Cape Town IT wins global award

By Damian Clarkson, ITWeb junior journalist
Johannesburg, 09 Jun 2004

Cape Town has received the 21st Century Achievement Award from the Computerworld Honours Programme for visionary use of IT in the category of government and non-profit organisations.

The award, handed over in Washington DC on Monday, recognised the Cape Town smart city project for its scope, innovation and impact on society.

The programme saw thousands of entries from 53 countries around the world, and Cape Town was nominated by consulting group Accenture CEO Joe Forehand.

Accenture SA partner Donovan Muller says other nominations for the award included the Bank of America, as well as a host of blue-chip companies. "When you`re competing against these companies, you realise you`re literally mixing it with the big guys. Just to be part of this is an honour in itself," Muller says.

Accenture was the lead company in installing the SAP enterprise network for the city of Cape Town project, says Muller. "We were the prime contractors, and made up roughly 25% of the resource base. At the peak, we had between 90 and 100 people working on the project."

Building a case study

The project started with a blueprinting stage in November 2001 and went live in December last year.

While the project required an initial investment of R355 million, Muller says it is well on its way to paying for itself. "The city has already seen a significant turnaround in the last six months. By April, the programme had already delivered a cash flow benefit of R253 million."

Muller adds that initial estimates of a breakeven between 26 and 42 months have since been reduced to 18 to 24 months.

Muller says the project involved a significant level of black empowerment equity. "Of those people working on the programme, about 50% were historically disadvantaged, and nearly 30% came from black-owned SMEs [small and medium enterprises]."

According to the case study, Cape Town has the world`s largest local government enterprise resource planning system, which enhances the ability of 28 000 municipal employees to provide service to more than three million citizens.