The COVID-19 pandemic is still raging and its reality has eventually dawned on us here in Nigeria, making nonsense of the earlier assumption that it cannot survive in our clime and that black people are immune from its effects. Thousands of Nigerians have since been infected with the virus and we hear of new reported cases everyday, with fatalities too. This has served as an impetus for many Nigerians, who hitherto were treating the virus with kid gloves, to have a rethink and start taking precautionary measures in order to escape contracting the virus.
As professionals keep enlightening us on what to do and how best to protect ourselves, I will however just like to counsel that COVID-19 is real and we should all take the necessary precautions as prescribed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control as scientists continue the search for a cure or a vaccine. I pray they achieve this very soon, so that people across the world can get their lives going once again.
That said, let me go straight to today’s piece. Staying positive that we will overcome COVID-19 pretty soon. Now, as someone who has spoken and written repeatedly about the need to take technology serious in Nigeria, I will like to once again state that COVID-19 has simply advanced the adoption technological solutions in unbelievable ways. Unfortunately for us, we are somewhat on the losing end and that is because most of the widely used tech solutions today are foreign owned, so at the end of the day, we will continue to put pressure on our already weakened naira because these solutions are paid for in foreign currencies.
For instance, due to COVID-19, some state meetings are now held via video-calling platforms and these include sensitive and classified meetings. One wonders, if we have thought through the security implications of such actions? Do we realise that data from meetings and calls get stored on various servers across the world? No forward-looking nation would allow a lot of what is going on today but since we were not prepared, we have no choice but to adopt what is available and move on.
That being said, I am personally delighted that we are at least making progress with the adoption of technology across healthcare, education, law, relationship, logistics and commerce. Nigerians have to step up their game big time as our world has been changed forever by this pandemic. I only wish we had a national strategy around technology development and adoption before now as that would have made us better prepared.
Imagine, the difference a platform such as Remita has made by way of the Treasury Single Account, which ensured that all government accounts are collapsed into one and designated officials can see the nation’s bank balances at any point in time. This is a departure from when the country had over 20,000 bank accounts. That is precisely how you create massive impact empowering your own tech companies to build solutions and actively supporting them until they grow.
Technology has a number of advantages such as improved business communication, increased efficiency, engaged employees , increased business capacity, valuable time and money savings. Another good aspect of technology is that it levels the playing field to an extent, which means that there are certain solutions, hitherto meant for huge corporations but today are readily available for start-ups.
This is why this quote from the Managing Director of SystemSpecs, the developers of Remita is quite apt, “be aware of trends and adapt your business models and practices, to suite the same. Relevance is the currency of the digital age. Consistently seek it through innovation.” For an organisation to stay afloat in today’s business environment, there is a need to provide quality service leveraging technology as much as possible. The more a firm properly leverages technology, the more its customers will want to stay loyal. This is because as an average individual wants to explore all the possibilities that would make all the associated transactions and activities, comfortable. Here are possible results businesses can get from proper tech adoption:
Meeting customer needs faster
The first experience that most of a company’s customers have of the company, is sometimes from an interaction with the organisation’s website. Leveraging chat software, businesses reach out to potential and current customers by automation, thus, making service delivery faster. This makes it easier for the potential customers of a company to build trust in them and increase patronage.
Easy audience segmentation
Firms can use search engines and social media channels to laser-target their audience. For instance, Google enables targeting search, through demographics, keywords and re-marketing. Doing this, firms can offer useful information to their segmented audience. The more valuable the information displayed, the more business possibilities to leverage.
Increase in productivity
Companies that apply technological solutions tend to enhance their productivity, exponentially. They get more done within short periods of time. Using task management tools, executives are on top of all the day-to-day responsibilities and once this part is covered, they focus on more options of exploring business possibilities.
Enhance your marketing
With top technology solutions, your marketing would be enhanced. In short, technology has ensured that businesses are provided with the best medium for marketing. In all of these, the key ingredient, to unlocking growth is to utilise technology for developing your business processes, with a view to satisfying your clients and customers, thus, enhancing your business possibilities. Innovation is the singular process that separates you, your business, your products and services from your competitors.
The reality is that a number of entrepreneurs have little or no choice, how they choose to interact with technology going forward. It is either we innovate or die. Same goes for our dear country Nigeria – the days of oil are numbered – the sooner we realise this, the better for generations unborn.