Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and an expert panel led by Accenture Innovation Index partners – including The Da Vinci Institute, TransUnion and other innovation practitioners – have selected the finalists of this year’s Accenture Innovation Index.
The winners, to be selected from among 20 finalists across five categories, will be announced at the Accenture Innovation Conference on 12 October in Johannesburg.
Launched in 2014 as part of Accenture’s commitment to spearheading innovation, the Accenture Innovation Index measures, recognises and rewards innovation and systems of innovation. It provides businesses, regardless of their size or industry, with a personalised innovation diagnostic report that identifies innovation gaps and strengths. The Index process starts with businesses’ participation in an online survey and culminates in an innovation showcase and awards ceremony.
Participating businesses are scored across three measures of innovation maturity:
- Ability: The ability to innovate through the value chain, from ideation to commercialisation, is imperative.
- Commitment: For innovation to reach across the value chain, significant buy-in is required from all tiers of management, right up to senior leadership.
- Digital Capability: A company’s digital capability can be defined by the evolution of the business to use combinations of technology, information and connectivity to create new sources of customer value, company revenue and operational performance.
“Innovation is vital to compete in a disrupted world, and I’m pleased that we were able to provide respondents with the opportunity to not only benchmark their innovative capabilities, but also to refine their innovation strategies,” said Ntombi Mhangwani, a director of Integrated Marketing & Communications at Accenture.
“It has been an interesting 12-month journey to see participating businesses push boundaries and identify and fill gaps. Judges uncovered great stories of innovation and interesting trends, which we look forward to sharing with our clients and South Africans so that they can make informed decisions.”
Bennie Anderson, chief executive officer at The Da Vinci Institute, said, “There is no doubt that not only South Africa but the rest of the African continent is on the global level in terms of innovation. It was interesting to see, through the adjudication process, how companies – both small and well-established – use innovation to revolutionise the markets they serve. The process also highlighted the need for South Africa to create an environment in which individuals and organisations alike can engage and create innovative solutions that address business needs.”
With all entries grouped under one of five categories, this year’s Accenture Innovation Index finalists, along with their innovative projects, are:
Overall Innovation Masters (turnover in excess of R35 million)
- ABSA – whose integration of its App with the Apple Watch, enables customers to stay on top of their finances via their Apple Watch.
- FNB – whose internal IT coding marathon brings programmers together over a six-day sprint in order to build disruptive, financial technology apps that solve business problems while achieving competitive advantage through new or improved products and services.
- King Price Insurance – whose car insurance premiums decrease monthly in line with the depreciation of a car’s value.
- Purple Group’s The Bundles, a platform allows individuals to invest in a basket of shares. It provides access to a predetermined stock selection created by respected fund managers and CIOs from some of South Africa’s top financial services providers.
- SSG Consulting’s KEY360, a revolutionary cloud-based business and project management solution with exceptional capabilities to handle workflow, data, documents, dashboards, KPIs, business and staff optimisation together with upskilling.
Overall Innovation Masters (turnover less than R35 million)
- Bramhope – whose partnership programme builds and maintains long-term relationships between like-minded innovative companies in the health, safety and hygiene industries.
- Colony HQ’s online aggregation and database platform that translates Big data into little data, enabling clients to communicate with their customers using relevant messaging at the right time/s.
- Rethink Education’s Bite-sized mathematics and science education delivered via mobile phones for students in grades 8 to 12.
Top Innovative Concepts (turnover in excess of R35 million)
- Assupol’s instant Groceries, a mobile application that puts spending power in the hands of beneficiaries wherever they are, instantly via a mobile phone.
- Purple Group: Easy Equities, a platform that allows individuals to invest in a basket of shares. It provides access to a predetermined stock selection created by respected fund managers and CIOs from some of South Africa’s top financial services providers.
- USN – whose Blue Label Testing Lab (an interactive programme) allows consumers to customise the USN product to suit their specific needs.
- Spark ATM Systems, a fully developed supporting suite of monitoring and management software.
- Isometrix’s hyper-agile, multi-language, enterprise-ready solution for governance risk and compliance.
Top Innovative Concepts (emerging organisations)
- DQS, aboard game consisting of four superheroes and one villain, whose objective is to encourage children to learn and interact around best practices.
- Fuel Decontaminant, explosion-proof for petrol, diesel, jet fuel, bio fuel and paraffin.
- Kirkonsult – whose Carbotect organic detection tool verifies whether reductions in time, energy, water and chemical inputs could be sustained during standard industrial cleaning procedures.
- Quoros Biotech’s Microbial Cell Culture Bioreactors, a solution that develops ways of manufacturing natural products.
