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The choices Technology leaders make will either define their success or failure, says Kevin Govender, Director/Partner: Deloitte Africa ERP Leader and former CIO Programme Leader at Deloitte Consulting Africa

I strongly recommend that Technology leaders embrace office politics as a key building block and view it as a critical path to a successful professional journey and become politically intelligent

This is an exclusive interview conducted by Santosh Vaswani, Content Writer & Editor at CIO News with Kevin Govender, Director/Partner: Deloitte Africa ERP Leader and former CIO Programme Leader at Deloitte Consulting Africa, on his Professional Journey

Kevin Govender is a Partner/Director at Deloitte and is the Deloitte Africa ERP Leader and was the former CIO Programme Leader for the last four years. He is an experienced business enterprise architect and strategist who has led and advised a wide range of projects, including large business and technology transformation programmes, turnaround programmes, strategy development, and business improvement initiatives across a diverse set of industries including the mining, oil and gas, logistics, professional services, healthcare, financial services, public sector, telecoms, and manufacturing sectors.

Kevin has a diverse understanding of business, technology, and leadership gained through his 26 years of work experience across a variety of industries, functional areas, and geographies both locally and globally. He has extensive experience in Strategy, Enterprise Architecture, Business Advisory, Management Consulting, ERP Implementation and Assurance, CIO Advisory and Leadership, Tech Trends, implementing Turnaround, Transformational, and Improvement programmes.

Kevin holds a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Industrial Engineering from the Durban University of Technology (1998), an Executive Leadership Programme (ELP) from the University of Cape Town Business School (2008), an Honours Degree in Management Practices in Business Leadership from the University of Cape Town Business School (2014), and a Masters of Management by Research through the Wits Business School (2017) focusing on The Shift from Ownership to Access in South Africa: The Shared Economy. Kevin is a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, recognition for his academic achievement for his Master’s research on the Sharing Economy. Kevin is also recognized as a Professional Chief Information Officer (Pr. CIO) by IITPSA (Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa).

Kevin Govender is a published author. In his book, The Rise of the Sharing Economy, Kevin shares his insights and expertise on the evolution of the sharing economy, consumer behaviours, and alternative business models and empowers consumers to rediscover and realize the enormous benefits of access over ownership and the potential savings in time, money, space, and the opportunity to make new friends. Access is a cultural and socio-economic phenomenon that is transforming businesses, consumers, the way we live, work, learn, consume, commute and play. “Access is the new ownership!”

Kevin’s key areas of interest include business strategy, digital transformation, sharing economy, tech trends, innovation, research, disruptive technologies, and innovative business models. His focus is on leveraging technology and innovation to grow and transform organisations and enhance shareholder value.

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THE RISE OF THE SHARING ECONOMY 

Is access the alternative to ownership?

In 2011, the sharing economy was dubbed by Time magazine as one of the ‘Ten ideas that will change the world and it has been widely hailed as a major growth sector, by sources ranging from Fortune magazine to the World Economic Forum, to former President Obama.

The sharing economy is a new economic model that focuses on access to assets or resources, instead of ownership. It has exploded in popularity over recent years and has disrupted a significant number of mature industries such as accommodation, automotive, and entertainment.

The total value of the global sharing economy is estimated to grow from $14 billion in 2014 to $335 billion by 2025. With limited resources, the desire to become more environmentally conscious, the high cost and burdens of ownership, and a rapidly growing population, living increasingly in densely populated cities, consumers are faced with greater challenges and opportunities to fill their consumption needs.

People are experiencing a significant value shift with a desire to reconnect with products and services in a more meaningful way, are becoming more cost and environmentally conscious, and are prioritizing experience over ownership. An organisation’s ability to reimagine and reinvent its business model to offer unique opportunities for humanizing technology and developing innovative sharing platforms, such as Uber and Airbnb, would be a game-changer for them.

While the Fourth Industrial Revolution and COVID-19 pandemic are influencing and changing consumer behaviour, organisations are facing a dilemma that is affecting the future of their profitability, existence, and sustainability.

In The Rise of the Sharing Economy, Kevin Govender shares his insights and expertise on the evolution of the sharing economy, consumer behaviour, and alternative business models, and empowers consumers to rediscover and realise the enormous benefits of access over ownership, and the potential savings in time, money, space, and the opportunity.

Access is a cultural and socio-economic phenomenon that is transforming businesses, consumers, the way we live, work, learn, consume, commute and play. Access is the new ownership.

When asked how he planned his career path to be a successful technology leader, Kevin Govender, Director/Partner: Deloitte Africa ERP Leader and former CIO Programme Leader at Deloitte Consulting Africa, in an exclusive interview with CIO News, said, I studied Industrial Engineering as an undergraduate degree and started my career as an Engineer in Training at Unilever in Durban in 1995. My key responsibilities included business process re-engineering, optimisation, and continuous improvement projects to improve efficiency. With just over 2.5 years of experience, I was given an opportunity to join the Business Systems function within Unilever as a Business Analyst. This provided me the opportunity and exposure to identify and develop solutions for the Management Information Systems. I was responsible for defining business requirements, enhancement, and design of the Technical Management Information Systems and SAP. My career at Unilever was the foundation that helped define my career path to be a successful Technology leader today.

