If you’re curious about software development in South Africa, or you’re an organisation looking to take your business to the next level using custom software, you’re in the right place.
We’re going to cover the role of Software companies in the South African context.
What Is Software Development
Firstly, what is software? Software is the data, instructions or programs needed to execute a task on a computer. Software development is more than the initial creation; it’s also about designing, developing and maintaining this software going forward.
The following are some of the features found in software development to give you an idea of how Software companies impact this space:
This is the analysis of data to discover, interpret and convey data patterns for decision-making.
For example, Oviond, co-founded by South Africa’s Chris Irwin, does analysis through Digital Marketing dashboards and reporting.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is getting computers to perform human-like tasks such as decision making, speech recognition, etc.
For example, when Google Assistant searches for your contacts via voice command.
All “cloud” means is hosting software online so it can be accessed from anywhere (not just your office).
Cloud development deals with cloud-based development and cloud-native development. It’s all about replacing on-premises execution with cloud services and all the developments, architecture and testing within the cloud environment.
For example, the ability to store your files in Dropbox instead of on your desktop is made possible through cloud development.
Mobile application development
This is software that is created specifically for usage on mobiles.
South Africa’s largest online retailer Takealot, founded by Kim Reid, has a great mobile application.
Web application development
This is an application that can be used through a browser that is created using web technologies.
One of South Africa’s biggest online clothing stores, Superbalist, is an example of a well designed web application.
For example, cybersecurity can be using Kaspersky Total Security to protect yourself from computer viruses.
How did software companies in South Africa come to be?
The History of Software Development in South Africa
When South Africa made that bold step on the path of freedom in 1994, science and technology became a part of that journey. The development of technology emerged as a way to empower the previously disadvantaged, while also trying to contribute to the global community.
A fantastic example that kickstarted software development companies in South Africa is Thwate!
Thwate, founded in 1995 by Mark Shuttleworth, made history by being the ‘first certificate authority to issue SSL certificates to public entities outside of the United States, quickly accounting for 40% of the global SSL market.’ (add as a quote maybe?)
Thus launching South Africa’s contribution to the global digital village. There are some truly inspiring software companies in South Africa. We’ll delve into those later in this blog.
Future of software development in South Africa
Dealing with the aftermath of the pandemic and trying to get back on track is naturally big priority but software development companies in South Africa have their eyes on the future and what it may bring.
Offerzen asked developers in South Africa what they look forward to the most and there’s no surprise that AI, with its endless possibilities, tops that list.
A surprise feature from Cryptocurrency in fourth on this list is further backed up by a survey done by GWI. It shows that 21,8% of South African internet users between 16 to 64 years old own Cryptocurrency, ranking the country 3rd on the global scale!
What South African Software Companies Do
When it comes to keeping up with trends with businesses on local and global scales, research shows that software development is the answer. But how do software companies in South Africa make this happen?
How does the development process work? Where does your business fit in the process? How does the process start?
We’ll answer that by giving a quick overview of the type of steps taken by software companies in South Africa:
Project Management and Methodology
The software company will pick an implementation methodology that suits the type of development and both parties’ goals. The choice is usually between Waterfall, Agile, DevOps, or Rapid Application (RAD).
They will document the requirements of both parties through workshops and analysis then plan out each step of the process of development.
Architecture and Design
They will either choose an existing architecture or build a new one that the software will operate in, then document the design of the solution to be approved.
Development and Management
The developer team will build models and construct code.
While the solution is being developed, there will be quality assurance checks to ensure the requirements are being followed and defects are being logged and resolved.
Internal and External Testing
The developer team will do performance testing on planned scenarios to ensure the desired outcomes are being achieved. The solution will then be handed over to the users to test against the requirements. Defects will be documented and resolved.
The software that was developed will be launched in the live environment, for users to interact with as designed.
Software Development Team Structures (What They Can Look Like)
When developing software, the team structure will depend on the type of solution needed. For software companies in South Africa, a typical structure for a software development team could be the following:
- Client: This would be the company that has requirements to be met by software development
- Project Manager: The person who plans, budgets, and ensures successful execution of the software project.
- Business Analyst: They analyse the requirements, scope documentation, business domains, systems and processes and ensures the software is developed as per the requirements gathered
- Software Architect: This person decides what technology the developers should use to develop the software that meets the business’s needs.
- Developers: They develop, monitor and modify the software; they could be focused on maintaining mechanisms that perform actions or on the user experience on the frontend, for example.
- Quality Assurance: This person monitors the processes and methods to ensure the software is executed to predetermined standards.
