Opeyemi Olaniran, business group director, Cloud & Enterprise, Microsoft Nigeria writes on Five ways to avoid your digital transformation journey ending in disaster
Going on a road trip with family and friends can be amazing. While it might have the potential to end in disaster if not thought through, with a little help from technology, planning and leadership you can expect a great adventure. And it’s the same when it comes to digitally transforming your company.
Your bags are packed, the kids are armed with tablets pre-loaded with movies and games, your GPS is charged, and you’ve packed your coffee-cup power inverter, portable satellite antennae, speed-trap detector, and made a checklist of your stops using mapping software.
In the digital-era you wouldn’t think twice about using technology to make your road trip a success. So why would you treat your business any differently?
Today there are only two types of organisations; the disrupter and the disrupted.
The disrupters were born in the digital age and include Airbnb, Uber and LinkedIn. The disrupted are those that are trying to keep up.
Disrupters do not rely on physical assets, but rather technology. You could think of them as young road trippers with nothing but a backpack and a phone, which is all they need to conquer the world.
Uber for example relies on cars but does not own them, instead it owns the technology. Meanwhile, the disrupted are weighed down by physical assets and human capital that does not scale easily. For example a family travelling in a big bulky caravan will be limited in terms of where they can go.
However, digitally transforming does not mean you have to dump all your assets. A few changes can make all the difference, like connecting a solar panel to the roof of your caravan to supply hot water no matter where you are.
Here are 5 ways we can apply road tripping lessons to our business.
Build A Solid Roadmap
A successful road trip means avoiding obstacles like traffic and roadworks. This requires a plotted route, advanced warning of where the threats are, and good leadership. It’s hard to convince your family that you’re missing the turn-off to the theme park unless you have informed data proving that there’s a roadblock there.
It’s the same in your organisation. You need a roadmap for digital transformation, and data to inform your decisions.
Leadership is key, and 23% of the largest 300 companies in the world have at least one digital director. But digital transformation should not stem from one digital officer, and it should not be viewed as a back-office function for achieving efficiencies. It must become a culture that flows from top managers to all levels of the organisation, not just the IT department.
Change It Up
The world is changing. Ten years ago you would never have dreamed of staying in a stranger’s house on a road trip. But disrupters like Airbnb have changed consumer habits. The disrupted now need to adapt to fulfilling customers’ changing needs.
Just as when choosing accommodation, you do your research to ensure you don’t wind up somewhere far from what you expected, enterprises must use data-driven insights to know exactly what their customers want.
For example, Virgin Atlantic, which partnered with Windows 10 to create “Ida”, an interactive digital adventure app, allowing customers to take an immersive tour of the ‘Upper Class’ experience, through a tablet powered by a virtual reality headset. This was in response to data that showed a lack of interaction between sales staff and business customers.
Intelligence plays a critical role in understanding massive amounts of data about customer behaviour to recognise patterns of sentiment.
Some of the best road trips are those that take risks – going somewhere completely new and unchartered.
Companies that want to compete against start-ups need to behave like start-ups, taking risks and embracing failure.
In the Middle East and Africa, a burgeoning innovation culture means that disrupters are used to doing this.
While more established businesses are often held back by old technology infrastructures because they were never digital from the start. A skills shortage can also be attributed to slow digital transformation, with 70% of companies saying they lack the required ICT skills to adapt.
On any road trip, your passengers are not going to be happy if your car breaks down, or the GPS fails and you get lost, or the aircon doesn’t work.
Companies that don’t shift to the newest way of doing things are likely to lose staff. Employees, particularly millennials, want companies that offer the best digital opportunities, and businesses will have to up their game to retain and attract them. In turn, young talent will spur innovation and help change the culture of the organisation.
Employees can also be empowered by using intelligence to learn how everyone in the company uses their time and help maximise the impact of the workforce.
Dual Role of The IT Department
If you’re the leader of your road trip, you’re also the navigator, motivator, mechanic and technology expert. The best drivers have many roles and rely on tech to accomplish these.
In an organisation, technology should similarly be part of each business function. At Microsoft, our own IT system plays dual roles within the company.
It helps the company digitally transform while managing applications, infrastructure and security, and serves the role of customer advocate by testing new products and providing feedback. Our leaders continue to raise expectations around the role that IT can play by aligning digital services into 15 cross-company service offerings.
These types of results aren’t discovered by simply spending more on IT. Executives should be integrating IT into their departments, creating a singular roadmap with mutually supportive objectives.
