By Tunde-Success Osideko
The world as we know it now has changed from what it used to be in 1990 and the key driver of that change is technology.
Technology used to be an enabler of businesses but now, it is the business. Most businesses are now seen as digital business rather than one that leverages technology for its operations. According to Chris Gabriel, the Chief Digital Officer for Logicalis Europe, most businesses are undergoing one form of digital transformation or the other. Disruption is the name of the game and this requires a new mind-set, skillset and culture. You can hardly talk about technology or digitalization without talking about transformation or change.
I remember how we thronged cyber cafes as early as 1996 in Nigeria when we needed to send emails, apply for jobs or search for opportunities. Today, the story is different. The global telecoms manufacturing giant Ericsson forecasted that mobile subscriptions will grow by an average of six-year a year to just under 1 billion from 700 million in 2017 and according to the trade body GSMA, three-quarters of the population have a SIM connection. That translates to 747 million people, and around a third of that number use smartphones.
Digitalization is at the epicentre of human needs, personal convenience and societal innovation. With technology, it is easier to articulate, respond and anticipate the needs of the customers, thus providing huge, unprecedented opportunities. The evolving phenomenon has shown that there is no area that is immune to the influence of technology. From education, to work, health, transportation, real estate, entertainment, marketing, etc.
For example, you can start your day with personal devotion accessing your Bible on your mobile phone; book transportation to your office with Uber, order lunch using HelloFood, carry out banking transactions via Quickteller, watch a movie on Netflix, engage the world for inspiration on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn, learn on an app, buy someone a birthday gift on Jumia or Konga, book flight tickets on an airline’s website, search for accommodation, pay insurance premiums, all via a mobile application. Such is the degree of our dependence on mobile apps that makes our lives digital.
One example of the remarkable organizations disrupting the market place with its digital strategy is Domino’s Pizza. It has been remarked that the company does not see itself as a pizza company, but as a digital company selling pizza. Its share price outperformed those of vaunted tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google from 2010 to March 2017.
This great feat was attributed to the execution of a digital strategy following a poor performance in 2008. The food company invested in building a digital capability that elevated its customer experience to an enviable pedestal. As of 2016, approximately half of Domino’s 800 headquarter employees worked in software and analytics.
This implies that if digitalization works for a pizza company, it can work for any business that is interested in outperforming rivals in building competitiveness in customer experience.
Building a digital organisation requires understanding how to manage the digital native; a generation of consumers and employees whose existence coincides with the commencement of the digital revolution, to the imperative of deploying automation for process efficiency.
It also includes exploring the relationship between the 4th industrial revolution to the legendary Maslow’s motivation theory; and of course the need to deploy security measures and control to minimize the risk and of course to the future of the workplace.
The word “digital revolution” means different things to different segments of the society.For the professionals who are skeptical about how this impacts the availability of jobs, it will be useful to read up on the future of work, the workplace and the workforce. The world economic report estimates that by 2030, global job losses due to digitalization will range from two million to two billion by 2030.
There are typically confusion around what digitalization truly means, and in some instances how digitalization is different from digitization. This ambiguity usually trails the discussion around its adoption in Africa.
David Burkett defined Digitisation as the process of converting information from a physical format into a digital one while digitalisation is when it this process is leveraged to improve business processes. Digitalisation is bigger than digitisation and often more than a simple business process to extend to business model.
The UK Guardian Media Network broadly describes digitalisation as technology (social, mobile, analytics, and cloud) that is at the heart of connection between machines and people.
What is obvious is that digitalisation goes beyond launching a website to showcase a virtual version of your business. It requires having a broad strategy, new mind-set, structure and skillset.
According to the RSM’s research, there are benefits of digital transformation to your business – 28 per cent business growth, 20 per cent efficiency, 25 per cent gain in competitive edge, and 13 per cent increase in attracting and retaining talent.
The future is digital and the future is now. It is wise to take more than a passing interest in this subject, everything will depend on it eventually.
Osideko is Business Leader and Consultant