Leveraging technology to drive innovative delivery for South Africa’s public services sector

Nov 15th, 2017

Unlocking possibilities to build a functional society was the theme at this year’s GovTech event and with the spotlight on public service delivery growing ever brighter, new sustainable models need to be explored to enhance current service delivery.

Jabu Majiza, an executive at software development company BBD, believes that leveraging technology will enable the launch of innovative models by the public sector, positively impacting the lives of millions of South Africans. “Drawing on the successes of the ICT sector will enable government to utilise technology to ensure the customer is at the heart of service design and delivery. More importantly, the silos within government can be broken down as we journey towards a connected government.”

Hosted by the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), GovTech provides a valuable platform for ICT industry stakeholders to share their success stories with government and thereby enable them to assess how best to apply technology in meeting their customer’s diverse requirements.

“Government can quickly build capacity and overcome structural and capacity constraints by taking the private sector’s learnings and adding further value for public sector customers. The vehicle to do this is technology, as systems can effectively and efficiently be rolled out to overcome the hurdles that get in the way of service delivery.”

This year saw the launch of a Hackathon at GovTech – providing high school learners, tertiary students, government employees and SITA personnel with opportunities to gain experience and talk to professionals in government and the ICT sector – to learn how to apply technology in solving social problems. Mike Geyser and Gergana Young, who are part of BBD’s R&D team and mentors at this inaugural Hackathon, described the Hackathon as “an environment where students and scholars are exposed to the broad gamut of software development, presented with perspective-altering social challenges to solve, and introduced to experienced industry veterans who form a part of their team”

Given the demand for ICT services in South Africa outweighs the available skills, providing students with real-world experience such as this Hackathon are important to give them a better understanding of the broad and exciting possibilities of technology solutioning.

As a partner to government, BBD is already seeing the impact of technology-usage when aligned to business needs, to transform and eliminate duplications resulting in better ROI. Majiza is optimistic that as the public sector continues to embrace a more customer-orientated approach, so the provision to government of continuous improvement through innovative solutions, will remain a top priority for the private sector.