The Future of Work

The Future of Work

Valter Adão – Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, Deloitte Africa

The future of work holds myriad possibilities for change that business needs to adapt to. In order to do so, we have to understand the interconnections between evolving technology, the demographics at play and what power dynamics are emerging as a result. The future of work is being shaped by two powerful forces, the first being the growing adoption of artificial intelligence in the workplace and the second, expansion of the workforce to include both on- and off-balance-sheet talent.

Creating an effective digital culture is an intentional effort

Many companies are responding to an increasingly digital market environment by adding roles with a digital focus or changing traditional roles to have a digital orientation. There are now digital strategists, chief digital officers, digital engagement managers, digital finance managers, digital marketing managers, and digital supply chain managers, among other positions.

Despite the proliferation of digital roles and responsibilities, most executives recognise that their companies are not adequately preparing for the industry disruptions expected to emerge from digital trends. Nearly 90% of respondents to a 2015 global survey of managers and executives conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte anticipated that their industries will be disrupted by digital trends to a great or moderate extent, but only 44% said their organisations are adequately preparing for the disruptions to come.

Senior-level talent appears more committed to digitally maturing enterprises

Preparing for a digital future is no easy task. It means developing digital capabilities in which a company’s activities, people, culture, and structure are in sync and aligned toward a set of organisational goals. Most companies, however, are constrained by a lack of resources, a lack of talent, and the pull of other priorities, leaving executives to manage digital initiatives that either take the form of projects or are limited to activities within a given division, function, or channel.

Despite this, some companies are transcending these constraints, achieving digital capabilities that cut across the enterprise. Our research found that nearly 90% of digitally maturing businesses – those in which digital technology has transformed processes, talent engagement, and business models – are integrating their digital strategy with the company’s overall strategy. Managers in these digitally maturing companies are much more likely to believe that they are adequately preparing for the industry disruptions they anticipate arising from digital trends.

Companies that give their senior executives, senior management and managers the resources and opportunities to develop themselves in a digital environment are more likely to retain their talent.

In navigating the complexity of digital business, companies should consider embracing what we call digital congruence — culture, people, structure, and tasks aligned with each other, company strategy, and the challenges of a constantly changing digital landscape. For example, a conservative and hierarchical organisation pop­ulated with energetic entrepreneurs may not be able to harness their drive and energy. Similarly, an organisation with a flat and nimble structure may still struggle if its culture fears risk. When cul­ture, people, structure, and tasks are firing in sync, however, businesses can move forward successfully and confidently.

Disruption lies ahead

Imagine the future of work and what do you see? If intelligent machines can do many tasks now performed by people, what uniquely human skills will be valued? Evolving technology, demographics and power dynamics are all connected and those connections make all the difference in the future of work.

Driven by accelerating connectivity, new talent models, and cognitive tools, work is changing. As robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), the gig economy and jobs are being reinvented, creating the “augmented workforce” becomes the focus. We must reconsider how jobs are currently designed and work to adapt and learn for future growth.

Digital technology is having a profound effect on the 21st century organisation. It is fundamentally changing the way we work, the way we manage, where we work, how we organise, the products we use, and how we communicate.

Even though there are many changes, there are some aspects that remain constant. Organisations, filled with people, still exist to unite around a common purpose, common values, strategic objectives, and to get things done. People remain the most critical asset of most organisations—but are increasingly in the shadow of machines and in a maze of technologies. Individuals are still bound by hours in the day and their mental ability to process information. Work (done by computers and people) must be coordinated to create maximum value.

Organisations still need great leaders, managers, and employees at all levels to get things done in an efficient and effective way. We believe there is tremendous unrealised value from this new era yet to be claimed in how we communicate and collaborate in the future work environment.

