Category: News

Nomsa Nteleko – Shaping Africa through inspiring journeys

Nteleko Nomsa is one of the people who are shaping Africa through their inspiring journeys, impacts and positive storytelling. One of the profiles you should follow and support. To learn more about her, please check out this illustrated bio below.
Would you like to share your story with our thousands of readers, be the next celebrity to be featured in our #TropicsVoices series? Tropics Magazine is starting a promo to make African positive storytelling actors visible. We are interested in your story 👇🏼
Hola at: newsroom@tropicsmag.net
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OS Holdings celebrates 10 years!

Nomsa Nteleko

Amanda Nteleko

1. OS Holdings has just turned 10 – Congratulations! Please tell us a bit more about the company and how you’ve grown over the past decade.
Nomsa Nteleko:

 OS Holdings is a futuristic technology company that seeks to empower its customers with tools to ensure success in their businesses through automation of internal business processes, and providing information that helps leaders make intelligent decisions about their businesses. The success of our clients and our people is critical for the success of our business.

Our growth strategy has always been about growing and empowering our team. I am a strong believer that each of us has a gift, and I prefer that we all operate from our innate talents, purpose and abilities. For this reason, we had to ensure that each of our team members is intentionally placed in the business. The growth journey presented us with great challenges, be it from the clients, employees, changes in the industries we operate in, or the Covid-19 pandemic. This, however, gave us an opportunity to be intentional about who we want to be, and how we can navigate challenging situations while keeping our eyes on our goal of being a leading technology company on the continent.

Due to the innovative nature of our business, we started building our IP by developing own solutions that would add value to our clients while positioning ourselves as an OEM and ISV. We’ve had the pleasure of acquiring several awards from Sage and the tech community at large, which has continued to encourage us to build more capacity and grow our business. Our strength is also in collaborating with likeminded people and businesses in order to build strong business communities. We’ve built strong and trusted relationships with our suppliers who are, at times, a big part of our business. We have the great pleasure of partnering with Amathuba Artificial Technology and aggregator of Artificial Intelligence in Africa that seeks to ensure that Africa uses technology as a way of bettering human life. This partnership surely sets us apart as a technology company.

2. Achieving this milestone as a black woman in SA, in the ICT industry, is no small feat. What challenges have you overcome to get here? What does the company turning 10 mean to you?
NN: 

I have always looked at myself as a professional first who desires to make a success of my life, impacting my world positively through my skills and talents. I appreciate the struggle of a black woman in our society; however, I have never worn it as a badge, simply because I believe that I am human first and my abilities are not limited by the fact that I am a woman – and I presented myself as such. The challenge really starts with being born in Africa, there are many shackles that we deal with which are ingrained in our minds, therefore it is of paramount importance that we mentally release ourselves from these shackles; this empowers us to deal with and handle any challenge we may come across, be it of race, gender or pure arrogance. In my journey I’ve had the great honour of being one of the Inspiring Fifty 2018 Winners by COCREATE SA and the Netherlands Government, as well as a runner up in the MTN Women Change Awards in two consecutive years 2016/2017 – This reflects the appreciation of the work I do in the industry. What matters most is when I see that through my life someone who is from a similar background, or even worse, knows that they can also make a great success of their life, regardless of their less favourable background or upbringing.

3. What are your current roles at the company?
Amanda Nteleko:

 I am a customer retention executive. My role entails ensuring that the payments of sums owed by the department are made in an efficient, effective and timely manner. I also focus on building relationships with clients to ensure that their needs are met, they are satisfied with the services and/or products provided by the company and any challenges are resolved. I work closely with our professional services to have an understanding of where we are in terms of delivering solutions to our clients, and spend time with our technical team dealing with different clients to gain an understanding of daily problems they solve for our clients.

As a director at OS Holdings my outlook is for the ultimate success of the business, therefore my reach is not limited to the above but I can wear many hats.

NN: 

My role is to steer the company in the right direction, ensure that our strategy is very clear for our team to ensure delivery. I lead heads of departments to help ensure that they succeed in their business units respectively. I am responsible for strategy and building strategic partnerships that will help with the growth of the business.