According to a search on LinkedIn, there are 6000+ jobs for software developers, showing a high demand for their talents in South Africa.
South African Software Development Costs Compared To Other Countries
Africa is the 2nd cheapest when it comes to software development with an hourly rate of $33 as estimated by YouTeam, lagging closely behind Asia at $28.
|Region||Average software development hourly rate|
However, South Africa tops the list in comparison to its continental software developing neighbors.
|Country||Average software development hourly rate|
Besides costs, there are other considerations that make South African software companies appealing for both local and offshore businesses.
“South Africa is another preferable destination thanks to insignificant time zone differences and high proficiency in languages such as English, German, and Dutch. Besides, the region is featured in the Tholons Digital Nations and Super Cities rankings. South African developers are skilled in C++, PHP, and SQL.” – YouTeam.
Well Known Software Platforms Developed In South Africa
What big accomplishments have South Africa made in the software development space? There are some exciting software companies in South Africa that have impacted lives for the better. Take a look at these well-known platforms established right here, on home soil.
WooCommerce, established in 2008, is a popular flexible open-source commerce plugin on WordPress.
They aim to empower small to large businesses to sell their products from anywhere without hassle and they have definitely done so. It’s easy to use and very customisable, making it easy to showcase your business’s brand.
“With over 27 million downloads to date, WooCommerce powers 99% of all WordPress stores.” – Nexcess, December 2021.
Before the days of BBM and WhatsApp, there was Mxit. The free instant messaging platform was launched in 2005 by Herman Heunis. It made use of the then-ground-breaking Java and GPRS connectivity.
Mxit was used in South Africa and several countries such as the United States, Nigeria, Germany, and India to name a few. In 2011, it was recorded that the platform had 42 million users across the globe!
With the progression of smartphones and other social media giants, Mxit sadly ‘dc’d’ (disconnected) permanently in 2015.
This South African software company aims to make life easier for small businesses. Yoco, founded in 2015, is a Fintech that offers entrepreneurs affordable and accessible payment solutions.
Yoco’s success has seen them make the top 250 fintech companies in the world in 2017!
Eyes set on the future, they’re constantly looking forward and trying to find new opportunities to help the small business economy.
Maintaining your beautiful home is made easier with SweepSouth. This application connects the homeowner with vetted cleaning professionals that will clean your house.
SweepSouth’s easy to use platform is modernising the housekeeping market while also creating jobs for the unemployed.
Cryptocurrency made easy! Luno recognised the need for accommodating the digital age of finance and, in 2013, launched a simple application that anyone could use to own crypto.
Luno has a presence in North America, Africa, Asia and Europe, making the evolving financial market an easier place to navigate.
Why Is Software Development Getting Popular in South Africa?
As we’ve seen, software development is all about progressing through modern space and making lives easier. That’s why software development is getting popular in South Africa.
South Africa’s reliance on the internet also spurs interest in continuing the country’s software development.
DataReportal’s report shows that, “South Africans now spend the greatest amount of time online each day, with the country’s working-age internet users saying that they spend an average of 10 hours and 46 minutes using connected tech every day.”
There are opportunities to take advantage of this time online, like advertising your business or making it easy to shop online on your website. DataReportal also presented that 46,7% of internet users in South Africa made a purchase online each week in the third quarter of 2021.
You don’t have to be a developer yourself to make waves in the digital space. Software companies exist in South Africa to help organisations achieve goals faster and easier. Whether it’s with an application or automation of a business process; it depends on the organisation’s needs and goals.
Here are some of the benefits an organisation can get from implementing software development:
- Online presence: Your business is easier to find, which can increase sales opportunities
- Engagement: It’s easier to communicate with customers and encourage returning customers
- Fulfill needs: Utilise data to understand customers’ needs and wants, enabling businesses to capitalise on opportunities
- Time saver: Automated processes can save businesses time doing work manually
- Stay competitive: Keeping inline with the digital curve will help businesses strive against their competitors
- Less errors: software development can decrease human error in manual activities and improve quality of work produced.
Staying with the times
The pandemic shocked the world’s system in many ways. One that turned to a positive is the cross over to remote work and the ease of consumerism online.
DataReportal stated that: “South Africans are also considerably more likely to use social media for work than the global average, with more than one-third of internet users aged 16 to 64 in both countries saying that social media plays a role in their professional activities.”
Another instance is that people have taken to purchasing more digital content from the likes of Netflix, Spotify, etc. As per GWI’s research in 2021, 67,9% of South African internet users purchased digital content.
