Just what is the state of digital transformation in South Africa?

Legacy systems present a barrier to change but innovation, creativity and new cloud deployments spark progress

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Depending on who you ask, South African enterprises are either hobbled by legacy IT and stumbling on the road to digital transformation or, spurred by competition and creativity, are leading the charge.

The truth is more complex than either extreme.

Digital transformation essentially involves a fundamental change in how an enterprise uses its technology, its workforce and business processes to improve its performance and value to customers.

In October 2018, a PwC study claimed South Africa was lagging. "South African companies often do not have the advantage of setting up robust digital operations from essentially a blank slate in terms of factory automation, workforce, and even organisational IT networks as a whole due to numerous complex legacy systems and facilities to upgrade, integrate, or discard," Pieter Theron, of PwC partner advisory services, stated at the time.

Just four months later, another study, this time by Dell, ranked South Africa as among the top 10 countries leading the digital transformation change required to compete in 21st century economies.

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