4. OSH is centred around growth, futurism and young black females dominating the ICT industry – Please elaborate on your focus on the continuity of business and the generational impact it is having.
NN: 

Legacy is important for me as a person; as a black girl in a Xhosa setup, I was truly blessed to have a father who had a liberal and futuristic mindset. My father never treated me like a girl, however he engaged with me like someone who is brainy and can achieve whatever they set their minds to. Business was never discussed at our dinner tables (or lack thereof), jobs were discussed. So, starting a business in my family was more like a path-finder type of an exercise because I had no reference, meaning there would be a delay in my journey since I would have to learn everything or figure everything out. Thus, it was important for me to start involving the next generation in business for them to learn and look at business as a way of life instead of it being a foreign concept, ensuring that they succeed.

I would like to see my future generation having options to choose their lives based on purpose and not on bread-and-butter issues – we need to build generations of creators, not just consumers.

5. Tell us about your expansion into other countries and any future plans?
NN: 

We believed it was important for us to position ourselves as an African brand, not just a South African company. There are rich opportunities, partnerships and collaborations that can be explored in the continent which will be beneficial to the continent at large. Sharing knowledge and intelligence is a way of ensuring success and multiplying yourself as an organisation. If we have like-minded people, who have the same love and passion for the continent, the continent becomes richer. It was amazing to see an agreement of African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) being put in place because this is the only way African business can develop, promote growth and scale. We’ve had an amazing opportunity to partner with like-minded partners in the continent and we are looking forward to growing and building a channel in the continent with the technology that we’ve built, while also finding innovative technologies by notable upcoming developers in the continent.

AN: We started venturing in our neighbouring countries; we have recently set up an office in Eswatini, Zambia and Kenya with a project already in progress in Eswatini.
6. What are some of your most memorable moments while working at OSH?
AN: 

I have a love- hate relationship with Mscoa (Municipal Standard Chart of Account) – I have never experienced severe stress like that in my entire life… hahahaha

We had to build a system that was to cater for the reform that National Treasury was going with for local government. Our team had sleepless nights, sharing knowledge, and brainstorming to make sure that we produce the best proposal we have ever made. Seeing our name in the panel of seven business who were successful was the best feeling. All the sleepless nights were worth it. The significance of this appointment was that a young team like ours had a seat at the highest table of the country which is National Treasury, contributing towards building systems that will ensure service delivery for local government and bring in transparency in how public funds are used. It was truly and honour for me to be part of that team. At the time I was a junior project manager; this journey helped me grow and be the person I am today.

NN: 

MSCOA was the greatest leap of faith for us as a five-year-old company led by youth. The team that led MSCOA will always be my heroes; those who are with us, and those who pursued other interests. These young men and women gave their lives to make a dream of a young African firm succeed in an almost impossible dream. We were aiming for green and going live by July 2017. MSCOA took everything from all of us, yet it gave so much to all of us. What I value about my team at OS is that they give me wings to fly; I walk into any organisation knowing that what I put on the proposal will be delivered. It is humbling to see young men and women literally give their lives to a vision like ours. Five years of grace, we had the amazing opportunity of celebrating the five-year milestone. At that celebration we spoke of the parable of an eagle – little did we know that parable would be what continues to inspire us as we faced great challenges on the MSCOA implementations and financing thereof.

7. There is much to be said about the future of tech in Africa and its predictability. Can you share some thoughts about where we are heading?
AN: 

There is so much we still have yet to achieve, and with the technology we have and are continuously enhancing, we can only hope that we meet the international standard. We are on our way to being the preferred technology service provider, not only with the best technology in the market, but with the best customer service!

8. Please tell us about the services that OSH offers, and what sets it apart, what’s new?
AN: 

OS Holdings is a technology company that helps organisations with business tools for business success. These tools are inclusive or ERP, HR, Payroll, Asset Management, Contract Management, Intelligence reporting and dashboards, Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation, Machine Learning and Conversational AI aka chatbots.

