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AfricaMoney | August 23, 2017

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‘African businesses must follow mobile-first approach’ : IDC Forum

‘African businesses must follow mobile-first approach’ : IDC Forum

The attendees of the International Data Corporation (IDC) Enterprise Mobility Forum 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa, were told in no uncertain terms that they must innovate around this transformation and make full use of the mobility concept in order to improve client experience and thrive in this new, ultra-competitive landscape. (Image: Edudemic)

In a clear warning to African businesses on the perils of late technology adoption, organizations were told that those that fail to set clear mobility strategies are in grave danger of losing out to competition, while a complete failure to embrace this new reality will have potentially catastrophic consequences.

That was the conclusion drawn on September 18, 2014 at the International Data Corporation (IDC) Enterprise Mobility Forum 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The event also made it clear that mobility – across all that technology trends of mobility, big data, cloud, and social that are gaining prominence in South Africa – single-handedly stands out as the most disruptive, pervading all business functions and impacting all levels of the economy.

The prestigious event, which was hosted at Johannesburg’s Michelangelo Hotel by global advisory services firm IDC, had Samsung and Intel participating as Platinum Partners, and MicroStrategy as Silver Partner.

The grand event, featuring an eclectic mix of insightful presentations, real-life case studies, and informative panel discussions, brought more than 80 enterprises IT managers from leading private and public sector organizations.

The main focus of the event, which brought managers face to face with the innovative global vendors tasked with meeting their mobility needs, was on the collaborative, efficient, and integrated organizations that mobility can help create and the potential pitfalls and costs of embracing mobility.

The attendees were told in no uncertain terms that they must innovate around this transformation and make full use of the mobility concept in order to improve client experience and thrive in this new, ultra-competitive landscape.

George Kalebaila, senior research manager for telecommunications and digital media at IDC Africa, noted that the convergence of IT and telecommunications that is enabled by mobility is empowering businesses to virtualize their processes, and thereby increase productivity, stimulate employee performance, streamline business functions, and improve customer service.

He emphasized that this is clearly an era of pervasive mobility, and those enterprises that have adopted a ‘mobile-first’ mindset are already pulling ahead of the pack.

Besides, the event conclusion reflects what was forecast by Balancing Act in a 2013 research study across seven Sub-Saharan countries of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa, which are considered premier adopters of the latest internet and social media trends.

The market research showed that Sub-Saharan Africa is the cockpit of change in terms of the global digital divide and changing media and communications use: in just over a decade it has gone from being largely unconnected to the Internet to having millions of people using it.

Some of the key findings of the study are as follows: everybody wants to upgrade their phone for features found on smartphone and that too, over a one-year horizon; over the last five years, the number of Africans who own or have access to mobile phones, computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets, has grown considerably, causing an overall increase in the number of devices.

The survey also shows that there has been an increase in computer use and what is probably a much wider pattern of shared use.

Moreover, with greater range of media and wider Internet access, people are increasingly switching from traditional media, which is restricted by the government, to access information via internet which act as a backdoor where people can get information on their terms.

Finally, a series of speakers at the IDC Enterprise Mobility Forum 2014 stressed the fact that enterprise IT managers have a tight line to walk with their mobility strategies, not only protecting company data, but increasingly also supporting a wide range of devices that users bring into the organization under Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs.

They also explained that organizations should not fall into the trap of believing that an effective mobility strategy is one that simply mitigates risk and minimizes support costs, arguing that every company must determine what benefits mobility can bring to the organization and act accordingly.

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