The Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits University are taking four companies to India to learn more about the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) process improvement product suite and to explore ways for the South African ICT Sector to do business with the Indian IT sector. They will be accompanied by staff from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). 

Professor Barry Dwolatzky, JCSE director, says representatives from Cell C, GMSI, a subsidiary of the GijimaAst group, African Defence Systems and BSG Africa, will join the delegation for a weeklong tour of three Indian cities from the 25th to 29th of February, meeting with level five CMMI rated companies.
“In India we’ll be visiting Tata Consultancy Services, Satyam, IBM and Nihilient to learn all we can from these companies which have matured their software development processes,” he says. “Then we’ll also be visiting the South African Consul General where we’ll be discussing how South African companies can look for business opportunities in India.”
CMMI is a process improvement model that defines the maturity of companies’ processes, rating them on a level between one and five. CMMI increases the predictive power of an organisation, optimising quality, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Dwolatzky says a level four or five CMMI company is more likely to come in on time, on budget and to specification on large scale projects.
“The South African companies joining us on the trip all form part of the JCSE’s CMMI pilot programme, which is assisting a number of local companies to improve their project management and software development processes.
“The four Indian companies we’re meeting are all CMMI maturity level five companies. We’ve already sent through questions from the four South African companies which will form the basis for discussion in India about CMMI and how the South African companies, who are just beginning their process improvement journey, can mature their processes,” he says.
The Minister of Trade and Industry Mandisi Mpahlwa, said at the JCSE’s CMMI Symposium (CoMMIt) in September last year that CMMI has become accepted in many parts of the world and that it has been identified by the DTI’s electro-technical unit CMMI as a critical intervention for the ICT local sector.
“South Africa’s software development sector is lagging behind other countries which are using CMMI to position themselves internationally,” he said. “We should see this [the JCSE’s CMMI programme] as an opportunity to grow our own software development sector which currently has an estimated value of R13-billion. CMMI will be a critical success factor to increase exports and thereby assist in growing the industry. To do this, we will have to create an environment that produces CMMI rated companies."
Dwolatzky says that, by accompanying the JCSE to India, the DTI has reaffirmed its commitment to CMMI and the ICT sector in doing whatever it can to help grow the local ICT sector.