 months. The Deloitte Technology Trends Report this year entitled: Inspiring Disruption explores in detail the top 10 trends that will effect and organisations technology landscape.

The role of the CIO is becoming more and more focused on the value they can offer the business through the access to and proliferation of information and not just on how well the technology is maintained. Because of this, the role of the CIO as a trusted partner to the business, in what for many parts of the world remain difficult economic times, has never been more important or challenging.

The Technology Trends allow the CIO to see a small way into the future and ensure they what they are doing today will stand them in good stead tomorrow. Some of the technology trends highlight this more than others.

For instance let’s briefly highlight trends such as:

  • Digital Engagement: Content and assets are increasingly digital—with audio, video, and interactive elements—and consumed across multiple channels, including not only mobile, social, and the web, but also in store, on location, or in the field. Whether for customers, employees, or business partners, digital engagement is about creating a consistent, compelling, and contextual way of personalizing, delivering, and sometimes even monetizing the user’s overall experience—especially as core products become augmented or replaced with digital intellectual property.
  • Industrialised Crowdsourcing: Enterprise adoption of the power of the crowd allows specialized skills to be dynamically sourced from anyone, anywhere, and only as needed. Companies can use the collective knowledge of the masses to help with tasks from data entry and coding to advanced analytics and product development. The potential for disruptive impact on cost alone likely makes early experimentation worthwhile, but there are also broader implications for innovation in the enterprise.
  • Social Activation: Over the years, the focus of social business has shifted from measuring volume to monitoring sentiment and, now, toward changing perceptions. In today’s recommendation economy, companies should focus on measuring the perception of their brand and then on changing how people feel, share, and evangelize. Companies can activate their audiences to drive their message outward—handing them an idea and getting them to advocate it in their own words to their own network.

All of the above point to the way in which we structure and organise our IT organisation so that we can easily access and utilise information. CIOs need to be sure that their people, process and technology are ready and robust enough to handle the high information demands of the business.

If a CIO was not looking forward; trying to understand how and where the next business demand was going to present itself; their IT organisation would arguably not be able to respond quickly enough  to these changing demands from the business and as a result; their entire organisation could be rendered unable to respond to their competitors and the changing market conditions.

 If you are a business leader that wants to know more; make sure you are registered to attend our Technology Trends event on March 10 in Johannesburg.

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Technology Trends 2014: Inspiring Disruption

Inspiring Disruption

Each year, we study the ever-evolving technology landscape, focusing on trends, events and technologies that promise to have a transformational impact on business, government, and society. Once again, we’ve selected 10 topics that we believe will impact organisations across industries, geographies, and sizes over the next 18 to 24 months.

This year’s report entitled: Inspiring Disruption highlights the unprecedented potential for emerging technologies to reshape how work gets done, how businesses grow, and how markets and industries evolve. These technologies challenge CIOs to anticipate their potential organisational impacts. And while today’s demands are by no means trivial, the trends we describe offer CIOs the opportunity to shape tomorrow—to inspire others, to create value, and to transform “business as usual.”

As in prior years, we’ve organised the trends into two categories: Disruptors and Enablers.

  • Disruptors are areas that can create sustainable positive disruption in IT capabilities, business operations, and sometimes even business models.
  • Enablers are technologies in which many CIOs have already invested time and effort, but that warrant another look because of new developments, new capabilities, or new potential use cases.

To further increase the African relevance of this report; we have rated each trend across three specific metrics: Relevance; Immediacy; Readiness.

  • The Relevance score presents our view of the degree of relevance of this global trend has in our current market how much of an impact the trend in question will ultimately have.
  • The Immediacy scale is an indicator of when we suggested you look to invest in actions related to this trend.
  • The Readiness scale shows us how ready we in Africa are to deal with or benefit from this trend. There could be impediments that may need to be removed for real benefits to be realised.

For the first time, we’ve added a section dedicated to what our contributing authors at Singularity University refer to as “exponential” technologies. We highlight five innovative technologies that may take longer than our standard 24-month time horizon for businesses to harness them—but whose eventual impact may be profound. Examples include artificial intelligence, robotics and additive manufacturing (3-D printing). Our goal is to provide a high-level introduction to each exponential—a snapshot of what it is, where it comes from, and where it’s going.

Each of the 2014 trends is relevant today. Each has significant momentum and potential to make a business impact. And each warrants timely consideration—even if the strategy is to wait and see. But whatever you do, don’t be caught unaware—or unprepared. Use these forces to inspire, to transform and to disrupt.

attend TT2014

Make sure that you attend the Technology event of the year by registering your attendance here!