New digital tools are dramatically changing how we use our screen time

The future working environment will require a shift in how we communicate and collaborate. Digital tools will be critical enablers for increased cross-cultural teaming. Virtual teaming capabilities across cultures for instance are becoming significant and normative. Collaboration strengthens relationships, so the choice of technologies should ideally allow for relationship-building activities as well as efficient communications. As companies move from email to other tools for communicating, collaborating, and connecting, they will need to develop the right cultural context and adapt workplace policies and processes to help ensure the environment and expectations are set up to enable successful adoption of whatever digital capabilities are implemented.

By Valter Adão – Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, Deloitte Africa

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AWS Customers Access New Global Cellular for IoT Devices

AWS Customers Access New Global Cellular for IoT Devices

New Eseye connectivity among first featured products on AWS marketplace IoT product listing. (image: Red Hat Developers)

Eseye announced details of a new, fully integrated, enhanced global cellular connectivity service, available on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace and featured on its new Internet of Things (IoT) category landing page.

AnyNet Secure Cellular Connectivity is a new Software as a Service (SaaS) product designed exclusively for IoT device deployments and available to AWS customers on AWS Marketplace. The cellular service is one of the first to directly integrate with AWS to enable customers to globally deploy IoT devices and securely activate, provision, authenticate and certify ‘things’ over-the-air, and finally to ingest data from these devices onto AWS for further data processing.

AnyNet Secure Cellular Connectivity on AWS Marketplace is an easy way to buy and manage SaaS products that combine with the enhanced multi-IMSI/operator global roaming capabilities of Eseye’s established AnyNet Secure SIM Card, which is newly offered for sale on

“AnyNet Secure Cellular Connectivity on AWS Marketplace combines two distinct offers from Eseye and AWS, making it significantly easier for AWS customers to purchase, scale and manage cellular connectivity for their local, regional or global IoT device deployments,” said Damian McCabe, Eseye’s GM Americas. “The availability of AnyNet Secure SIM Cards on AWS Marketplace creates a near seamless end-to-end deployment.”

Eseye has developed pricing based on SMS message buckets that are issued through, and align fully with, AWS’s billing system. As a result, cost management is transparent across what can be massive and highly dispersed IoT estates.

“AWS Marketplace is excited to have Eseye AnyNet Secure available to AWS customers looking to solve IoT connectivity between the cloud and hardware devices,” said Barry Russell, General Manager of Global Business Development, AWS Marketplace and Catalogue Services, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “Eseye is a dedicated AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced tier member, which also achieved AWS IoT Competency status. We see value in customers’ ability to procure and deploy the complementary hardware component on AWS Marketplace with just one click.”

Eseye plans to quickly extend coverage to include all 440 Mobile Network Operators across 190 countries, currently available with the AnyNet Secure SIM Card.

Staff Writer

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Tanzania continues to fight cybercrime

Tanzania continues to fight cybercrime

Tanzania and China are considering cooperating in internet and new media to control cybercrime. (image: Shutterstock)

In a bid to protect citizens and businesses from malicious hackers and cyber-criminals, the government of Tanzania is drafting new internet legislation.

The government hopes to cooperate with China to introduce the Personal Data Protection Act to make cyberspace more secure and protect users.

The new cyber law could add onto the two cyber-crime laws dubbed Cybercrimes Act 2015 and Electronic Transactions Act 2015.

Deputy minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Mr Edwin Ngonyani, said the government had done a lot in making sure that the country and its people were safe online and would strive to make the internet crime-free. “It is a responsibility of all of us to work together towards enhancement of our systems and protecting information to ensure adequacy and security around cyber infrastructure and content, which includes individual users that use the cyberspace,” he said.

According to the deputy minister, the proposed law would for the first time allow law enforcement to intrude on suspected communications and legalise the use of social media communication as evidence in court.


Staff Writer

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Sharp practices threaten $68b investments in telecoms sector

Sharp practices threaten $68b investments in telecoms sector

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it had been inundated with complaints from subscribers, including highly placed government officials and corporate organisations, about the menace.

• Operators trade blame, NCC moves to stop menace
A series of ‘communication frauds’ including masking, call refilling and SIM box is threatening $68 billion investments in the nation’s telecoms sector.

