Strategic partners SITA (the State Information Technology Agency) and Microsoft South Africa have launched the Microsoft SITA Ndivho Innovation Centre in Centurion. The centre aims to spur innovation and global competitiveness, as well as build the ICT capability and skills development, of local, provincial and government departments in order to enhance service delivery and drive broader economic growth.
A key element of the MOU was modernisation and innovation, and the Ndivho Innovation Centre supports this goal through Microsoft technologies that will accelerate the development of cloud solutions and skills required in today’s digital economies.
The creation of the centre forms part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between SITA and Microsoft South Africa in October 2019, aimed at accelerating the digital transformation of government services in South Africa through the adoption of public cloud services.
Having a space dedicated to collaboration, digital innovation, skills development and capacity building provides a unique opportunity to create new services for government departments and customers. The centre will also help to unlock IT and organisational productivity and efficiencies in service delivery that will deliver inclusive growth for the country and better enable economic recovery.Mr. Luvuyo Keyise, interim Managing Director at SITA
These services and benefits will be enabled predominantly through Microsoft Cloud-enabled solutions in the areas of Critical Infrastructure, Public Safety & Justice, Defense and Intelligence and Life Sciences. Additionally, the centre will showcase the transformative value of Microsoft’s cloud services such as Azure, its collaboration solutions Microsoft 365 and business solutions Dynamics 365. However, the centre is not limited to Microsoft technologies and provides an innovation platform for Government’s technology investments.
Upskilling and enabling public sector employees and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) is a critical part of the drive towards modernisation and innovation, and the two partners have also invested in a number of initiatives to equip individuals and business owners with the skills and certification needed to deliver services to government.
These initiatives include:
- The Microsoft Enterprise Skills Initiative and the Microsoft Community Training Platform, which will be used by internal SITA employees to reskill and become technically astute, and to provide consulting services around digital transformation and moving into the Microsoft Cloud.
- The Emerging Partner Programme, which identifies and provides ICT SMMEs with training to accelerate their journey to Microsoft Gold partner status. The programme is currently underway and 25 SMMEs from across all nine provinces are receiving certification training to help grow a sustainable, diversified and inclusive supply chain that contributes more broadly to economic growth in the country.
KEI Solutions and Take Note IT are two of the 25 beneficiaries of the Emerging Partner Programme. “A dream only stays a dream if you don’t take action, so I registered my IT infrastructure company during the height of the pandemic, knowing that my competitors were large organisations with a long-standing history and experience in the sector,” says Kabelo Mbelle, Managing Director and Founder of KEI Solutions. “Being part of the Emerging Partner Programme turned being an SMME into a unique selling point by allowing us to sit on the shoulders of giants like Microsoft and SITA and giving us the vantage point to see and equip ourselves with the training and certification needed to compete and succeed in the sector.”
Cindy Ntombela, Cyber Security Analyst at Take Note IT, agrees: “The ability to partner and work with government and one of the biggest technology companies globally provides a unique opportunity to not only identify the broader skills needed in the country, but learn these on-demand skills, share knowledge with like-minded professionals and channel this experience into the right paths to create real business value and enable the personal and professional development for South African ICT professionals.”
Collaboration across sectors is key. “Partnering with SITA and investing in the centre and other initiatives is a vital part of Microsoft’s commitment to leverage cloud and emerging technologies to accelerate growth through innovation, work across sectors to better serve citizens’ needs, empower individuals and SMMEs with critical future-ready skills, and create broader societal impact,” says Lillian Barnard, Chief Executive Officer at Microsoft South Africa.
“Microsoft fully supports SITA’s vision to digitise government to accelerate and enhance innovation and service delivery as part of our shared commitment to driving competitiveness, skills development and economic growth in the country – and the launch of the Ndivho Innovation Centre is an important step in reaching this goal.”