ATG announced its acquisition on Wednesday, noting it will become part of the global enterprise.
Global commerce business Smollan provides retail solutions across five continents and over 450 000 retail stores worldwide. It counts online cleaning services platform SweepSouth among its investment ventures.
According to the statement, Smollan has acquired local software developer and supplier ATG from investment holding firm Capital Eye Investments. The acquisition has been ratified by all regulatory bodies and is effective immediately.
James Collett, chief data officer at Smollan, notes the importance of the strategic acquisition. “ATG joining the Smollan Group is a significant step forward in our strategy to expand our technology and data offering within retail and supply chain.
“We are extremely excited about the synergies which exist between the businesses, and as a leading global commerce solution company, we will be looking to grow the ATG footprint internationally. An aligned and strong culture is always foundational to creating a successful partnership, and in ATG and its people, we believe that we have found just that. We look forward to welcoming ATG into the Smollan family.”
Salic states the acquisition is one of the most important events in the history of Argility.
“ATG is immensely excited about this new phase in the history of the group. Over the past five years, we have made notable strategic investments in the acquisition of companies that have served to augment our goal of partnering with retail and supply chain organisations to help them digitise and transition into industry 4.0.
“The synergies between Argility’s vision and mission with that of Smollan made this a very appealing move for us and a good cultural fit for our group. Combining these strengths will serve to enhance ATG’s portfolio, expand our solutions and service delivery for current and future customers,” he notes.
The Argility Technology Group is a leading innovator and implementer of digital commerce and supply chain software solutions in Africa. Our vast experience combined with a depth of proprietary software and skills enables us to address the multitude of challenges facing businesses in today’s era of digital transformation.
We solve complex business problems by supplying and supporting various customised software solutions such as: Point of Sale; ERP; Warehouse, Fleet, IoT and Proximity Management; Data Science (Artificial Intelligence) solutions and more. We strive to become a technology partner and an extension of our customers’ businesses and not just another solutions provider.
The group’s origins trace back over thirty years as a leading software supplier to the retail sector. Decades of long, prosperous customer relationships bear testament to our customer-centric culture, exceptional service, and innovative thinking. From single systems to the digital transformation of an entire organisation – we have the solutions, skills, and experience.
The Argility Technology Group is comprised of: Argility; Cquential Solutions, Fleet Domain; SkyData Communications, and strategic partner, Ashanti AI. All are foremost technology developers and suppliers of enterprise software solutions for the Retail, Supply Chain, Fleet industries as well as a comprehensive IoT framework that enables local enterprises to integrate, manage and optimise their growing IoT ecosystems.
For further information: www.argility.com
Founded in 1931, Smollan is a global commerce business, delivering growth for retailers and brand owners across five continents. We partner with brands to create and execute insight-led solutions to deliver growth, wider distribution, and operational efficiencies.
Internationally recognised for our exceptional human platform of over 80 000 people and our sophisticated systems, we drive sales and create brilliant shopper experiences for some of the world’s most loved brands. We work at the pivot point where retailers, brands and shoppers intersect.
Contact us at www.smollan.com
Source: IT Web
It’s a long road to POPIA compliance and while the finish line is in sight, only one attitude will ensure your business crosses the line with confidence.
By Tanya Long, chief operating officer, Argility Technology Group
With the deadline for the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) coming into effect in a matter of weeks, companies are driving towards compliance and have been hard at work to prepare for this − in most cases for years.
At the Argility Technology Group, we embarked on the compliance programme many years ago, which has left us in a confident position that our company has always taken protection of personal information seriously, and that the process would not turn out to be an onerous one.
The sheer volume of work required is, of course, still daunting in terms of the man hours necessary to get to the finish line.
Having appointed our CEO as the chief information officer who takes full responsibility for our compliance, we set out three years ago to strategically and methodically embed compliance across the organisation.
With the support of a team of 15 people and every department across the organisation committed to the management of their own compliance processes, the challenge of documenting every process and running gap analyses, educating staff and collating reports has usurped hundreds of man hours since we began the process in 2018.
When compounded with the normal commitments of running the business and meeting all strategic targets, this has been challenging, to say the least.
