The southernmost country in Africa, South Africa has the largest economy of all of the members of the African Union and a population of about 50 million. The country has three capitals. Johannesburg is not one of them, but it is the largest city and home of one of IBM's several locations in the country. CSC was deployed in South Africa in 2009. Locations have included Nelspruit, East London, Polokwane and Mpumalanga. Projects have been aligned with national agenda priorities of security and skills development. Local partners have included a non-governmental organization called Business Against Crime, the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency and the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency.
- CSC South Africa 1
22 April 1009 – 22 May 2009
"In April 2009, twelve IBMers from Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, traveled to South Africa.
We worked with three clients in Nelspruit, which is the capital of Mpumalanga Province.Each project addressed a key challenge being faced by the South African economy.
The Business Against Crime team worked with the South African Police Service, private security companies, and other stakeholders to develop a strategy for how technology could be used to curb crime and promote tourism.
The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Association team devised an ‘Airlift Strategy’ for the region to drive tourism utilizing the provincial airport.
The Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency teams got to know local brick manufacturers while helping them to operate more productively and received hands-on lessons from local businesses while doing a comparative study of local industries.
In addition to our work assignments, we also had the privilege of visiting the Maqamela primary school and the Mhulume secondary school. We were impressed with the insightful questions and talents of the 7th graders and inspired by the desire of the older children to succeed despite all obstacles.
Mpumalanga Province is breathtakingly beautiful and the team particularly enjoyed hikes to waterfalls and viewpoints, going on safari to see the local wildlife, and spending time getting to know each other and our wonderful client hosts."
- CSC South Africa 2
June 19 – July 17, 2009
South Africa Team Two’s fourteen IBMers from eleven different countries worked with three agencies divided into six teams. The three agencies we worked with included Businesses Against Crime (BAC), Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MPTA) and Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA.)
The IBMers working with BAC learned that South African tourism suffers from a severe perception of danger due to crime and corruption. With the World Cup approaching in 2010 this perception was particularly significant to many businesses there. During the course of their assignment, the three-person BAC team described a viable model for an SMS messaging system for tourists that carries safety tip messages; developed a prototype application for smart phones that can bring substantial value to the local tourist industry and tourists while simultaneously raising tourists' consciousness about common sense tips for avoiding crime; developed an outline for a safety best-practices guide that can be shared with local lodge owners; and articulated observations and recommendations concerning the incident reporting systems in use by local security firms and SAPs and provided a workshop guide to help these parties come quickly to an agreement about implementing a common incident reporting system and avoid potential obstacles in deploying and managing such a system.
The MTPA team’s primary mission was to study ways to increase tourism and create sustainable jobs in the province of Mpumalanga. The project had two components. The first was to look increasing air traffic into Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport through the use of international charter flights and low cost carriers within the country of South Africa. The team developed a feasibility study and governance process for working with the airlines. The second component of the project was to develop routes and schedules for potential tourists. The team developed a variety of potential packages for length of stay and tourist interests such a historical, adventure, scenic and safaris that would be marketed to international travel agencies.
There were five of IBMers assigned to the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (MEGA) and they were further subdivided into three separate projects. The largest of the projects, comprised three members, was tasked with consulting and assisting a local business, Cosmic Paints. They assessed the situation of the business and its key issues and gaps to success and then presented solutions. The other two projects dealt with evaluating potential foreign investment with one focusing on the citrus industry and the other on determining compatibility of partner countries. The first team delivered a package of solutions to Cosmic Paints, in addition to hands-on help setting up their accounting software and re-engineering their business processes. The latter two teams delivered an overview of the citrus industry including targeting specific investment areas related to the industry and a model for grading foreign countries either in their likelihood of investment in Mpumalanga or their potential as an export market for key products from the province.
Just about every participant in South Africa Team Two recalls the same two memories as their favourites. First, we all stayed in the same house together and cooked communal meals with a different country represented each night. Hilarity and international cuisine make a fine paring! Second, during the weekends we “adopted” a local school and raised a significant amount of money for school supplies – so within our CSC assignment, we did extra volunteer work that everyone felt great about. We enjoyed a sense of camaraderie and global citizenship that will stick with us for the rest of our lives.
- CSC South Africa 3
21 August 2009 - 18 September 2009
"Our team consisted of 14 IBMers from the UK, the US, India, Japan, Costa Rica, Brazil, Ireland, Singapore and Canada.
Through DEDEA, we worked with Kwam eMakana Homestay We analyed Kwam’s strengths and weaknesses and provided an appraisal with recommendations on future options and operations. We also provided technical guidance on monitoring, evaluating and reporting for the tourism program in consultation with potential users. The project served as a tool to address users' problems and included their current practices and tourism projects.
For ECDC, we evaluated the business processes of their three core business units (Development Finance, Development Properties, Development Services) and supported Finance to identify challenges and provide recommendations in line with the strategic theme of ECDC (achieving growth through refined efficiencies & market leadership). We also focused on a marketing strategy. We evaluated the employee “engagement” of the brand and validated the proposed corporate core values. We also developed analysis of the organization’s stakeholder and customer insights and recommended solutions for a more “customer-centric” approach to the market.
