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19.12.2019 Sudan

Laying The Foundation For The Digital Future; A Digital Perspective

By Richard Kafui Amanfu
Laying The Foundation For The Digital Future; A Digital Perspective
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Whether you are technology enthusiast or not, you may have heard of the recent ‘tech buzzwords’ – ‘5G’, ‘Internet of Things’, ‘Robotic Process Automation’, ‘Rich Communication Services’, ‘Artificial Intelligence’, ‘BIG DATA’, ‘Machine Learning’ and a host of others.

So, what really do these mean for everyone? Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not here to explain the buzzwords all over again. Try “Google”. It is a great place to start.

Instead, let us talk about ‘digital transformation’. Digital transformation is the biggest buzzword of all and in my opinion, encompasses all the little buzzwords you will hear in the technology space – some of which I have listed above.

What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation involves the integration of digital technology – the buzzwords – into all aspects of a business aimed at changing the strategy to improve overall customer experience in the delivery of products and services.

At this point, a number of questions should creep into your head. ‘How do I combine these buzzwords in the right amounts and order to meet the needs of my customers? Do I even know what my customers’ need? From where do I get the insights that I need?

If you asked yourself these questions, chances are that your company has not yet embarked on a digital transformation journey or if you already are on the road to transformation, my best guess is that your transformation strategy has not been well communicated or it might be wrong altogether.

The digital transformation recommendation
According to McKinsey, some companies they studied are already reaping the benefits of a digital transformation gone right, reporting a product portfolio cost reduction of 80% for an European telecom provider [1] and a 30 to 50% cash flow improvement for telecom operators from revenue acceleration and cost optimization, all thanks to digital transformation [1].

They recommend that, companies who embark on a digital transformation journey start with a vision, an ambition, the need, the goal – what they want to achieve, looking at where they stand today and where their competition stand.

The next recommended recipe for a successful digital transformation is the various journeys that need to be created as part of the strategy, including use case development, testing and rollout.

Technology companies today however have not fully harnessed the digitization use case ‘wahala’. Part of the use case development problem has to do with identifying the right use cases, prioritizing them and testing use cases in the right environment to give the best insights. Perhaps the biggest ‘wahala’ of all in terms of use case development is its successful adoption by customers – will they jump on the bandwagon and when?

The role of analytics
In identifying and developing the right use cases, analytics or the ‘right’ analytics plays a crucial role in giving insights that decision makers will need to embark on a digital transformation journey. Data is everywhere and a lot of companies have stacks and pools, even seas of data that do not provide any meaningful insights. How companies hence leverage the data at their disposal is important to identifying the right use cases for their digital transformation journey. Knowing what to do with the data is the very first step. Once they know what to do with the data at their disposal, it is imperative that they derive meaningful insights from the data to act upon. Insights that do not lead to action are as good as the raw unprocessed data. Once actionable insights are drawn from the data, companies will soon realize that, they need to shorten the time between receiving actionable insights to actual action. This is important since the transformation journey is agile and ever evolving. Actionable insights if not implemented swiftly might become obsolete. This makes the analytics-to-action process difficult to control.

The algorithms need to analyze new data all the time and present it in a way that will easily be understood. These algorithms must therefore be more intelligent and written in the future instead of written in the past. Here is what I am saying: the algorithms themselves need to evolve with every analyzed data that it projects for decision-making. One way to do this is perhaps by receiving immediate feedback from decision makers who interpret the data. This need for swiftness in the analytics process calls for automation – the kind that would run ahead of all humans and machines like Usain Bolt did in 2008, 2012, and 2016 –that guy is a legend!

Amit Dhingra (Nokia’s Vice President of global service delivery) thinks analytics and automation goes hand in hand. More like if Usain Bolt had a twin and they both ran the 4x100m relay- think of the possibilities there.

Amit believes that as consumers continue to use more and more data, the quicker these data become available for processing to reveal insights. It is only the right kind of automation that will ensure that companies can transform these real time data into real time actionable insights that can be implemented swiftly to reap the benefits thereof: increased operational efficiencies, new revenue models, diversification opportunities, and more personalized user experiences [2].

Bringing it all together
Till now, you are probably wondering if I cleared up your dilemma. The answer is no. It lingers on. However, I have hopefully sparked in you the zeal to push for a digital transformation initiative in your own company. The best part is that, you do not need to do it on your own. YOU NEED A TEAM. A team with the capabilities, the talent and the right culture and leadership to successfully embark on this journey of the future. They should be made up of business analysts with user-centric problem-solving skills, product owners, solution designers, RPA developers, agile Project Managers, marketers and business developers, subject matter experts, data scientists and a transformation lead. This is the first bold step to laying the foundation for a successful digital transformation.

Author: Kwadwo Akomea-Agyin – (Member, Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana)

For comments, contact author [email protected] or Mobile: +233544341374

References
[1] Imtiaz, Mohsin, et al. “The Building Blocks Telcos Need to Create Their Digital-and-Analytics DNA.” McKinsey & Company, Jan. 2019, www.mckinsey.com/industries/telecommunications/our-insights/the-building-blocks-telcos-need-to-create-their-digital-and-analytics-dna .

[2] Kishore, Sunil. “Analytics and Automation in Telcos: An Interview with Nokia's VP of Global Service Delivery.” McKinsey & Company, Oct. 2018, www.mckinsey.com/industries/telecommunications/our-insights/analytics-and-automation-in-telcos-an-interview-with-nokias-vp-of-global-service-delivery .

Sudan

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