Connect with us

Technology

Women in Tech: Interview With Elaine Wang, Cloud and Software Solutions Director for Rectron

Published

on

Elaine Wang

Elaine Wang is an all-round tech enthusiast with a passion for the transformative power of the cloud for SMEs. She inspires and embodies tech leadership and is constantly finding innovative ways to solve problems. In this interview with Heath Muchena of Business Africa Online, Elaine explores innovations driving technology adoption, business leadership, and issues of diversity and inclusion in the technology sector.

Heath: You have a passion for helping SMEs figure out how technology can support their businesses. What’s your approach to engaging local enterprises?

Elaine: Rectron works indirectly through the various channels to help SMEs. We partner with our resellers to deliver technology solutions that help local enterprises run better. We are more familiar with the tech and how it can grow a business’s bottom line, so when we engage in our sales process, we aim to empower our resellers to communicate this value to the end customer.

Through the cloud solutions that we offer, we assist SMEs in collaborating better and being more productive, all while ensuring that their software is secure. Rectron’s SaaS solutions bring big business functionality at SME price points.

Heath: What are the trends you’ve noticed within African marketplaces in terms of uptake of enterprise cloud solutions?

Elaine: It is reality that infrastructure problems are holding back cloud usage in many African markets, but senior technology executives are accepting that cloud technology is a necessary ingredient for business growth. African marketplaces are in the early stages of development in terms of the uptake of enterprise cloud solutions but the impact of cloud services is already far-reaching.

For the African marketplace, cloud, virtualisation and the broader evolution towards serverless computing are the most disruptive technology developments since the advent of the mobile payment revolution. Infrastructure issues remain, but tech executives are realising that cloud technology is the way to optimise their IT costs, speed time to market and grow their businesses.

Heath: Your operations extend into countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia. Any future plans to expand Rectron further into Africa?

Elaine: Rectron is well known to vendors and is recognised as being a distributor of choice for the South African and southern African ICT market. We will continue to forge close working relationships with vendors and facilitate joint business development by opening doors to our broad reseller network further into Africa. Our vendors work closely with our executive team to tap into new opportunities within our reseller partner base on African continent, leveraging Rectron’s core strength of being able to reach the breadth audience as a platform to mutual success.

Heath: Are we seeing enough innovation in the ICT/Tech space in SA?  What challenges do you face under the current economic climate?

Elaine: The ICT/Tech space is critical to drive sustainable growth in South Africa and has shown strong output and investment in the past decade. The ICT sector continues to face challenges on a national level: education and skills shortages; job creation and empowerment; policy conflicts and regulatory failure have led to poor outcomes and slower development. A shortage of technical skills is the major challenge on company level and as technology continues to evolve rapidly we cannot always build on what has gone before, we must find new and novel solutions to the country’s unique challenges.

Heath: How do you develop consultation programs and training services to help drive adoption of technology and to ensure that businesses in Africa derive the maximum value from their technology investments?

Elaine: With a national footprint in the Southern African region, Rectron aims to provide excellent support to our customers with the purpose of assisting to drive the adoption of technology and ensure that businesses in Africa derive maximum value from their tech investment. To make the process as simple and as convenient as possible, Rectron offers online support services as well as walk-in face-to-face support in all major South African cities.

We have service centres located across the country staffed by skilled individuals who provide customers and end-users with service information, advice, returns, swap-out options and financing solutions. Our support staff can assist with assembly problems, preparing products for use, testing, configuration. They are readily available to provide support, advice and information.

Also Read: Women in Tech: Interview With Ellen Fischat, Founder Story Room and Inspiring Fifty SA Ambassador

Heath: What do you think is the best part of being a female leader in the tech industry and what advice would you give to women looking to break into the tech field?

Elaine: Being a female leader in tech, we really stand out! Women bring different views to the boardroom, which help to generate tangible business value. My advice to all women looking to succeed in the tech industry is to put up your hand to get involved, even when you are not sure if you should. Be brave and don’t back away from a new challenge, especially in a traditionally male-dominated environment. Through enthusiastically signing up for the next assignment, you are investing in the next steps of your career.

Rectron’s own programme, Basadi, was launched last year with the aim to empower the women at our company and to encourage each one to stand up and get involved. It’s really important that women support each other, and only by doing so, we will succeed in our goal of increasing female representation at all management layers within the company.