We are a certified Sage Partner since 2012 with following expertise:

  • Sage 200
  • Sage 300
  • Sage x3
  • Sage Intact
  • Sage Business
  • iServe Municipal Billing and Budget Module

9. Do you have any advice for anyone (or young black women in particular) starting out in the industry with big aspirations?
NN: 

I would say, equip yourself with knowledge, hunger to succeed, foster tenacity and resilience. There is great power in collaboration, but it must be with people that have the same value system. There are many obstacles along the road, but you can’t give up, and you must be open reengineering your business model from time to time. Your strength should be inside-out not outside-in.

10. How can people get in touch with you?
AN: 

You can get in touch we us via all social media platforms, 

TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.
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#WomensMonth: Nomsa Nteleko – a story of success

Nomsa Nteleko, co-founder and managing director of OS Holdings, is a ground-breaking woman, who is not only recognised in South Africa but forms part of a global network of women recognised in their respective fields, who share their stories and aim to make a difference by inspiring tomorrow’s female leaders.

Nteleko has more than 11 years’ experience in the industry, has worked for Sage Pastel for five years and has been running OS Holdings for several years. She was one of the people who started the Sage Public Sector department and played a key role in working with the development team at SAGE in ensuring that Sage Evolution is fit for a purpose in the public sector space.

Her success stems from an entrepreneurship programme that she participated in – Raizcorp’s Acumen Entrepreneurship programme, which allows entrepreneurs access to the various forms of business support offered by Raizcorp, such as back-office support, entrepreneurial skills training, access to markets, access to business specialists and access to infrastructure.

From the beginning…

Raizcorp enables budding entrepreneurs to develop the practical and achievable strategies that will bring to life the vision they have for their businesses and the ultimate aim is to contribute to the creation of a sturdy culture of small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs in South Africa and to develop the knowledge, skills and capabilities of these entrepreneurs.

The Acumen Entrepreneurship programme has helped Nteleko in ensuring that she has sufficient knowledge of internal processes to run OS Holdings efficiently. It took out the lonesome journey of entrepreneurship and helped her view her business from an investor point of view.

Nteleko’s objective is ensuring that OS Holdings becomes one of the major and recognised players in the industry. She believes in playing an integral part in growing the South African economy through empowering young minds and entrepreneurs. She strongly believes that alleviation of poverty and removing mediocre thinking in our generation and generations after us lies in our hands.

This Women’s Month, she shares her story of success.

Could you describe a typical day in your job?

My typical day is filled with meetings, be it with a current customer discussing growth strategies, prospective customers pitching our solutions or my team discussing the performance of various departments, and at times I would be looking at the challenges that need solutions, both internal and external.

BizcommunityWhat did you want to be when you grew up?

Growing up, and when I was in school, I really wanted to pursue medicine as a career.

BizcommunityHow did you get into tech?

After I matriculated, I couldn’t afford to study. I volunteered to work for a GP in my township while I tried to find funding to go to university. He introduced me to his accounts department which is where I had my first encounter with a laptop and accounting.
I knew nothing about computers but, as I learned more, I fell in love with them. At that point, I decided that medicine wasn’t for me. Around two years later, I started working for a company that used Sage accounting software, then later for a Sage partner.
I decided to leave Sage in 2012 and start OS Holdings. I wanted to offer integrated, easy-to-use solutions that really provided value, and for which I could provide guidance and support. At that time I saw that women weren’t big players in the industry and I felt there was a big opportunity to build a black, female-owned company that really excelled and added value in this space.

The journey…

One of biggest challenges, in the beginning, was that people felt they couldn’t trust me with their businesses as I didn’t have the experience (we only got our first job six months after we started). I first heard about Raizcorp when a close friend sent me a link to one of their programmes. I applied and was accepted, and started an 18-month programme in 2015.

Raizcorp helped me look at our finances, how well we were doing and how we could grow. They gave me an objective. Another important thing Raizcorp taught me is to look at myself as a person. When you’re so focused on your business, you can easily lose focus on yourself … You need to realise that if you are broken, your business will suffer.

Also, being in a space with other entrepreneurs makes you realise that you’re not a nutcase! Interacting and networking with people on a similar journey was awesome. It really is a motivating space. Just by walking through the gates, you feel different because you know you’re in a space where you’re understood. It’s like therapy for entrepreneurs.

