By Emma Okonji
In order to remain relevant in the scheme of things in 2019 and beyond, the founder of CWG Plc, Mr. Austin Okere, has called on the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), the umbrella body for all practicing Information Technology (IT) professionals in Nigeria, to as a matter of urgency, align its vision with modern technology trends.
Okere, who gave the advice while presenting his keynote address at the 40th Anniversary of NCS, which held in Lagos recently, said the advice became necessary to enable NCS lead Nigeria in the right technology path in 2019, being a computer advocacy group.
“It is possible that the old vision of NCS has run its course and we need to craft a new direction for ourselves, in these rapidly changing times, where technology has taken the centre stage in global economic development.
“Our foundation vision should be robust enough to stand the test of this fourth industrial revolution. We used to be a very large association and find comfort in our numbers.
“Things have changed, neither age nor size guarantees relevance. In those days we used to say that the big fish will eat up the small fish. Today, it is the fast fish that eats up the slow fish, despite their sizes,” Okere said.
Perhaps some of the advocacy that could make the NCS more relevant would be championing the campaign for Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). NCS must therefore partner our local companies to shoulder their own tax burden, rather than leaving it all onto the local partner, even though the major part of the deal goes to the OEM, Okere said, adding that another advocacy point could be campaigning for the OEMs to accept their portion of payments in local currency, as it currently happens in Kenya; so that the local company is not left alone to bear the exchange risk.
Citing global organisations that have lost market relevance as a result of their inability to align with future technology, Okere said 17 years ago, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85 per cent of all photo paper worldwide, but that within just a few years ago, their business model disappeared, and they were bankrupt, because they lacked the vision to see the future of technology.
“This may happen to our association in the next ten years – even if we don’t see it coming. Kodak was not the only casualty. There were also Sony and Fuji who made tons of money selling cameras and films; especially films, but today they are out of business and irrelevant in the present technology trends that have shaped the world of digital photography,” Okere added.
He, therefore, called on the NCS as a body of computer advocacy, which he belongs to, to begin to align its vision with modern technology trends and make good incursions into government dreams and aspirations in order to properly guide government in all her decisions that are technology driven.
“We need a diversity in leadership which will include our outstanding millennials. Our old leaders keep the history and traditions, but it is our young leaders that can point us into the direction of the future,” Okere who is currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Columbia Business School, New York, said.