By Amanda E Jojo
ZIMBABWE’S premier internet connectivity solutions company, Dandemutande Chief Executive Officer, Never Ncube has pointed out that digitisation is crucial as it accelerates business growth, facilitates job creation, while opening up new markets that provide more services.
This comes as the country is well positioned to reap significant dividends from a digital transformation through the spread of Information and Communication technologies across all business sectors to enhance productivity.
“Technology has opened new and exciting opportunities through the ability to connect with the rest of the world. With access to a vast knowledgebase over the internet, innovation has also been accelerated,” Ncube told The Entrepreneurial Magazine.
“You will realise that for organisations which deliberately go all out to explore and onboard the best technology in their environments, the opportunity to leapfrog incumbents and current front runners is great. Technology brings new hope I must say, a new lease of life.”
The award-winning CEO said the use of data to drive decision making has greatly revolutionised the way products are created, markets are approached, and the entire service delivery value chain.
“Customer experience has become the key driver in what the business decides to do and how that is done – be it coming up with new products and how the products are delivered. There is constant interaction with clients, and this is what we have been lacking previously,” Ncube added.
“We have witnessed improvement in productivity and profitability as organisations take advantage of collaboration platforms, take for instance communication and information sharing to a whole new level – platforms such as Microsoft business applications, electronic mail, cloud computing and e-learning have made it possible for life to continue beyond the pandemic induced lockdowns.
“As an operator ourselves, we have seen great uptake of all these services as the market warms up to a digitally enabled workplace and generally, the economy.”
There has been an upsurge in the embracement of digital technologies where modern businesses are digitally transforming by creating and modifying existing operating processes hence, meeting customer needs.
“To every business, digital transformation means rapid change. We are inundated with examples of companies who have fallen victim to failure to adopt technology at the right time and this is giving pressure to most executives today as they are faced with rapid technology transformation around them,” Ncube said.
“As such we have seen that automation has become a major part of the digitalisation story, whether it be shifting work roles or transforming business processes generally and all this is being done to increase process efficiency and drive financial objectives,” Ncube added.
Last year, World Bank launched the Zimbabwe Digital Economy report in which the Bank emphasized the need for a strong digital foundation since it is a key in the realization of the government’s growth projection in agriculture, health, trade, commerce, education, transport and cities.
The global financial institution however noted that digital infrastructure is one of Zimbabwe’s strengths, but regulatory roadblocks and macroeconomic conditions hampers its growth.
“I strongly agree with this statement, and I acknowledge the progress Zimbabwe has made in fostering a digital infrastructure. Zimbabwe has a relatively well-developed digital payment system, where 96% of all transactions in the country’s formal sector are conducted through digital means and only 4% are cash-based, and the government uses digital money almost exclusively,” Ncube said.
He stated that Zimbabwe has a good foundation upon which digital skills could be leveraged, if training for both teachers and students is scaled up, and leveraging a literacy rate of 90%, the transformation could be much smoother over the next 10years.
“Our population statistics indicate that the median age in Zimbabwe is around 19 years which is the ripe age to a social digital transformation, as is happening at a global scale. However, the macroeconomic conditions are affecting their access to digital resources such as electronic hardware, internet connectivity, training resources to earn the digital skills.
“The government is on record driving eLearning and access to IT facilities across the country, but I do believe that to bridge the gap between urban and rural access to digital platforms, more needs to be done,” he said.
Anchored on the objective to foster an ecosystem which drives the uptake and usage of digital applications, Ncube called for a collaboration amongst industry players, consumers as well as government thus enabling accelerated digitization.
In order to achieve the desired results strategic action is required to strengthen the policy and regulatory framework, resource management and coordination, governance, transparency and capacity building.
“There will always be a need to regulate the ICT industry as it relates to sharing of finite resources like spectrum, however there is room for relaxation of the framework to lower both the barriers to entry and enable existing operators to activate otherwise less lucrative markets like rural areas. This will go a long way in ensuring not only that there is access, but that it is inclusive,” he said.