Digital transformation consultant offers insights of African digital revolution

02 April 2018

Mega Data is on its way, according to the International Data Corporation, which forecasts that the segment alone will be generating staggering revenues of more than $200 billion by 2020. In an interview with Africa News, Digital Transformation consultant Pascal Ango reflects on the potential impact of such a scenario on the African economy.

Operating with over 1,100 experts across the globe, the International Data Corporation is among the most credible sources of market research in the world. The firm specialises in the technology, telecommunications and consumer technology domains, offering intelligence and insights.

At the International Exhibition of Digital Economy Professionals held in Dakar, Senegal, IDC estimated that the revenues generated by Mega Data are set to hit $210 billion by 2020. In what is being termed as a digital revolution, the IDC expects each person to be consuming 1.7 MB of data per second, which equals the download of one song every 2 seconds.

Africa is set to become an integral part of the international digital economy. The continent hosts the youngest population in the world, who are growing up in the digital age, and now have steady access to the digital and online domains. Pascal Ango has offered some insights about the economic future of the continent.

Ango is an expert in strategy, management, and communications, and currently works as a Consultant for Marketing and Social Media at Creative GENIUS: a Gabon-based consulting firm that offers digital and social media services, support for startups, and even repairs for digital devices. 


What impact will IDC’s forecast have on Africa’s economy?

The impact will be multifaceted. In essence, what big data or mega data entails is a manifold improvement in the accuracy of data, which affects every sector. More precise data will refine economic forecasts for companies and allow states to make their policies more targeted. An important consequence will be a levelling of the playing field, as data that was hitherto available only to big corporations will now be accessible to everyone, enabling more comprehensive strategies for small firms as well.

Pascal Ango, Digital Transformation consultant - creative genius

To be realistic, is the continent able to respond to the call for IT experts, given that handling mega data requires a multitude of data specialists?

In the short term, the training of specialists is not a reality. Skill-training in Africa has not yet entered the specialised field of computer science, which creates a scenario where we have a lot of data but don’t know how to exploit it. By 2020, specialists will be interpreting data to drive change in the healthcare and agrifoods sectors, which will be of great benefit to the African economy if the skills are developed by then. But for now, we are just consumers.

How convinced are you of the commitment of the continent’s leaders to invest in IT and communication projects?

The commitment is real. They understand that the continent’s growth depends on digital technology, which is the new driver of growth worldwide. However, if the objective is to have an immediate impact on day-to-day business, more data will need to be opened to users.

Anglophones calls this open data; a concept that involves using state data in an open manner so that we can provide services where people can donate.

How can African companies, in particular,  benefit from the digital revolution?

Businesses will benefit in different ways: data will be more accurate, and consequently so will forecasts and estimates. In Senegal, for instance, fish sellers are already using data to estimate prices of fish across countries; making it possible to crosscheck set prices and forecast stocks. In Rwanda, farmers have access to data that allows them to know temperature, selling price, and availability of stocks. In a nutshell, reliability and accuracy.

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

15 April 2019

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.