IBM invests in Accelerating Innovation in South Africa

New Client Centre to Foster Business and IT Skills Development around Big Data & Analytics and Cloud Computing

Johannesburg, South Africa. 29 January 2014. As part of its operation expansion in Africa, IBM (NYSE: IBM (US)) today announced the opening of an IBM Client Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. Co-located with IBM's Innovation Centre, the new $1.6 million facility is designed to accelerate innovation for South African business and IT skills. Using the newly expanded centre, clients, IT partners, developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics can now access enhanced cloud (US) capabilities and extensive big data & analytics (US), resources.

Adoption of cloud technology has reached a tipping point, with approximately one in every two medium to large businesses in both South Africa already using cloud (US). And the growing proliferation of mobile phones and tablets is accelerating the opportunity to interpret data patterns to anticipate needs and deliver improved services.

According to IDC, “Business models based on mobility, Internet, and cloud technologies will grow quickly in 2014. The most important events of the year will continue to cluster around what IDC calls the '3rd Platform' for IT growth and innovation, built on mobile devices, cloud services, social technologies, and Big Data analytics. Mobile technologies in particular are seeing rapid adoption, with mobile enterprise applications a leading investment priority for organisations across the continent, particularly in South Africa.” *

To take advantage of this explosive growth, the newly enhanced centres will be focused on providing clients, IT partners, developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics with solutions that use Big Data & Analytics and cloud technologies to solve key local challenges such as improving government services, digitising banking services, enhancing customer centricity in telecommunications. Clients will be able to participate in virtual and in-person training, test out new products, network with peers from around the world, and receive mentoring and guidance from IT and business experts.

This centre provide clients with hands-on access to cloud (US)-based industry solutions such as IBM Intelligent Operations designed to provide cities, governments and utilities with a central command center for the use of predictive analytics (US) to enhance efficiency and manage all their operations.

Abraham Thomas, IBM South Africa Country General Manager says that " Public sector leaders can see the city’s command centre in action, in a simulated or live environment, helping them see how such systems can positively impact the city and its environment.”

“Our investment in this centre is in line with our strategy to underpin growth in South Africa’s IT sector and to support the use of advanced technology in public sector service delivery and commercial business growth, particularly African expansion,” says Thomas.

IBM believes its new test and demonstration environment will serve to cut the costs and complexity of assessing IT solutions, but will also assist CIOs in presenting strong business cases for advanced technology adoption.

“The investment is intended to stimulate skills development innovation –driving growth by giving constituents access to IBM’s most advanced technologies in a real world environment .Public and private sector can touch and feel how cloud (US) and big data & analytics (US) can help address the challenges unique to the South African context.” he says.
The IBM Client Centre public sector showcase will be followed by experiential technology showcases focused on the telecommmounications and financial sectors later this year.
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*(Source: 2014 Set to Be the Year When Growth Meets Reality in Africa, Predicts IDC - http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prAE24519913

For a video on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KP76hhIBXb4&feature=youtu.be (Youtube, 00:02:51)

For photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/115832275@N06/

For more information on IBM in Africa: http://www.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/34710.wss (US)

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