CITiCafe - Cafe Conversations on the Cape Information Technology Initiative

Joining in the conversation on Friday was interesting.

Two themes that I picked up on:

Demand and market evaluation

Understanding the business need and translating this for IT

Ideas management and implementation

Demand and market evaluation

A gentleman made the observation that the model shows the supply chain model but lacks the analysis of demand. This sparked a good debate and conversation. Where is the demand? Do we understand the demand?

My table had a few people with IT Sales experience and they brought an interesting dimension of understanding your market. IT is simply a tool that other industries (finance, insurance, tourism, education, etc) use to enable their industry to propel new ideas or improve existing ones.

So what does this mean? While self organizing the IT in Cape Town through CITi is a vital strategy and very necessary to ensure the supply is equilized to all IT orgs in Cape Town, there is also a component of understanding the Cape Town demand and market.

Understanding the business

Mignon from Peer Power and I raised the fact that IT needs to listen to what business wants. This ties in with the first theme of demand evaluation. IT cannot blindly just produce products and services and there is no need for it by the business. The problems of the business (industry) needs to be understood and IT's role is to offer practical and powerful solutions to these business (industry) problems that assist that industry.

Coming up with solutions as a collective creates further opportunities where a sustainable solution can open up doors for different IT companies to collaborate together on a solution as oppossed to the one man go it alone approach which is so prevalent in the IT industry in the cape.

Jenny's group highlighted this with the many fish becoming a single big fish. Loved that idea!

Idea management

I was very interested in the conversation regarding new ideas and old ideas. I think it was Peter that said when someone comes to him with a new idea, he wants to know why is your idea new.... why has no one else thought of it. He's take is that it's not the new unique ideas that make IT orgs successful, but new and better ways of implementing and executing old ideas.

This makes so much sense. While new inventions are taking place each day, the technology front is developing at such a speed, that old ideas can be revamped. This gives an the IT industry the ability to present back to business old ideas but now with improved outcomes that perform optimally which ties into understanding the business problems. It's about execution!

Finally, I am of the belief that many businesses struggle with similar problems within their industries and it would be a worthwhile conversation to start with the industry bodies where the collective business meets to discuss their problems. This means that CITi can tap directly into what the other industries need from IT.

A good conversation that has started.....

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Comment by Imel Rautenbach on February 13, 2010 at 16:27
Hi Liesl, interesting debate indeed. Will be attending next Friday so hope it is as though provoking then.
As to the comment re business driving the demand, in the Garden Route we often find that business does not know the multitude of possibilities IT can add to their everyday life.

We as IT continually come up with new (to them) ideas of how to save costs, save time, increase efficiency, etc.

My point really is that sometimes IT has to drive the conversation and create the demand (or need), as business does not always see the possibilities. I do not think this is an exclusive small town attitude either, as even corporate national customers sometimes needs to be told how to connect the IT dots.

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