The magnificent view of Sandton set the perfect mood for an awesome night at The Venue. We were welcomed with tasty cocktails and appetizers before Peter gave us an overview on BBD’s strategies, technology, markets and most importantly our people. Next up was the hilarious Dusty Rich who made us laugh until we had tears in our eyes. He started ‘the fun’ which continued throughout the night as we enjoyed a delicious dinner, refreshing drinks and many more laughs.
The 9th of March 2016 was a normal day for most developers, but for Java developers it was Java Day!
Java Day is an Oracle sponsored event held every year as a way for Oracle, the “owners” of the Java language, to get together with the Java community in South Africa. This year Oracle asked the JoziJug (Java user group in Johannesburg) to help with setting up an agenda and organising speakers for the day.
Despite a rainy start, almost a 150 Java developers gathered at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton with the promise of great speakers, a trendy setting and everything Java, we were in for a day filled with Java goodness.
The first speaker was Corneil du Plessis who told us about the evolution of Java as he was one of the first users of the language and had loads of history titbits to share. Next up was Pavel Tcholakov who showed us how Java can be used for most programming paradigms. He was followed by Nitsan Wakart, an authority when it comes to how the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) works. Nitsan once again did not disappoint and showed us how to go beyond normal queues The first speaker was Corneil du Plessis who told us about the evolution of Java as he was one of the first users of the language and had loads of history titbits to share. Next up was Pavel Tcholakov who showed us how Java can be used for most programming paradigms. He was followed by Nitsan Wakart, an authority when it comes to how the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) works. Nitsan once again did not disappoint and showed us how to go beyond normal queues.
The afternoon was used for a Java 9 Hackathon presented by Richard Kolb. Richard set up a little game and everybody tried their hand at improving it by using the new REPL (read–eval–print loop) functionality coming with Java 9.
At the end of the (still rainy) day, a 150 Java developers headed back home filled to the brim with Java insight.
Out in the street, carnival and mayhem style, employees and their plus ones painted the town BBD red with candy floss, popcorn, sweets, bull riding and a little sorcery. The food and deco was out of this world and memories engraved in the photo booths and comic caricatures – proving it was a night to remember.
On the 4th December 2015, BBD held their annual Award Nominations party, but this time with a German Bierfest twist! While the sun was blazing and the beer was flowing, we had 4 girls handing out beer from the 4 teams who entered the homemade craft beer competition.
IIBA South Africa hosted its four Business Analysis summit Southern Africa, at The Hilton, Double Tree Hotel in Cape Town on the 28th - 30th September 2015. This was made up of a one day workshop that delved deeper into one of the themes being looked at over the course of the three days. Then there was the two day conference that had multiple sessions covering each stream:
• Innovation and Strategy
• Business Analysis Fundamentals
• Soft Skills for Business Analysis
• Tools and Techniques
Waiting in the corridor of the Alex Forbes building I realized I lack a very important skill. Calm in the face of a celebrity. How would I react? Would I be a bundle of nerves? I mean really I am used to speaking to groups of hundreds and my little palms are sweaty!
The door opens and I am introduced to him. My first response? “Hi Kent, I am in charge of driving you to BBD for a talk - I will try not kill you”. Hmmm… it seems that I don’t have any different persona in front of a celebrity.
I sent out a massive email with much excitement and an introduction to “Meet Kent Beck”. My instant realization was that a lot of people didn’t know him. He created Agile! He created Test driven developer and Extreme programming. Oh? Will there be food? Sigh…
Then I started looking back at Johannesburg’s history of Java Celebrities. We had Arun Gupta on teleconference a while back but as far as I can remember we have not had a single celebrity grace our city. Adam Bien, David Blevins, Antonio Goncalves, none have come here! We have never been trained to revere in a celebrity culture.
So let’s get to the talk. I managed to get him to BBD on time and asked him a plethora of questions while driving him there. Mostly on Junit and TDD and his thoughts on where TDD is going. Basically he is a little removed from the current community efforts and have allowed the community to crowd fund the next iteration of JUnit via JUnit Lamda - http://junit.org/junit-lambda.html
The Talk. The talk broke a lot of people. It shattered the celebrity myth and brought a human being in front of other human beings. The questions were blunt and the answers truthful. There was no need for ceremony. He was not selling and we weren’t buying. Tears were shed and everyone left the room with a profound motivations to continue self-development as part of their technology career.