This process, while daunting when trying to articulate the Act and tie together the various components, has been a good one. In many instances, it was a matter of clarifying what is required and seeing it is already in place. The process also helps to identify gaps − going forward it unquestionably adds another level of governance and trust, both internally and for our customers.
Compliance demands a change in behaviour wherever a business works with data.
My advice to all businesses on the POPIA journey − and we are all in it up to our necks − is to exercise an abundance of caution, meticulously follow all the paths I have outlined in the foregoing and then commission consultants to verify you have not only done enough, but have done it correctly. This latter is more likely to produce a peaceful night’s sleep without POPIA nightmares breaking through.
Across the South African market, we encounter many large enterprises that − like us − have been on a compliance journey for years, but for many, the work performed to date will not be enough to meet the deadline.
We are now seeing signs that the challenge isn’t over: many companies are already sending out their letters requiring confirmation of POPIA compliance, and this is set to become a flurry of mails between business networks across the country over the next couple of months.
Responding to these and attending to risk ratings for every department and every process will become increasingly time-consuming and is not to be taken lightly. We are all in the same boat, and of course, we are also sending out our mails to third-party suppliers and recording responses.
As with every business in the country, we must evaluate these responses in terms of risk ratings and compliance − the POPIA buck does not stop with your business but also applies to all your business associations. So, there will be questions that surface around responsibility and accountability for commercial implications, data on shared infrastructures and in transit via third-parties external to the entire environment, to name a few.
Third-party operators and vendors that process personal information must, in terms of POPIA, provide assurances of the necessary security and compliance measures, but we are all possibly set to encounter grey areas, such as when a customer processes data using a system built by a vendor, particularly if the agreement is a subscription model. If the data belongs to the customer, and is processed under the authority of the customer, should the developer of the system have any accountability?
Questions such as these will spark debate. In business today, there are many overlaps and ripple effects, and where one system impacts or integrates with another, the responsibility for managing and securing the data is not always clear.
Any company in the position of providing services to businesses is a data operator, but they are also a data processor within their internal structures and processes, raising a potential need to negotiate the impact of compliance and shared risk models. All organisations in this position will need to address the question of how to ensure third-parties they engage with remain compliant.
This is an ongoing process and will not end with the July deadline. Compliance demands a change in behaviour wherever a business works with data. It requires ongoing control and maintenance, with governance committees meeting regularly to assess and review measures. Compliance must become a part of your processes − across every department, partner, supplier and individual involved.
Indeed, it is already a culture at our organisation, and I feel this is how all companies must approach this daunting task.
Source: IT WEB
CQuential WMS, proudly part of the Argility Technology Group.
Argility, a member of the Argility Technology Group, has revealed details of its 21-year journey with the Shoprite Furniture Group, trading under the brands of OK Furniture, House & Home and OK Power Express.
In 1998, Argility was appointed by the retail giant to provide Shoprite Furniture – a trading division of Shoprite Holdings – with end-to-end robust, dynamic, bespoke software solutions – from in-store POS to back-office to multiple third-party interfaces.
Jai Kalyan, Argility Executive, says the relationship commenced with a roll-out to approximately 160 stores. “It has now grown to over 520 stores operating in SA, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, Zambia, Angola and Mozambique.” Kalyan says that over and above the retail management solution, services include:
He notes the distributed architecture allows stores to trade even if the network is down, plus there are daily backups to a central server to ensure stores can be restored should it be required.
By their very nature, retail chains have a highly distributed organisational structure. Kalyan explains that individual stores need to be able to operate independently if communications are interrupted. “But it is also critical that data is consolidated in order to provide business intelligence, particularly relating to inventory optimisation and customer relationship management. A robust backup/disaster recovery solution is also crucial to ensure that data is never lost and store downtime is kept to an absolute minimum,” he says.
Keeping the business running in order to best serve its customers is top of every successful retailer’s agenda. “Retailers are acutely aware of the need to continue delivering more value to their customers, and as such, must constantly assess the latest developments in technology and trends in the sector. The consolidated data provided by Argility’s solutions provides the raw material for better intelligence to improve all aspects of our customers’ businesses, from ensuring ideal quantities of goods at each store and better debtor management, to improving customer insight and, ultimately, service.
