ICT is an important enabler of growth and development. This is true in the context of socio-economic development with the well-worn correlation between broadband development and GDP growth. It is also true in the area of business improvement where ICT supports innovation, engagement, service improvement and client retention. Technology for the sake of it is a poor investment and Top down solutions designed for perceived problems are often ill received and unused leaving a disconnect between vendors/ service providers and consumers/ citizens.
IAD 2018 CONCEPT NOTE
As we continue along the path to a Digital Africa, ICT service providers, government agencies and large enterprises which use ICT because it improves efficiency, effectiveness and service delivery, need to constantly evolve their networks, infrastructures and services in line with three key themes:
- Access – people access ICTs across numerous devices and via a variety of mediums from laptops, desk tops, thin clients, tablets, smart phones and feature phones, GSM to WiFi, LTE to Fibre, Satellite to Cloud and with 5G on the horizon. Ease of access drives adoption but quality of service, price, security and reliability are equally important factors. Whilst all access is good, some is better in one environment where the opposite is true somewhere else. A flexible approach, applying the right solution to the right environment to achieve a specific objective will yield the best results for both service provider and client. With an ever changing technology landscape and evolving client objectives, one must keep a finger on the pulse and be ready to adapt to change when change is called for.
- Engage – once people are connected and online, it is technology’s job to make their lives more efficient, more enjoyable, more enriching and more productive. We are faced with a rich array of platforms, applications, cloud services, outsourced services, over the top services, websites, billing systems, CRM systems, ERP systems, CEM systems, work flow systems, education platforms, trade platforms and of course social media and entertainment channels. We must be clear on objectives in order to adopt the solutions and services that support specific objectives. We see a lot of consolidation as competition drives innovation and necessity drives invention. Over-investment in under-utilised technology has been a costly theme which many large enterprises would like to avoid repeating. In an age of austerity and specialisation, we must find the right solution to meet a specific objective without paying for unnecessary features. With many cloud and capex free solutions available in the market, we can adopt scalable solutions that address current objectives with scope for future growth and development.
- Retain – Quality of Service, Client Experience and Client Lifetime Value are key phrases but very few organisations can measure their effectiveness in these areas. Employee engagement is essential to well-being and a healthy, efficient workforce. Effective communication across the supply chain is critical to cost savings and the efficient delivery of services. Whether you are a communication service provider, large enterprise or a government agency, you need to retain good people. Understanding your data, analysing your metrics and engaging directly with your clients are essential elements of the process.
Studies have shown time and again, retention is much more efficient than acquisition!
Improving access, engagement and retention drives adoption of ICT with the associated improvements in socio-economic development, education, healthcare, development of BPO/ service based industries, global trade, inward investment and a wealth of other benefits on a national level. IAD 2018 will once again bring Africa’s top policy makers, regulators, service providers and large enterprises together to discuss the challenges and co-create the opportunities.
To support Africa’s growth and development and to take full advantage of the huge investments in ICT connectivity and innovation, Government Agencies and Departments, MNOs, Telcos, ISPs, Financial Institutions, Retailers and other customer facing service providers must assess how ICT innovations can support their engagement strategies, operational efficiencies, quality of service improvements and support national and regional development objectives.