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South African businesses fail in digital leadership

Just 8% of South African businesses are Digital Leaders, according to the Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index (the DT Index).

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The DT Index, which was completed in collaboration with Intel, maps digital transformation progress of mid to large-sized companies and examines the digital hopes and fears of business leaders. The study reveals that 13% of SA heads of business believe their organisation will struggle to meet changing customer demands within just five years and 19% fear they’ll be left behind.

The DT Index’s calculations are based on companies’ perceived performance in the following areas: delivering against the core attributes of a digital business**, their existing IT strategy, workforce transformation strategy and planned investments.

Two years after the DT Index’s initial launch in 2016, Dell Technologies and Intel have more than doubled the scope of the research, from 16 countries to 42 and benchmarked 4,600 businesses, using the following groupings: Digital Leaders, Digital Adopters, Digital Evaluators, Digital Followers and Digital Laggards.

The Digital Transformation Index has tracked movement across various groups. For instance, 23% of businesses now are categorised as Digital Adopters. These companies have advanced digital plans and innovations in place to power their transformation.

However, the Digital Transformation Index also reveals that too many companies are still in the bottom two groups meaning they’re either moving too slowly or don’t even have a digital plan in place.

 

Benchmark groups Description 2018 SA analysis
Digital Leaders Digital transformation, in its various forms, is ingrained in the DNA of the business 8%
Digital Adopters Have a mature digital plan, investments and innovations in place 23%
Digital Evaluators Cautiously and gradually embracing digital transformation; planning and investing for the future 39%
Digital Followers Very few digital investments; tentatively starting to plan for the future 24%
Digital Laggards Do not have a digital plan, limited initiatives and investments in place 6%

 

Barriers to digital transformation

According to the research, 90% of South African businesses are facing major impediments to digital transformation today.

The top five barriers to digital transformation are:

  1. Lack of the right in-house skill sets and expertise
  2. Data privacy and cybersecurity concerns
  3. Lack of budget and resources
  4. Regulation or legislative changes
  5. Lack of alignment and collaboration across the company

These barriers are hampering digital transformation efforts. For instance, 77% of South African business leaders believe that digital transformation should be more widespread throughout the organisation. Only 16% strongly agree they’ll disrupt rather than being disrupted within five years.

“We’ve talked about being on the cusp of tremendous change for some time now. That’s no longer the case,” said Doug Woolley, GM of Dell EMC South Africa. “The next digital era has arrived and it’s reshaping the way we live, work and conduct business. Which means that time is of the essence. Genuine transformation needs to happen now, and it needs to be radical.”

Conquering their challenges

The research indicates that businesses are taking steps to overcome their barriers, along with the threat of being outmanoeuvred from more nimble, innovative players. Although progress in these areas is patchy/slow. We can see this with:

  • 64% of local businesses using digital technologies to accelerate new product/services development
  • 64% of businesses building security and privacy into all devices, applications and algorithms
  • 53% striving to develop the right skills sets and expertise in-house, such as teaching staff how to code
  • 60% sharing knowledge across functions, by equipping IT leaders with business skills and business leaders with IT skills

Companies are also turning to emerging technologies and cybersecurity to power (and secure) their transformation.

Planned investments within the next one to three years:

  • 65% of South African businesses intend to invest in cybersecurity
  • 49% of South African businesses intend to invest in IoT technologies
  • 46% of South African businesses intend to invest in Multi-cloud environments
  • 41% of South African businesses intend to invest in Flash technologies
  • 34% of South African businesses intend to invest in Compute-centric data center design

A small but significant number of businesses are even planning to experiment with nascent technologies. 20% will be investing in blockchain, 18% in quantum computing and 20% in VR/AR.

“It’s an exciting time to be in business. We’re at a crucial intersection – where technology, business and mankind meet to create a better, more connected world,” added Woolley, Dell Technologies. “However, only technology-centered organisations will reap the rewards offered by a digital business model, including the ability to move quickly, to automate everything and to delight customers. This is why digital transformation needs to be a number one priority.”

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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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