Our focus for RuLiv was an e-Governance Framework .We developed an e-Governance framework for the Emalahleni Local Municipality to use the Internet to engage citizen-users, citizens to engage their government, interact with the municipality and,register for municipal events or services online. This enabled the municipality to provide focus on day-to-day operations of the municipality, provide citizens and businesses with a higher quality service, and facilitate new and improved work practices and easier access to information.
Also, we assessed the current situation of Maqhashu Sorghum Belt Production Co-operative to understand the Co-op’s core competencies, customer demand for Sorghum, and competition in the domestic market. We validated the Co-op’s business vision, strategy, and goals, developed a sorghum production maturity model for capabilities assessment and goal setting,, provided a roadmap for immediate and long-term direction to achieve the Co-op’s business goals and recommended supply chain core capabilities and practices.
The team also visited two grade schools, to conduct learning exercises with the 4th-6th classes.
One of our many memories was our safari trip to the Aldo Reserve."
- CSC South Africa 4
2 October 2009 - 31 October 2009
"South Africa Team 4 consisted of 14 participants from Japan, Singapore, India, Germany, Denmark, the US, Brazil and Uruguay. We converged on East London, South Africa.
We were a group of professionals who had never met, but were bound by the IBM DNA. We got down to efficiently dealing with our partners problem areas.
One team focused on developing a communications strategy for Promotion of Urban and Rural Livelihoods (RuLiv).
Another team worked with the non-governmental organization Eastern Cape Development Corporation. The team performed process optimization, marketing insight development through surveys and return-on- investment tracking and established processes for investment and trade promotion in the province.
A third team developed marketing strategies for the Eastern Cape Tourism Board, in partnership with the Department of Economic Development amd Environmental Affairs (DEDEA).
We also spent time at Isaiah 58 Orphanage and School. We helped the children have fun. We made personal contributions to the establishment by way of gifts, sporting equipment and monetary contributions. The team also visited a boxing and mentoring program for boys in Mdantsane township.
Many memorable moments were experienced by the team. What really stood out were the happy smiles on the orphans’ faces and the fighting spirit of the boxers in training, which provided them with a positive activity and kept them out of trouble on the streets."
- CSC South Africa 5
12 February 2010 – 13 March 2010
"South Africa Team 5 consisted of 15 people from 12 countries and with skills ranging fromfFinance and operations to software development to process optimization to project management. We worked in teams of 2 to 3 people with six clients in the Limpopo region in the north of South Africa. We addressed strategic priorities, like job creation and rural development.
The Tiakeni Pottery team conducted a marketing, business and process analysis, assisted to apply for grant money to support the future of the pottery co-operative and delivered a business plan and a website.
The assignment for the team supporting ""Tremendous Primary Co-operative/Creative Minds"" included the creation of a marketing framework to enable increased sales of ICT training in basic to advanced computer skills through expansion of target markets and improved market penetration. In addition, assistance was provided in creating financials template to allow implementation of an annual budget.
The Seraki Blouberg Route team developed a marketing plan, website, and booking system, which laid the foundation for the cooperative to run a profitable business in the Hospitality (camping, self catered) and Attractions (natural attractions) Sector, benefit from the 2010 FIFA World Cup and provide employment opportunities for the local community.
Local Economic Revitalization through ICT in Tzaneen (RITZ) was a project with Centre for Economic Cooperatives (CEC) and Roger Layton Associates (RLA). The Team assessed the CEC business model and revitalized the “XtownX Tzaneen” mobile web access initiative.
The Small Enterprise Foundation, SEF, was established with a mission to fight poverty in a sustainable manner. The Team delivered an expansion strategy framework and toolkit, operational control recommendations and an ICT innovation recommendations for SEF.
The Mathabatha Village Bank team established sound financial management practices for the client, developed risk mitigation strategies and established a savings culture within the community.
Our team also had the privilege of visiting the Drop-in Centre for Orphans and Vulnerable Children. These kids, between the ages of three and 18, touched our hearts and impressed us with their vitality and eagerness to learn, despite their hard living conditions."
- CSC South Africa 6
27 August 2010 – 25 September 2010
"We were the second team based in Polokwane, the capital of Limpopo Province in South Africa. The team was made up of 15 IBMers from the USA, Canada, Peru, Brazil, Germany, Denmark, India, China, Japan and Taiwan.
We worked in groups of three with four organizations. We addressed technical and business challenges faced by the Limpopo economy.
For the Limpopo Office of the Premier, we developed a strategy and business plan for a Technology Innovation Hub.
The project with the Small Enterprise Development Agency encompassed a turnaround business strategy plan for a struggling food processing company.
A team developed a quality management strategy and database for the Small Enterprise Foundation.
At the Trade and Investment Limpopo, team members developed and implemented a business retention and expansion strategy for Limpopo.
