By Emma Okonji
The Chief Transformation Officer, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, Mr. Bayo Adekanmbi, has said the accelerated adoption of digital tools will create long-term impact on businesses and increase their chances of survival and growth, despite the harsh global economy created by Covid-19.
According to him, “We have seen an acceleration in the transition to the use of digital tools that we expected to take a decade, happen almost overnight, and it is unlikely that some of these changes will be reversed.
“The new normal is here and businesses have to re-organise their core business models through backward and forward integration to maintain their relevance.”
Adekanmbi said the challenge that new digital tools often face, was how to drive adoption. How to break deeply-held routines, or accepted practice.
Many disruptive digital tools seek to change long-held social norms. For example, employers for years have insisted on the need for physical meetings in an office, in order to conduct business,’ he added.
He, however, noted that while the video conference industry grew with the growth of digital technology, he was not sure it anticipated the kind of acceleration that took place when the pandemic struck the world.
“In a few short months, employees everywhere are completely used to the concept of engaging with their colleagues remotely. Just look at the share price of Zoom, and the investments that its competitors are making in their own propositions.
“It’s already clear that a significant percentage of offices will continue some level of remote working, even if restrictions are lifted.
“This is true in other segments too. Visual or digital entertainment businesses have grown significantly and more and more people are going to understand the type of immersive experiences that technologies like 7D offer.
“In Denmark, the football club Aarhus have introduced a ‘virtual stadium’ for spectators to attend via Zoom and showed the world how football can work without fans.
“Sport being delivered through an enhanced experiential immersion experience would have been considered decades away just three months ago,” Adekanmbi said.
According to him “Digital Financial Services are also expanding rapidly as they underpin all of these digital services, and many of the existing adoption challenges have been removed as people sign up to mobile financial services, or utilise agent networks in close proximity to them, out of necessity.
“The tele-health industry has had to step into the gap left by restrictions on access to hospitals. How many of us will now be more comfortable than we expected engaging with our doctors remotely going forwards? How many of us will be comfortable with the idea of engaging with robots as a first point of contact at hospitals, as they have introduced in Rwanda?”
Given the accelerated adoption of digital tolls, Adekanmbi said a network of Nigerian agriculture companies, invested significantly over the last few years in automating the supply chain, and ensuring they can track inputs in real time. That capability makes it much easier to manage the type of disruption that Covid-19 and movement restrictions bring.