On the way back to his hotel my GPS tried to take us down the wrong way of a one-way street. I had promised to not kill Kent Beck and quickly changed direction.
We met a celebrity. Now how do we meet more? One of the initiatives BBD is assisting in is creating a NGO for the Jozi JUG – the local java community. This will allow large corporates to sponsor speakers like Kent and start a new chapter in Johannesburg – Celebrity Fever!
This year 1st September marks a milestone anniversary for BBD – WE TURN 30!
Having started in 1984, BBD has grown exponentially in the last 30 years and our achievement would not have been possible without each and every one of you!
From our three founders Tom, Ralf and Sandra, to all of you today, it is our people with their hard work and knowledge who built BBD into the successful business and fun place it is today.
Our relentless focus on innovation and our collective integrity creates trust in each other and in our clients, ensuring w will always deliver what our clients need.
HAPPY 30TH ANNIVERSARY BBD and here’s to many more great years to come!
This year’s Imagine Cup event took on a slightly different format to the previous year’s competitions. Imagine Cup is the premier software contest to find the best student project team in the country.
As always, the competition was stiff. There were three categories to battle it out in, including a games category. BBD was the primary sponsor of the event. The finalists were selected and had to present to the judges, this was my third year on the panel, in Cape Town and Johannesburg. The games some of students put together were really incredible, from one that teaches school children quadratic equations to a fully-fledged platform game with a boss level.
The overall winners of the event were a team from UJ called Sentimeter. Their entry is a cloud based solution that measures the sentiment towards your company by trawling social feeds like Twitter and Facebook. What has really changed in this competition over the years is quality of entries. Previously students put together rough proof of concepts of what they were trying to build, now students with cloud based solutions, build the whole solution complete with web and mobile interface, live on the Internet for anyone to interact with.
The joy and energy the students put into their projects are always invigorating. The winning team got to go to St. Petersburg in Russia for the worldwide competition. Sadly, the SA entry was not ranked in International competition. BBD hosted a special event after the competition, where we invited a number of teams to visit our offices in Johannesburg.
THE WORLD’S MOST IMPORTANT GATHERING OF CIOS AND SENIOR IT EXECUTIVES
BBD sent a delegation to the Gartner Symposium which took place from 16–18 September in Cape Town. The team participated, attended, networked, gave a presentation and manned the BBD stand. And they had fun!
Gartner is an IT research company that provides insight and advice for CIOs and IT leaders. They research and track trends and changes in the IT world, and regularly publish their findings. They also hold regular conferences, the most prominent being the annual Gartner Symposium which is billed as “The World’s Most Important Gathering of CIOs and Senior IT Executives”. This year’s theme was Leading in a Digital World, which aimed to help attendees “evolve to become indispensable leaders in the digital world.”
BBD at the Symposium
BBD sent Peter Scheffel, Richard Kantor, Hilton Myburgh and Richard Oates to participate in three ways: man the BBD stand (with some assistance); present a solution provider session (“Our Digital World: Shaping the SA Context”); and attend various conference sessions.
The BBD Stand
BBD had a stand in the ITxpo Exhibitors Hall where all the delegates went between sessions. As always, the aim was to promote the BBD brand and provide a focal point for networking. The stand was attended full-time by two young hostesses, and by the BBD team whenever they were not in sessions. Over the course of the event, we met numerous senior representatives from various BBD clients, and had many interesting conversations. One delegate asked us if BBD stood for Big Bad Digital!
BBD Shaping the SA Context
The BBD presentation went down well and was well attended. We posed the question – do South Africans want to end up as passive consumers of the digital world, or do we want to be creators and producers as well? We highlighted some global influences of interest to us, gave local feedback based on experience and described various ways that BBD shapes and influences the local digital world.
In addition to the four main Session Tracks, the conference offered Keynotes, Workshops, Case Studies, One-on-One Meetings and Solution Provider Sessions.
