As governments in Africa navigate their way through the uncertainty of COVID-19, the beneficial role that digitalization can play in economic growth, sustainability and social transformation on the continent have more significance than ever.
Even though many industries and leaders have embarked on a digital transformation journey before the current crisis, at SYSPRO we have noted that there is still a large number of organizations that have yet to begin this process.
In South Africa, The National Development Plan 2030, which was published in 2012, stressed the importance of ICT in building a connected information society and a vibrant knowledge economy that is more inclusive and prosperous.
While we have made progress as a country in providing access to technology and promoting its advantages in various sectors, we still have some way to go if we are to the reach goal of the NDP in 10 years’ time.
So what steps does South Africa still need to take if we are to achieve this vision of a better future through digitalization?
1. Embrace new technological developments
Technology is a powerful tool to increase efficiency and outperform competitors in business. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, for example, has the capability of bringing revolutionary changes in various processes of modern business, from day-to-day activities such as accounting and procurement, to project management and risk strategies. What’s more, a well-implemented ERP system can help support a company’s overall digital transformation strategy.
Digitalization can also spur the development of other new technologies, such as cloud-based systems to access ERP, incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) as digital assistants to improve interactions with customers, and predictive analytics to help plan for the future.
The potential payback of these technological developments is that they can contribute to job creation, as well as encourage other allied industries to diversify, including logistics, infrastructure, and payments – boosting both the information and financial economy.
2. Invest in IT infrastructure
A major factor preventing the development of internet infrastructure within South Africa is a shortage of experienced network engineers. Without these industry professionals, national investment, policy and regulatory decisions may lack the technical foundation to achieve the goals of a flourishing digitalized society.
If we as a country acquired more network engineers who are able to support network infrastructure at both a local and national level, businesses and organizations will be able to unlock their full potential and fully use Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies.
3. Invest in digitally upskilling people
Apart from access to affordable connectivity and devices, there is a need to digitally upskill people to operate or work with the advanced and/or emerging technology in 4IR. South Africa needs to re-evaluate its investment in the development of emerging technology skills and knowledge, so that there is a pipeline of talent that can use this dynamic, increasingly digitized environment to benefit the country.
4. Use technology to transform your business
For South Africa to become a digital hub on the continent, it needs to apply new technologies in various sectors where it has a traditional advantage over neighboring countries. These include manufacturing, mining, logistics, and distribution. For example, the incorporation of sensors and devices into mining equipment and machinery within an IoT network allows for speedier analysis of data and increased efficiency.
We’ve also taken out this paragraph, to give it a less formal tone: ERP has a major impact on digital transformation. It has the capability of bringing revolutionary changes in various processes of modern business.
ERP software can transform your business digitally, however, a well-implemented ERP system will provide benefits that can support a company’s overall digital transformation strategy.