Matthew Kibby, Vice President, Enterprise, Africa & Middle East at Sage, was at the Gartner IT Expo in Cape Town to talk about the key role people, culture and collaboration play in digital transformation. As many of the speakers noted in their talks at the Expo, success in digital transformation is not about the technology, but about the readiness of the organisation to embrace change at speed and the ability of the leadership to manage a change programme of unprecedented complexity. With a massive stream of disruptive technologies reshaping the world of business artificial intelligence (AI), distributed ledgers, the Internet of Things (IoT), more companies need to reengineer their processes, retool their cultures and reskill their people to keep up.
Here a few ways that he expects to see digital technology change many of our old assumptions about doing business:
Seamless scalability and enterprise agility
Smart IoT technologies, paired with the cloud and AI, will enable companies to think big, grow fast and adapt quickly. Companies will be able to reach new markets faster than ever, rapidly develop new products and services, and grow and scale with less effort and cost than ever before. But for now, the culture at most organisations cannot keep up with the pace of the technology.
Social media, the cloud, the IoT and other technologies create data, lots of it and at high speed. Tomorrow’s winning companies will be those that have the ability to digest massive volumes of data in real or near-real time to automate many operational decisions and to provide managers with insights for better strategic decisions.
More efficient real-time operations
Increasing automation means more processes in the business will take place without human intervention. With IoT, many devices and machines in the corporate infrastructure will become self-monitoring and even self-healing. Preventative maintenance will help ensure uptime and higher efficiency levels throughout an enterprise’s operations.
Fit for purpose products and services
Big data, AI and digital channels give enterprises the ability to customise their experiences, products and services to each customer’s needs. They can also give customers more control over the customer experience. But this demands a mindset shift for which few organisations are ready.
New attack vectors
A drawback to the digital revolution is the increased security threat that connected devices and services pose. Complicating matters even further is the wider surface of attack as companies open their systems up to business partners, customers, and remote workers. Safeguarding the enterprise is not just a matter of technology, but also of managing legal and reputational risks.
Unlocking the creativity of the workforce
While governments and futurists worry that automation via AI and IoT may destroy millions of jobs, the technology is actually an opportunity to create better-paid employment and lots of new jobs. The introduction of smart technology in a workplace allows for an increased productive and efficient workforce, freeing people from tedious tasks so they can focus on creativity, strategy, enhanced collaboration and human relationships.
Making a success of the digital journey
African enterprises have the opportunity to leapfrog legacy processes and systems by implementing the latest digital solutions. This will help them to compete more effectively in the global marketplace, while delivering products and services tailored to the needs of the continent’s people. The next leg of the digital journey is underway and every organisation needs to be ready for it.
By Matthew Kibby,
Vice President, Enterprise, Africa & Middle East at Sage.