Already, the menace has pitted the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) against the interconnect clearing houses.

A communications fraud involves illegal use of telecommunications products or services to make money without paying the firms.

A masked call happens when an international calling number (Caller Line Identity) is masked as local number traffic. It is a deliberate attempt by the fraudster to avoid paying the correct International Termination Rate (ITR) for international calls, but to benefit by paying Local Termination Rate (LTR).

For example, when the number is masked as a local call, the operator pays N3.90 LTR and not N24.40 ITR.

A SIM Box fraud is a setup in which fraudsters install SIM boxes with multiple prepaid SIM cards. The fraudster can bring calls through VOIP (through internet) and terminate international calls through local phone numbers in the respective country to make it appear as a local call, by initiating the call through local SIM installed in the SIM box.

Call Refilling is a form of interconnect fraud in which one carrier tampers with CID (caller-ID) data to falsify the number from which a call originated before handing the call off to a competitor.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it had been inundated with complaints from subscribers, including highly placed government officials and corporate organisations, about the menace.

While the MNOs are blaming the interconnect clearing houses, which pick up international call traffics and terminate them on the local networks for the frauds, the NCC has given the telecoms operators July 28 deadline to stop the sharp practices or face fresh sanctions. The clearing houses have denied involvement, and passed the blame to the operators.

A telecoms expert, Kehinde Aluko, told The Guardian that the menace was being fuelled by the huge difference between termination rates for local and international voice calls. The development is therefore largely a ploy by perpetrators to illegally reduce their expenses while increasing their revenues.

“Decisive punitive action taken against one or two perpetrators would go a long way in serving as a deterrent. Action in this regard could range from financial sanction to suspension, revocation of licence and prosecution for economic and financial sabotage, and perhaps even for threat to national security.”

A letter by NCC to the MNOs, a copy of which The Guardian got, said following the complaints by different stakeholders in the industry in respect of receiving international calls, which display numbers in the National Numbering Plan (NNP) as the calling numbers, it has been investigating these unwholesome practices “and our initial findings show that the menace is currently widespread.”

The commission said due to the serious security and economic implications, “you are, by this letter, given a deadline of Friday July 28, 2017 to ensure no call masking and call refilling activity takes place in your network. The commission explicitly prohibits the practice and as such shall carry out robust compliance monitoring and enforcement actions after the expiration of this deadline. The commission shall fully apply relevant regulatory sanctions on your organisations if found to be in breach post the one week deadline.”

Some of the operators, who spoke to The Guardian on the condition of anonymity, said they had taken the matter to the NCC.

According to them, the NCC has held consultations with all stakeholders and read the riot act. “Engagement is ongoing with a view to arriving at a conclusive solution to the issue. However, as stated above, what we recommend is that decisive punitive action should be taken against one or two perpetrators.”

The operators, which failed to disclose how much they might have lost to these frauds in Nigeria, however, said the menace is not peculiar to the country.

According to them, SIM box fraud is among the top five emerging threats to operators and MNOs worldwide and cost the industry over $3 billion per year, according to the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA report 2013).

The operators recommended a detailed cost study that would serve as a basis for setting cost-based termination rates, which align with prevailing economic realities and allow for the flexibility required to deal with the dynamic nature of relevant fiscal parameters.

The Chief Executive Officer, Medallion Communications Limited, an interconnect clearing house, Ikechukwu Nnamani, said the MNOs’ accusations were baseless, alleging that the operators were culpable.

He explained what the clearing houses do as passing calls from one network operator to another, even international calls.

“For instance, if Globacom is calling MTN, the interconnect clearing passes the call from Globacom to MTN, so if Globacom has already masked the call before passing it to us, we don’t have a way to know, we just pass the call. It is only when MTN picks that they can say such a call has been masked for whatever reasons.

