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Africa poised for the ‘digitisation of everything’

By Vukani Mngxati, Chief Executive Officer for Accenture Africa

The ‘digitisation of everything’ trend is evolving at pace and Africa cannot afford to play catch-up. Digital disruption now affects every business, which means pressure is mounting to digitally transform operations if companies hope to remain competitive and relevant.

To do so requires keeping step with the relentless pace of innovation, while rivalling emerging digital native businesses and meeting shifting customer expectations and demands.

I believe that Africa is uniquely poised amid this shifting paradigm as it is largely unconstrained by the challenges posed by overhauling legacy systems. This creates opportunities for businesses on the continent to leverage emerging and maturing digital technologies to truly revolutionise and disrupt the status quo.

Due to the prevailing socio-economic landscape, it is unsurprising to see the ingenuity that has arisen from our proud continent. While these pockets of innovation have helped African nations make significant strides, more can be done to create a prosperous future.

By embracing and tilting toward the future through digital transformation, a unique opportunity exists for African nations to leapfrog other industrialised countries and play a leading role in the modern digital economy.

Those organisations that lag the digital adoption curve will struggle to participate in this digitised future, and with new and nimble disruptive players entering the market, the need to transform at pace has never been more important to corporate Africa.

However, embracing digitisation comes with significant complexities. The challenges most executives currently face include contextualising what digitisation means for their specific business and how they can apply it to meet their unique demands and requirements.

And it is Accenture Africa’s plan to enable this transformation by establishing ourselves as Africa’s digital accelerator and unlocking African abundance for all through the application of digital technologies. We believe that African organisations that embrace and harness digitisation intelligently will improve bottom-lines, while contributing to the economy and creating employment opportunities across the continent.

And as Africa’s most industrialised nation, South Africa is well positioned to drive the digital transformation agenda. Conversations in local boardrooms are already dominated by the need to implement digital capabilities that can boost organisational performance, unlock operational efficiencies and spur new growth.

To meet this demand, Accenture Africa has taken steps to position ourselves at the forefront of discussions around digital transformation. The central tenet of our strategy is applying relevant new technologies for impact in businesses across industries to enable them to “lead in the new”.

Companies need to adopt a new approach to organisational change through a strategy we call ‘a wise pivot’. It involves a series of decisions about how to transform and grow the existing business, and how to continuously and synchronously scale new businesses. A wise pivot also requires the right strategy to ensure the timing, scale and direction of investments are calibrated adequately.

The key to a successful wise pivot is building sufficient investment capacity for change and determining how to release resources within the organisation to enable innovation by design. In this regard, our job is to help legacy businesses pivot their operation decisively and sustainably, while creating synergies between the old and the new to capitalise on opportunities and reimagine new possibilities.

To help companies do so with speed and confidence, we offer an end-to-end solutions set that has been tested time and again both globally and locally. Our capabilities stem from the strength of our transformation acumen.

This is delivered though our corporate leadership, who have a birds-eye view of global industry movements and rapidly evolving innovation and technology trends, and the skills of our digital talent pool, which increasingly comprises individuals from the digitally-savvy Millennial generation. This is coupled with the horse-power of our technology solutions and new capabilities that reside in our leading Accenture Digital customer experience agency and our new local Fjord design studio.

Accenture Africa’s various divisions are already engaging and collaborating with the public and private sectors on projects that will drive social impact on the continent. By leverage technology to solve for big social challenges, such as access to healthcare and housing and the delivery of basic services such as banking, we will change how African citizens work and lives.

Our unique approach will drive the required step-changes and exponential growth needed to transform how companies do business in the digital economy. However, this is a dynamic and continual process and there is no box-drop solution. This is why we also assist clients with change management and constantly engage with them. In this way we build a lasting partnership that is able to unlock long-term value. This will ultimately ensure that Accenture Africa and our South African and African clients are able to compete in the global marketplace, today and into the future.

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