Picture: 123RF/solarseven
Picture: 123RF/solarseven

Both businesses and societies that have accelerated their digital transformation efforts have been rewarded with faster growth. In fact, digital transformation has the potential to unlock value of about R5-trillion across multiple industries in the next decade, potentially moving the needle of economic growth in SA. So said Wayne Hull, MD of Accenture Digital, at the annual IAB Summit earlier this year.

Digital technologies, he said, will play a role in nearly all areas of consumers’ lives, significantly affecting sectors such as education, health care and even agriculture, and it will provide improved access to services for citizens. However, as SA lacks universal internet access, providing all citizens with affordable digital connectivity is the first challenge.

Hull pointed to the need for new skills, tools and ways of working given the new digital order. Bridging the digital divide, he said, needs to start at a young age. He emphasised the need to create digital skills for all segments of society equally in order to prepare the next generation of workers for the digital economy.

Technology, he said, is fundamentally altering the relationship between brands and consumers. In this new digitised world, customers expect hyper-personalised engagement, access to products and services in preference of ownership, and remarkable experiences rather than products and services. These expectations require brands to come up with unique and innovative ways of partnering with suppliers and strategic partners as they leverage the platform economy. This includes meeting consumers where they are.

Critically, said Hull, there needs to be collaboration between the public and private sectors in terms of how we regulate, share and manage issues such as security and privacy.

The big take-out

Technology is fundamentally altering the relationship between brands and consumers.