“The reaction to that allegation is that it is not accurate. A clearing house cannot be involved in such menace based on the ways calls are routed. Clearing houses are not supposed to have subscribers, they are not supposed to generate traffic. It is calls that come to them that they pass to terminating networks.”

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Google to train 10 million Africans

Google to train 10 million Africans

•Commits $20m to Africa’s development
Search giant, Google, has mapped out plans to get 10 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) trained, and have access to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) facilities in the next five years.

This is aside the special provision of mobile developer training to 100,000 Africans to develop world-class apps, with an initial focus on Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Google global Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sundar Pichai, disclosed these plans at the Google for Nigeria event in Lagos, yesterday.

Pichai further said the firm’s charitable arm,, is committing $20 million over the next five years to nonprofits that are working to improve lives across Africa.

“We’re giving $2.5 million in initial grants to the non-profit arms of African start-ups, Gidi Mobile, and Siyavula, to provide free access to learning for 400,000 low-income students in South Africa and Nigeria. The grantees will also develop new digital learning materials that will be free for anyone to use.

“We also want to invite nonprofits from across the continent to share their ideas for how they could impact their community and beyond. So we’re launching a Impact Challenge in Africa in 2018 to award $5million in grants. Any eligible non-profit in Africa can apply, and anyone will be able to help select the best ideas by voting online,” Pichai stated.

The Google CEO said the ICT firm wants to do more to support African entrepreneurs in building successful technology companies and products.

According to him, based on Google’s global Launch-pad Accelerator programme, this initiative will provide more than $3million in equity-free funding, mentorship, working space and access to expert advisers to more than 60 African start-ups over three years. Intensive three-month programs, held twice per year, will run out of a new Google Launchpad Space in Lagos—the programme’s first location outside of the United States.

“For people to take advantage of digital opportunities, acquiring the right skills and tools is only part of the equation. Online products and services—including ours—also need to work better in Africa. Today, we’re sharing news about how we’re making YouTube, Search and Maps more useful and relevant for Nigerian users,” he stated.

He revealed that Lagos is now on Street View in Google Maps. Also, the firm has improved its address search experience in Lagos, by adding thousands of new addresses and streets, outlines of more than a million buildings in commercial and residential areas, and more than 100,000 additional Nigerian small businesses on Google Maps.

“Today we’re launching Lagos on Street View, with 10,000 kilometres of imagery, including the most important historic roads in the city. You can virtually drive along the Carter Bridge to the National Stadium, or across the Eko Bridge, down to the Marina—all on your smartphone.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government said it will avail itself of the opportunity being provided by global organisations like Google, to train the teaming technology savvy youths in various ICT capacity development deployed by Google. This, it said, will further open up the accessibility of turning around the nation’s economy and making ICT the main stay.

Communications Minister, Adebayo Shittu, in a goodwill message at the event, said Nigeria as a nation has so much more to learn and gain from the digital revolution being championed by Google.

The minister commending the commitment of Google Nigeria to implementing ambitious reforms and bringing about macroeconomic stability in the context of the country’s ongoing Smart Digital Nigeria transition process, saying such efforts are bearing tangible results, and have laid the foundation for a credible path to fiscal sustainability and collaboration.

He added that Google, being one of the tech giants in computing and the web has been at the centre of this digital penetration, with the popularity of its open platforms, powering lots of smartphones with android and other digital tools.

“A lot has changed in Nigeria since the huge wave of Internet and mobile adoption globally. Today, access to smart phones and the web is growing. Indeed, there are about 149 million mobile subscribers and 97 million internet users, 76 per cent of them can access the internet on their phones.

“The growth in adoption of these trends amongst Nigerians presents huge opportunities for businesses which is important for Government’s ambition on economic diversification. However, only a small number of Individuals and enterprises are currently taking full advantage of new digital opportunities available,” Shittu stated.

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Apple axes iPod nano and shuffle

Apple axes iPod nano and shuffle

Touch became the last iPod standing on Thursday as Apple removed nano and shuffle stand-alone digital music players from its lineup.

