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Strategies imperative to digital transformation in Africa

Strategies imperative to digital transformation in Africa

There is no denying the impact of technology innovation on global markets. Africa is undergoing digital transformation – but in order for the continent to truly change (and benefit), it requires a fundamental shift across processes, functions and customer engagement. In essence, a digital strategy is a prerequisite for digital transformation.

This is the main topic up for discussion at the 7th annual GIL (Growth, Innovation and Leadership Africa Summit) hosted by Frost & Sullivan Africa, scheduled for 17 August 2017 at the Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town.

"Today, more than ever, it has become imperative for organisations to develop and implement concrete digital strategies to tap into African opportunities. The potential is enormous, but a ROI-based approached is critical to ensure practical initiatives meet Africa where it is at," says Hendrik Malan, Partner and Operations Director at Frost & Sullivan Africa.

"Growing expectations from digitally empowered customers require enterprises to align their digital business strategies with their core business strategies."

According to Frost & Sullivan Africa, the Summit will begin with a keynote address Digital Transformation – The New Strategic Imperative presented by Dorman Followwill, Senior Partner at Frost & Sullivan.

The impact of digital transformation on the automotive industry, on the public sector , on power and water sectors, as well as healthcare, is also on the agenda.

Africa's digital progress

ITWeb Africa recently reported that according to the 10th edition of PwC's Global Digital IQ survey, 52% of African companies rate their organisation's digital IQ as strong, while South African companies stand at risk with less than half (47%) rating their organisation's IQ over 70%.

Tielman Botha, Digital Lead for PwC South Africa, says digital IQ has a different meaning today than it had when PwC started the research a decade ago.

"Today, the scope and scale of digital-driven change has grown significantly, and organisations have invested a lot of time and money to keep up. Despite notable advances in technology, company leaders are no better equipped to handle the changes coming their way than they were in 2007, according to the survey results."

In a recent article, Mark McCallum, CTO & Head of Solutions, sub-Saharan Africa, Orange Business Services said as digital transformation continues to change business practices and evolve the consumer landscape, African businesses are in the perfect position to take advantage of the new opportunities presented.

As Africa's profile as an investment opportunity for businesses has continued to grow over the past 10 years or so, the business landscape has substantially changed presenting opportunities as well as some unique challenges, he added.

"For example, competition in the more mature markets in Africa (South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya) is becoming more intense, especially for IT and Telcommunication companies. To remain competitive and profitable, TELCO's are realising that there is need to move beyond traditional connectivity offerings and provide IT services such as unified communications and collaboration, cloud, and datacenter services – and this is changing the way businesses in Africa approach their IT strategies,"

"We are seeing that African businesses, and those multinationals moving into the region, are increasingly open to the opportunities that digital transformation presents for their businesses. In the medium to long term, many businesses are having to re-evaluate business models for the region."

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