By Peter Egwuatu
Business owners and organisations in Nigeria have been advised to leverage on the opportunities provided by digital technology to boost productivity, service delivery and overall performance of their organisations despite the challenges posed by the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
This was the submission of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and guest speakers at the second edition of the Bank’s organised virtual capacity building programme for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) with the theme, “Leveraging Digital Technology & Logistics to Grow Your Business”.
Commenting on the BEST Masterclass, the Executive Director, Business Development of FCMB, Mrs. Bukola Smith, said the Bank recognises the increasing role and impact of SMEs and particularly understand the impact COVID-19 might have on their operations.
According to her, “the BEST initiative has been redesigned to meet the changing dynamics of the environment with the addition of a Masterclass. This is one of the innovative ways we empower and lay a solid foundation for the success of our SME customers. We believe that this initiative, which is the second edition since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, will go a long way to impact positively on business owners. We will continue to go the extra mile to create opportunities that would enable our customers succeed despite the challenges”.
In his presentation on the topic, “Digital Technology Solutions for SMEs: Charting the Path to the Next Normal”, an Associate Partner with Mckinsey & Company, Mr. Chika Ekeji, said, though, COVID-19 is disrupting the structure of businesses across Africa, the continent can respond to disruptions with four actions. These are, a shift in business model, sustaining business and restoring operation, shaping a whole new business and restructuring company or industry, depending on the extent of business model disruption and extent of negative demand disruption.
According to him, “some of the ways business owners can respond to this impact are, respond, return and reimagine. Across all horizons, a number of technology solutions can be leveraged to adjust SME operations to the new normal with the goal of cutting cost, sustaining revenues, reaching (new) customers, delivering on commitments, managing supply chains and innovating”.
Another guest speaker, an Associate Director of Strategy and Economics at KPMG Nigeria, Mr. Olusegun Zacchaeus, noted that businesses, particularly SMEs, should realign their strategies to embrace the new normal caused by the coronavirus pandemic. He noted that this new reality presents a new set of conditions for success for SMEs and as such they must proactively adopt new strategies for survival, considering the challenging economic outlook.
On his part, the Chairman of FASMICRO Group, Professor Ndubuisi Ekekwe, who was a special guest spoke on the importance of “Innovating for Growth & Improving Supply Chain with Technology”. He stated that, “there is a need for everyone in business to evaluate why they are in business which brings the market friction between demand and supply to equilibrium. To stay relevant in business, business owners are required to solve market frictions and those with the acquired skills have the capabilities to release products that can overcome the frictions. If you have a great product – great things will happen.”