When I joined the programme, my turnover was about R6m. A year later it had grown to R9m and the following year to R18m. During my time at Raizcorp, we created two new departments: a training department and an X3 department (which is a tier-one solution for bigger clients). We also started an internship programme. In terms of job creation, we grew from 13 staff members to 43 last year.

We have also developed our own performance and budget management system for local government to assist in measuring and monitoring service delivery, and are now working towards helping municipalities improve their relationships with citizens by building exciting new service-delivery tools.

BizcommunityWhat was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

“Take the emotion out of it” from Keith Gould, at the time he was the CFO at Sage, this was the hardest advice because I was literally in tears at the time of the advice, but what I learned was that it’s hard for women to be heard as leaders in our industry, so if you get emotional about things you get easily dismissed so in all your assertions you need to motivate with facts, that’s how you earn your respect.

BizcommunityWhat advice do you have for the future generation of women wanting to get into the tech space?

Don’t try to be a man, embrace being a woman as it comes with great wisdom and intuition.
Be a subject matter expert and trust your judgement, continue to learn so that you are always on top of your game

BizcommunityWho or what is your biggest motivation?

My son, my father and my environment. My son because I had him at 16 so I knew that I needed not only to provide for him but be a good example. My father because he gave me wings to fly, he had great confidence and belief in me. I grew up in Sebokeng, somehow I never felt I belonged, so I needed to succeed in order to get myself out of it.

BizcommunityAre South African women getting enough of a chance to shine in the tech industry?

I think South Africa is doing its best, but the answer lies within our women, they don’t need permission from anyone to impact the industry, they must just do so by excelling in their respective industries. InspiringFiftySA is a great example of South Africa trying to showcase the talent of women in the industry, so we must be found ready for such opportunities.

Women are known to build, lead and inspire and we must just do exactly that. We must go for the opportunities before us, we need get our voice heard, we have it in us.

BizcommunityHow do you feel about being named one of the 2018 #InspiringFiftySA Winners?

Firstly, I am grateful for being nominated. Initially, I didn’t know what it really meant. Standing on the same stage with such exceptional women humbled and inspired me, women who are ground-breakers changing the status quo of STEM and ICT. I am truly honoured, and I motivated to better my own space but mostly encourage and empower young women in our industry.
As a female business leader, what is the least and most exciting aspect of your day?
The least exciting is when I realise I can’t change a mindset of a person who doesn’t realise their true potential and taking the opportunities before them for granted. The most exciting is when I get to see growth in my people, and of course, clinching that deal!

BizcommunityWomen are considered to be naturals at problem-solving. Why do you think this is perfect for the tech industry?

Technology is the answer to many problems we face in our country, be it healthcare, local government, tourism, education, manufacturing etc. This needs innovators to find solutions for such problems. We have big data in all these respective industries, with technology this data can be manipulated to help with intelligent decisions. The business of today is fast-paced and information should be readily available at the fingertips of the decision makers, that is where we could come in to provide solutions, however, our opportunities are endless.

BizcommunityCould you list a few, if any, specific challenges females face in this industry?
  • Many tech companies don’t like to employ women because they fall pregnant and PMS.
  • Subconsciously, our male counterparts refuse to see us an equals, somehow we have to continuously prove ourselves in order to be taken seriously. It doesn’t help when you are beautiful.
  • Even our fellow women in leadership find it difficult to do business with us – they prefer males.
BizcommunityWhat is your advice for overcoming these challenges?

Be so good at what you do that you end up writing the rule book. Continue kicking the doors open if that’s what it takes. Stand your ground, believe in your purpose and pursue it diligently.

BizcommunityWhat trends do you predict in tech in the coming years?

The gig economy is the biggest trend I am looking forward to, this means the industry will have exceptional subject matter experts and tech companies that are always innovating. We are already in the era of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) so this means you need to position yourself as an innovator instead of the consumer of technology.

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Its like therapy for entrepreneurs

Nomsa Nteleko | CEO – OS Holdings

When I was in school I really wanted to pursue medicine as a career but, after I matriculated, I couldn’t afford to study. I volunteered to work for a GP in my township while I tried to find funding to go to university. He introduced me to his accounts department which is where I had my first encounter with a laptop and accounting.

