Digital technology blurring business models, boundaries

In Summary

Businesses will have to rapidly evolve and adopt new operational models if they are to survive […]

Businesses will have to rapidly evolve and adopt new operational models if they are to survive a global wave of disruptive technology that is sweeping across the business landscape.

Likening the current stance of most corporations to giants “siting on the edge of a cliff,” Mr. Edgar Kasenene the chief executive at Pretoria based software development firm Retro Rabbit, said the digital economy was reshaping perceptions of value and expanding consumer choices in a manner that challenges traditional business models.

“The digital consumer is a premium product that expects choice, sovereignty and value. At the same time digital technology equalises opportunity, breaks down geographical boundaries of competition and its growth exponential,” he said.

As a result organisations will have to rethink their business models, internal roles and relationships with customers of they are to cope with the competition in a dynamic marketplace driven by digital technology.

Kasenene was speaking at  the fourth edition of Stanbic Bank’s annual economic forum, a flagship event where the bank’s clients are given insights into the economic forces likely to shape the year ahead.

The summit seeks to create a platform for thought-provoking discussions among the bank’s stakeholders and feedback about their expectations. This edition  was held under the theme “Achieving a paradigm shift in Uganda’s Economic growth through leveraging Technology”.

Sharing Stanbic’s experience with exploiting the synergies created by digital technology, Stanbic Uganda’schief executive Mr. Patrick Mweheire said creating digital channels for school fees payments and bill settlements had not only decongested branches but had also turned previously negative cost curves on the products to positive. “Technology has practically revolutionized every industry globally. It has enabled businesses to be more efficient while reducing their cost to serve. As a bank, we aggressively match this trend through the various innovations that have put our customers in greater control of their overall banking experience,” he said.

Analysts have sighted ICT as the biggest accelerator of economic growth. In fiscal 2017/18 for example, the sector registered the highest growth rate at 7.9pc per annum, Industry at 6.2pc services at 7.3pc, and agriculture at 3.2pc.

“We need to align ourselves with current economic trends. Technology is not only about digitization. From previous budget speeches, there is a conversation around embedding technology in all sectors including the mechanization of agriculture, industrialization, and the whole Blockchain trend. As a result, we feel the need to provoke a discussion within the market on exactly what technology means for Uganda’s growth and how it is going to impact businesses,”Emma Mugisha, the Head of Corporate Investment Banking at Stanbic Uganda told the forum.

Mugisha said that technology had reduced the cost of labour which forms the largest expense for most institutions, allowing businesses to do more with less.

“Agency banking, for example, is not a digital platform. We are using it to create pseudo ATMs. It has allowed us as a bank to drive financial inclusion and reach more people affordably in a space of one year affordably. Today, banking is no longer an 8-hour business, technology has made it a 24hr affair,” she concluded.

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