The digital shift
Vuyani Jarana, Chief Officer Vodacom Business, sees digital transformation as the key to competing in a new economy where the disruptors seem to hold all the aces.
A Ready Business is quicker to the market, and key to this is embracing the ever-growing trend of digitalisation. Digitalisation moves technology from merely serving as an enabler to business, to being at its very core. However, it is not always a simple step for businesses to take, dealing as they must with existing infrastructure, systems and processes that were not initially designed around it. The move often requires a massive shift in the way businesses are run.
Today, businesses have ways to engage with their customers on many platforms and devices – online, and on mobile devices wherever their customers are. And what is perhaps most exciting about digitalisation is that has potential to transform businesses of all sizes, from small to medium, to large private and public sector enterprises – any business, in fact, that’s focussed on delivering services to end users.
The technology evolution means new channels for communicating with customers, says Vuyani Jarana, Chief Officer at Vodacom Business.
‘Organisations will have to adapt to these changes and transform their businesses in order to reach their customers through their preferred channels,’ he says. ‘While it’s clear this demonstrates that the customer is now king, it’s equally clear that digitalising offers enormous benefits to the business as well.
‘For example, enterprises are now able to reach their customers anywhere and at any time. Digitalisation also opens up new markets, by virtue of allowing access to customers in different geographies. Furthermore, it will help businesses to create efficiencies and improve service delivery, ultimately boosting economic growth as a whole and opening up a multitude of new ecosystems.’
The basics are key
Key to getting digitalisation right is locking down the basics first. That means effective infrastructure, such as data centres and cloud services. It also means taking advantage of the possibilities of big data analytics. And this is where Vodacom Business comes in, says Jarana.
‘Vodacom Business is obviously able to offer all of the above, but the company has also invested in capabilities. We have experts who understand key vertical markets, how the value chains work and how to enable businesses to better engage with their end-customer.
‘We must remember that thanks to smartphones, the end-customers also have powerful computers in their hands. They want to use these to engage with businesses or government, which means that two-way engagement is a growing trend too, and as a mobile player first and foremost, we’re well-positioned to facilitate this. Such communication, of course, allows organisations to rapidly learn and adjust their strategies to meet changing customer demands, or to respond to new customer needs.
‘In addition, digitalisation has become a critical factor in remaining a market leader. There are many new entrants – non-traditional players – that have adopted the principles of digitalisation and leveraged this digital capability to become genuine market disruptors. In order to compete, existing businesses need to undergo their own digital transformation.’
For this reason, he says, Vodacom invests not only in platforms, infrastructure, technology and applications, but also in experienced people who assist businesses to make the digital change as seamlessly as possible. Whether the solution required is bespoke, or designed to enable collaboration across industry value chains, Vodacom is best placed to provide it.
‘And we can offer this from the very large enterprise level all the way down to the SME space. We understand the technology, and we have the experts and the analytics to ensure that our customers, regardless of their size, are able to service their end-customers better. Flexibility is the key to success, and we deliver this in order to help our customers exploit the new digital world.’
Flexibility is the future
In the new digital world, businesses are looking to become asset-light, relying instead on the capabilities of flexible cloud technology. New players work smart, being nimble and flexible and, therefore, more competitive.
‘Vodacom, of course, is positioned to provide the infrastructure and the data centre capacity required to enable customers to develop a flexible business model of this nature. Furthermore, we provide access to platforms for collaboration, which are underpinned by our core competencies, thereby enabling our customers to digitally transform.
‘Most importantly, we build our technologies and solutions with our end-customers firmly in mind, so that our platforms are architected from the outset to meet their needs. After all, whether you are an SME, very large enterprise or a government department, your ultimate goal is to deliver to your end-customer,’ he says.
The Vodacom advantage
Partnering with Vodacom on their digitalisation journey enables businesses to focus on what they do best, leaving the problems of infrastructure, platforms and understanding of the end-to-end value chain to Vodacom.
‘It must be remembered that in today’s economy, everything is driven by platforms and ecosystems. Where Vodacom has the advantage is that our platforms are able to communicate with other elements of the ecosystems. This allows us to aggregate information and data across these ecosystems, enabling us to offer unified insight to the customers, who can use the data to improve their own businesses.’
Security a top priority
For any savvy business, security is a vital part of the equation. Vodacom’s platform is permissions-based, so only those with the right credentials can access certain information. A strict managed security policy means the most secure platform possible.
‘Beyond this, it must also be noted that the earliest stages of our product development lifecycle are already underpinned by security. In other words, security is not an afterthought, tacked on at the end. It’s embedded into our offerings; our solutions are designed and built with security as a key part of their foundation.
‘We also provide end-point security for devices,’ he says. ‘We are therefore very confident that we have the right portfolio of security solutions to meet today’s needs. Furthermore, we’re constantly developing and evolving our security offerings, in order to remain one step ahead of cyber criminals.’
Digitalisation, says Jarana, is absolutely central to becoming future-ready. Traditional businesses can expect increased competition, as geography is no longer the limiting factor that it once was, and costs are, in many cases, falling.
‘The other change being brought by digitalisation is that companies will have to drastically improve their service levels and customer experiences. In today’s world, customers are becoming more discerning. Today they expect seamless service, the ability to utilise multiple channels to contact a business and immediate responses to their contact.
‘Therefore, if they’re unable to obtain this from your business, they’ll turn to a competitor that is able to provide this. In other words, digitalisation has all but destroyed the concept of customer or brand loyalty.
‘Once again, this is where Vodacom Business comes into its own, as we’re ideally positioned to serve as a national partner with our enterprise clients as they move into this digital world. We have the understanding, the infrastructure, the experience and the people to help organisations of all sizes, in both the public and private sector arenas, to reach out and grab the real and tangible benefits that this new digital economy can offer,’ he concludes.
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