“The COVID-19 pandemic has called us to adapt to a new world order,” stated Michael Larbie, CEO of RMB Nigeria, and Regional Head of West Africa in his introduction to the first webinar in RMBN’s Economic and Business Conference. The conference brought together policy-makers and industry experts to share guidance on how to navigate a rapidly changing business landscape. The first webinar in a series of four, moderated by Professor Olayinka David-West, Academic Director Lagos Business School (LBS), focused on digital transformation. The webinar dimensioned how businesses can be agile in the face of change to create customer-centric and digitally savvy solutions as they respond to current challenges and prepare for the future. The panel brought their unique insights on how to digitize businesses on a practical and strategic level.
Jimi Ogbobine, Head of Consulting, Agusto Consulting, provided a macro-economic perspective and noted that despite the economic headwinds of COVID-19, the lockdown is accelerating e-commerce as businesses and consumers have moved online.
Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, General Manager, Enterprise Marketing, MTN Nigeria stated that telecoms infrastructure needs to be in place for digital businesses to be sustained in the long term. She confirmed that a great deal of work and investment has gone into preparing the telecoms sector to support the development of the Nigerian economy. Nigeria has shifted from 2G to 4G and 4G+, and is constantly evolving to ensure customers derive the best value from telecoms infrastructure. Networks are collectively advancing their capacity and capability so businesses can move swiftly into the digital age.
She added that it is critical for telcos to transform themselves if they wish to remain relevant. This means finding ways to become a value-added service provider. They need to relook customer journeys, define mobile-first strategies and move to platform services. The customer is at the heart of this, and the key to understanding the customer is by keeping a finger on the pulse of customer data. She elaborated on data security, saying that data protection is at the heart of digital security, and should be factored into any digital transformation.
Olugbenga Agboola, Founder & CEO of Flutterwave, a payments technology company reemphasized the shift to digital business. He defines digital transformation as a complete shift that incorporates delivery, logistics and commerce, to execute services on digital platforms. Businesses were forced to transform because of COVID 19, which means Nigeria is five years ahead in technology terms across multiple sectors. He confirmed that Technology is a massive enabler of transformation, however human connection is needed to make technology optimal. The right balance must be addressed and considered at all stages of technological implementation.
Yinka Daramola, CEO & Founder, Qucoon, a Fintech, Digital Strategy and Consulting firm stated that digital needs must become a way of life. Every business sector is experiencing a transformation led by technology. He emphasized that Business leaders have felt the positive impacts, cost savings and efficiencies brought on by digital transformation. The new normal is constant change. Businesses need to choose their partners based on their ability to support agility and security.
What capabilities can businesses build for digital transformation?
Professor Olayinka David-West, LBS Academic Director who moderated the session summarised the capabilities businesses should develop if they want to transform efficiently: Innovate around customer needs, Agile in responding to customer needs and implementing digital strategies and ensure business and customer data is protected. Digital has been democratized. Nigerian businesses will sustain their digital transformation if they lead it from within, focusing on the desired outcomes and aligning with the overall strategy.
The RMBN webinar series continues until July 9, 2020. The registration details are available on their website www.rmb.com.ng and you can email [email protected] for more details. RMB Nigeria is a subsidiary of FirstRand, one of the largest financial services groups in Africa.