I knew nothing about computers but, as I learned more, I fell in love with them. At that point, I decided that medicine wasn’t for me. Around two years later, I started working for a company that used Sage accounting software, then later for a Sage partner. Ultimately, I wanted to run my own business but, before I could do that, I felt I needed to work more closely with Sage. I applied to join the company as a consultant so I was very surprised to get a call from their sales division saying they’d like to interview me. Even though I hated sales, I wanted to be part of the Sage environment to learn what I could. I started as a telesales consultant and, in my first month, achieved 140% of my sales target.

A year later, I moved into the evolution department where I could meet and interact with clients and propose solutions. They didn’t have a lot of clients in the franchise or public sectors, and asked me to research the area. While the franchise side of things didn’t excite me, the more I learned about tendering and the public sector and its reputation for wasteful and fruitless expenditure, the more interested I became.

I decided to leave Sage in 2012 and start OS Holdings. I wanted to offer integrated, easy-to-use solutions that really provided value, and for which I could provide guidance and support. At that time, GRAP compliance was becoming a big thing (local governments were supposed to be running like businesses). I wanted to capitalise on this gap and offer Sage solutions to this sector. I also saw that women weren’t big players in the industry and I felt there was a big opportunity to build a black, female-owned company that really excelled and added value in this space.

One of biggest challenges in the beginning was that people felt they couldn’t trust me with their businesses as I didn’t have the experience (we only got our first job six months after we started). Affording highly skilled people was also a problem. I was using my last Sage pay check, my provident fund and a SARS refund as capital. Fortunately, I had a sales background and was able to sell my vision to the people I wanted to work with. I took graduates straight out of university and started grooming them. It really was more of a partnership than an employer and employee relationship.

I first heard about Raizcorp when a close friend sent me a link to one of their programmes. I applied and was accepted, and started an 18-month programme in 2015.

A big issue was how uncomfortable I was looking at the business’s finances. I didn’t want to look in case we weren’t succeeding, because then I would lose heart. As an entrepreneur, you just want to do what you’re passionate about and leave the finances to an accountant but, really, you do need to know how to read those books. Raizcorp helped me look at our finances, how well we were doing and how we could grow. They gave me an objective.

Another important thing Raizcorp taught me is to look at myself as a person. When you’re so focused on your business, you can easily lose focus on yourself … You need to realise that if you are broken, your business will suffer. Also, being in a space with other entrepreneurs makes you realise that you’re not a nutcase! Interacting and networking with people on a similar journey was awesome. It really is a motivating space. Just by walking through the gates, you feel different because you know you’re in a space where you’re understood. It’s like therapy for entrepreneurs.

When I joined the programme, my turnover was about R6 million. A year later it had grown to R9 million and the following year to R18 million. During my time at Raizcorp, we created two new departments: a training department and an X3 department (which is a tier one solution for bigger clients). We also started an internship programme. In terms of job creation, we grew from 13 staff members to 43 last year.

We have also developed our own performance and budget management system for local government to assist in measuring and monitoring service delivery, and are now working towards helping municipalities improve their relationships with citizens by building exciting new service-delivery tools.

My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to remember that your journey is unique. You must trust in your own journey and never compare yourself to other businesses. Also, remember that cash flow is king; it’s the lifeline of a business. You need to find ways to make sure that your cash flow stays healthy at all times. If you grow too quickly, it drains your cash flow and brings other problems with it. You need to find solid funding and recapitalisation strategies so you can run your business and projects successfully. You need to run your finances responsibly so the banks will take you seriously. Also, a business cannot make a stand without a collaborative environment. I was helped by Raizcorp, by Sage, by employees who believe in me, and by my husband who continues to play a critical technical role within the company. You don’t exist in isolation. You need to make sure you’re surrounded by people who support your vision.

I am super-grateful for the opportunity given to me by Raizcorp and Investec. I had the most amazing guides who were really frank with me. There are so many more businesses that Raizcorp needs to reach – I see it as the best way to transform our industry. Small businesses are so important in our economy, and I believe that they are the answer to poverty and unemployment. If there were more businesses of the calibre that Raizcorp produces, this country would be a better place.

