Embracing Digital Transformation in Africa



Digital Transformation (DT) is not necessarily about digital technology, but

about the fact that technology, which is digital, allows people to solve their

traditional problems. And they prefer this digital solution to the old solution.

The transformation stage means that digital usages inherently enable new types

of innovation and creativity in a particular domain, rather than simply enhance

and support traditional methods.


In a narrower sense, “digital transformation” may refer to the concept of

“going paperless”, and reaching a “digital business maturity” which affects both

individual businesses and whole segments of society, such as government, mass

communications, art, medicine, and science.


While the impact of this on businesses has been profound, many are struggling to

realise the full potential of what digitisation and this is also clearly divided by

Geography. According to the McKinsey Global Institute’s Industry Digitization

Index, Europe is currently operating at 12% of its digital potential, while the USA

is operating at 18%. Even within the leading economies of Europe there are also

some significant differences as, according to the study, Germany operates at 10%

of its digital potential, while the UK is almost on par with the USA at 17%. This

clearly demonstrates that, while business processes are undergoing great change

making much progress in the adoption of digitisation, even advanced economies

are struggling to exploit the full potential of digitisation but still African countries

can still embrace this development for maximum developmental process the continent

is facing.


Early Development

With the introduction of the World Wide Web, the scope, dimension, scale, speed

as well as effects of digitalization fundamentally changed, resulting in the

increased pressure on the societal transformation process.


In 2000, digitalization began to be used more widely as a concept and argument

for an overall governmental introduction of IT, increased usage of internet and

IT on all levels. A similar development began in the general business climate in

order to raise awareness regarding the issue and opportunity. In the EU for

instance, an initiative called the Digital Single Market was developed, with

recommendations for national digital agendas in the EU, which gradually and

positively should contribute to the future societal transformation, with more

modern development of communities, structures and to create a basis for e-

governance and information society but in this case Africa is still struggling,

big thanks to technological companies like Facebook, Google and IBM who

are supporting millions of youths with high quality online digital skills

empowerment programmes with certificates which is helping africans to

relocate jobs and be usefull through digitilization .


The debate surrounding digitalization has therefore gained increased practical

importance for politics, business and social issues, and is linked to political work

issues for community development, new changes in the practical business

approaches, effective opportunities for organizations in operational and business

process development, with effect on internal and external efficiency of IT to

name a few.


Digitalization and Digital Transformation



Unlike digitization, digitalization is the actual ‘process’ of the technologically-

induced change within these industries. This process has enabled much of the

phenomena today known as the Internet of Things, Industrial Internet, Industry

4.0, Big data, machine to machine communication, blockchain, cryptocurrencies etc.


The academic discussion surrounding digitalization has been described as

problematic as no clear definition of the phenomena has been previously

developed. A common misconception is that digitalization essentially means the

usage of more IT, in order to enable and take advantage of digital technology and

data. This early definition however, has largely been replaced by the above

definition, now linked to holistic views on business and social change, horizontal

organizational and business development, as well as IT.


Digital transformation

Finally, digital transformation is described as “the total and overall

societal effect of digitalization”. Digitization has enabled the process of

digitalization, which resulted in stronger opportunities to transform and change

existing business models, consumption patterns, socio-economic structures, legal

and policy measures, organizational patterns, cultural barriers, etc.

Digitization (the conversion), digitalization (the process) and the digital

transformation (the effect) therefore accelerate and illuminate the already

existing and ongoing horizontal and global processes of change in society.


Opportunities and challenges


Digital transformation is a major challenge and opportunity. When planning for

digital transformation, organizations must factor the cultural changes they’ll

confront as workers and organizational leaders adjust to adopting and relying on

unfamiliar technologies. Digital transformation has created unique marketplace

challenges and opportunities, as organizations must contend with nimble

competitors who take advantage of the low barrier to entry that technology

provides. Additionally, due to the high importance given today to technology and

the widespread use of it, the implications of digitization for revenues, profits and

opportunities have a dramatic upside potential. We can understand digital

transformation through some real-world examples.


1. Digital transformation in hospitality management

It focuses on ambitious digital transformation, aiming to put the customer back

at the center of its strategy and operations. We need to assess organizational

structure to embrace digital transformation and identify how data from online

content and reviews might play a role in increasing booking. Latest advancement

in this respect are Online Travel Agencies, service aggregators like Expedia,

Booking.com. We have another competitor in market which is not only digitally

transforming the hospitality industry but actually bringing disruption with the

help of technology, AirBnb.


2. Digital Transformation in e-commerce


Digital experience has become inevitable without e-commerce interaction. Big

players like Amazon.com, Alibaba.com have already disrupted the shopping

journey. But now we have more challenging tasks of avoiding sequence of events

that lead to the security breaches like theft of debit and credit card numbers as

well as the personal information of millions of customers. We need to improve

over our infrastructure with minute details like safe transactional operations,

improved customer satisfaction along with data security.


3. Digital Transformation in banking


It focuses on digital transformation of banking sector in seeking regional growth

amidst a new digital era. Banks have already invested heavily in technology and

infrastructure, which bring dramatic changes and rewired this sector for digital

innovation. From online banking (bank in your pocket), to ATM availability at

every nook and corner has enriched the user experience. Major forces of the

digital transformation strategy involve the overhaul of organization, the rapid

enhancements of highly scalable digital platforms, the leverage on technology to

sculpt the customer experience, and the internal evolution and external

partnering in seeking new digital innovation.


4. Digital Transformation in training


With the increase of online learning tools and facilities organisations and

individuals are looking for more flexible ways per personal development. Using

video driven lectures, online learning communities and learning management

systems allows creating new business models which disrupt the traditional

lecture driven training sessions.



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