According to news reports, in May 2007, Illova Sugar received a major information systems upgrade. The project consisted of the implementation of the CaneLab software developed by a South African firm called InfoWave. The CaneLab solution is an integrated laboratory information management system, weighbridge cane testing and payment system.
InfoWave sales and marketing director Cindy von Pannier says that Illovo Sugar has outsourced its applications support, systems integration and technical support to the company for ten years owing to its sugar business knowledge and software.
Whilst the news of software upgrades in the industry is generally a good thing, what we want to hear more about is development of software solutions happening in our country. At the very least, Zambia should position itself to create a noticable presence in the technical support industry that countries like India and the Philippines now dominate. Typical issues that companies consider as barriers to entry are:
- Education and Training
- Work force and Wages
- Politics and Government
Are any of these issues in in Zambia? For example, Zambians speak English fluently, geographically we are land-locked but still have excellent transportation in and out of the country and have access to major roadways, trails and ports. Politically the country has a stable government and perhaps the only lacking element is investment and the desire to take a risk with establishing a support industry in the country. What do we need to ignite this investment?