Renier’s Story – in his own words

RB Profile Photo tie B&W S

I was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa in 1969. Both my parents were qualified teachers. My father was a Primary School Principal and chairman of ‘Northern Transvaal Primary School Rugby’ and South-African Schools Rugby, amongst other things through his distinguished career as an educator.

I attended the Primary School in Mayville where I was the Head Boy in 1982. I matriculated from Overkruin Secondary School in 1987.  High School years were some of the best years of my childhood where I excelled in academic achievements, leadership and participated in sport and cultural activities. 1985 was the first year ‘Computer Science’ was presented as a tertiary subject and I excitedly enrolled for this as my seventh (Matric/A-Levels) subject. My first computer was a ‘Commodore 64’ which my dad bought me with hard earned money in 1985. I spend days, nights, weekends, even school holidays studying my new computer that was programmed with the BASIC programming language competing with the rival computer geeks using the ZX Spectrum. Needless to say that all my science and non-science school projects were computer based and in 1987 I got the award as the best student in Computer Science that I passed with distinction.

Straight out of high school I joined the South-African Defence Force (SADF) and completed my officers training at the Klipdrift Training Centre near Potchefstroom. As technical officer I was selected for a bursary to study Electronic and Computer Engineering and in 1996 completed a National Diploma in ‘Digital Engineering and Informatics’ with distinction from the Pretoria College of Engineering. I was honoured with three medals during my military service: Pro-Patria Medal, 1990 For operational service in the defence of South Africa against terrorism; General Service Medal, 1993 For Service in the defense of live, health and property; Unitas Medal, 1995 To mark the amalgamation of SADF with homeland and liberation forces to form SANDF.

After serving country and flag for nine years a left the SADF and obtained a small share in a clothing and general electronics retail shop. As shop outlet manager and IT manager I developed a new logistics system for the Mega Stores group that streamlined their stock control.

I soon realised that a very promising career in technology was awaiting and joined a market leading third party service provider, Technicare, in Midrand as the Systems Project Manager and Administrator.  Just after Technicare was acquired by Infotech I accepted a role in 1999 as ‘The Department Head of IT Product Development and Engineering’ at Radiospoor.

With the upcoming mobile phone market, Radiospoor and Autopage merged their paging divisions to squeeze the last innovation out of the pager technology. MessageLink was born. Between 1999 and 2000 the engineering team developed and launched five new products into the paging and mobile phone market namely, Cellpager, Beep@mail, NotaBene, Flexi-Messaging and Virtual Secretary.

Just before the .com boom in 2000 I joined VWV Group, the industry leading marketing agency in Kyalami, as the Group IT Manager. VWV Group consisted of six companies each specialising in a specific marketing segment. My challenge was to centralise the IT function and excel the companies digital capabilities through infrastructure and hosting performance improvements.

It came as no surprise to me in 2001 when I got a phone call from the ex-marketing manager of MessageLink, who was one of the founding members of a new start-up company, ‘Customer Feedback Systems’ (CFS) in Lone Hill, Johannesburg. They were looking for a technical all-rounder to establish their technical department. As Board Director and General Manager-Technical, I worked with CFS and a partnering company, Digital Matter, to develop the ‘Tracka’ product which earned us the Industrial Innovation Award of the Department of Trade and Industry in 2004. Tracka collected real-time customer feedback and send it via internet, dialup or GPRS to a data warehouse.

At CFS my international prospects were bright and I excelled in establishing technical departments in eleven countries distributing and supporting the ‘Tracka’ product. Travelling around the world in 2003 visiting the CFS offices I learned that the world is a small place with endless opportunities and possibilities. The success of the product soon led to a ‘Big Data’ issue ahead of it’s time. All the data collected fro thousands of end customers have to be analysed and reported on – almost real time. We approached IS Solutions, a Microsoft Gold Partner to assist us in developing a data warehousing and reporting solution using the newly introduced Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services platform. The Microsoft platform, still in it’s Beta release codenamed Rosetta when we started the project, proofed ideal in solving our data problems. The ‘Tracka’ value added solution went live in 2004 and Microsoft published a Case Study on CFS as the first company that went live on the Reporting Service Platform in South Africa. Soon I was looking across the eleven countries where we had a presence and chose London as my next base – mainly to support the market region with the most promising prospects for growth. In 2006 I left South Africa and relocated to London to join CFS-Europe.

A couple of years later, I left CFS to join ‘The Collinson Group’, a global organisation specialising in loyalty marketing, travel and insurance. I was appointed at Global Marketing Software as the Global Technology Director, leading and directing the software delivery teams building and supporting Loyalty Platforms for the group.

December 2008, I was promoted to the General Manager of GMS. Between 2009 and 2011 GMS was successful in selling Loyalty Platform technology in conjunction with the Loyalty Leading agency ICLP to four new client accounts.

In 2012, almost three years of hard work paid of when ‘Collinson Technology Services’ (CTS) was formed as a centralisation exercise between two Collinson Group companies and several IT departments. As the Group Technology Director my objectives were to lead and direct the build of enterprise level technology products and deliver technology as a service through customisation, configuration, integration, deployments and provide excellent after sales 24×7 support services.

In 2013 I started renierbotha Ltd, a management consultancy that specialises in the optimisation of technology operations and the successful business integration of technology innovation into mainstream revenue channels. Holding true to the motto of “Lead – Direct – Innovate – Integrate” and applying it to clients from various industries, providing then a winning proposition while giving me a real new perspectives and energised enthusiasm of the enabling role technology fulfil within industries.

In December 2015, I was given the opportunity, for two years, to lead a new NHS joint venture, Systems Powering Healthcare Ltd, also known as SPHERE, as the Managing Director. This was the melting pot of all my experience and skills gained over 30 years in technology and business coming together. Defining SPHERE visionary strategy and directing the execution over the two years, we managed to grow SPHERE from a start-up, in it’s 10thmonth of operation, to a medium sized enterprise – revenue grew by 42% and the assets on balance sheet with 700%. The biggest success of SPHERE was the reduction in the cost per IT end-user by 24%, resulting in more than £3M saving for the NHS members (shareholders) – forecasting a 5 year ROI of 1149%.

Currently I am supporting and enabling companies, from start-up to enterprise, to integrate technology innovations with their mainstream revenue channels. I specialise optimising business operations through capitalising on effective and efficient IT enablers. As part of this business driven and technology enabled transformation process I help technologists to be commercially aware, delivering customer-centric IT solutions and services covering the full business value-chain – making technology a true enabler of the business value proposition.