Collaboration with South Africa could drive digital integration across the continent

26 March 2019 Consultancy.africa

According to analysis from professionals at Big Four accounting and advisory firm Deloitte, policies being implemented in South Africa to promote Industry 4.0 integration are likely to have a positive impact across the rest of Africa as well, primarily due to the collaborative opportunities that are likely to follow. 

Deloitte’s overview of the market is based on analysis in its Tech Trends 2019 report, which examines the latest in technology across South Africa. The President of the country Cyril Ramaphosa has recently initiated a presidential commission to ensure South Africa’s competitiveness under the new industrial revolution.

A number of key transformations are expected to follow as a result, which include the development of intelligent interfaces, the emergence of organisations that operate entirely in the artificial intelligence domain, as well as unprecedented increases in connectivity and marketing opportunities.

Collaboration with South Africa could drive digital integration across the continent

The last of these trends is likely to translate into economic benefits for countries across Africa. The continent is rapidly moving towards connectivity, and is expected to be home to as many as 1 billion mobile internet connections by 2021. Alongside the consumers, businesses in the region are also embracing the wave of digitalisation. 

Reports have suggested that countries such as Nigeria and Kenya are likely to have thriving markets in digital services domains such as cloud computing and cybersecurity, which is brought about by a increasing propensity to spend on digital transformations, even amongst small and medium enterprises.

Prior to the realisation of this interconnected environment, however, experts have urged that the regulatory and business environment within South Africa must be rectified and made more conducive to digital growth. For instance, in the current scenario, an increase in automation will necessarily translate into severe unemployment in the country, unless appropriate skills are developed.

Commenting on the scenario, Kevin Govender, Associate Director at Deloitte Consulting in Africa said, “I think South Africa is an emerging country and has other challenges that first world countries don't have. So there is an opportunity to take those challenges, use innovation and technology with some of these key trends, and how do we transform and grow this economy, this economy as a whole and businesses.”

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Market trends that are emerging in a post-digital African economy

15 April 2019 Consultancy.africa

The discourse is now moving to a post-digital world, where the differentiating factor among a sea of digitalised firms will become the capacity to deliver personalised services based on individual customer needs – among other things – according to a new report from global management consultancy Accenture.

Businesses in Africa have been navigating a period of rapid digitalisation recently. The continent is set to have as many as 1 billion internet connections over the next two years, which means that the population is set to be wired in. The business environment has been looking to capitalise on this digital market.

While the bigger firms have been quick to adopt digital technology within their operations, smaller businesses were initially weary due to the high costs involved in digital transformation. Nevertheless, a number of these firms are realising the value of digital integration, and Accenture is looking towards the next step.

As per a new report from the firm, most businesses are on their way to digitalisation, which is restoring a certain uniformity to the market. In this context, digitalisation is no longer the differentiating factor. Businesses must now focus on developing mechanisms for customer relationships, among other enhancements.

Market trends that are emerging in a post-digital African economy

The technology that will take centre stage in the new scenario includes distributed ledger technology, artificial intelligence, extended reality and quantum computing (DARQ). Such technologies allow firms to “reimagine entire industries”, as per the firm’s analysis, and nearly 90% of firms are already experimenting with such technology.

Another key trend that is emerging in the post-digital world is the need for cyber security. According to Accenture, cyber security is no longer an individual effort from companies, but must be a collaborative effort across all stakeholders in any given sector that has digitally integrated.

“Ecosystem-driven business connections increase companies’ exposure to risks. Leaders recognise that just as they collaborate with entire ecosystems to deliver best- in-class products, services, and experiences, security must join that e­ffort as well,” says the firm.

“Technology is creating a world of intensely customised and on demand experiences, and companies must reinvent their organisations to find and capture those opportunities as they come,” adds the firm, urging that meeting customer needs is now more about speed than about service.