Late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs introduced the devices some 12 years ago with his legendary showmanship flare, and the small, easy to operate players helped the company revolutionize how music was sold.

Apple confirmed to AFP that it is no longer selling nano and shuffle, and the MP3 players vanished from the Apple website.

“Today, we are simplifying our iPod lineup with two models of iPod touch now with double the capacity starting at just $199 and we are discontinuing the iPod shuffle and iPod nano,” the company said in an email.

Industry trackers and California-based Apple itself have long acknowledged that the do-it-all iPhone would eat away at sales of one-trick devices such as iPod MP3 players, so the farewell was met more with nostalgia than surprise.

The trend toward streaming music services, including the launch of one by Apple, has made devices designed just for carrying digital tunes around less enticing for consumers.

Shuffle devices about the size of matchbooks and featuring click-wheels for control but no screens debuted in early 2005, with Jobs touting that they let people carry broad libraries of music right in their pockets.

The small gadgets became popular with runners and others involved in physically active endeavors due to the ease with which they could be toted.

The iPod nano also hit the market in 2005, featuring click wheels and screens that improved the ability to select songs. Nano devices evolved with subsequent models, leading to one with a multi-touch screen and the look of an iPhone.

Neither the shuffle nor the nano linked to the internet, instead relying on downloading music from Apple online shop iTunes through computers.

Three years ago Apple discontinued the last version of the original iPod Classic, introduced in October of 2001.

The remaining products in the line are iPod touch models boasting much larger storage capacity and the ability to link wirelessly to internet hotspots for online content such as music streamed from services such as Apple Music.

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Nigeria plans council to regulate social media use

Nigeria plans council to regulate social media use

Issouf Sanogo (AFP/File)

National Council on Information (NCI) has recommended the “setting up of a Council to regulate the use of social media in Nigeria”.

The recommendation is contained in a communique issued at the end of Extraordinary Meeting of NCI on Hate Speeches, Fake News and National Unity held in Jos.

In the communique made available to journalists, the Council recommended the use of stringent measures in checking conventional media and their programmes.

The Council, presided over by Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, noted that Social media has no address as such vetting and editing posting in social media might be difficult.

The Council recommended that Information managers at the state level should open a website to counter report of any misinformation posted by the social media as quickly as the hate speeches, misinformation and fake news are posted.

It recommended immediate killing of whatever postings on social media assumed or presumed to be hate speeches or fake news or misinformation by the information managers in various states.

The Council noted that social media might take over the 2019 elections because Nigerians had come to rely more and believe the social media over the conventional media.

It directed the Federal and State Ministries of Information to use jingles to promote peace and come up with cartoons on the TV and Newspapers telling the dangers of fake news and hate speeches.

“The collaboration must start with National Orientation Agency and the state governments,” the Council recommended.

The Council underscored the need to start talking to those responsible for law and enforcement of justice to address the issues of citizens taking laws into their hands.

The body also emphasized that “the welfare of the people is paramount, people well fed will listen to their government”.

The extraordinary meeting of the council was declared open by Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau, represented by Prof. Sonni Tyoden, his Deputy.

Mr. Lalong observed that the combination of hate speech, conducts, commentaries, writing and displays that combined with the engagement of Hate Media Platforms had in global history proven their ability to incite genocide.

He emphasized that any person or group of persons using any media outlet to bait and explore the innocence and gullibility of a few people must be condemned and sanctioned as criminal, by all people of conscience

Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, in a keynote address, expressed displeasure over the hate spewed on radio stations across the country which according to him has become alarming.

The Minister said the careless incitement to violence and the level of insensitivity to the multi-religious, multi-ethnic nature of the country must not be allowed to continue because it is detrimental to the unity and well-being of our country.

The National Council on Information is the highest policy making body for information articulation and delivery in the country.

Delegates to the Council included Heads of Parastatal Agencies in the Federal Ministry of Information and Commissioners for Information in the 36 States.

