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SA among tech trailblazers

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

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Mobile is the new branch

Standard Bank has launched an account for mobile devices that gives back 500MB of data a month

Standard Bank has introducd a R4.95p/m bank account called MyMo that customers can open on their mobile devices, loaded with data and airtime offerings and other benefits such as virtual and Gold physical card.

MyMo account holders will also enjoy the convenience of a cheque account through a Visa and Mastercard gold card. Once the account is open, users can choose to either receive R50 in airtime or 500MB of data a month, if their card is swiped more than four times a month. A further megabyte of data is loaded on the account for every R20 spent.

“MyMo is an account for everyone, whether you just landed your first job or have been around the block. With no documentation required it only takes a few minutes to open the account,” says Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive for Personal and Business Banking, South Africa, at Standard Bank Group. “For just R4.95 a month customer will be able to enjoy free swipes and ATM withdrawals at only R6.50 for amounts under R 1 000.

“Mobile is the new branch. This account is about bringing the mobile branch into customers hands, it is about convenience and security while banking.”

She says mobile offers low cost transactional banking which integrates people and businesses into the new connected economy, making mobile the new branch ecosystem that will drive and connect Africa’s growth. Physical connections to the economy are rapidly changing to digital where banks have to move from being financial institutions to service organisations.

“In the past people congregated in communities and eventually cities to maximise the advantages of connectivity. Today a simple hand-held device has the potential to open infinite doors, transforming individuals’ access to opportunities, regardless of where they are, and like never before in history. 

“Historically, a bank account represented access to economic citizenship. Today, having a simple device enabling digital access to a modern banking platform is a passport to global connectivity and vast human development potential.”

The bank says it is using technology, and mobile phones in particular, to deliver low-cost transactional channels accessible to all our customers. The evolution in mobile can be seen in transaction options like cash back at the retail checkout till rather than the ATM, free digital banking rather than using a branch, and the ability to transact using digital wallets, even without a bank account.

“Developing comprehensive connected ecosystems requires a mind-set change from Africa’s banks,” says Montjane. “Banks will evolve away from traditional financial service organisations, into service ecosystems enabling broad universal access to almost everything like enhanced purchasing experiences of vehicles and homes, online procurement of goods and services and lifestyle elements like rewards and travel. 

“These connectivity drivers will also act to future-proof evolving connectivity ecosystem by allowing us to offer untold future services while deriving income from as yet unrealised revenue streams,.   

From a customer perspective, the kind of ecosystems of knowledge, access and, ultimately, connectivity that banks will come to provide will radically transform the share of life that almost all individuals will be able to access.”

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Two-thirds of SA staff hide social media from bosses

With 90% of people in employment going online several times a day, it can be hard for most workers to keep their private and work-life separate during the working day (and beyond). The recently published Global Privacy Report from Kaspersky Lab reveals that 64% of South African consumers choose to hide social media activity from their boss. This secretive stance at work also extends to their colleagues, with 60% of South Africans also preferring not to reveal online activities to their co-workers.

Globally, the average employee spends an astonishing 13 years and two months at work during their lifetime. Interestingly though, not all this time is directly related to solving work tasks or earning a promotion: almost two thirds (64%) of consumers admit visiting non-work-related websites every day from their desk.

Not surprisingly, 35% of South African employees are against their employer knowing which websites they visit. However, more interestingly, 60% of South African are even against their colleagues knowing about their online activities. This probably means that colleagues constitute an even greater threat to future perspectives of an office slouch or maybe the relationships with colleagues are more informal and therefore, more valuable.

On the contrary, social media activity appears to be a less private domain for many and therefore, more suitable for sharing with colleagues but not the boss. This is probably because workers fear harming the public image of a company or interest in decreased staff productivity motivates companies to monitor employees’ social networks and make career changing decisions based on that. Such policies have led to 64% of South Africans saying that they don’t want to reveal their social media activities to their boss and 53% even don’t want to disclose this information to their colleagues.

A further 29% are against showing the content of their messages and emails to their employer. In addition, 3% even said that their career was irrevocably damaged as a consequence of their personal information being leaked. Thus, people are worried about how to build a favourable internal reputation and how not to destroy existing workplace relationships.

“As going online is an integral part of our life nowadays, lines continue to blur between our digital existence at work and at home. And that’s neither good nor bad. That’s how we live in the digital age. Just keep remembering that as an employee you need to be increasingly cautious of what exactly you post on social media feeds or what websites you prefer using at work. One misconceived action on the internet could have an irrevocable long-term impact on even the most ambitious worker’s ability to climb the career ladder of their choice in the future,” comments Marina Titova, Head of Consumer Product Marketing at Kaspersky Lab.

To ensure workers don’t fall prey of the internet threats at a work, there are some core guidelines to adhere to in the digital age:

  • Don’t post anything that could be considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libellous. If in doubt, don’t post.
  • Be aware that system administrators may at least, in theory, be informed about your web browsing patterns.
  • Don’t harass, threaten, discriminate or disparage against any colleague, partner, competitor or customer. Neither on social networks or in messages, emails, nor by any other means.
  • Don’t post photographs of other employees, customers, vendors, suppliers or company products without prior written permission.
  • Start using Kaspersky Password Manager to ensure your social media and other personal accounts are not at risk of unauthorised access by someone else in an office. Install a reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Security Cloud to protect your personal devices.

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