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No easy road to harmony between strategy and regulation

With an increasing focus on regulation, companies must be able to both shape and respond to the regulatory agenda in traditional as well as emerging markets. But this is not easy to put into practice, particularly in the communications sector, as KPMG reports.

Yunus SulemanThe 2007 KPMG Bringing Regulation into the Boardroom survey, based on interviews with over 60 senior managers in telecommunication operators around the globe, reveals that senior management and the regulatory function, whilenot poles apart, may have different priorities.

Convergence of telecommunications and media, along with deregulation, is blurring traditional regulatory boundaries and putting increasing pressure to improve communications, learn from other industries and build a strong regulatory team.

“This situation is even more complex and pressing for those companies operating in multiple regulatory environments,” says Yunus Suleman, chairman of KPMG SA. “Subsequently, companies will increasingly need to develop proactive regulatory functions that recognise commercial issues and can communicate with the board.” Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Economy, Insight, Strategy

The Next Big Wallet, courtesy of SA software developer

Fundamo, the South African-based mobile banking software developer, has been chosen to partner Accenture in the world wide rollout of mobile wallets to 700 mobile network operators.

Fundamo, a provider of mobile banking and payment software solutions, has signed a partnership agreement with Accenture, the global management consulting and technology services company, to accelerate the worldwide adoption of mobile wallets.

Aletha LingAccenture will lead the promotion of mobile wallets worldwide in 2008, which will allow Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to deploy, operate and fine tune a Mobile Wallet service, learning how to streamline registration, optimise price points and test partnering relationships with a bank, prior to full scale mobile wallet service deployment. The Accenture Mobile Wallet platform will be presented to 700 Mobile Network Operators early in 2008.

“This partnership combines Accenture’s ability to define and deliver new business opportunities globally, bringing together both communications and financial services markets, with Fundamo’s deep experience and technology development in the mobile payments market,” says Aletha Ling, Head of Business Development at Fundamo. Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Economy, News, Technology

African banking market beckons

The bankingsector’s real opportunity for organic growth is to look for the vast unserved African banking market, says international banking guru Joe DiVanna, who is to head a bill of over 60 experts at a banking technology conference in Nairobi next month.

Joe DiVanna, a world-renowned consultant, researcher, speaker and trainer in innovative banking, will headline the African Banking Technology Conference, to be held in Nairobi from 28 March to 4 April 2008.

Joe DiVannaDescribed as a “polymath” by The Economist, for his cutting edge approach to strategy development, DiVanna directs Maris Strategies, a Cambridge think-tank for business and financial services. He is author of numerous management books, including Redefining Financial Services and The Future of Retail Banking,

He will hold a full-day “Banking Mini-MBA”, entitled “The African Banking Agenda: Innovation, Performance, Service”.

“The dynamics of the unfolding landscape of today’s world financial markets demands that financial institutions learn to excel at innovation in order to compete,” he argues. “In Africa, competition is being redefined as regulatory structures open up to foreign banks. Within each nation, competition for existing customers is also becoming more intense, as banks are often targeting the same customers.
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Posted in the category: Economy, Insight, Strategy

The conscience-driven corporation

The great entrepreneurs were always driven by the meaning they found in making a difference in their respective fields. And this implies that you can be market-driven, yet have a conscience. In Part 2 of his exploration of the death of the profit motive, JERRY SCHUITEMA introduces the concept of contribution-driven corporations.

Jerry SchuitemaThere is a fundamental axiom which few would challenge: that our true value as human beings lies in our capacity to make a contribution to the good of others.

To argue that the best way of achieving this is to focus exclusively on the material benefit to be gained from the contribution seems illogical. It is saying that individuals give their best when they focus on their worst qualities such as greed and insecurity… that we only give to the extent that we know we will get. Such a human being will become dysfunctional.

None of us knows with certainty what we can get out of any situation but we know with far greater clarity and certainty what we are capable of giving. To restrict giving, therefore, to what we know what we will get restricts the contribution and negates our possible value. This is what risk and entrepreneurship is about. Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Economy, Insight, Strategy

Profit Motive is the new Titanic

The twin corporate issues of sustainability and governance are not only changing the rules of the game but the game itself. They are challenging the way business has been understood since Adam Smith and they must have the likes of Milton Friedman twitching in his recently dug grave, writes Jerry Schuitema.

When the Titanic set sail from Southampton in the spring of 1912, it was more than the biggest and best passenger ship of its time. It represented both the best and the worst of contemporary society. It was the epitome of grandeur, opulence, refinement and innovation. It was also an engineering marvel and was hailed as a symbol of man’s mastery of the elements.

The Titanic - sunk by greedIt stood for the notion that out of man’s hunger for material wealth comes greatness. In its variously classed cabins were cocooned the desires, dreams, aspirations and, later, courage and cowardice of both the elite and the common people. It was the embodiment of profit-driven greed, competitiveness, pride and arrogance. These things, not the iceberg, were what sank it.

The Profit Motive has also hit an iceberg. It is foundering. The Ethics, the Sustainability, and the Good Governance are steaming to its rescue, but they can no longer save the ship. They may be just in time to save the passengers and crew from the freezing waters. Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Economy, Insight, Strategy

Kalahari voted best in e-shopping

For the second year running, Kalahari.net has been named South Africa’s Best e-Commerce Store of 2007.

The South African E-Commerce Awards are coordinated by the shopping search site Jump Shopping, and take into account range, price, design, ease of use and quality of service.

Kalahari.netKalahari.net was also named Best Online Bookstore, and Best Online Jewellery and Watch Store.

The 2007 awards saw a large number of new entries nominated by the public. “It is a clear indication that the standard of local e-commerce stores has vastly improved from the previous year,” says Albert Bredenhann, managing director of Jump Shopping.


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Posted in the category: Economy, News, Technology

Great growth for Africa, but …

Africa’s communications market offers exceptional opportunities for growth thanks to increased demand for communications and broadband services, but operators must improve coverage and quality of service, and regulators must provide effective regulation to facilitate this growth.

AfricaCom logoThese were the key messages from AfricaCom 2007, the continent’s leading communications event for mobile, fixed, wireless and satellite telecommunications professionals, which took place in Cape Town last week. More than 3000 attendees, 70 expert speakers and 150 exhibitors participated.

At the high-level strategic conference, some of the region’s thought-leaders discussed what they thought were the optimum strategies for growth in their sector.



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Posted in the category: Economy, News, Technology, Trends

Skills shortage a calamity

Gusti CoetzerThe shortage of skilled executives in South Africa was nothing short of a calamity, a leading recruiter warned this week. And, she added, the belief that expatriates who had left the country would return to reverse the situation was an illusion.

Auguste (Gusti) Coetzer, founding partner with leading executive recruitment firm Leaders Unlimited – Korn/Ferry International, said there was a world-wide shortage of talented people, and South African recruiters were fishing in the same global pool as their competitors elsewhere in the world.

Speaking at the Labour Market 2008 conference in Midrand, Coetzer said the workforce had become globally integrated and executives were now selling their services to the highest bidder on an international basis. Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Economy, News, Trends

A TRC for the economy

By Craig Canavan

A lack of information, coupled with the general ignorance of business and public alike of what South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policies really mean, are the main causes behind the slow pace of transformation in the business sector.

BEE ConferenceThis was one of the main themes to emerge from the first day of the inaugural annual Bee Conference held at Johannesburg’s Pyramid conference centre on 7 and 8 November.

“It’s the most misunderstood, misinterpreted piece of legislation I think this country has ever seen,” said William Janisch, director of Empowerment Services. Keep reading →

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Posted in the category: Economy, News

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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