FG Launches Central Database for Stolen Asset Tracing
Federal government has launched a Central Database under the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations (ARTM), 2019 and the Central Criminal Justice Information System (CCJIS) under the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) 2017 – 2011 to assist in the fight against corruption.
Mr Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of Justice, at the launch in Abuja, said the database will ensure uniformity of process, access and information feeding to deepen transparency and accountability in the management of recovered assets.
To ensure compliance, he said his office is developing legislation for the full implementation and operation of the CCJIS.
“We will work together to establish and re-enact transparency and accountability in governance and management of our resources which we have committed to do by way of strengthening International Cooperation of our membership of Open Government Partnership,” he said.
In his speech, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the House of Representatives, represented by Mrs Ugonna Ozurigbo, chairman, House Committee on Justice, said the regulation on Asset Tracing, Recovery and proper management of proceeds of crime was signed on October 24, 2019, and took effect from November 1, 2019, replaced the proceeds of Crime Regulation of 2012.
The new regulation titled Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019 empowers the AGF to take charge of the custody and management of all final forfeited assets, approval and appointment of asset managers and operating and maintaining a database for the records of all recovered assets within and outside Nigeria.
He said, the AGF’s office, under the new regulation, is also required to coordinate inter-agency investigations into recovery matters within and outside Nigeria from all law enforcement agencies whose law empowers them to undertake recoveries and maintaining a depository for all forfeiture orders issued by the Nigeria courts and courts outside Nigeria.
Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management, according to the Speaker, is a core value of good governance and its effective management will serve as a deterrent to would-be fraudulent minded individuals who may find themselves in public offices.
According to him, states resources must not be allowed to be stolen but if that happened by fraudulent individuals, efforts must be taken to trace the proceed, recover same and manage for the interest of the generality of the people.
“When the proceeds of crime are traced and recovered but again looted by government officials, I dare to say such act amounts to the crime of tertiary capacity and must be avoided.
“Assets not accounted for are assets lost; loss of assets undervalues the economic potential of a country and will negatively impact on the net worth of a country. Accordingly, Asset Tracing Recovery and Management is a panacea to rekindling of the value system of a nation,” the Speaker noted.
Konga Bulk Debuts Monday
Konga, Nigeria’s foremost ethical and innovative composite e-Commerce brand is set to unveil a revolutionary new solution – Konga Bulk – which the company says will represent the new normal for forward-thinking businesses and consumers in the Nigerian corporate space.
Equally important, Konga Bulk, the latest innovation from the e-Commerce giant, is set to go live on Monday, September 21, 2020.
Through this initiative, Konga is rolling out a mega platform which has been touted a potential game-changer, offering manufacturers, distributors, resellers as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) an opportunity to take advantage of Konga’s world class assets including its secure regional warehouses, smart offices, cutting-edge technology, advanced logistics capabilities through an internally-owned subsidiary, Kxpress and its Central Bank of Nigeria-licensed payment platform known as KongaPay.
This is in addition to leveraging Konga’s e-Commerce engine and extensive marketing expertise in bringing their products and services to the consciousness of millions of Nigerians nationwide.
In other words, Konga is taking a huge burden off the shoulders of manufacturers and other business owners in Nigeria through this ambitious project.
By allocating physical office and warehouse spaces to partner businesses and placing its many other cutting-edge assets at their disposal, Konga is ushering many into the new normal by bringing succour to corporate entities, many of whom have been encumbered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, Konga Bulk will play a very important role, bridging the gap to genuine products and services between manufacturers, distributors, resellers, bulk buyers and consumers.
Resellers and other bulk buyers can also take advantage of best prices available for genuine products exclusively through Konga Bulk.
Kalu Johnson, vice president, Strategic Business, said businesses who sign up on Konga Bulk have a lot to gain.
‘‘Konga Bulk is a very ambitious project which we have positioned as the new normal.
“It is a unique opportunity for manufacturers to take advantage of the huge assets and real estate, both physical and virtual, available at Konga.
‘‘We have invested significantly and strategically in various areas of our operations.
“Today, Konga owns arguably the largest single warehouse space in Lagos in addition to other similar massive infrastructure in other parts of the country such as Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Uyo, Abuja, Owerri and other locations.
‘‘As a manufacturer, distributor or business owner signed up on Konga Bulk, you no longer have to worry about owning your own office or warehouse space. Nor do you have to bother about the heavy investment in logistics, delivery, payment solution, technology, marketing or activations.
