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SA among tech trailblazers

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Companies across the globe are scrambling to understand and implement the benefits of modern digital technologies. Forbes has called this revolution a top business priority, adding that “organizations believe that by 2020, nearly half their revenue will be impacted by digital in some way.”

These technologies are not nice-to-have but fundamentally challenge and alter how companies operate. From employees being able to work anywhere to robust and fast reporting, the world is only beginning to grasp the value of new digital business technologies.

One would think that the most prolific adopters would be in the developed world. But the latest Dell Technologies Digital Transformation (DT) Index shows the inverse is true. When ranked by their digital maturity, companies from developing markets are leading the pack.

Indian businesses head the adoption curve, followed closely by Brazil and Thailand. South Africa ranks 9th out of 41 countries with a maturity score of 50 – not far from India’s 58. The US, the only developed nation in the top 10, is ranked 6th with a score of 52. Australia is ranked 13th, China 16th and the UK 19th. Countries such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore – often seen as technology leaders – sit at the bottom end of the index.

“It’s very good to see South Africa rank so highly, but not that much of a surprise,” said Doug Woolley, GM of Dell EMC South Africa. “Local businesses are careful and even conservative, but they are also interested in efficiency and progress. A few years ago many were still holding back, but that has been changing fast. They are looking for efficiencies and to become more nimble. I also believe there’s a greater sense of urgency and clarity in developing markets such as ours. The market environment has been tough and that’s sharpening senses. There’s real value in new generation business technologies and investments in them are paying off.”

Beyond increasing business speeds, these investments are providing very powerful means to generate business intelligence out of data. Trailblazing technologies such as telematics, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation are all results of those investments. So is the ability to access business systems on a phone or laptop hundreds of kilometres away.

Behind the curve

But most countries are not evolving fast enough. Dell Technologies, in collaboration with Intel and Vanson Bourne, surveyed 4,600 business leaders (director to C-suite) from mid- to large-sized companies across the globe to score their organizations’ transformation efforts.

The study revealed that developed markets are slipping behind: Japan, Denmark and France received the lowest digital maturity scores. What’s more, emerging markets are more confident in their ability to “disrupt rather than be disrupted” (53%), compared to just 40% in developed nations.

The DT Index II builds on the first ever DT Index launched in 2016. The two-year comparison highlights that progress has been slow, with organizations struggling to keep up with the blistering pace of change. While the percentage of Digital Adopters has increased, there’s been no progress at the top. Almost four in 10 (39%) businesses are still spread across the two least digitally mature groups on the benchmark (Digital Laggards and Digital Followers).

“In the near future, every organization will need to be a digital organization, but our research indicates that the majority still have a long way to go,” says Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies. “Organizations need to modernize their technology to participate in the unprecedented opportunity of digital transformation. The time to act is now.”

Notes to editor

Most digitally mature countries:

  1. India
  2. Brazil
  3. Thailand
  4. Mexico
  5. Colombia
  6. US
  7. Taiwan
  8. Turkey
  9. South Africa
  10. Portugal

Least digitally mature countries (from bottom up):

  1. Japan
  2. Denmark
  3. France
  4. Belgium
  5. Singapore
  6. South Korea
  7. Netherlands
  8. Finland
  9. New Zealand
  10. Czech Republic

Research methodology

During the summer of 2018, independent research company Vanson Bourne surveyed 4,600 business leaders from mid- to large-size companies across 42 countries/sub-regions to gauge their organizations’ place on the Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index. Vanson Bourne classified businesses’ digital business efforts by examining their IT strategy, workforce transformation initiatives and perceived performance against a core set of digital business attributes.a

Follow the latest news on Twitter from @DellTech@Dell and @DellEMC

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TikTok looks for SA talent

The fast-rising short-video platform has launched a #PickMe campaign to discover local stars.

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TikTok, which claims to be the world’s leading destination for short-form videos, launches its first PickMe campaign, an effort to discover creative talents and provide a stage to express themselves in South Africa. Starting March 1, TikTok kicked off a month-long search through participants’ 15-second videos under hashtag #PickMe.

TikTok says it is committed to investing in South Africa and discovering the local talents. The PickMe campaign is supported by its local partners like Huawei, MTV Base and Digify Africa.

Local stars, including comedian and singer Lasizwe and singer Nadia Jaftha, have joined the campaign and called for users to show their talents on TikTok.