- Seeing Machines – uses advanced detection-and-prevention safety assistance technologies to track eye and facial movement in order to monitor fatigue, drowsiness and distraction events such as micro sleeps, texting and cell phone use as they occur. This provides for a real-time intervention strategy, improving operator, driver and environmental safety, preserving assets and reducing risk.
- Standard Microgrid, a mini-utility utilising a combination of solar PV, energy storage, cloud based grid management and granular demand side management devices to transform a rural off-grid village into a hyper efficient group of networked smart homes.
- Vuselela Energy’s Vuselela Energy’s Thermal Harvesting power plant, Eternity Power, a global, first-of-its-kind clean energy power plant based at the Anglo American Platinum Waterval Smelting Complex near Rustenburg, North West Province. The Thermal Harvesting plant captures waste heat from the converter cooling circuit at the smelter to generate up to 4.3MW of clean electricity, then used by the smelter for its internal power consumption.
“We have been overwhelmed by both the quality and number of entries, seeing a strong focus on the use of innovation for the improvement of others from social through to business and education,” Mhangwani said.
“South Africa is well-known for its highly innovative culture, with the likes of Siya Xusa, Elon Musk and Mark Shuttleworth, among others, leading the way. We have every confidence that this year’s finalists, and ultimate winners, will continue spearheading South African innovation, enabling our country to not only create jobs and grow the economy, but continue to play a leading role in our highly innovative and constantly evolving world.”
Digital Transformation Should Be A Priority For Small Businesses In South Africa
With numbers like that, digital transformation is critical for any small business that wishes to find more customers and grow.
When a water pipe bursts in your home one morning, your initial reaction will probably be to grab your smartphone and search Google for a plumber nearby. Perhaps there is one just around the corner, but you wouldn’t know about them if they don’t show up in your search results. This scenario sums up why a good digital presence has become a must for small businesses in South Africa. The internet – and almost any business opportunity – is where the customers are.
According to the 2019 Global Digital Report prepared by We Are Social and Hootsuite, 54% of the South African population are internet users. This means there are 31 million people in South Africa who are searching for products and services online; 29 million of them are active mobile internet users. With numbers like that, digital transformation is critical for any small business that wishes to find more customers and grow.
First step on the road
We believe the journey of digital transformation starts with creating your own online identity. This is creating a place of your own online, starting with a website, and letting people know who you are, what you do, and what you offer. Think of it as your mobile storefront or your online business card. Start small and grow over time: no need to over-engineer or over spend.
Website builders like GoDaddy Website Builder can help you get a professional-looking website up and running in a short amount of time, even if you don’t have a big budget or any technical skills. And it will look amazing on a smartphone, not just yours! Once you’ve created your website, you can start looking at using tools like social media, search engine optimisation, and e-mail marketing to help reach new customers and stay in touch with existing ones.
Thanks to the internet and the digital tools available today, it’s not as hard or as expensive to create and promote your brand as it once was. First, a solid strategy is important, and it should include ways of showing your target audience what makes your brand and products unique.
Here are some other tips about how you can get value from your digital presence:
- Mobile continues to rise: As we’ve mentioned before, more than 90% of internet users in South Africa are mobile. You should focus on improving site speed, navigation structures and readability on mobile devices, and look to optimise your website from the start for the mobile experience.
- Simple design: This is an extension of creating mobile-first experiences, and it’s important that your website looks and works great on all screen sizes. This year, web design will focus on relevant and catchy content as well as design to help ensure you catch your users’ attention.
- Feature “platforms”. What do I mean by platforms? This includes maps, payment solutions, food delivery services, and shared rides fall into this definition. Our friend the plumber might not need these for his website, but a restaurant could truly benefit from adding maps, partnering with a booking or reservation service and even a customer rating solution.
With an increased number of data breaches occurring, protecting your new website and your customers’ data has become even more important for companies of all sizes. Whether or not a website has an SSL Certificate, it can affect your search rankings, so you should ensure your site has the added SSL Certificate protections.
Voice search and chat – are they in your business’s future?
Looking to the future, we can expect to see the digital world evolve at breakneck speed. Two trends to be on the look-out for in the not-too-distant future are voice search and chatbots. Currently, one out of every five internet searches come from voice queries, which means people are speaking their searches into their smart devices.
Therefore, while optimising your website and content for search engines, it will be important to do it for voice searches, keeping in mind the growing use of virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana. We can also expect to see more businesses using chatbots powered by AI on their websites, as well as social media profiles and applications, to provide instant assistance for their customers.
