South Africa has great tech skills

South Africa has talented people with world-class technical skills working in its IT sector, according to the co-president of Workday, Chano Fernandez.

Fernandez was speaking to media at a recent event in Johannesburg, where he was asked about Workday’s plans for transferring skills to locals after opening an office in South Africa.

He said that Workday invests heavily in the skills development of its employees and it will be no different in South Africa.

“We invest 20-30 days per employee, per year, in terms of training overall.”

Workday offers cloud-based human capital and financial management systems to enterprises. Among its key competitors in this space are SAP and Oracle.

Its South African clients include Absa and a large law firm whose name Fernandez said he was not at liberty to disclose.

Local branch

Before opening a South African branch, Workday was already installed at the local offices of several multinational companies. These included Dimension Data, Aon, Adobe, Rolls Royce, and TomTom.

Currently the employee training in South Africa is focussed on the service side of Workday’s business. However, Fernandez said there is scope for South Africa to provide technical resources to markets that aren’t as cost efficient.

“As we’re growing and investing here, I wonder if South Africa can become a little bit more of an onshore/nearshore centre for some of the projects we do in Europe.”

Fernandez said that Workday is already providing remote development support for projects in Northern Europe and countries like the United Kingdom from places where costs are lower.

While it is necessary to have some people on the ground at the client during a project, a lot of the work can be done remotely from countries were development and technical support is more cost efficient, like Poland and Spain.

South Africa may be in a similar position, having excellent technical skills which are available at lower costs than elsewhere in the world.

Workday is not committing to developing its South African office into a support centre, but Fernandez said the potential is certainly there.

Now read: Workday looking for big growth in South Africa

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South Africa has great tech skills