There are 5 categories of video shooting in the campaign, namely dance, acting, comedy, singing and cosmetics. Participants need to shoot a 15-second video using TikTok using #PickMe and tag @tiktok_africa to participate in the challenge. The finalists will be selected based on their video performance. The most popular and talented participants will have the chance to win prizes like Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphones, a day at MTV Base, and a once-off-presenter opportunity and attendance at an intensive video production workshop delivered by Digify Africa.

“TikTok has definitely evolved into something that everyone loves and uses. It’s given creators a space to create more unique content and also help the creator gain a whole new kind of fan base, ” says Preven Reddy, Imbewu The Seed TV-star and Megazone radio host who is also a TikTok user.

Says TikTok video creator Mihlali Nxanga: “As a young South African working towards being in the entertainment industry, TikTok has given me the platform to grow my following tremendously. Within 6 months, my fan base has grown by a whopping 90 000, and not only from South Africa, but the whole world. For me, TikTok is not just a content platform, it is a global community.”

The campaign will wrap up on March 31. The list of the finalist will be announced in the app and on official Instagram @tiktok_southafrica. For more information, please visit the TikTok app.

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Rugby fan experience transformed by digital platform

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The South African Rugby Federation has embraced digitalisation as a key enabler of its strategic aspirations. It has worked with Accenture to transform fan engagement for Springbok supporters with the launch of a digital fan platform.

“Digital technology and social media have transformed how modern fans watch, support and engage with their favourite teams,” says SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux. “To maintain our relevance amid this new market dynamic, and grow our fan base, we’ve acknowledged the vital need to digitally transform our organisation.”

Wayne Hull, managing director for Accenture Digital in Africa, says: “SA Rugby’s ambition to pivot to a more fan-centric strategy requires digital design, content, platforms and insights because modern consumers, including loyal Springbok supporters, engage predominantly via mobile digital channels and expect hyper-personalised experiences.”

Accenture Digital’s development process started with quantitative and qualitative research, which informed the user experience (UX) design guidelines and content strategy for the digital fan engagement platform.

“To know what fans want, we needed to understand the fans themselves,” says Hull. “The Accenture Digital team mined the research data and identified multiple fan ‘personas’, which all have different content consumption, platform functionality and engagement preferences.”

The platform development team focused on three critical elements to meet these requirements – the customer experience (CX), the engagement engine and cloud-based deployment.

“To deliver a memorable and engaging CX, Accenture Digital leveraged leading digital experience software,” says Hull. “The result is a fully integrated and responsive platform that creates seamless, personalised digital fan experiences across SA Rugby’s content, commerce and digital marketing initiatives in a manner that makes fans feel recognised and connected to the players and the game.”

The new platform will serve as the first point of call for any rugby fan who wants to get their data fix with exclusive statistics, analytics and insights. The platform’s content style will include more visual elements – videos and images – with more concise articles that are easier to digest, in accordance with evolving content consumption preferences on mobile screens. This will complement long-form thought leadership and insight pieces. 

In addition, fans will enjoy exclusive access to player-related content, such as behind-the-scenes footage and game and training performance stats. SA Rugby will also benefit from the ability to track comments and mentions via the Sitecore analytics platform Accenture Digital implemented, to respond and engage in the conversations Springbok fans are having on social media about the game, the teams or the players.

To do this, SA Rugby required a consolidated view of the customer. However, data resided in disparate sites across ticketing providers and SA Rugby’s e-commerce and online magazine databases. This information will be consolidated into the CRM system, with multiple integration points available to leverage this data.

The CRM system’s functionality will help to reveal insights such as fan communication preferences and their likes and dislikes, which will place hyper-relevance at the core of SA Rugby’s fan experience and engagement strategy.

 The final element in the platform development was cloud deployment, which allows fans to access the platform from any device that has an internet connection. The platform is hosted within the Microsoft Azure environment, which is stable, secure and fully redundant. It gives SA Rugby the flexibility to manage the platform themselves, with the option to integrate or scale additional functionality down the line.

Based on the outcome, Hull believes that Accenture Digital has successfully reimagined, built and delivered a world-class, modern and mobile-friendly digital fan platform that creates a fun, immersive and engaging experience for fans.

“It’s a major step towards helping SA Rugby realise its ambition to become a fan-centric, forward-looking and nimble organisation, and we look forward to building and developing the platform further with the team as their digital fan engagement requirements evolve,” says Hull

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