ICT’s true value under the spotlight as SA businesses claw back from COVID
As South African businesses embrace today's remote working reality, their desire to create new value and meet heightened commercial expectations are proving to be fundamental drivers of technology adoption and investment said Mark Walker, IDC's associate vice president for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Speaking during the opening of the organisation’s 12th edition of its IDC South Africa CIO Summit, Walker linked to the theme Race to Reinvent: Connecting Leaders to Empower Digital Transformation, and said: "Indeed, we are seeing an intense focus on the relevance, affordability, accessibility, and trustworthiness of ICT as an enabler of operational and customer excellence.”
“Value creation works when technology strategies directly impact business expectations around the critical triumvirate of customer relationships, operational efficiency, and cost management," he added.
The IDC's global president, Crawford Del Prete, unveiled the organisation’s new five-stage guide for helping organisations plan their recovery in the economic aftermath of COVID-19.
Del Prete urged organisations in the country to focus on the imperatives of business continuity, cost optimisation, business resiliency, and targeted investment as they strive to emerge as lean, dynamic, and innovation-fuelled enterprises of the future.
The agenda incorporated a series of individually themed best practice sessions and technology focus groups that offered expert guidance on implementing next-generation enterprise IT, reshaping security through digital transformation, sustaining business continuity, preparing workspaces for the future of work, unleashing the full power of artificial intelligence, building hybrid clouds for the digital era.
In August 2020 Walker acknowledged that in terms of technology, COVID-19 has forced businesses in Africa to fast-track digital transformation plans.
“We’ve heard stories across the board, from suppliers of communication technology as well as people involved in the industry on the user’s side, regarding where they were planning to be from a technology point of view (going forward) …. and everybody has brought their plans forward very quickly. On the supply side we’ve seen some of the big system integrators having to provision virtual private networks … the reality is that COVID-19 has sped up digital transformation by 5.3 years, according to IOT Now, which is quite interesting.”
He added that in a South African and East African context, business managers are having to fast-track plans (including IOT, remote connectivity and work from home-type plans), that were originally scheduled for implementation in two-to-three years’ time, whilst other projects have been put on the back-burner or on hold.
“We need to focus on where the digital journey is going, where are you on it and how do you go forward effectively,” Walker said.