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Vodacom Business helps companies ride the digital wave

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South African businesses can adopt a fully digital mind-set to their enterprise mobility with Vodacom Business’s inclusive ICT offering for managed enterprise digital transformation.

Growing competitiveness for the customer and pressure on businesses’ running costs leave enterprises with no choice but to ride the digital enterprise wave, says Anthon Muller, executive head for managed enterprise mobility at Vodacom Business, adding that while the “digital transformation of the enterprise”  is still in its infancy in South Africa, the technology to support it is now fully mature.

Cloud, social media and mobile are the major driving components behind this wave.

Once a seemingly futuristic trend due to a lack of infrastructure, cloud computing is now a reality in South Africa. We have numerous data centres and a cloud specific data centre which offer organisations the ability to effectively consolidate and host information efficiently and affordably.

As a result of social media, customers are exposed to news as and when it happens. They have more options and choices as well as a platform on which to publicly voice their opinions, preferences, satisfaction and unhappiness. It has turned the model of engagement on its head. Therefore, it is crucial for organisations to leverage social media to engage with all stakeholders including existing customers, potential customers and staff.

Smart phones and tablets are fast becoming the tool of choice. They are light, convenient and have more features than most notebooks these days. They make it possible to access information and operate from any location at any given time. This, coupled with the easy access to affordable data, makes mobility a no brainer.

“Many South African organisations lag their global counterparts in terms of digital adoption and integration due to legacy infrastructure challenges, which have since seen great strides of improvement,” Muller adds.

“We’re already seeing some industries progressing in leaps and bounds, such as the financial and banking sectors. Think back to five or six years ago when most people still had to go into banks for most transactions, and how this changed once banks adopted mobile apps, transforming how we do business. This was the beginning of the digital strategy for banks.

“Banks have continued innovating and using digital technology to improve customer experience. Many people will remember the days when they had to wait for days or even weeks to find out whether or not they would qualify for a bond, and often missed out on their dream home due to the long, drawn out process.  Today, there is an instant bond indicator that can calculate whether or not you qualify for a bond within three minutes – this includes reviewing the information you provided, as well as running a background credit check.”

However, mainstream businesses still require a few building blocks to help get them there. There is a hunger to adopt these technologies and to transition into a more digitalised business model which is very exciting.

Implementing and adopting new technologies is only one component of the shift to digital, with the success of a company determined by how this digital transformation is managed. It requires digital capacity as well as crucial skills sets and leadership to understand the impact and efficiently transition the company and its processes so that all stakeholders, including staff and customers, are comfortable with it, and not just on implementing new technologies.

“Ultimately, digital transformation in the Enterprise is about how organisations are willing to adapt in order to remain competitive, if not ahead of competitors as they re-evaluate their long term strategic intent and engage with clients and stakeholders in a meaningful way. With the correct technology partner, it is possible to profitably ride the crest of the digital enterprise wave,” Muller says.