Enterprise Mobility: Why is it more than a passing trend?

enterprise mobility

Enterprise mobility is a trend that has been on the CIO’s agenda for a few years now. But when we are talking about enterprise mobility and mobility solutions what are we actually referring to? And further to that what has been the root cause for pushing mobility strategy as part of the business agenda?

The consumerisation of IT

Consumerisation of IT has transformed the way we work, analyse and consume information on mobile devices. With the likes of the Apple App Store or Google Play and to a lesser extent BlackBerry AppWorld pushing the design, usage and a high user expectation in our personal lives; organisations are under extreme pressure from employees and executives who now demand the same level of experience in their working lives too. This has brought about seismic shifts in the way organisations view technology, imposing new challenges but equally presenting new opportunities to adapt and exploit these shifts for improved competitive advantage, productivity, and lower TCO through enterprise mobility.

Within enterprise mobility; there are two very specific areas that need to be unpacked in order to really understand the enterprise mobility trend. These two areas are mobile devices and mobile applications. These two areas combined are where your organisations mobility strategy comes to life.

Enterprise Mobility button

Mobile Devices

The first shift is from a device management perspective where in the past; organisations equipped their employees with a corporate-owned device, IT departments had control over what devices entered the organisation. Today is a different scene altogether. Thanks to consumerisation ([tooltip title=”” content=”Bring Your Own Device” type=”classic” ]BYOD[/tooltip]), more employee liable devices are entering the workplace and IT departments as a result have lost control over what devices are entering the organisation. Traditional “formal” device policies that were mainstream in the past are therefore no longer sustainable in today’s mobile age and organisations must embrace this shift by adapting their device policies by accommodating both “formal” and “informal” approaches.

Mobile Apps

The second shift is from a mobile application perspective. The decision by mobile OS vendors like Apple and Google to open up their platforms for developers to build mobile apps resulted in the birth of a “virtual consumer market” for mobile apps. In this market, developers create high quality mobile apps and publish them to a mobile app-store. Consumers in turn frequent these app-stores and for a nominal fee, can purchase mobile applications and install them directly to their mobile device.

The last several years has seen this virtual consumer grow significantly with iTunes for example having exploded from 25,000 apps in 2009 to 750,000 apps in 2013. Today it is possible for consumers to find an app for just about any purpose from bar-code scanning, to document sharing, to social collaboration, and most offer superb user experience thanks to the competitive nature of this market. With access to such a plethora of mobile applications and with the recent innovations in mobile device technologies (such as tablets and hybrid computers) a demand is emanating from consumers for access to apps that promote collaboration with the enterprise. And why shouldn’t they?

Enterprise Mobility Evolution

Enterprise mobility is evolving in the postdigital enterprise from being merely a consideration in design; to a mobile first implementation, to a mobile only implementation. To this end there are; over and above the mobile devices and the mobile apps; other organisational drivers (important to the CIO) which are important to unpack in your mobile journey.

Are you ready for Enterprise Mobility? Does your organisation have a need for mobile device management and mobile apps that are strategically relevant to your business strategy? Find out more from Sergio Congia; the Deloitte SAP Mobility Lead.

mobility readiness assessment

Business Innovation and IT trends – If you just follow, you will never lead

business innovation

Many emerging technologies promise a transformational and disruptive effect on the business. To provide more insight in the actual use of technology trends, Deloitte and CIO Magazine organised a national technology trends survey.  A total of 210 Dutch CIOs and IT managers participated in the online survey. This report summarises the results and presents our point of view on technology trends and innovation.

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Key findings from the survey

The survey underpins the three main areas of business-IT innovation: Mobile, Cloud and Data. As the adoption rates of individual trends show companies are, however, still working on getting the basics right.

Mobile computing has revolutionised information technology and has introduced us to the post PC era. In just a few years smartphones and tablets have found widespread use in businesses. Companies are still working on integrating mobile devices in their IT landscape. The top-3 mobile trends in this respect are ‘Bring Your Own Device’, ‘Mobile device management’ and ‘Mobile/back-end integration’. Most companies have only just started to leverage the potential of mobile technology to mobilise business processes.

Cloud is the megatrend with the highest impact on the application ecosystem and most companies are transitioning to a mix of on-premise and cloud solutions. Already 45% of all companies have an operational SaaS solution in place and another 22% is contemplating to implement SaaS. Nevertheless, only 14% have some form of cloud integration and therefore most SaaS solutions are stand alone. We expect SaaS to become the de facto standard in multiple functional areas within 18 months. Fully integrated cloud applications is expected to become the norm. Security and trust extend beyond the boundaries of the own organisation and require a new mindset.

