Garba: Why Businesses Must Embrace Digitalisation


In a fast paced world of innovative discoveries and technological advancement, there seems to be more questions and heightened optimism about the future of technology in developing business. Adamu Garba, the Chief Executive Officer IPI Solutions Nigeria Limited, a digital transformation organisation, speaks with Adedayo Adejobi, on the essence of digital transformation to businesses in Nigeria. Excerpts:

What is the unique essence of the fourth industrial revolution digital transformation?
Everything is becoming digitalised in every industry. This is the transformation from the physical or manual process to a more digitalised, optimised and productive process. So what we do at IPI is to see what we can do to transform business processes into digital form so that we can conform to the principle of this fourth industrial revolution. There’s an industrial trend that is taking shape anchored by technology which is the cloud.

How would these impact businesses in Nigeria?
If you look at the world generally, hardly can any business survive without internet connectivity, without being online and without using technology to accelerate the business process to deliver the right outcome. The fourth industrial revolution is defined by digital ecosystem so it is very important that businesses embrace digitalisation. The revolution cuts across the banking system, oil and gas, telecommunications, manufacturing, hospitality industry and so on, everything has been digitalised. Our job is to pick your business process as it is manually and then convert it into something that is conformable to the digital transformation agenda which is the fourth industrial revolution cycle.

Are there possible implications for not catching up with the fourth revolution trend?
Sincerely, if you don’t transform, you lose getting out of business completely. What shapes global productivity is technology. Digital transformation enthrones the principle of democratisation, transparency, accountability, efficiency and effective service delivery to your customers in a faster and most effective way.

So what is the essence of cloud computing in the value chain of the fourth revolution?
Cloud computing is the main driver like the landlord of all digital transformation structures. It’s the space all digital transformations take place. So before you can digitally transform your business, you have to make sure you cloudify, meaning your business is actually cloud-framed that is how it actually starts becoming digitally transformed. Cloud is the main base, the backbone for digital transformation. So without cloud base you can’t digitally transform or position your business to sustainability in this fourth industrial world.

In this clime, there’s the perception that digital is overhyped. Do you share the sentiment?
I don’t share that sentiment and I can tell you why today internet was birthed 30 years ago but half of global population is sitting on the internet. More than 7.3 billion people are currently on the internet, with more than two billion mobile devices connected to the internet today. We have trillions of authentications taking place every day. Is there anybody without digital identity or platform? Those who own the future are those that have positioned themselves in this digital space.

Are there possible far reaching implications like cybercrimes and money-laundering associated with the digital revolution? If yes, how do businesses insulate themselves from the shocks?
According to a research conducted recently, 50 per cent of the people on internet are weary about cyber security. So it’s important to have competency around the structures in trying to protect those things you’re trying to put on the cloud. There’s no joke about going into digital environment. It’s about whose driving your process and guiding your entire operations, and that’s why at IPI we position ourselves as one of the digital transformation drivers in Nigeria. What we do is to identify all the components that will make sure your business secure, safely positioned into the digital environment, delivering the right result while also having the perfect privacy and security as conformable to the ISO 2070010 compliant. We are one of the first organisations in Nigeria to be GDPR compliant. We consider making our clients properly secured and positioned while also delivering the right service without having any bottleneck. We also help our clients mitigate such risks of cyber theft and security such that they don’t have troubles.

Would you say Nigerian companies who are heavy on technology are compliant?
To be sincere with you, the industries are having shortage of compliance and I can tell you why because we don’t have digital experts in the key decision making in this compliance structure, especially in the areas of corporate governance and compliance. We don’t have professionals taking decisions into these industrial sectors. Although the financial is highly regulated and compliant probably due to Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention, it makes it healthy. Until you have key digital experts sitting in the decision making areas of the country, you would barely have compliance in certain areas of Nigerian industries.

An emerging trend in the technology space is artificial intelligence, is Nigeria likely to look that way soon?
Artificial Intelligence must come. There’s no way human beings can think faster than computer. It is a natural process we can’t fight. Artificial Intelligence is the operating system of the future, the same way we have windows, while block chain is the protocol of the future. These two things must take shape.

What trends are we likely to see in the technology space this year?
Although we are approaching elections in Nigeria, but technology is independent of any policy or election. Technology must move so what I see is there could be different adoption to the cloud. 2019 is going to be a digital transformation year for businesses in Nigeria.

For anyone who has been to your office, the retinue of award plaques that fill your office is intimidating to say the least. How does it feel being recognised by local, regional and global firms across the world?
I actually feel that we have to do more. It means we’re indebted to some people. We must again, sustain the excellent spirit. I feel like we need to do much more we can’t betray their trust because they trust in our services.