Heath: What is your biggest piece of advice for IT companies getting started with diversity and inclusion?

Elaine: Diversity and inclusion must be regularly discussed around the boardroom table; it requires buy-in from top management. Metrics should be put in place to evaluate the success of any such initiative. Organisations do well to involve their staff in Diversity and inclusion campaigns because diversity is meaningless without inclusion.

Heath: In your leadership role, how do you maintain a business focus while ensuring that innovation within the company stays on trend?

Elaine: Innovation is crucial to a business being able to improve its processes, bring new and improved products and services to market, increase its efficiency and, most importantly, improve its profitability. Whatever form it takes, innovation is a creative process. The ideas may come from inside the business, e.g. from employees, managers or in-house research and development work or outside the business, e.g. suppliers, customers, media reports, market research published by another organisation, or universities and other sources of new technologies.

Successful leadership requires that innovation becomes part of our thinking on every level. Business focus comes from filtering those ideas, identifying those that the business will take forward on and applying resources to achieve them.

Heath: How do you maintain work-life balance and what are your views on goals, timelines, and measuring success?

Elaine: I am goal driven by nature, and that has been key to the success that I’ve seen in my career. I believe that smaller goals are extremely important to one’s career as they represent milestones to reach – as they say, you eat an elephant one bite at a time. However, while I’m always looking forward to the next goal, I understand the importance of looking back and reflecting on my achievements. I’m fortunate that I work for a company that values family and work life balance. However, one trick that I have learned to be able to switch off from work is to remove email notifications on my phone.

Heath: What influences your leadership style and what values are important to you? How do you balance cooperation with others and independent thinking?

Elaine: I have been fortunate to have had some incredible managers in my career and I would say that they have heavily influenced my leadership style. Day-to-day, I strongly believe that one’s ability and willingness to learn is key to achieving success. While I believe it is important to have an opinion, any effective leader needs to be able to listen and mold their opinions, updating them with new information.

Visit Rectron

Technology

Post Covid-19: The social impact of 4IR enabling technologies on the African continent

Published

on

By

Tshiwela Ncube is the Co-Founder and COO at VUUQA.com

During this global pandemic, I have been thinking of how the world will change post corona. Will this pandemic thrust Africa into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)?

In this article, Tshiwela discuss the social impact that 4IR enabling technologies will have on the African continent and how they will assist in addressing various problems facing the continent mainly in the following sectors:

  1. Health–This sector will be impacted the most; technologies like AI will enable diagnosis where there are shortages of doctors and enable the inventory management of medication in rural areas.
  2. Agriculture – Technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) have the power to enable African farmers to optimize productivity and reduce wastage through “precision farming” which relies on testing and data analysis to assist in the managing of field variations.
  3. Financial – 4IR will increasefinancial inclusion in Africa by enabling the unbanked to participate in the economy through retail electronic payments platforms and virtual savings and credit supply technological platforms. Technologies such as blockchain are providing the informal sector with opportunities to gain access to credit.

Also Read: Women in Tech: Interview With Ellen Fischat, Founder Story Room and Inspiring Fifty SA Ambassador

Most of these 4IR technologies have been implemented in Africa and many more are currently in testing phase. Africa continues to push innovation;however, a few challenges have the potential to impede the advancement of 4IR in Africa.

  1. Skills Deficit: To take full advantage of 4IR, Africa needs to invest heavily in cultivating the skills and capabilities of their labor force,lack thereof may result in job losses with technology replacing humans. When the labor is skilled it can work hand in hand with the technology.
  2. Infrastructure: Africa needs to improve its digital infrastructure in order to be able to access the advanced technology that enables 4IR. In countries like South Africa where data prices are expensive, the average man on the street can’t afford data therefore cannot connect to the internet affordably and easily.The result of poor digital infrastructure is that it reduces crucial connectivity which makes it difficult to effectively activate technologies like AI.
  3. Regulations: Africa needs to tighten and increase its cyber security to ensure the safety of people data and any possible fraud.Regulations should also be placed to enable African digital leaders to scale cross border, most especially with the new Continental Free Trade Agreement, this should be the time for Africa to align their processes and procedures in order to take full advantage of the rapid changes that 4IR is bringing.

