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Change management remains a challenge in terms of leading internal and external clients to the change and keeping them interested in accepting the change.

01 October 2023

Rika Myburg, CIO at AFGRI Group Holdings

IT change ambassador, life coach and relationship builder

After studying sport science at the University of Northwest, Rika Myburg, AFGRI’s CIO, accepted an opportunity in an IT division of a bank in spite of limited IT experience, where she remained for 19 years. “I was in the privileged position at the bank to move to another role every two years,” says Myburg.

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“This was a huge learning curve, with great growth opportunities. A bank is a brilliant place to learn and build a solid foundation in IT, especially when you are as fortunate as I was to have many people believing in me and working in many IT units with exposure across various IT disciplines.

“I transitioned into the agriculture industry in 2014, but the thread throughout my career has been as an IT change ambassador to prepare business for the ever-changing technology environment. To work in the agriculture industry, where the values of the business and the client are aligned, resonates with who I am. At AFGRI, being a part of a company that is 100 years old in 2023 is a special highlight.”

AI uncertainty

Myburg describes herself as a relationship builder – with 80% of her job spent on building relationships at all levels – but also a hard driver: “The right things need to be done and those things need to be right.

“I also value diversity within the workplace and teams. My focus is firstly on my team, making them feel heard, safe and understanding the vision of the team and organisation. When one adds value to people’s lives, they become loyal, productive people who will help deliver IT’s strategy within the organisation.

“When it comes to cybersecurity, the right questions are being asked. Awareness training remains an effective approach and by measuring cybersecurity, the outcomes help us refine the training.

“AI does create uncertainty and while we don’t want to squash initiative, I don’t think all users are knowledgeable enough to understand what security risks they could expose the company to. We don’t forbid AI tools, but monitor the usage and patterns closely.

They are committed, make things happen, are structured and care for their staff. They are also brave enough to ask for support and negotiate on flexibility to handle the requirements of their families.

“My priorities are on enhanced data capabilities with flexible architecture to adapt as and when required; focus on the effective leverage of our investment in data; digital enhancements for our stakeholders; and IT security for both internal and external platforms. We have some business relationships with MTN and are specifically busy with a proof of concept with MTN via a third party.”

Myburg says she has had a couple of disappointments when it comes to innovation and transformational projects, but this is from a perspective where the IT team is ahead of the business or does not ask the business’ opinion before going to market, making adoption low. She says her best experience is where the AFGRI exco members are appreciative of the possibilities technology can unlock and it’s “great to have a pull for innovation from the business,” she concludes.

For more information on how MTN Business can co-create solutions for your business, contact us on MTNBusiness.Marketing@mtn.com