Data is becoming companies’ main strategic asset. Increasingly, the competitive advantage will be in data-driven decision making. However, so far only 17% of the organisations actually use advanced analytics.

CIOs are confronted with a plethora of new technologies and a seemingly chaotic supply of trends. The survey supports our view that individual trends can and should be categorized in five themes or megatrends:

  • Hyper connection (mobile)
  • Hybrid application eco systems (cloud)
  • From data to insight (data)
  • User experience
  • Industrialisation of the data centre

Adoption of trends in the user experience theme, like ‘location aware services’, ‘augmented reality’ and ‘gamification’, is lower than we expected. However, innovation will come from solutions that combine the power of new form factors and rich context information.

One remarkable result of the survey is how the CIOs assess the business impact of new technologies. They regard these trends as an improvement (57%) rather than being transformational (5%). This raises the question ‘how transformational are technology trends anyway?’ We all know silver bullets to be illusory, but many emerging technology trends nevertheless have the potential of a transformational and disruptive effect on the business. A successful CIO combines technical expertise with imaginative power to spot the strategic use of IT and to lead this to its full potential.

In the view of Deloitte, radical innovation is rarely realised by a single new technology; instead, it requires a smart combination of multiple trends and technologies. A true Chief Innovation Officer should develop an innovation strategy per theme and even across themes.

New technologies raise new issues for the CIO. We asked CIOs to describe their biggest technology trend challenges/dilemmas. Security and compliance stands out as the absolute winner. It was mentioned twice as much as the runner up on the list: integration of new technologies in the existing (legacy) landscape.

Download the full report . . . . Business Innovation and IT trends – If you just follow, you will never lead

If you have any questions or require a more detailed discussion on any of the findings, feel free to contact Kamal Ramsingh (Deloitte Consulting Technology Leader) at

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Enterprise 2.0 – What it means to be a Social Enterprise

enterprise 2.0 point of view

Social Business and the social enterprise; not just a small business concept

Social Enterprise or Enterprise 2.0 is a term that is beginning to bubble to the surface in many a business conversation. The aim of Enterprise 2.0 is to help employees, customers and suppliers collaborate, share and organise information using Web 2.0 technologies.

To be truly successful as a social business; an organisation needs to fundamentally understand their business and the driving factors that make up the human psyche. Businesses have become incredibly complex engines that are multi-facetted and multi-layered; to this end business, and to a degree – social media, has become “de-humanised”.

We live in a world of automation and non-verbal electronic communication. We only get a person’s attention for a few seconds at best, and then their attention is grabbed by their next tweet or task. The only way to make social media work is to go deeper and focus on creating meaningful conversations that drive trusted relationships that go  beyond a 140-character word intro.

Social business has only progressed in organisations that understand how these tools enable their business to achieve their strategic objectives. Organisations embracing  enterprise 2.0 invest time and resources in understanding how their people can embrace it to drive specific processes and outcomes. We need to go back to basics and  reclaim the essence that people come to work to do a job and the biggest opportunity for social business is to connect people to do their job in a way that helps the  organisation deliver on its purpose.

Download the free report to find out more about how to prepare your organisation for Enterprise 2.0!

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What BYOD really means for today’s CIO

navigating the BYOD maze

The Corporate CIO has been dealing with the impending threat of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) for quite some time. Now that this trend has been around for a while we can really begin to unpack and understand what this means for today’s CIO and how they can best deal with it.

The Pros and Cons of BYOD

There are many reasons why an organisation (especially the staff) would want to embrace a BYOD culture:

  • Businesses that embrace BYOD have some advantages over competitors such as costs being shifted from the organisation to the user.
  • Staff satisfaction. Since users have the choice to use laptops and smartphones they prefer, they are far more productive and at ease as opposed to being forced to use “IT sanctioned equipment”.
  • Since the devices that are usually seen in BYOD cultures are far more cutting edge; this is an ancillary benefit to the organisation as the organisation now has the ability to take advantage of the latest device features and capabilities.
  • The refresh cycles of a BYOD culture are also a lot quicker than those of a traditionally enabled IT department which goes hand in hand with the above advantage.