“You can rely on Konga’s world class competencies and assets in these areas.
‘‘Businesses must find a way to rebound from the difficulties occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Konga Bulk, which is focused on ushering in the new normal, is one of the innovations we have come up with to provide a way out,’’ he concluded.
Konga Bulk goes live online at www.konga.com and offline in every Konga retail store nationwide on Monday, September 21, 2020.
Access Bank Reaffirms Support for An Innovative, Smart Lagos State
Mr. Herbert Wigwe, managing director and chief executive officer of Access Bank Plc, has said that Access Bank Plc will not relent in supporting innovative programmes aimed at transforming Lagos into a 21st century State driven by technology innovations.
Wigwe spoke yesterday during the finals of the Lagos State Smart Meter Hackathon design held at the Bank’s Corporate Headquarters in Lagos.
An initiative of the Lagos State Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Hackathon is aimed at providing affordable electricity meters to the populace by facilitating the design and production of meters that will accelerate efforts towards achieving improvement in energy distribution, monitoring and prevention of revenue leakage.
Wigwe who was represented by Mr Ade Bajomo, executive director, IT & Operations at Access Bank, said that supporting the Hackathon once more reinforces the Bank’s commitment to leveraging technology for the betterment of the society.
“Having Hackathon and innovative programmes like this, has always been part and parcel of our DNA in Access Bank. We are forever looking for new things to do to solve real problems in Africa and beyond; new things that would move the life of our people forward.
“We are always looking forward to doing things that would make more people financially independent, driving and enhancing the well-being of the entire society,” he said.
He noted that now the world is witnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and there are Africans working with the rest of the world and using technology to solve the problems of the people.
Wigwe stressed that Access Bank does not exclude the rest of the world when it comes to using technology innovations to address the problems of the people.
“That is why this Hackathon is very important because it’s our people solving our problems and leveraging global solutions to finding our answers to our own problems.
“And that is why at the Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), which Access Bank is promoting, we want to have more innovators and innovations that will help in transforming our society for the better,” he said.
The Access Bank boss stated that to see this Hackathon come to light shows the commitment of the Lagos State Government to not only the project, but to the actualization of a smart Lagos, where electricity is accessible and affordable.
He pledged Access Bank’s continued support to the Lagos State Government’s efforts at building a smart state.
Mr. Olalere Odusote, convener of the Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon and the State’s Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, said that there were very many talented people who applied for the Hackathon, noting that there were 65 submissions in all, out of which its panel of experts reduced the number to the five finalists that participated at the finals of the Hackathon.
“We had the hardware yesterday and we were very impressed with what we saw. We are expecting no less from the software side. We are going to get engaged, look at what they have to offer and then integrate it into our future.
“We are trying to solve our own problems by ourselves. This is just the start; it is not a one-off project. At the end of the event, we will take the product to our prototype mode; we will take the product to a commercial development process,” he said.
The Commissioner said they were not just doing the Hackathon for the sake of it but are looking for solutions that will contribute to making Lagos a 21st Century economy.
He thanked Access Bank for its generosity, support and partnership with the State government. He also thanked other partners for joining in the journey of making Lagos a great state.
Five contenders each emerged from both categories of the competition, and the two winners are expected to share the prize money of seven million naira.
Finalists were shortlisted after a transparent, rigorous and competitive process.
The Hackathon attracted 274 registrations or entries, 127 of which bid in hardware category, while 147 competed in software group.
The five software finalists for the Hackathon on Thursday were Magnitronics, Vectorians, Zeena Platform, Chosen Soft Tech and Gideon.
It would be recall that during the launch of the programme on July 30th, 2020, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu noted that the Smart Metre Hackathon Initiative marked a significant milestone in the implementation of the State Government’s plan towards improving access to electricity.
He said it aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal 7 of the United Nations, targeted at achieving universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.
The Lagos Smart Meter Hackathon 2020 was convened by the Lagos State Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources, curated by Eko Innovation Centre, and sponsored by Access Bank Plc, Egbin Power, and Ikeja Electric Distribution Company.
Other sponsors include Mojec International, Eko Electric Distribution Company, MOMAS Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company, ElSewedy Electric, Royal Power & Energy, Venture Garden Group, InfraCredit, and Axxela Limited.
They were supported by the Lagos State Office of Innovation and Technology, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA), Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), Oracle, IBM, General Electric, Business Day and Accelerate TV.
The Grand Finale of the Hackathon holds on Friday, September 18, 2020 at Eko Innovation Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos.
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