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.
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.
A key element of the MOU was modernisation and innovation, and the Ndivho Innovation Centre supports this goal through various partners, including Microsoft technologies that will accelerate the development of cloud solutions and skills required in today’s digital economies.
“The SITA-Microsoft Innovation Centre is borne out of fundamental belief to reshape the public delivery landscape through investment in ICT developments and trends that emphasise the drive of SITA to shift the public sector culture towards greater innovation, tech integration and collaboration. The centre is a key component of the bigger plan to support modernisation, SMME development and ICT enabled service delivery that will deliver inclusive growth for the country,” says Mr. Luvuyo Keyise, interim managing director at SITA.
The SITA Innovation Centre programme is multi-pronged, with various partner collaborations. The services and benefits in the Ndivho Innovation Centre will be enabled predominantly through Microsoft Cloud-enabled solutions in the areas of critical infrastructure, public safety, justice, defense and intelligence. 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 various technology investments.
Upskilling and enabling public sector employees and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) are critical parts 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 have an internal organisational component for SITA and an external component focusing on SMMEs and clients.
The Microsoft enterprise skills initiative and the Microsoft community training platform will be used by internal SITA employees to continue their training and re-skilling in key areas.
The emerging partner programme 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.
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, CEO 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.”