In­dus­try in flux

DTI to soft­ware de­vel­op­ment’s res­cue

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & technology - CHIMWEMWE MWANZA

SOUTH AFRICA’S ICT in­dus­try may well im­press glob­ally, par­tic­u­larly in the fields of elec­tronic bank­ing, pre-pay­ment so­lu­tions and fraud pre­ven­tion sys­tems, but that’s hardly a re­flec­tion of the state of the lo­cal soft­ware de­vel­op­ment in­dus­try.

De­spite the grow­ing num­ber of state-ofthe-art tech­nol­ogy in­cu­ba­tors be­ing set up coun­try­wide – among them the multi-mil­lion rand In­no­va­tion Hub out­side Pre­to­ria – SA’s soft­ware de­vel­op­ment in­dus­try lags far be­hind peer coun­tries. In­dia, for in­stance, has well over 70 soft­ware com­pa­nies that have reached CMMI ma­tu­rity level five.

CMMI is the acro­nym for Ca­pa­bil­ity Ma­tu­rity Model In­te­gra­tion – a mea­sure fast be­com- ing an in­ter­na­tional bench­mark for as­sess­ing the qual­ity of the process in soft­ware de­vel­op­ment. Level five is the high­est rat­ing on the CMMI model, with one the en­try level.

Barry Dwolatzsky, aca­demic di­rec­tor at the Wits Univer­si­ty­housed Jo­han­nes­burg Cen­tre for Soft­ware En­gi­neer­ing (JCSE) – an in­sti­tu­tion set up by in­dus­try, academia and Gov­ern­ment to aug­ment SA’s ca­pac­ity to re­search, de­velop and de­liver world-class soft­ware – says In­dia is the pre­ferred des­ti­na­tion for in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies look­ing to ten­der their busi­ness.

“In­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies look­ing to out­source or ten­der their busi­ness want the as­sur­ance that the com­pany awarded the ten­der has the abil­ity and ca­pac­ity to man­age the as­so­ci­ated risks.

“A ma­jor fac­tor in award­ing th­ese ten­ders is the qual­ity and com­pet­i­tive­ness of soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing firms. CMMI pro­vides the bench­mark to eval­u­ate th­ese firms, with most large ten­ders plac­ing em­pha­sis on level four or five,” says Dwolatsky.

Whereas In­dia has over 70 level 5 CMMI com­pa­nies, SA has none.

With a cap­i­tal con­tri­bu­tion of R1,5m, the De­part­ment of Trade and In­dus­try (DTI) has stepped up to help the JCSE bol­ster the poor state of the lo­cal in­dus­try.

Yusuf Ti­mol, who’s in charge of the DTI’s elec­tro-tech­ni­cal di­vi­sion, says: “We may be lag­ging be­hind In­dia but the truth is that SA is home to some of the best soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing firms. The prob­lem for lo­cal firms has been the costly process of at­tain­ing CMMI cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Can­di­dates have to be ei­ther sent to Europe or the US for train­ing or train­ers have to be flown to SA at a huge cost.

“This is why the DTI de­cided to in­vest in the JCSE’s pro­gramme aimed at mak­ing lo­cal soft­ware de­vel­op­ers com­pet­i­tive glob­ally.”

Dwolatzsky says the DTI’s fi­nan­cial in­put will come in handy, as it will be chan­nelled to­wards train­ing staff ear­marked to present the CMMI train­ing and as­sess­ment pro­gramme.

“An in­tro­duc­tory-level CMMI course in the US costs be­tween R20 000 and R30 000, ex­clud­ing travel and lodg­ing fees. The same course of­fered lo­cally by the JCSE will cost about R7 900. We hope many lo­cal com­pa­nies kept away by the cost fac­tor will en­rol.”

SA has a far bet­ter de­vel­oped in­dus­try than In­dia. Barry Dwolatzsky

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.