He is currently a Partner/Director at Deloitte. His current role is the Deloitte Africa ERP Leader, and he was also the former Deloitte Africa CIO Programme Leader for the last four years.  I have a diverse understanding of business, technology, and leadership gained through my 26 years of work experience across a variety of industries, functional areas, and geographies both locally and globally. Some of my prior employers include Transnet, EY, Discovery Health, Accenture, and Nedbank. I have extensive experience in Strategy, Enterprise Architecture, Business Advisory, Management Consulting, ERP Implementation and Assurance, CIO Advisory and Leadership, Tech Trends, implementing Turnaround, Transformational, and Improvement programmes. I am also recognized as a Professional Chief Information Officer (Pr. CIO) by IITPSA (Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa).

When asked about challenges he faced in his career path and how he overcame them, he said, growing up in humble beginnings under apartheid in South Africa, my parents could not afford to send me to university after I matriculated from school in 1990. I left home at the age of 17 years to move to Johannesburg to work for two years. This circumstances and opportunity helped me save towards my first-year university’s tuition fees. I was fortunate to receive a merit bursary during my undergraduate degree, which helped me with my tuition fees. I pay tribute and gratitude to my late mum and dad who made significant sacrifices to support me and invest in my academic ambitions so that I could live a better life.

Today, I hold a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Industrial Engineering from the Durban University of Technology (1998), an Executive Leadership Programme (ELP) from the University of Cape Town Business School (2008), an Honours Degree in Management Practices in Business Leadership from the University of Cape Town Business School (2014), and a Masters of Management by Research through the Wits Business School (2017) focusing on The Shift from Ownership to Access in South Africa: The Shared Economy. I am a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, recognized for my academic achievement for my Master’s research on the Sharing Economy.

I am also a published author. In my book, The Rise of the Sharing Economy, which is based on my Master’s research, I share my insights and expertise on the evolution of the sharing economy, changing consumer behaviours, and alternative business models.

Some of the challenges and setbacks I faced in my career path were being passed on for promotions that I was the most qualified or suitable candidate due to internal business politics. I overcame those challenges and setbacks through my passion, perseverance, and my entrepreneurial energy and drive. I also believe in a few famous quotes such as

“This too shall pass” by Paulo Coelho, and “Everything happens for a reason” by the philosopher Aristotle.

When asked about challenges faced by Technology leaders today while implementing digital technologies, he said, the rapid pace of technology change is certainly a key challenge for technology leaders today. According to Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” Leveraging digital technologies and innovation to grow and transform organisations and enhance shareholder value is certainly an opportunity, we must all embrace.

But the rapid pace of changes in digital technologies brings with it additional challenges such as the increase in the number of different technology options, service providers, and cyber-security crimes. This intensifies the challenges leaders face in choosing, balancing, and safeguarding the technology landscape and integration between the various applications. Data is also the new oil and is driving data-driven organisations. Data is integral to any business and data sharing is becoming a key differentiator.

Technology leaders’ challenges are further increased by the shortage of key technical talent and skills available across the world. The impact of remote working, work from anywhere, work from home and the great resignation being experienced globally brought on by the COVID pandemic is also unprecedented and inevitable and is contributing to some of the key challenges facing Technology leaders today!

When asked how Technology leaders can overcome the challenges faced, he said, the choices Technology leaders make will either define their success or failure. Reimagine and reinvent your operating model, modernize, simplify, and automate your technology landscape. Ensure that the digital strategy aligns with the business strategy and key strategic imperatives. Provide strategic direction and guidance to business leaders to help create a data-driven organisation.

Attract and retain key talent and reskill your current workforce in new and future technologies. Attracting and retaining key talent and reskilling your workforce will be a key differentiator to achieving success!

When asked about best practices/industry trends/advice he would like to suggest to fellow Technology leaders for their successful professional journeys, he said, “If you don’t do politics, politics will do you” by Niven Postma. Most people avoid office politics as they see it as unpleasant, unethical, unfair, and distracting, but I strongly recommend that Technology leaders embrace office politics as a key building block and view it as a critical path to a successful professional journey and become politically intelligent. It is also important to remember that you can play office politics without sacrificing your core values and principles. Another suggestion is that Technology leaders do not have to take on or win every battle in-order to win the war, choosing which battles to take-on would certainly be beneficial.

It is important as a Technology leader to understand which key trends and technologies are crucial for your strategy and vision. Having insights about future technology trends and threats is crucial to understanding how you can reinvent and reimagine your respective organisations and embrace the changes that the 4th Industrial Revolution brings.

The role you play as Technology leaders in reinventing and reimagining your respective organisations and transforming their business models will be vital in defining your future success. Attracting and retaining key talent and reskilling your current workforce will also be essential to your success!

Also readCIO News interviews Shri Wangki Lowang, Minister (IT) of Arunachal Pradesh

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CIO News, a proprietary of Mercadeo, produces award-winning content and resources for IT leaders across any industry through print articles and recorded video interviews on topics in the technology sector such as Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud, Robotics, Cyber-security, Data, Analytics, SOC, SASE, among other technology topics

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