Influencing business decisions across the board – the role of the CIO gets the spotlight at AfricaCom 2015

"AfricaCom 2015 logo"Information & Communication Technology (ICT) needs and solutions are evolving rapidly and have never been more central to business operations. The new CIO Forum at AfricaCom will bring together enterprise Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Information Technology (IT) directors (from large corporations, SMEs, the public sector and NGOs), IT vendors and consultants, to discuss how IT decisions strategically affect Africa’s businesses.

The world has become increasingly tech-savvy, driving businesses to be progressively customer-focused. Good business leaders know the modern customer expects the full digital experience, and that day-to-day business operations are more reliant than ever on a good IT strategy. So much so that a recent global survey found most business people in the USA view the role of CIO as even more important than that of the CEO. *

Last year a PWC report showed companies that collect data and use it to inform big business decisions are three times more likely to see significant improvements from the results. However, the survey also found that only one in three business executives say their company is highly data-driven. Most said big business decisions in their companies relied on the CEO’s experience and intuition. It was interesting to note that all executives in that study believed investing in quality data analysis to make better decisions was a company priority for the next two years.  **

These global reports attest to the central role of the CIO in a successful business and the need for a CIO Forum for African business.

The inaugural CIO Forum at AfricaCom in November 2015 is proud to be supported by South Africa’s Information Technology Association (ITA). The ITA represents various companies concerned with the supply of information technology equipment, systems, software and services in the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Industry.

Sunil Geness, President of the ITA confirms the organisation’s support of the forum.  He notes that there has been a significant shift in the approach of business towards CIOs, remarking that today’s influencers are not just computer science literate but also hold requisite qualifications in business management.  He commented: “The role the CIO plays has become ever more elevated within the business echelon, not just within the IT department, influencing purchasing decisions and operational strategies. The CIO Forum will be an important confluence where common challenges – irrespective of the industry – can be discussed and best practices identified.”  Geness is also a member of SAP’s Global Corporate Affairs team and serves as the Director of Government Relations and CSR at SAP Africa.

AfricaComs’ Research Director, Julie Rey-Gore, said the CIO Forum’s format would be panel discussions and presentations related specifically to African business, as well as a premium Enterprise ITC Roundtable event. Key topics under discussion at this year’s CIO Forum will be:

  • Enterprise case study: how an effective ICT strategy can improve efficiency and profitability
  • Panel; Understanding the ICT needs of Africa’s enterprises: corporations, SMEs, public sector, NGOs
  • Business models and services for operators to monetise the enterprise market
  • Cloud services for enterprises: improving cost-efficiency and security
  • Enterprise ICT Roundtables

AfricaCom, now in its 18th year, brings together senior decision-makers from the entire digital ecosystem, from all over Africa. Last year the conference was attended by 9000 digital movers and shakers, with more than 375 of the world’s most innovative brands showcasing their products and services at the event. 2015 is expected to exceed this number and is anticipated to be the best place on the continent to learn how to engage your customers in an every changing digital market, and make the best of this global marketing trend – the future of marketing.