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Twitter user growth stalls, revenue dips

Twitter failed to boost its user base and saw a drop in revenues in the past quarter, the social network said Thursday, sending its shares tumbling in pre-market trade.

The message platform, which has been struggling to keep pace in the fast-moving world of social media, reported a net loss of $116 million in the second quarter, slightly wider than its $107 million loss a year ago.

More significantly, Twitter reported its base of monthly active users was unchanged at 328 million compared to the first three months of the year and up just five percent from a year earlier.

Twitter said revenues in the quarter slipped five percent from a year ago to $574 million, and advertising revenue fell eight percent to $489 million.

Shares in Twitter sank more than nine percent to $17.77 in pre-opening trade on Wall Street following the release.

Twitter, which has never delivered a profit, said it is making progress on improving its product, in the expectation this will boost growth and help it move to profitability.

“We have developed what we believe are steady, stable and sustainable engines of growth,” Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey told a conference call.

“Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about.”

Daily vs. monthly users
Dorsey said Twitter was focusing on the metric of “daily active users” rather than the more closely watched monthly figure, and said daily usage was up 12 percent, without offering a specific number.

“We’re strengthening our execution, which gives us confidence that our product improvements will continue to contribute to meaningful increases in daily active usage,” he said in a statement.

“We’re also encouraged by the progress we’re making executing against our top revenue-generating priorities as we focus on making Twitter the best place to see and share what’s happening, where you can see every side and perspective.”

Twitter has built a loyal base of celebrities, journalists and political figures — and had been expected to see more engagement following the election of US President Donald Trump, a prolific tweeter who frequently makes policy announcements on the social network.

The San Francisco group has been seeking to draw in users by offering more video including live streaming of sporting events, aiming to broaden its appeal.

Twitter’s results came in sharp contrast with those of Facebook a day earlier. The world’s leading social network reported a 71 percent jump in profits to $3.9 billion, fueled by growth in ads delivered to its more than two billion users worldwide.

The research firm eMarketer predicts that Twitter’s total ad revenue will grow 1.6 percent this year to reach $2.28 billion worldwide but that its share of total worldwide digital ad spending will shrink to just one percent.

The research firm said it expects Twitter’s share of worldwide social network users to drop slightly to 10.6 percent in 2017.

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“To Remain Static Is To Lose Ground”- Datacentrix Showcase

“To Remain Static Is To Lose Ground”- Datacentrix Showcase

Datacentrix Showcase Event, Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Digital disruption is happening now.” This was the key message at the second annual Datacentrix showcase event which took place in Johannesburg on Thursday. The theme of the event was “the reality of singularity”, which looked at tackling the future of technology and the transformation that will result from its integration into every aspect of our lives.

The event was kicked off by two fascinating keynote speakers, the first of which was former CEO of First National Bank (FNB), Dr Michael Jordaan.

Jordaan, who is now a venture capitalist and a part of the Singularity University alumni, broke down the rate of disruption noting that “various industries have been disrupted beyond recognition.” Jordaan also pointed out that although this may be an exciting time for consumers, for the businesses affected by these disruptions, it is an uncertain and scary time.

He then proceeded to identify the latest innovations in technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Solar Power, and showed how these technologies could impact an array of industries. The former FNB CEO noted that there are obstacles to these disruptions, such as licensing, but the cost saving, accuracy and efficiency that that these new technologies offer will likely see them overcome any obstacles they may face.

“How do you think about the world? The choice is yours. We can use these innovations to our advantage and to the benefit of not only you and me but also the earth if you and your business are ready to adapt,” said Jordaan in concluding his address.

The second keynote speaker was David Chalmers the Chief Technologist, VP EMEA at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Chalmers opened his address by pointing out that “every generation has its defining technology which shapes culture and change. Information Technology is the defining tech in this era and this disruption is happening now.”

