Kobus Botha, Prescient’s group chief technology officer, has built up a substantial knowledge base on technology in financial services over a career that spans more than 25 years.
He has worked for firms including Sanlam, Gensec, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Prior to joining Prescient, he was head of IT infrastructure and support services at Allan Gray. He also worked for IT service providers such as Siemens, Hewlett-Packard and Dimension Data.
Botha also regularly participates in industry events and often sits on panels where he provides key insights into trends, innovation, digital transformation strategy and best practice in the technology space.
What does your company do?
Prescient, founded in 1998, is a global financial services provider with operations across South Africa, Europe and Asia. Its full range of services includes a comprehensive approach to investment management, stockbroking, and platform and administrative services. Its investment management business holds more than R130-billion in client assets under management and its fund administration business holds R1-trillion in client assets under administration.
What do you see as the IT leader’s top priorities in 2023?
In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, I believe adopting a cloud strategy and focusing on digital transformation are essential components of any successful technology strategy. A well-executed cloud strategy can enable greater scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency, while digital transformation can help businesses stay competitive by enhancing their customer experience, streamlining operations and improving decision making.
Who do you most admire in business and why?
I have a lot of respect and admiration for Warren Buffet, the legendary American investor and business magnate. He is known for his down-to-earth demeanour, prudent financial wisdom and philanthropic efforts. Buffet also committed to The Giving Pledge, where he pledged to donate most of his wealth to charitable causes.
How do you attract and retain talent?
My goal is to foster a nurturing work environment and cultivate a positive workplace culture that empowers our team members to excel and advance in their careers. We provide our staff with all the essential resources and opportunities to continually learn, grow and enhance their skill sets.
If you could go back and give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Embrace change and uncertainty. Life is a journey full of unexpected twists and turns. Don’t fear the unknown; instead, be open to new experiences, challenges and opportunities. One of my favourite quotes is my Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg: “The biggest risk is taking no risks.”
What’s your favourite productivity hack?
I find the Eisenhower Box method effective for prioritising and concentrating on important tasks. Additionally, whenever possible in my schedule, I practice “time blocking” to ensure dedicated focus on high-priority tasks while minimising distractions.
What occupation (other than your own) would you like to try?
I am captivated by numbers and statistics. The realms of data science and AI hold a strong allure for me, and I can envision finding genuine enjoyment in a role within that domain.
Where do you see the technology industry heading in the next three to five years?
AI and machine learning will continue to evolve rapidly, enabling more sophisticated applications across various sectors like health care, finance, retail and autonomous vehicles. AI will eventually be integrated into everyday products and services.
What is one book you’d recommend to our audience and why?
I read a lot, so recommending just one book is very difficult. A book I’ve read more than once and has had a big influence on my career is Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. The book explores the idea that rapid, intuitive judgments can be as accurate, if not more so, than extensive analysis and deliberation. Gladwell delves into the concept of “thin-slicing”, where quick decisions based on limited information can be remarkably effective. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media