Other team members enabled the International Operations Division of Trade and Investment Limpopo to improve its ability to attract investment and promote exports.
Outside of work, we participated in various volunteer events around the community. We visited Mapangula Primary School, Grace and Hope Center for Intellectually Challenged Individuals, and Hlatla Ganya Drop-In Center. During our visits, we were overwhelmed by warm welcomes and we met many people that inspired us by their dedication to succeed and serve their communities.
The CSC experience was a once-in-a-life-time opportunity immensely enjoyed by all team members. Some of the most memorable moments were spent with the entire team bonding and getting to know each other over a meal, a friendly game of volleyball or during a bus ride to one of our weekend adventure destinations."
- CSC South Africa 7
15 October 2010 - 13 November 2010
"South Africa Team Seven served on a four-week assignment in Polokwane, the provincial capital of the Limpopo region, which is also home to Kruger National Park. The team was comprised of 14 members from Brazil, Australia, Mexico, North America, Canada, the U.K, France, Italy and India.The team worked on five projects with four organizations.
With the Small Enterprise Foundation, the team explored implementing the function of coaching in the QA department.
At AMAREL Lab, the team determined appropriate organizational and management structures allowing for expansion and made recommendations for improvements in the fields of marketing, production and distribution.
For the Limpopo Information Technology Hub of the Premier’s Office, the team completed a business plan started by a previous team, developed marketing and knowledge management plans and provided 28 recommendations in the areas of Operating Model, Sales, Quality and Marketing/Communications.
At the Trade and Investment Limpopo, two teams focused on the promotion of a Business Retention and Expansion strategy amongst local government, businesses and other economic actors in the Limpopo Province, and created recommendations for an integrated communications and marketing strategy based on knowledge management.
Over the four-week period, the team also worked closely with three orphanages and distributed food and clothing. There are too many memories to single out just one, but none of us will ever forget the time that we spent with the children."
- CSC South Africa 8
9 September 2011 – 8 October 2011
South Africa Team 8 consists of 14 IBMers from 10 countries: Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and U.S.A. The team completed four projects within one month in Polokwane, place of safety in Limpopo province.
One of the projects was to develop a strategy framework to implement ICT in all schools and a Proof of Concept for base level ICT for Limpopo Department of Education utilizing internal resources to ensure appropriate knowledge transfer.
Another peer team also focused on education, and delivered KidSmart Program Monitoring Tool and Professional Development Framework for Foundation Phase Educators.
UNDP team developed a business and implementation plan that includes the design framework for an integrated information management system for the Limpopo Department of Health that will improve evidence-based decision making, planning, and resource allocation.
Peakanyo also got assistance in increasing their market share and competitive advantage. The assignment included creating manufacturing process mapping strategy, marketing and communication plan; and client/opportunity tracking system.
The team visited a number of schools and donated uniforms, stationery, toys and food for one of the poorest school in Limpopo. The smile faces of the children are one of the most beautiful memories for all the teammates.
- CSC South Africa 9
23 February 2012 – 24 March 2012
South Africa Team Nine served on a four-week assignment in East London, a city on the southeast coast of South Africa, situated in the Eastern Cape region – birthplace of Nelson Mandela. The team was comprised of 14 members from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Mexico, and the USA. The team worked on four projects with three organizations.
Two teams were working for the Eastern Cape Department of Education. One of the teams developed a performance monitoring tool for the IBM KidSmart Early Learning program. The other team provided consulting on how to improve the electronic data collection in schools to get more reliable surveys and reports.
Another team helped the Eastern Cape Rural Finance Corporation (ECRFC) to improve its loan repayment strategy for micro credits granted to farmers in rural areas.
The fourth team worked on creating a leadership development framework. They spent time with a number of organizations and collaborated extensively with the University of Fort Hare, the oldest historically black university in South Africa.
As a cross-team engagement the members also volunteered for building up a number of new KidSmart systems in elementary schools.
With the assistance of the IBM CSC Organization, CSC alumni and the in country NGO partner, South Africa Team Nine were able to experience the richness of the South African culture. Extra curricular activities included living within a self sustaining indigenous community, visiting townships and interacting with the local communities.
- CSC South Africa 10
15th March 2013 - 12th April 2013
15 IBMers from 12 countries for 4 weeks in Pretoria: One of the most incredible experiences of our lives!
Our team, much like the rainbow nation itself, was a diverse one. Different countries, backgrounds, years of experience at IBM - and only one month to get the work done (and get to know each other better). Our team worked for four clients in Pretoria and Johannesburg:
Our schedules were hectic - but there was always time for fun! On holidays and weekends we met the kids at IBM SA’s Saturday School program, went on a safari, visited animal reserves, shopped at the local craft market and did a bit of travelling and sightseeing.
Our team also visited the Orlando Children’s Home in Johannesburg. Towards the end of the assignment, we donated food, clothes and stationery to the children the PEN team worked with.
The SA Team 10 truly had a whale of time. We only wish we could all do another CSC assignment after this!