“Argility’s software has kept pace with technology advances, which means we can provide cutting-edge solutions including initial credit application via cellphone, in-store use of tablets for salesmen, flash figures app for managers, automated cash upload system plus integration and use of Web services and more. All of this translates into competitive edge in the retail environment,” Kaylan concludes.
We get to know Tanya Long, the Chief Operating Officer at Argility, to see what makes her tick…
While there are many projects that stand out for me as having a positive impact, I would say my most memorable achievement is the leadership roles to which I have been appointed to in my career. When I commenced working in the technology world, there were very few women in management roles. In my youth I was driven towards success and thought that I had to show up and compete with my male colleagues in their ‘game’ to get a seat at the table.
I wore pin striped suits and tried to do things better on what was considered the norm for a tech leader. This honestly caused stress, as being something that you are not takes excess energy. There came a point in time, where close to burnout, I realised that regardless of the levels of success, if you compromise yourself trying to be something that you’re not, then the journey is meaningless. I re-evaluated my life, owned my femininity, and decided to become a leader who brings all of these strengths to the role – even if they were not outlined in the traditional job description – and structured my work to have time for my family and passions. I much prefer the leader that I am today and I’m sure my colleagues also do, by being true to myself, showing vulnerability and compassion and knowing that just because you’re wearing a floral dress doesn’t signify that you don’t expect results.
My father. He knew a guy, who knew a guy who was doing ‘great’ things in computers. So I did what any teenage girl would do, I rebelled and went backpacking. During this time I did temp work overseas, and got thrown a job where I had to work on a Wang PC. It frustrated me so much, that I signed up for a course to master it and loved it, that as soon as I arrived home I sent myself on a programming and networking course. Needless to say, there were many Christmas lunches that contained a few ‘I told you so’s’.
I am for servant leadership and a coaching or motivational management style. Ultimately as a manager and leader it is about people and how passionate, engaged and effective they are. If you believe in peoples’ greatness, empower them to be the best versions of themselves possible and hold them to that capability – you can truly call yourself a leader.
In our world it is customer experience, Internet of Things (IoT) and data science. The technology world is so competitive that a successful organisation needs to focus on bringing extra value to the customer, to simplify their lives. There is a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT but also a slight hesitancy to embrace these innovations which I believe is purely due to not knowing where and how to start, and whom to partner with.
I call them my 2 W’s. Walking my hounds and writing are my best stress busters. A couple of years ago after reading Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way, I started writing morning pages first thing, a gratitude diary at night and then a weekly blog, which have been useful tools to help make sense of things.
To not hold on so long to something that’s not working. Over the years, there have been some stressful situations where I thought, ‘If I just tried this, or tried that’, I could solve this. The result is that I held onto certain things too long. I worked in a role that despite the challenges sapped my energy and for a few years made me completely unhappy. Eventually I had the courage to resign and in spite of the initial fear, I have never looked back. These days it is not that I give up; I have just learned to respect myself enough to know when to walk away.
Cloud tools and architecture; advanced analytics, inclusive of Machine Learning and data science, and IoT. The ultimate goal is, of course, the digitisation of the value chains and providing a personalised customer experience with frictionless service.
There is no doubt that solutions implemented in Africa have to understand the challenges, which are often not solved with international products. Solution design and hardware needs to be able to manage unreliable infrastructure in connectivity and power and must meet the needs of the customer segment that one is targeting.
I have been on a whirlwind of change since moving from Human Capital Executive to Chief Operating Officer of Argility, a few months ago. The benefit is being able to bring all sections of the business together to drive strategy and execution. Having oversight of sales and marketing now, together with culture, engagement and operations, has allowed me to impact from beginning to end. Going forward I’m thrilled to be able to begin with the end in mind and track it through the full loop.
Surround yourself with exceptional people who challenge you, if you’re the smartest person in the room then be worried. Be teachable and continuously push yourself to learn and take on new things. Set WIGs (Wildly Important Goals) weekly, monthly, yearly – for the right reasons.
Be 100% committed to achieving them. Do the work; there are no traffic jams on the extra mile. Make sure you live in integrity and show the way. Never expect anyone to do something that you are not prepared to do yourself. And lastly have courage, take on things that scare you and if you fall down, own it, dust yourself off quickly, learn the lesson and keep moving forward.
Source: Intelligent CIO