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Holistic, Purpose Driven Enterprise Solutions

Nomsa Nteleko - OS Holdings CEO
Sage’s ecosystem is vast, with a host of companies collaborating with each other in order to deliver the best technological solutions for the modern organization. And as far as Sage partners go, OS Holdings is one of the most impressive companies in this international ecosystem today – for noteworthy reasons as well. Its immaculate attention to detail and holistic, client-centric approach to enterprise resource planning (ERP) makes this South African company a worthy asset in the current globalized, competitive marketplace. “We believe that our clients ought to be focusing on more strategic objectives of their business rather than spending unnecessary amounts of time on creating reports for various purposes,” expresses Nomsa Nteleko, founder and CEO of OS Holdings. With this ethos in mind, Nomsa’s objective was always clear: help organizations save time by delivering key performance indicators and actionable insights to them efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible. To that end, her company, OS Holdings, offers extensive automation and IT services alongside expert guidance throughout the Sage Intacct environment – a native cloud solution for seamless, error-free financial management. Nomsa and her team, through their Sage and ERP expertise, support various firms of all sizes in achieving their objectives quickly and affordably. “Over the years, we also developed an end-to-end budget management and municipal billing system for local governments and municipalities, respectively, that will assist them in terms of revenue enhancement,” adds Nomsa. Founded in 2012, OS Holdings is a Sage Evolution business partner that maintains a comprehensive understanding of the many obstacles in a company’s path to success in this modern, rapidly digitalizing milieu. Nomsa boils down the challenges associated with ERP to three main issues. The first of which revolves around diversification. An organization that was previously focusing on construction may now move toward mining and IT to broaden its revenue generation opportunities. After a company diversifies and acquires new entities, its c-suite is now required to manage the group as a whole and ensure that each segment is producing strong results. According to Nomsa, the management must raise concerns that question how profitable their entities truly are and what strategies and technologies can be deployed to ensure success. “At the end of the day, we need to provide solutions to companies that will enable and empower them to sit on a single platform—while running diverse businesses—with all the information they will need to make the best decisions,” explains Nomsa. The other two challenges that negatively affect an enterprise’s ability to thrive are difficulties optimizing capital and operation expenditures and digitalization efforts.
With all the new technologies emerging, we understand that change is difficult. We bring in elements of project and change management as well to help simplify this new learning journey
With its experience in dealing with large corporations and Sage Intacct over the years, OS Holdings brings in the elements of cloud, artificial intelligence, and security to provide clients with the most holistic solutions. These include robotic process automation (RPA) services as well, which promise to give OS Holdings’ patrons the competitive edge they so tirelessly seek. Nomsa and her team dedicate a considerable amount of time to sit with each client, educating and training them on the best ways to grow and future-proof their business. “With all the new technologies emerging, we understand that change is difficult. We bring in elements of project and change management as well to help simplify this new learning journey,” states Nomsa, who has also been awarded a rank among the top 100 women in leadership, 2021 by the Global Council for the Promotion of International Trade. To best elucidate on the solutions and services proffered by the company, Nomsa recalls a conversation she recently had with a client who was extremely appreciative of OS Holdings’ support and expert advice that helped them bolster their bottom line. The customer emphasized the level of trust they placed on the advice they received and commended Nomsa’s staff on their efficacy in automating a significant portion of business operations. “At OS Holdings, we capacitate our professional services with different expert teams,” says the CEO. With such an incredibly holistic approach to supporting businesses, OS Holdings is creating waves of change for companies throughout the African and European continents. And as a Sage partner, the organization is all the more supported to reach out to a larger audience and incite profitable change. Moving forward, OS Holdings is set to create an ecosystem that encourages trading between countries, allowing businesses to thrive, even in the face of a global crisis. “I must say, being a Sage partner has been a great journey because there is much to learn, and Sage provides us with a lot of support. We are excited to continue this experience and offer new, technological solutions to our clients as well,” concludes Nomsa.
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Strategic collaboration with our Zambian and Zimbabwe partner

We are super excited to announce our strategic collaboration with our Zambian and Zimbabwe partner, Geesoft systems. The collaboration came about because we want to provide solutions for African problems. We can’t wait to share the exciting work we are doing with them.
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