If media reports about the Forbes List of 400 richest people in the United States are to be believed, it is clear that technology service and application lies at the centre of successful entrepreneurship.

A recent article posted on The Guardian Online (www.guardian.co.uk) mentions industry stalwarts such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (his shares in the company are valued at $54 billion) and Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook (estimated to be worth $6,9 billion) and Larry Ellison, chief executive of Oracle ($27 billion).

The article states that Forbes has listed Zuckerberg as the 35th richest/ most valuable person in the US.

Whilst the financial strength of these individuals is impressive, we must also consider the level of expertise, dedication, hard work and passion it takes to achieve this success. These elements all have to be included in a broader corporate management strategy.

Strategy is a key priority that is inextricably linked to successful management in commerce. Human resources is a priority in terms of strategy and decision makers know that little can be achieved without the buy-in of both management and employees.

This is important because it takes a lot more than the ability to make a profit and drive capital to achieve lasting success within the technology and technology services space.

The managed ICT services industry is ultra competitive, consistently evolving and calls for multi-skilled entrepreneurs that have a proven, extensive skills portfolio.

This is an exciting facet of the Africa market because the region is fast emerging as a commercial ‘hotspot’ and training ground for up-and-coming business managers – the kind that will secure positions alongside acclaimed industry leaders such as Steve Balmer and Jeff Bezos.

An encouraging sign for the continent is the increased uptake of telecommunications in key regions such as Botswana, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia, amongst others. There is also an increased presence of operators and resellers of fibre optic communications systems.

Additionally the rapid growth of cellular services and support infrastructure within the Africa market is well documented.

The fact is that ongoing expansion of telecommunication and ICT services into key regions within Africa, and the introduction of more service providers in this active space, shows that Africa has the potential to hold its own with global counterparts.

We recently came across a quote by the MD of Time Magazine who commented that by 2040 the workforce of Africa will be more powerful than that of China and India.

The reality is that in much the same way that ICT and advanced managed services is the backbone behind service delivery globally, ICT managed services will continue to play a crucial role in South Africa’s socio-economic development, as well as that of Africa itself.

At the same time the success of this role is dependent on an organised, effectively governed and skilled labour force.

Whilst we realise the impact of a somewhat strained relationship between unions and government representatives over public service, there is a renewed focus on nurturing the technical skills within the private sector that will hopefully filter through to public service..

There is no doubt that with increased focus and attention to skills development, training and exposure to international best practices, this continent will compete successfully on a global platform.
By Robert Sussman & Lance Fanaroff, joint CEOs, Integr8 Group