We attended as many sessions as possible, across all four tracks. It’s impossible to convey the wealth of knowledge gained in such a short article, but here are some highlights:
Enterprise IT is entering a third era of Digital Business, with huge opportunities for those who understand digital leadership, and threats for those who don’t.
Expect to see increasing emphasis on senior positions with “Data” or “Digital” in the name, such as Chief Digital Officer or Chief Data Officer (confusingly both CDO).
Security must transform from Control-Centric to People-Centric approaches. You can’t prevent breaches, you need to monitor and act when one occurs.
Corporates sometimes misunderstand strategic programmes and treat them like big projects.
3D printing is finally becoming real after being touted by Gartner for at least 5 years.
Leading in a Digital World
Gartner is just one of many IT conferences that BBD supports and participates in, and this engagement will continue as we seek to keep abreast of the rapid pace of change in our industry. We are aiming not just to survive, but to thrive in the coming digital world.
BBD in Partnership with the JCSE to host Ivar Jacobson in South Africa
Leading SA custom software development company BBD, in collaboration with the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) will be hosting Dr. Ivar Jacobson, an internationally recognized expert in the field of software engineering, in May 2012.
Jacobson, a Swedish computer scientist, is recognized as the father of components and component architecture, use cases, the Unified Modeling Language and the Rational Unified Process. He has contributed to modern business modeling and aspect-oriented software development. However, all this is history. Lately he has been working on how to deal with methods and tools in a super-light and agile way. He has developed a practice concept that is now being adopted by both developers and tool vendors.
Ivar Jacobson is the chairman of Ivar Jacobson International which has subsidiaries in the US, UK, The Netherlands, China, Singapore, Sweden and Canada. He is also the principal author of six influential and best-selling books.
Dr. Jacobson will be presenting two Public Lectures (one in Johannesburg and one in Cape Town) as well as two, 1-Day Master Class Courses at these venues. Should you wish to register for one of these events please click on the Register button below. He will also be talking at an exclusive Executive Breakfast hosted by BBD in Rosebank.
BBD, SA’s largest independent software development company, with over 450 employees is excited to be hosting Dr. Jacobson with the JCSE in South Africa. “As a leading international figure in the field of Software Engineering, we want to raise the profile of this profession and the opportunities for South African organisations and software practitioners. South Africa has a wealth of talented software developers, analysts and related professionals, and the industry embodies significant opportunities for growth and job creation in South Africa. We hope the visit by Dr. Jacobson will raise the profile and interest in software development locally”, say Peter Searle, CEO at BBD.
BBD is South Africa’s premier custom software development organization with a global delivery capability. The company is dedicated to designing and developing bespoke software solutions for organisations that view information technology as a strategic advantage. Formed in 1984, the company has grown consistently and today employs more than 450 software development professionals in its development centres of Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Nicosia (Cyprus). BBD provides enterprise and mobile, development and consulting services to a number of SA’s leading corporates and government institutions.
About the JCSE
The Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) is a three way partnership between government, academia and industry. Based at Wits University, the JCSE is multifaceted with various programmes and facilities positioning it as a focal point of a software development industry for South Africa and the rest of the continent.
Gartner recently held their first Mobile seminar in South Africa in both Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The event, entitled "Defining & Executing Mobile Strategy through 2016" was co-sponsored by BBD, Airwatch and ITWeb.
As a leading player in mobile applications development in South Africa for the business to consumer (B2C) and business to employee (B2E) markets, BBD was an obvious choice as the main sponsor for this event. The one-day seminar was extremely well attended, with SA's key corporates sending a number of their delegates in the mobile space to attend this.
Gartner's leading analysts in the Mobile strategy and execution spaces, Nick Jones (a distinguished Gartner analyst) and Leif-Olof Wallin presented their latest research and predictions around the mobile market, and the increasing challenges and opportunities for business and CIO's in this regard.
Some of the topics covered included: The CIO's Guide to Mobile Strategy, The Top 10 Mobile Technologies that will redefine your Business, The Future of Mobile Application Development, Native Apps vs. HTML 5, Mobile Device Management (MDM) amongst others.