Continuous innovation and digital transformation are essential to business success

By Karabo Moloko, Sybrin South Africa CEO

Technology is a key driver of business success, especially in today’s digital world. As South Africa is a rapidly developing country with one of the largest populations and economies on the continent, it’s increasingly important for businesses to stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive.

By leveraging digitisation technology such as AI and automation, organisations can create new products and services, improve processes, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. In South Africa, the impact of technological innovation was most noticeable with the proliferation of mobile phones and the internet, allowing businesses to extend their operations to rural locations, and giving individuals access to a more extensive range of products and services. More recently, we’ve witnessed how digital technology has successfully enabled remote working, allowing companies to source talent from around the world and launch products and services in new markets, giving them access to a much larger customer pool. As technology progresses, so too must businesses, or they’ll risk falling behind.

However, investing in technology can be risky. Companies must properly assess the risks versus the potential benefits. When evaluating technology, organisations should consider factors such as cost, performance, scalability, and ease-of-use, and how it will integrate with their existing systems and processes. They must also consider the impact on their customers’ experience. The security aspect should also meet the necessary regulatory compliance requirements.

Companies should not aim to replicate what their competition is doing but rather anchor digital innovation on their customers’ needs and what pain point or opportunity it will address. Once these have been identified, the business can identify compatible technology.

The next step is to develop a plan for implementing the technology. This plan should include a timeline for the implementation, the resources needed, and the budget for the project. Organisations need to have a portfolio view of their transformation programmes. The speed and scale of change will inevitably touch other work streams. Programmes and governance should not slow delivery down but rather direct delivery while remaining agile and output-focused.

The business should also develop a plan for monitoring and evaluating the success of the technology. This involves collecting data on the technology’s performance, analysing the data, and making adjustments as needed. Lastly, the business should develop a plan to reskill and upskill their employees. The scale of digital transformation transforms not only what work people do but how they do the work and how they should think about it. Old ways of thinking will not deliver technology’s required Return on Investment. Organisations must prepare their employees for a digital reality regardless of where they are in the business. This will increase the chances of success.

The post-COVID economy will be dominated by digital transformation. Companies must ensure that the products and services they produce are affordable, accessible, and easy to use, as this will help them to reach a larger portion of the population in South Africa.

By partnering with an experienced digital transformation technology provider, organisations can access the expertise and resources they need to identify and implement the right technology for their business requirements, thereby greatly reducing the risks.

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