Chalmers built on Jordaan’s address by giving examples of real life disruption and then highlighting the two dimensions of change that these disruptions have brought about. The first dimension is scale. With the data explosion that is currently underway, businesses need to be concerned about storage and processing power. “If you think you have enough storage, think again,” said Chalmers, pointing out how businesses need an enhanced cloud strategy.

The second dimension identified by Chalmers is speed. “Today is the slowest day you ever going to have again because everything is speeding up.” He then pointed out that businesses need to build an infrastructure capable of handling this increase because if you can’t keep up, it could kill your business.

“To remain static is to lose ground. There is no standstill option. If you do not adapt to new technologies you will be left behind,” concluded Chalmers.

After the keynote addresses, various executives from an array of industries took part in 20-minute breakaway sessions which unpacked various aspects to this ever changing digital business environment.

By Dean Workman

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Converging forces set to transform retail banking

Converging forces set to transform retail banking

Darrel Orsmond, Financial Services Industry Head at SAP Africa.

A range of models and millions of dollars in consulting hours are expended to understand the potential impact of a range of market forces on the retail banking sector. While the potential outcomes are fraught with unpredictability, it is worthwhile to pause and consider some of the forces that could have an impact to avoid being caught off-guard.

Some of the major forces potentially playing out in the retail banking sector include:

  • The rise of the individual and the independent economic, social, and political power that this has brought to individuals;
  • The individual as the centre of the universe, marked by a “don’t do anything to diminish me or my rights without my consent” worldview;
  • The rise of the collective, which paradoxically puts groups – including anything from the state to social movements, supporter clubs, and alumni organisations – as aggregated participants in decision-making;
  • The ease of access to massive computing power for anyone who wants it;
  • The use of collateralised logic to make decisions and deliver insights, driven by big data learning and insights with predictive capabilities;
  • Massively synthesised delivery to users on devices anywhere, anytime;
  • Rapidly emerging and disintegrating business models for the creation of value, often accompanied by equal destruction of value, such as those of Google, Airbnb, and Facebook; and
  • The commoditisation of historical value-added processes such as risk assessment and payments, and thus of human logic and variability.

Two main forces of change in retail banking
In financial services, the two key forces that are set to fundamentally influence the sector are the rise of the individual (and by extension of groups), and the data-originated insights and collective individual rights inferred and accorded by a business model.

These two forces are set to change the retail banking industry by removing banks’ ownership of the payment – or financial services ‘offer’ – to customers. Customers no longer come to the bank to make their financial arrangements: they do them wherever they are through a number of channels, conducting all manner of purchasing activities whether it’s travel, medicine clothes, capital goods, music, transport, and more. Here, customers are simply relying on the process of delivery to give them their goods, without caring whether a bank is involved at all.

Banks, therefore, need to collaborate with providers in new business models and networks using all the collective data at their disposal to originate pre-prepared offers in real time in response to customer generated activities, or because of external events. Considering the dramatic increase in the customer’s rights and decision-making power, banks can expect customers to begin ‘owning’ their digital identities and asserting their rights and terms over contracts, usage, payments and more. Customers will assert their digital identity in explicit ways – such as putting customer-defined limits on content purchases – as well as modelled ways, for example automatically approving certain purchases because previously modelled or inferred behaviour shows customers agree with that type of purchase timing and value.

A shift in power
This shifts power from corporates to individuals, equalising the relationship between the bank and the customer, and forcing banks to apply insights and timeliness in a range of personalised offers to seduce the customer. Here, the brand name takes a back seat to the importance, timing, quality and relevance of the offer. Customers will also negotiate and leverage their group power – for example by associating with certain support clubs, alumni organisations or social causes, customers will expect banks and financial services providers to know this and adapt offers accordingly.

These are no doubt uncertain times and banks face a very different world to what the sector has been used to. It is important therefore to hedge bets by building new capabilities so that banks are well-placed to outmanoeuvre their competitors.

Banks’ first priority should be a systematic analysis of gaps in current development spend, followed by the development of a roadmap with specific business cases and deliverables.

By Darrel Orsmond

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