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Software Factory Concept

ESTIMA is a two year project, which should result in an economically viable entity being spun off at the end. The resulting entity - called Reed House Systems - will have the task of producing professional ICT4D software products.

The concept is closely aligned with working practices at several other Computer Science Departments (such as at the Helsinki University of Technology and Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin). Academia and industry join in win-win coalition. By getting research oriented development teams to work on real industrial problems, innovative solutions occur, industry is enabled and strengthened and students gain working experience.

eKhaya ICT is part of the concept and helped creating the initial blueprint for the software factory. Thereafter, close cooperation with the unit is expected to ensue.


ESTIMA is being sponsored for two years by the SAFIPA programme which is a cooperation between the Finnish government and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of South Africa.

Organisation and philosophy

The central organisation of the factory is based on agile programming and software development principles that have been tried and tested in commercial settings and which are well suited to large projects active in a dynamic environment. Controlling is performed by a board of directors.

Open Source philosophy has a lot to do with our business model:
  • Open Source software is trusted and widely adopted by every major corporation. It prevents reinvention of the wheel and is a good way to get peer vetting on your own products too.

  • By espousing open source software, not only do we have a head-start on the development effort, further, through the pro-poor, socially inclined context we are confident we will be able to engage the open source community to assist with our projects.  In fact, eKhaya ICT is already receiving donations of software development from the Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin in July 2009.

  • Anyone can try out the software for free.

  • Adopting Open Source is part of government policy in South Africa (although SIGs have slowed the process).

  • Open Source is probably going to be increasingly important in the future. Entrepreneurs will know that they can adapt the software to their own needs, students will be able to study the code and suggest improvements. Users will be empowered to develop their own alternatives in the medium-term.

eKhaya ICT is an Eastern Cape based software company, specialising in quality solutions and software components of ICT4D.

9 Florence Street
South Africa
Tel: +27 79 4354681
Fax: +27 46 6227507
www: ekhayaict.com
Reed House Systems
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