The opportunities exist to squeeze into these markets and boost an organisation to new heights.
If you’re wondering how you can use software development to enhance your South African business, we have some examples based on how we help businesses achieve their goals. Here are the solutions we can provide.
Learning management system
A Learning Management System, or LMS for short, is an application that delivers courses and other educational materials.
Customer Relationship Management Systems
Centralise all your business’s data vital customer data with a CRM system. Use a CRM system to manage your relationship with clientele efficiently and get the best understanding of their profile types.
Co-foundry’s CRM solution gets you: more leads and improved customer service, to name a few benefits.
Step up your customer service offering with a Customer Portal. This is a software interface that allows your customers to have an online access point with your business.
With our solution for a Customer Portal, you can save both the business’s and customer’s time by reducing support calls and improving the customers experience, etc.
Business Workflow Management
Your manual business processes can be digitised. A Business Workflow Management system automates manual tasks and streamlines your processes.
Improve production and service delivery and simplify business functions with Co-foundry’s Business Workflow Management solutions.
Content Management systems
If you need to store, organise, and distribute your content seamlessly, then a Content Management System (CMS) is for you.
How Can Co-Foundry Help You?
The journey to successfully implementing software development starts with one small step, schedule a call!
Though it can seem daunting since the rest of the process can feel like a mystery. We’re going to clear that up by showing our steps in this process:
- Schedule a Call: During our call we’ll listen to your wants and needs then provide comprehensive advice on next steps
- Basic Proposal: We’ll present you with a proposal that summarises key information like timelines, complexity of project and cost of the solution.
- Gather Requirements: We scope out the requirements with you and get everyone on the same page to get a more accurate cost on the project
- Full Scoping and Prototype: We build a prototype for you to go through and see exactly what the software will be like.
- User Interface and Experience: We work on revising for a truly custom design that fits your brand while showing the user experience that will be delivered.
- Sprint and Release Development: Development Time! We build the solution in sprints, which means a workable product will be released for testing at set milestones; once fully completed it will be released to the complete user base.
- Rinse and Repeat: We take your feedback and implement it to make the software your ideal solution.
- Your Success Achieved: Your software is achieving your objectives, while we support the solution as required.
Preparing For Consultation Meeting
Software development in South Africa can seem like a complex topic once you’re in a room with experts, so there are a few ways you can bolster your business’s knowledge before entering that room. The following is a list of preparation tips to get you going:
- Budget: Know what your budget is as this helps narrow down scoping requirements
- Know who you’re dealing with: Research the South African software company so you’re clued up on their expertise and qualifications
- Question them: Prepare questions on the following, so that you walk away feeling confident:
- Timelines – how long does certain executions take?
- Costing – how much will a certain requirement cost?
- Contract types – what type of contracts do they offer?
- Communication plan – how will they communicate progress and queries to you?
- References – Ask for use cases and references for work done previously for you to verify
- Scope of project: Prepare a scope that covers all your needs, so they know where to start
- Understand the software field: You may not be an expert but at least learn some of the foundations so you’ll be able to ask important questions and answer their queries effectively.
Software Companies in South Africa
Software companies in South Africa offer development services and products that meet the needs of businesses, but not all software companies offer the same services. Depending on your goals and needs, you’ll have a wide range of software companies to choose from.
We’ve discussed some software development options that we provide, but maybe you’re in the market for something else. The following software companies in South Africa can provide other types of software services:
Business Intelligence is all about equipping executives and managers with information derived from analysed data for decision making.
If you’re in need of Business Intelligence (BI) solutions then have a look at EnterpriseWorx. They will help you with using business analytics to enhance your business.
Digital Solution Foundry is another company that provides BI solutions.
Blockchain Technology is a digital ledger that keeps transactional records in several databases. Digital Solution Foundry can assist with blockchain technology needs as well as software architecture design and reviews.
Cloud architecture is when components combine to build a cloud where resources are centralised and shared.
Synthesis software technologies is a Software company in South Africa that delivers cloud architecture services.
Cybersecurity and IT Support
Protecting your data and getting support for your existing software is vital to a successful business. Westech, an experienced software company in South Africa, prides themselves in their IT support. Check them out!
Software companies in South Africa are leading the way when it comes to progression towards an innovative, enhanced future. They have the expertise and the means to provide creative solutions that keep businesses competing for the top spots in their industries.
Not only that but taking advantage of this digital climate benefits South Africa as a whole.
Looking to add some software solutions to your business? Schedule a call with us and we’d be more than happy to help!
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