There are however, just as many real world concerns that the CIO needs to face when dealing with a BYOD scenario:

  • It is still a tricky scenario in telling a user what is an acceptable use of their own laptop or smart phone. This is in direct contract to the acceptable use policies which are traditionally rolled out with company owned technology. This means that the CIO needs to have a clearly defined policy for BYOD that outlines the rules of engagement and states up front what the expectations are.  This should ideally include the minimum security requirements as a condition for allowing personal devices to connect to company networks of access company data.
  • Compliance and ownership of data is a large BYOD issue. All businesses handle sensitive data every day; this means that there are certain compliance mandates around that data which still need to be adhered to. Those rules still must be followed even if the data is on a laptop or smart phone owned by an employee.
  • When a member of staff leaves the organisation (for whatever reason), segregating and retrieving company data can be a particularly large hurdle – especially if the controls were not put in place upfront.

Making BYOD Work

To ensure the success of your BYOD initiative; the following pyramid needs to be borne in mind.

BYOD Pyramid

1. Define BYOD objectives

  • Why are you doing BYOD? E.g. to reduce costs, mobilize workforce, reduce risks
  • BYOD programs should be rooted in specific business objectives, aligned with overall enterprise strategy

2. Evaluate risks

  • What key business and technology risks must be accounted for?
  • Critical enterprise risks should be considered when defining your BYOD program

 3. Define policy

  • Define BYOD program elements that address risks and exploit benefits
  • Ensure collaboration between technology, business, finance, HR and legal

 4. Operationalize and implement

  • Evaluate and implement supporting solutions around security, data loss, device management, etc. as per your defined policies

Please leave a comment below if you have any other thoughts around BYOD that you have tried in your organisation. If you would like to know more about BYOD; please contact Kamal Ramsingh, South African Deloitte Consulting Technology Leader, directly!

Finding the Face of your Data : Tech Trends 2013 Preview

For the past several years, our Tech Trends reports have explored trends in analytics, visualization and big data. The quest has been to find answers to “crunchy questions” – questions that, if you can answer them, you may move the needle on business performance. Finding the Face of your Data adds a pattern discovery approach, assuming we are at a place now where we don’t even know all the possible questions. Therefore, the first step in the process is not to discover what the ‘right’ question is, but to discover what the potential questions could be.

By combining human insight and intuition with machine number crunching and visualization, you may be able to answer questions you’ve never answered before. More importantly, you may discover important questions you hadn’t even thought to ask.

We believe that the CIO may be the steward of the information asset – creating value and enhancing enterprise results and returns with information. With Finding the Face of your Data, the CIO may have a new approach for data-driven decision making to create competitive advantage.

Humans do some things really well, and other things are better done by computers. In pattern discovery, it is the particular combination that will allow for the identification of new patterns and relationships across four dimensions of data – structured, unstructured, internal and external.

To learn more about Finding the Face of your Data and what the future may hold, register now to attend this years  exciting installment of Tech Trends – Deloitte Consulting’s annual review of the leading technology trends impacting business today and into the future.

Please comment below and let us know how and where your organisation has embraced mobile; or what is holding you back!

Gamification Goes to Work : Tech Trends 2013 preview

Gamification is about making business behave more like a game, instilling a sense of fun, challenge, and pay-off into day-to-day tasks. It is tapping into the same human instincts that have led to centuries of passionate leisure-time game playing – our innate desire to learn, to better ourselves, to compete, to overcome obstacles and to win. As business becomes more social, and more of our professional and consumer lives are built upon digital interactions, there is an opportunity to augment how business is conducted by embedding gaming mechanics.

A year ago, this may have been a more academic discussion about state of the possible. Today, gamification is becoming a central part of enterprise solutions, and will be important for CIO’s to incorporate and integrate across the enterprise.

Sometimes the word “gamification” throws people, because they think about video games as opposed to driving engagement by embedding gaming principles in day-to-day business for employees and customers. Think about a familiar Sales example. The sales force has used game mechanics for years to incent behavior and outcomes. Leader boards, badging, “gold pieces”, etc. Now the tools and methods are available to embed that in the software. When you start thinking about how you could apply that to other parts of the business, the potential becomes really powerful. Gamification can encourage engagement and change employee, customer and supplier behavior for new ways to meet business objectives. The goal is to recognize and incent the behaviors that drive performance – sometimes in unlikely places.

To learn more about Gamification Goes to Work and what the future may hold, register now to attend this years  exciting installment of Tech Trends – Deloitte Consulting’s annual review of the leading technology trends impacting business today and into the future.

Please comment below and let us know how and where your organisation has embraced mobile; or what is holding you back!

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