IS winning team donates prize money to help women and children

17 Oct 2019 - 15:00

This year’s winning team – made up of Wen Kang Lu, Jo Theron, Tana Feyt, Rong Wei Deng. Kimone Premlall (team facilitator)

Wen Kang Lu, Jo Theron, Tana Feyt, Rong Wei Deng and Kimone Premlall (team facilitator). Melcom Brandon Smit was unable to attend the awards ceremony.

Every year, the Dept of Information Systems in UCT’s School of Information Technology, runs a competition as part of the final-year INF3012S course, and this year the winning team donated the prize money of R10 000 to the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children.

The course - Business Process Management and Enterprise Systems – gives students real-world experience in analysing the business processes of enterprises such as the City of Cape Town, Amazon, Pick ‘n Pay and even the University of Cape Town itself. This prepares them for their roles as business analysts following graduation.

This year’s winning team – made up of Tana Feyt, Wen Kang Lu, Jo Theron, Rong Wei Tony Deng and Melcom Brandon Smit – undertook to examine the psychological outreach services offered by UCT’s Student Wellness. The extensive report, among others, mapped the process of making and keeping appointments, presented a root cause analysis of problem areas, a risk analysis, a survey of patient needs, a suggested redesign, over 12 operational reports and dashboards and even an advertising campaign to lower the incidence of missed appointments.

Student Wellness was so impressed with the report that they will be implementing some of the students’ innovative ideas and even using their slides in training presentations.

The team that came second examined the hire-purchase procedures in a furniture chain, focusing on how personal information is stored and transmitted. The team were commended for surveying the employees, producing an insightful root-cause analysis of their problems and a rigorous risk analysis of the business.

The INF3012S project which runs for the entire second semester, makes up 36% of the students’ year mark. The prize money is given by multinational professional services firm EY.

Team member Tana Feyt explains their decision to donate their winnings: “The prize money is donated in honour of Uyinene Mrwetyana. The team's immediate response to her tragic death was that of shock, anger, despair and fear. My one team member, Jo Theron, was specifically concerned about her role as a woman in the field of IT. As a team, we reflected a lot about the death of Nene and incidents of gender-based violence. One of our course lecturers, Mr Gwamaka Mwalemba, challenged the class to focus not only on building systems and increase the efficiency of processes, but also to focus on how one can change the lives of others.”

“We then decided that if we would be fortunate enough to win, we would donate all of the prize money to the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children (SBCWC). Nene's tragic death was a critical turning point in our project. It felt as if the project now had purpose and meaning. We were now working hard towards something much bigger than us.”

In the course evaluation, students had the following to say about the project:

  • Team work and team dynamics provided a good learning platform.
  • Team dynamics can be very difficult to resolve, and sometimes to get real feedback and information from a sponsor you need to push and get out of the comfort zone of the usual questions they want to be asked. You are the one who needs to lead the meetings and not the sponsor.
  • I enjoyed working on the project. it gave me experience as to what it would be like working in the real world.
  • How to properly interact with a project sponsor, provides valuable real-world experience.
  • Communication is KEY! Planning and having milestones for the team is important to keep everyone on the same page. Regular weekly meetings are a must.
  • I’ve learnt many things from this course such as how to conduct a redesign of business processes.
  • The project really cemented the content we are learning in class. I also learned a lot about myself and found something that I am passionate about - improving health care by means of working in the Information Systems field. It taught me how to deal with external and internal challenges. It also taught me the power of having help available -the lecturers, sponsors and our facilitator were of so supporting.

“INF3012S has been my favourite course thus far. I have had such a positive course experience. The course does not only equip one with skills concerning ERP and business process management, but also with many interpersonal skills, such as communication, problem-solving and working in teams. The project was a wonderful learning experience and not just in terms of content. I learned so much about myself during the project. I am passionate about Information Systems and want to have a positive impact on the lives of others,” says Feyt.

The Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children (SBCWC ) in Manenberg provides a 24-hour crisis response for women and their children who are being abused in their homes, offering emergency counselling, short-term individual and group counselling and support, legal advice and assistance.