4IR has the power to bring real fundamental social changes to Africa and to enable Africa to compete globally. It is up to African leaders to ensure that the environment is equip and conducive to forester such efforts. There was never a better time than now for Africa to move forward with the 4IR agenda and not only become a participant but a key player.

Article by: Tshiwela Ncube is an E-commerce thought leader, Co-Founder and COO at VUUQA.com

Visit: Vuuqa

Continue Reading

Technology

Facebook launches Tools to keep faith-based communities connected during COVID-19

Published

on

By

The tools are part of Facebook’s ongoing efforts in keeping communities safe, connected and informed during this pandemic

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa- Facebook has launched key resources to help faith groups stay connected and engaged during the current COVID-19 outbreak. The resources include the Faith on Facebook Resource Hub and the Faith on Facebook toolkit, both providing guidance and step-by-step tips that faith-based groups can use to keep their communities engaged while observing social distancing. The tools are part of Facebook’s ongoing efforts in keeping communities safe, connected and informed during this pandemic.

Download document: https://bit.ly/2VicyFs

Also Read: African academics launch initiative to collate COVID-19 data across Africa, call for volunteers

Some of the tools that faith-based groups can use to connect with their communities during the COVID-19 outbreak include:

  • Facebook Pages: Explore how to build an active and engaged audience of faith communities, advice on posting interesting content, as well as creating events and using Groups for discussions.
  • Facebook Groups: Groups allow people to come together around a common cause, discussing issues and ideas, posting photos and sharing related content.
  • Facebook Events: Host virtual events using Facebook Events to spread the word.
  • Utilising WhatsApp: Consider sending bite sized sermons or recordings through the voice note feature on WhatsApp to members, using either the dedicated broadcast list function or creating a New Group list.
  • Watch Party: Host a Watch Party for your Group, choosing videos that are relevant to your community and invite members to join and discuss.                                            
  • Facebook Live: Stream live stream events and performances on Facebook, utilizing interactive features such as reactions, shares and comments enabling you to further engage your audience.  

Commenting, Facebook Africa Regional Director Nunu Ntshingila said, “At a time like this, our mission has never been more relevant, to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. We know that faith leaders across Africa are grappling with the unexpected challenges in serving their members digitally, and we’re committed to providing them with the resources and tools to support them as much as possible”. She added, “Our ultimate goal is to equip faith-based communities with the tools to help them continue faith conversations throughout the pandemic.”

Credit: Facebook

Continue Reading

Technology

Zindi set to offer free hackathon and tailored online problem-solving sessions

Published

on

By

Cape Town based online data science competition platform Zindi will during the COVID-19 lockdown offer businesses free hackathon and tailored online problem-solving sessions.

Zindi recently launched a new hackathon space on its platform. The space will enable those companies with data science teams that are now working from home a private space to continue to upskill on problems that are important to their businesses while strengthening teamwork and cohesion in their free time, even while kilometres apart.

The offer comes in the wake of a 21-day lockdown imposed by the South African government with effect from 27 March.

Also Read: Women in Tech: Interview With Ellen Fischat, Founder Story Room and Inspiring Fifty SA Ambassador

“It really feels like we are stepping through that threshold that separates the world as we knew it from the uncharted territory that lies ahead. The situation is evolving rapidly and every day seems to bring new revelations about how COVID-19 might impact our lives, our economies, our companies, and our professional teams in the months and years ahead,” says Celina Lee, CEO Zindi.

“We realise that even during these challenging times, business doesn’t stop,” adds Lee.

“At Zindi, we also find ourselves having to adapt to the changing landscape. But we are driven by our mission to make AI accessible to everyone and every company. We see the current climate as an opportunity for our online community of over 12,000 data scientists to apply their skills to problems that matter most now, and to be an engine for productivity even during this unusual time,” says Lee.

“One thing this experience is teaching us is that physical location no longer matters. As an online platform, Zindi is uniquely positioned to harness the power of data scientists around the world to keep businesses and teams going during these challenging times. As a support to you, our valued partners, we’re pleased to offer you a free hackathon for your data science team or an online problem-solving session tailored for your business. Remember, we’re all in this together,” she adds.

ZINDI

Continue Reading

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this platform and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Ads

Most Viewed