Interview done with James Elstob of MDM Technologies
As technology continues to advance every day, trends are also changing more frequently. It can sometimes be a struggle to keep up with all the latest developments, but it’s necessary.
In order to stay ahead of the curve, we’d like to share some of the top current trends in the South African IT industry:
- Remote Call Centre Support
Customer service can be one of the most difficult and frustrating tasks in a business. As a company or organisation grows, there are more customers to deal with, which means more demands, more queries, and more complaints. To deal with this, many companies are starting to outsource their call centres. These remote call centre agents can work from home, or in one central location. The benefit here is that a business only pays for the work that is needed, which means they can fix payments according to the number of calls taken. Remote call centre agents also require less overhead investment and almost zero additional equipment.
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)- (Remote Model)
Instead of investing in more company equipment, new employees are now encouraged to buy/bring their own personal devices (laptops, tablets, and smart phones) to the workplace, and to use those devices to access privileged company information and applications. Another reason so many companies are now looking to incorporate BYOD policies is that it can boost productivity by 16% over a 40-hour week.
- Server rooms are becoming redundant
Hosted solutions (local and international) are growing, and cloud tech skills are therefore in high demand as all infrastructure is being uploaded to the “cloud". A cloud hosted environment means that servers are hosted in a different area/location, so there is no longer a need for server rooms in an office space.
- The general population is more computer literate
People have become more computer literate, so there is not a great need for day-to-day IT work, as the average person is able to do basic updates/instalments and troubleshooting themselves (especially since they often use their own devices and are familiar with the settings). This allows IT Managers to focus on the work environment as he/she no longer needs to work with users as much. However, IT managers still need to make sure that company security layers are applied correctly.
How does SA measure up according to global IT trends?
When it comes to connectivity, South Africa is lagging behind the rest of the world, primarily due to the lack of infrastructure in rural areas, as opposed to city centres and major metropolitans where there is access to fibre. Bandwidth is also still extremely expensive in South Africa, and this is a huge pain point, as we need to make bandwidth accessible and cheap in moving forward.
With great connectivity and infrastructure, educational content could become more digitised, however, the curriculum would then have to be rewritten. Overall, South Africa still has a lot of work to do to catch up and we need to start moving a bit faster as the gap is widening at a fast rate.
A Piece of Advice to IT Managers:
To Existing IT Managers:
Keep your head “in the cloud” as it were, and concentrate on keeping the bigger picture in mind. Understand that IT is there to enable business, not the other way around. It is also essential to have IT present in conversations about digital transformation and sustainable paperless environments, otherwise IT becomes the stumbling block when trying to roll out changes.
To Future IT Managers:
When doing courses and getting your certifications, you need to focus on finding the correct one and do that well, or master it. At the end of the day, you need to be an expert and make sure you know the answers. When it comes to choosing a certification, go for quality (in areas like networking, server, connectivity and ICT). Make sure that you focus on Microsoft, with an element of Linux (the ratio should be around 80% Microsoft and 20% Linux). Another important consideration is to make sure you continuously learn constructive ways of dealing with stress.
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