Gartner analysts met with South African government officials in Pretoria following a successful African IT Conference, to advise on the use of information technology to transform government.
The South African government is formulating an IT policy to communicate with citizens in remote villages as well as to those in larger towns and cities. This is a technology opportunity despite the low levels of internet access in rural areas of Africa.
Because South Africa, like many other regions, is experiencing a severe IT skills shortage, maintenance support for large proprietary back-end systems is difficult. Instead, Gartner recommends individual software applications that work with the internet in a plug-in structure. This approach reduces the need for massive investment in training, maintenance and large-scale redeployment when the government upgrades the systems.
“South Africa has a challenge to build up its technology infrastructure in an area with very few IT professionals,” said Dan Miklovic, Gartner vice president and research director. “However, the lack of legacy issues creates a refreshing opportunity for South Africa to obtain a world leadership position in IT among emerging nations.”
Gartner conducted workshops for representatives from all South African cabinet level departments to share knowledge and best practices. The government, according to Gartner, should become a model citizen on the internet by demonstrating strong citizen focus.
The Gartner African IT Conference and Expo, held 23-26 July 2000, in Sun City, South Africa, drew more than 1,100 delegates from six African nations. Attendees representing business, education and government heard presentations by 15 senior Gartner analysts from around the globe, dealing with topics relating to e-business and e-governance.
Gartner, founded in 1979 and headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, achieved fiscal 1999 revenues of $734 million. The company’s 3,600 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants, are in more than 80 locations worldwide.