CIPRO (the Companies & Intellectual Property Registration Office) will soon complete a project to transform itself into a new-look totally e-focused organisation.

This is according to Keith Sendwe, CEO of CIPRO, who says the organisation has already made great strides towards achieving its goal.
"This new electronic prowess, underpinned by a solid e-database is not merely an innovation aimed at strengthening the organisation and its service offering but it will also bring CIPRO closer to the companies and individuals that it serves," says Sendwe.
"Within the South African context we can play an invaluable role within the economy – particularly in times of worldwide economic uncertainty when we can truly serve as a buffer. To do so effectively we will need the appropriate infrastructure, systems and people to provide us with meaningful information and solutions that can withstand any downturn in the economy.
"We have worked on the premise that the 'new-look' e-CIPRO will require a different approach to business, a new strategy, organisation structure, skills and systems – much of which is already in the implementation phase."
CIPRO has the largest database of all companies in the country. The new database will enable it to interact more meaningfully with small, medium and large South African companies in order to increase economic activity.
"This will enable us to fulfill our mandate which is to become the gateway for formal economic participation within South Africa," says Sendwe. "While we will always be
part of government this will assist us to operate like a well honed private organisation."
With more than 2-million legal entities on its books it will be no mean feat for CIPRO to achieve its ambitious electronic transformation drive. Its starting point will be to implement an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) foundation by using Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).
"This will allow CIPRO to create a platform that is flexible to enhance the transformation," says Dr Michael Twum-Darko, the CIO of CIPRO.
He explains that the ECM will allow the 2-million entities to be kept in a uniformed format that can be read by several different kinds of devices from computers to cell phones.
"The SOA approach will allow current and future applications to be introduced with very little changes to the environment. For example, should South Africa wish to enter into new bilateral agreements we would be able to introduce this seamlessly," adds Dr Twum-Darko.
This will allow for innovative value added applications that will better the lives of all South Africans. With simplification and ease of use being an imperative, CIPRO will now use a single e-form to capture data from all its clients. This will improve our annual return and will also increase our revenue.
The e-CIPRO project will also address interactive company transactions that will assist newly formed companies to obtain much needed assistance by using CIPRO's database in order to retrieve services and supplies that are unique to the industry that they operate in.
Over and above increasing revenue and making CIPRO's database a comprehensive, integrated information tool, the new ECM will help address white-collar crime, says Sendwe.
"Money laundered through various companies will be traced easier since the ECM solution will have the information in a common format. It will allow CIPRO's database to be linked to other government departments and agencies, such as the Department of Home Affairs, Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and the South African Revenue
Service (SARS). This means that when a company is to be provisionally liquidated, CIPRO will advise the UIF of employees that will need unemployment grants and SARS will take appropriate measures for affected employees. All this before retrenched employees even enter the UIF's doors."