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People, not tech, define digital transformation’

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Business Connexion (BCX) Managing Executive of Sales, Mr. Nkosi Kumalo
Business Connexion (BCX) Managing Executive of Sales, Mr. Nkosi Kumalo

by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG –DIGITAL transformation fails most of the time because organisations do not realise that people, not technology, define this revolution.

This is according to an executive as digital transformation emerged as a major step taken by public and private sectors to invest in customer  experiences, improve profitability and redefine market strategy.

However, it is also failing 70 percent of the time, said Nkosi Kumalo, Managing Executive of Sales for Mining at Business Connexion (BCX).

He said this was the case because organisations were putting technology, and not people, at the centre of this transformation.

“It is very important in South Africa to continuously invest in the digital economy and into solutions that allow for the country, and the continent, to thrive,” Kumalo said.

“We are seen as a third-world country, so we need to focus on how we can improve service levels, efficiencies and productivity through the use of digital and technology.”

Kumalo said, however, these improvements must be about more than just growth and progress but need to be about the people and a clearly defined strategy.

He cited research indicating that in 2019, it was estimated that around $1,3 trillion was spent on digital transformation initiatives and yet around 70 percent failed.

According to McKinsey & Company, the reason behind this failure was the fact that many companies overlooked people as a critical component.

As Kumalo pointed out, technology is designed for people and its role is to help them achieve more and succeed in their roles, so they need to be instrumental in its implementation.

“Applications drive experiences, that’s their sole purpose. They drive experiences for people,” he explained.

Kumalo said these applications were informed by process.

He argues, that process is supposed to change the behaviour of either the organisation or the employees within the organisation, according to the executive.

“If there’s no clear communication around the application and no explanation around the value it brings to the people, then it will fail. There is no way you can have digital transformation without first
engaging with people.”

Kumalo said digitisation effectively works when embraced from a clear proof point.

He concluded that the most successful way of ensuring that digital transformation strategies worked was to be honest.

“Your people will respect you for that, and your digital investment will thrive,” Maseko said.

– CAJ News