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Patrick Littler
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Bosasa's Capital Hill Success Formula

You are here: BOSASA'S CAPITAL HILL SUCCESS FORMULA » Intellectual Capital



To Gavin Watson, the BOSASA Group of Companies is a shared space for a knowledge community. ‘First we shape our buildings, and then they shape us’ were the words of Sir Winston Churchill when he planned, designed and built the rooms in which his greatest strategies were wrought. Wealth is what is created from knowledge and Mogale Business Park was designed for this purpose with its widely spaced but interdependent units. Our Research Laboratory is one.

How do we see intellectual capital?

To BOSASA Intellectual Capital is manifest in two areas: first our patented and copyright products in one category which differentiates us worldwide from competitors specialising in the public sector and beyond and second, the intellectual capital we develop and nurture in our staff.   

The intellectual capital differentiator model derives from our strategy and vision. We measure all our intellectual capital against these two drivers.  

The human element of intellectual capital

Because the intangibility of intellectual capital of BOSASA’s personnel is so difficult to replicate we ensure that they are given the most conducive environment for creativity and personal growth. We know companies cite accelerating costs as a barrier to developing skills in a company, in particular the cost of training. But our programmes are well chosen to enhance the knowledge base of our staff. We do not see them as questionable costs. We are investing in our own future from which we can and do get returns.

Scientific real time application

The OECD helped to develop a measurement and reporting model of intellectual capital in Europe. We believe we have done so on our own in South Africa. Using a Balanced Score Card our key criteria include knowledge and information that has the ability to adapt rapidly to changing ‘business case’ environments. We evaluate its relevance to wealth creation for BOSASA, its personnel, client base and the community, and its relevance for the future. That means we have to be pretty accurate at predicting future trends. That in turn takes intellectual capital. As Nobel Prize Winner Prahalad indicates, intellectual capital ‘is the wellspring of new business development. ’

Our patents and integrated software products

Our other intellectual property lies in the mosaic of patents we hold in our own integrated software which is customised to client needs, particularly in the public service. trustMaster is one such product. trustMaster application in Correctional Centres and the Department of Justice holds no peer in its ability to streamline all functions, reduce costs and provide instant data for strategic decision making. 

As Bill Gates and his colleagues have continued to do, we identified the intellectual property potential from one of the largest emerging economies in the world: India. Partnering with TATVAsoft we were able to go beyond our original capabilities. Today we are the marketing arm of TATVAsoft in South Africa, apart from our partnership relationship in which we develop and design intellectual property together. 

Our competitive advantage lies in the uniqueness of or aligned products and the inability of our competitors to replicate them. This forms the basis for our access to new markets within the public sector who are mandated  to dramatically reduce costs and still serve all their stakeholders with efficiency and effectiveness.

BOSASA has filled the excellence gap which developing countries have had difficulty emulating.  Gavin Watson’s vision is to take this rare and combined intellectual capital worldwide. DBJ

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