Championing women in IT
A newly formed ladies’ forum at Altron BMS may be the key to unlocking future retail solutions that truly enhance the customer experience.
While the tech industry has always been a historically male-dominated one, it’s the ladies who are busy collaborating at Altron Bytes Managed Solutions, as they put forward their best proposals on how to inject some out-of-the-box solutions into the current retail environment in SA.
“Retail is a strategic focus of our business. It made sense to match women and retail because of our interaction and association to retail in general,” says Shahana Jooma, Channel Manager at Altron BMS and co-ordinator of the fledgling forum, aptly named Women.IT@BytesMS.
There’s a strategic objective in our country to put women forward right now.
“We’ve held two sessions so far: the first one was to set the expectations, build an innovation framework and establish the team (totalling just under 10 ladies at present). Then we sent the ladies off to come up with some innovative ideas to present at the second session, which then became an exercise in categorising suggestions into ‘disruptive’ or ‘futuristic’ solutions that we’d like to drive and potentially bring to market as an organisation,” Jooma explains.
Going forward, the team will need to research and develop a business case for each of the selected solutions that will include potential suppliers and/or partners, commercial models, forecast pricing and use cases to position the solutions.
“We have a very dynamic group of women who each bring a special skill set with them," says Jooma, adding that the forum welcomes industry participation and invites more women in the IT arena to consider “joining us here at Altron BMS for an exciting opportunity to showcase and present potentially game-changing ideas”.
“I think women bring a valuable ‘feminine edge’ to technology,” adds Jooma, explaining that the industry in general is often focused on getting it done and being all about presenting the solution. “Strategies can often become overly analytical, focusing primarily on the tech and not much beyond that, such as the ultimate customer value or experience of what’s been created.
I believe that our value lies in bringing the ‘feminine edge’ to technology.
"Enter the modern woman to provide the ‘extra edge’, the human touch, the practicality aspect and offer interesting insight, especially in relation to retail (hence the creation of the forum). I mean, let’s be honest, women are predominantly the ones doing the shopping and are exposed to the actual customer journey, which means that we have a greater encounter with the solution; we experience it first-hand and understand the impact from a more emotive viewpoint.”
Jooma concludes by pointing out: “There’s a strategic objective in our country to uplift women, and women are certainly at the forefront at Altron, with some strategic leadership roles within the organisation being filled by women, thanks to its forward-thinking and all-inclusive culture.”
It’s early days still, but the group is optimistic and is forging ahead to help create a simpler, smoother and smarter retail journey for us all in the future.
Watch this space…