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Women in ICT Feature: Rebatho Madiba

IT is at the heart of the engines we need for digital transformation and our journey is clearly mapped.

“Around three years ago the pillars of Transnet 4.0 gave IT an anchor for all our IT executives, and this has helped to accelerate our digital transformation.” Rebatho Madiba, GM: IT Operations, Transnet

Custodian of South Africa's ports, rail, and pipelines, Transnet, is ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding the importance of ICT in its operations.

Around three years ago, it began its Transnet 4.0 strategy with IT the pivot to drive competitiveness within the context of 4IR and its application to these vital infrastructure elements. Madiba says that as Transnet matures with 4IR, she believes the business strategy will eventually become the IT strategy which she says begs the question of how to have one strategy that understands how IT articulates the business.

This strategy, she emphasises, needs to factor in the importance of partnerships within the various functional areas of the organisation.

“Every department benefits by having a sound and strong partnership with the IT department, contributing towards ensuring that IT's offerings are optimal for each application.”

The latest trends and technologies are revolutionising the transportation and logistics sector and IoT is becoming a critical component. Madiba says that as IoT becomes the cornerstone towards sustainable solutions for Transnet, this underlines the importance of ensuring that Transnet's IT infrastructure is rock solid so that Transnet can transform around it.

“This foundation has to factor in the importance of cybersecurity, especially as cloud computing is vital to ensure access to data. As our IT evolves, it is going to encompass such areas as robotic process automation, GIS, and AI. Just one area that will benefit from these technologies in our pipelines. With a complete GIS view, we can better protect them from such problems as fuel theft. Over- all, with IoT and special analytics, the benefits of real-time and effective asset management become possible. This, in turn, empowers our executives. We have outsourced our communication requirements to MTN and this has enhanced our ability to connect end-users and protect our assets. Now, with work from home, telecommunications plays a critical role. Indeed, communication is at the heart of our digital transformation. Technologies such as virtual reality, augment- ed virtual reality and nanotechnology are just some of the trends on the horizon that could positively impact Transnet.”

“While it is important to monitor these, it is as important to stay focused as an organisation, balancing what Transnet's industry is about with realistic adoption. It is also important to think around how we reskill existing professionals in upcoming technologies and encourage such skills in young IT professionals so that we have the readiness for these technologies,” she concludes.

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