Q&A: Mike Steyn, director Aspire Solutions

Aspire Solutions is a Geographic Information System (GIS) consultancy that specializes in the use of GIS technology and services, in developing business solutions for clients.

What is your business forecast for 2012?

Business is looking up, after 18 tough months. The tipping point for us was about September last year. The post-World-Cup blues of some of our older clients seems to be lifting a bit, and they are starting to spend money again.

In addition, this time has forced us to look for, and secure, new clients – which we have done successfully both locally and overseas. We hope for this to be sustained, but are still cognizant of global economic uncertainty. We continue to ensure that our services to our clients are such that we remain their vendor of choice.

What are you most excited about for the next 12 months?

A number of our projects in 2012 are the culmination of a few years’ effort.

In particular, we are involved with a number of projects, in which we are acting as the integrator of a number of data feeds from various parties. Our experience overseas shows that this is the way that the world is moving – with every business, vendor and item having some sort of public-facing data feed that can be incorporated into applications.

In South Africa, we are slightly behind the rest of the world, but in this aspect, Aspire Solutions and its project partners are at the fore-front of what will become widespread, soon.

What will drive your sector in SA in the near-to-mid future?

Large-scale changes in the world of web-based mapping and business application is happening. Cloud computing, software-as-a-service, and data-as-a-service are all drivers of new-generation solutions that are cost effective, quick to implement and tailored to the client’s needs.

Are there any immediate areas of growth you are targeting?

We work across various business sectors, but at the moment are growing our exposure with our existing clients.

What is your biggest challenge, what keeps you awake at night?

The ever-changing landscape within the IT and information arenas. It is vital to separate the noise from the new technologies that can improve business processes.

What is your buzzword for the industry in 2012?

Software- and data-as-a-service.

Are we seeing enough innovation in the ICT/tech space in SA?

No, we are not moving at the same pace as the developed world. This is especially so in government and public institutions. Bandwidth costs and restrictions still remain barriers to this.

 What challenges do you face under the current economic climate?

Companies and institutions not wanting to spend money on IT initiative. Poorly spec’ed tenders from government institutions – as well as non-transparent tender processes.

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Q&A: Mike Steyn, director Aspire Solutions