Speaking at the South African leg of their global Innovation Tour, Software AG’s CTO: Global Alliances & Channels, Patrick Shields said that cloud’s inevitability strengthens the need for integration and partnerships.

“Demand is moving from central data stores to real-time integration,” he said. “At Software AG, it is our job to partner with our customers. Starting with product integration, we can create a path for them to innovate.”

To emphasise his point the global enterprise software business hosted keynote addresses from Software AG customers like Avbob CIO, Helen Constantinides, Flux Trends Trend Translator and Futurist, Bronwyn Williams, and MOTUS Car Rental CIO, Luyanda Ntuane.

The Avbob modernisation journey

Being one of Africa’s largest and oldest (100 years) financial service providers, Helen Constantinides, CIO of Avbob, outlined the challenges of modernisation. 

With 33 years running on Software AG technologies, she contended that the future matters more than the past. “Over the last five years, we have grown closer to Software AG. They are more than just a partner, they are a strategic technology partner,” she said.

Avbob has over 50 000 applications that require modernisation, with thousands of processes deeply integrated into the code.

Constantinides said that Avbob had several choices. It could either start fresh with new technologies, buy a product off the shelf, or re-use and modernise existing infrastructure without abandoning its products, investments and legacy intuition.

Avbob chose the latter but kept its customers at the centre of it all. “We modernise because we exist for our customers. It is about mutual benefits. Customer insight is the cornerstone of our digital journey so without understanding them it would all just be an educated guess,” said Constantinides.

Two years down the road and the Avbob modernisation strategy has changed many times. “We are finally starting to develop a single view of our customer and are doing it with many Software AG tools.”

The second wave of disruption

Flux Trends Trend Translator and Futurist, Bronwyn Williams lifted the veil off a fast-approaching future. “Just as we get used to the first wave of disruption, we have to get ready for another,” said Williams. “Now it is time for the collapse of the value chain, cutting out the middleman.”

She said that giant conglomerates, like Facebook, have been pivoting into these spaces for years, locking tech consumers into their ecosystems and making it much harder for smaller businesses to compete.

Her advice: “We need to lean into the pivot. Become responsive to change and the way we approach the business we work in and the world we live in. A new way of systems processes and businesses where disruption is the new norm, shifting from selling products to selling a purpose or solution.”

Driving Digital Transformation

CIO of MOTUS Car Rental, Luyanda Ntuane shared his company’s rehosting journey from Mainframe to Linux with Software AG. With his mandate to drive the Digital Transformation (Dx) agenda of MOTUS, he said that the foundation of successful Dx programmes must include strong collaboration between business and IT leadership, embedding agility into IT, and repositioning IT as a value creator for the business.

The Power Of Partnerships

In response to the keynotes, Patrick Shields, Software AG CTO, reinforced the role that partnerships play in the software space.

“As a partner, the key is to become really good at solving a common problem that many customers have. That then gives you a platform to speak from and to add value to customers in a very specific way. A clear understanding of the problems your customers face forms the basis of any solid partnership.”