Perhaps your small business is planning to start implementing these tools during the year. Or it could be several years before these features are on your radar. Either way, they highlight some potential ways your evolving digital presence can allow you to find and interact with customers in new powerful ways.
Call For Application From Entrepreneurs In The Media Industry
Closing date for applications is 22 March 2019.
Investec CSI’s Global Exposure Trips provide South African entrepreneurs from various sectors with global exposure. Applications are now open for entrepreneurs in the South African media industry.
Are you an entrepreneur between the ages of 21 and 40 who has been in the industry for more than two years? Do you want to get global exposure and best practice for your business?
You could be chosen to go on the next media industry themed trip to Bangalore, India from the 17-24th May 2019.
Closing date for applications is 22 March 2019.
Every year Investec, in partnership with En-novate, sends a group of young entrepreneurs from various sectors to specifically selected countries in order to gain global exposure. Each itinerary provides them with opportunities to network and engage with venture capitalists, funders and captains of their specific industry. The aim is for them to gain learning and exposure to innovation, technology and process advancements. The programme also offers networking with subject and sector experts.
Navigating The Tricky Path Towards BEE Compliance
All organs of state, public entities and any private enterprise that undertakes business with a public entity must implement the BEE codes.
BEE On the National Agenda
Navigating complex BEE requirements to ensure compliancy can be a tricky process for many businesses. Since the implementation of BEE in 2003, there have been many high-profile cases of companies found to have faked their BEE credentials and many who have failed their verification audits for other reasons.
The unfortunate reality is that faked credentials is not a victimless crime. Any company awarded a government tender through the use of fake credentials is taking business away from another that has worked hard to achieve transformation through compliance.
The Government has been particularly verbal in highlighting the need for BEE compliance. At last year’s State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that “We [South Africa] will improve our capacity to support black professionals, deal decisively with companies that resist transformation and use competition policy to open markets up to new black entrants.” Thus, all organs of state, public entities and any private enterprise that undertakes business with a public entity must implement the BEE codes.
Finding the Right Supplier For Your Business Needs
According to LFP Group CEO, Louis Pulzone as the demand for BEE suppliers grows, the market becomes more saturated with suppliers offering all sorts of prices and all sorts of offers. “The industry is attractive – particularly in our current economy. We’ve heard of a lot of devastating cases where clients look to low priced suppliers who cannot deliver on their promises due to a lack of infrastructure and resources. This ultimately leads to failed BEE verification audits and projects that never get off the ground”.
Your training providers must commit to providing a compliant service by meeting various pieces of legislation. This ensures a defensible service offering and ultimately, the desired BEE scorecard result.
When implementing skills development initiatives specifically, Louis says that there are a few key things to keep in mind:
- Ask your supplier for provide you with factual proof of compliance – they are obligated to share this with you.
- Ensure that your training provider complies with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and Unemployment Insurance Act when it comes to caring for your learners.
- Suppliers must act in accordance with the provisions of the Employment Equity Act when providing learnerships to disabled learners, all learners must be covered by COIDA and UIF provisions must be made.
The size of your business determines the required levels of BEE compliance. “The Codes provide for three levels of compliance based on the size of your business”:
- Exempted Micro Enterprises (EMEs), which are businesses with an annual turnover of less than R10 million.
- Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSEs), which are businesses with an annual turnover of between R10 to R50 million.
- Medium to large enterprises (M&Ls), which are businesses with an annual turnover of more than R50 million.
BEE Shortcuts Lead to a Dead-End
Whilst some companies create fraudulent compliance certificates in order to avoid having to comply with the BEE codes, others simply altered the dates on their out-of-date legitimate BEE certificates to avoid the costs involved in having to renew a certificate. In one case, a billion Rand corporation reported their annual turnover to be less than R5 million in order to secure BEE exemption. Fraudulent practices like these have caused experts to estimate that ‘up to 5%’ of all BEE certificates are invalid.
The penalties for a business being found not BEE compliant are hefty. These penalties, enshrined in the Employment Equity Act, can be anywhere between R1.5 million and up to 10% of an employer’s annual turnover, depending on the nature and frequency of the non-compliance. Ultimately, if a business fails their annual BEE Compliance Audit due to substandard BEE suppliers, the large financial investment made in order to ensure compliance is lost.
LFP Makes BEE Hassle-Free
Louis explains that the LFP Group was born out of exactly this. “Our brand is built on credibility and a clear understanding of the industry”.
As an easy way to determine your businesses required level of BEE compliance in accordance with these Codes, LFP recently launched SA’s first free BEE Management Tool. “This user-friendly service allows you to analyse your company’s scorecard, calculate your current points and plan your company’s BEE requirements going forward” says Louis.
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