Tuks University Ebit Department Get R700 000 Donation Today

Susan Andre 2004

The University of Pretoria's Department of Engineering, Building Environment and Information Technology are the first recipients of a technology donation valued at R700K (Seven Hundred Thousand Rand). The donation, jointly subsidised by Enterprise Information Integration Specialists Alicornio Africa, and software developers Group 1, forms part of a national tertiary education investment programme, namely "Integration Through Education" of which Tuks EBIT third year and honours students are the first beneficiaries. The official handover will take place at an intimate gathering held at the University this afternoon, 19th May 2004 at 16H00.

Professor Schalk Claasen, Head of Industrial and Systems Engineering, will be joining students and lecturers alike at an intimate gathering this afternoon when the donation is officially handed over by Susan Andre, Managing Director Alicornio Africa. Susan Andre say's, "We are extremely proud and excited about this opportunity. We are privileged to be in such a strong position of support to future generations." Tukkies, as the University is fondly referred to, is the first South African tertiary education institution to benefit from Alicornio Africa's newly established educational sponsorship programme, 'Integration through Education'. Commenting on the impact that the donation will have, Professor Claasen says, "This is an extremely highly valued and important contribution to the betterment of our learners' education. Considering that our budget subsidy has been reduced by the millions, this sort of contribution from the corporate sector is very much needed and appreciated."

Developed as a joint venture between local Information Integration consultants and information integration specialists, Alicornio Africa (previously Sagent Southern Africa) and the U.S. based software development company, Group 1, the 'Integration through Education' programme will be consistently rolled out to other tertiary education institutions, countrywide. At this point the sponsorship package will comprise the information integration software suite, Sagent Solution, as well as ongoing consulting and support services from the Alicornio Africa team. Third year and honours students have been earmarked as having the correct level of intellectual readiness, and therefore the implementation programme will begin with the pre-grad's and S.A.'s next generation of BI experts. In terms of the preparing tertiary education learners for the world of business, Professor Claasen comments, "We value relationships with players and corporates directly involved in the technology industry, as it encourages an understanding of business practice, and assists in keeping us in touch with what is happening out there from both a working and intellectual perspective."

The key aim of the programme, says Susan Andre, "Is to assist lecturers and learners by providing a solid and practical platform on which to base their Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing theoretical practices and knowledge base." Andre is of the opinion that the sponsorship will contribute to both lecturers and students on an experiential learning level. In giving the students the opportunity to interact on a realistic and interactive level within a BI software environment before entering the business arena, Andre says, "Not only will they be exposed to a world class technology source, but they will have the advantage of having broad, first hand experience of some of the challenges, and finding some of the solutions that one faces within the complexity of the Data Warehousing and BI environment."

But while there is predominantly a key focus on the technology in the industry, Andrè emphasises the importance and crucial element of service and empirical knowledge. She comments by saying, "Our contribution to the education of the students will also come through our hand's-on involvement in the curriculum. Alicornio Africa has committed to giving time to the students with the aim of teaching them how to use the technology, in addition to providing all technical support necessary. This will help us in terms of furthering our goal of educating the South African market on international and localised information integration concepts and methods."

The relationship with the University of Pretoria is intended to be long-term, and both Claasen and Andrè are committed to maintaining the momentum the sponsorship programme has created in the department and amongst the learners and lecturers. Alicornio have since inception invested exponentially in terms of education in the BI industry, and have focussed on the advancement of Data Warehousing practices as a core business practice through introducing and hosting the yearly visits of industry guru's like Lawrence Corr and Dr Ralph Kimball. In addition, a key focus in terms of BEE education and training is that of training staff members of Alicornio's BEE partners. For more information on Alicornio Africa's training and education services, visit www.alicornio.co.za , telephone (011) 258 8739 or email Sandri Hulbert, Director of Training and co-founder at sandrij@alicornio.co.za

About Alicornio Africa Pty (Ltd)

Alicornio Africa is a specialist Information Integration and Business Intelligence consultancy and is the exclusive local distributor and implementation specialist for the Sagent Solution. The Sagent Solution is a patented information integration technology suite which fundamentally changes the way that data warehouses are built and accessed. The Sagent Solutions' unique data flow server enables business users to easily extend the structure of a data warehouse with new analytics that support immediate business needs. This technology is at the core of Alicornio Africa's ETL, EII and business intelligence solutions, as well as multiple partner solutions that address the needs of specific vertical and functional application areas. In addition to the distribution of this technology, Alicornio Africa also support and distribute the Doc 1 suite, a unique Customer Communications Management tool which enables mass targeted messaging en masse. Doc1 has been specifically designed for document creation processes; core competencies of this product include content design, generation, presentation, printing, archive, retrieval and electronic payment. By combining Doc1 power objects with a self-documenting logic map, developers are able to create and produce dynamic communications using a browser-based design tool. Doc1's workflow helps to track the project status through design, approval, unit testing, system and acceptance testing and production process management.