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Topical issues in technology, new business models and embracing the coming 5th Industrial Revolution, all formed part of the recent discussion at the latest Breakfast Club hosted by Nelson Mandela University Business School.


Professor Paul Poisat and Nico Claassen

The event with the title “The role of business software in your business in achieving your digital strategy” was hosted in collaboration with local Gqeberha software company WIRK.

Several industry stakeholders gathered at WIRK’s premises for the event, where Business School acting director Professor Paul Poisat emphasised the need for a clear digitalisation strategy to ensure synergy between technology and the human factor.

Nico Claassen, the COO of WIRK, who also holds an MBA from Mandela University, shared various strategies and tips for software investment with the audience. WIRK’s current focus is more on industrial clients and the automotive industry, with clients including international and luxury brands, its assembly line and even dealer applications. They also work with other industries, such as medical aid companies, for example.

“Systems should talk to each other. Business organisational strategy is the solution, but specifications  are crucial in business versus production. Often companies talk in silos and software specialists are expected to “make the magic”, Nico said.

“Be aware of the digital ecosystem. AI tools can write code but should only be a help to very experienced developers who can see potential challenges down the road”.   

Claassen started his presentation with software sources ranging from purchasing off the shelf to open source and custom-developed software, as well as software as a service. Factors crucial to consider included dependency on the vendor, integration, maintenance, scalability, security concerns, software changes, hidden costs and contract terms.

“Start simple, but design with the future in mind”. Customers should know exactly what they want and explain that to the service provider, Claassen said, when discussing custom development and its successful implementation.

Licensing, clear specs, owning the source code, consultancy fees, managing software developers, intense testing, data housing, and service level agreements, are all crucial factors to remember.

HR talent management was also discussed as companies are competing globally and company reputation is based on word-of-mouth testimony, the human element and interaction. Keeping clients and employees happy is therefore crucial.  

Claassen emphasised the importance of work life balance, especially to the younger generation. This includes flexitime, and, for example, a lifestyle coach at work to look after fitness and nutrition. The cost of such a person is a good investment and the cost, for example, for 200 staff members to one coach is negligible.

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160