We are in an era where you can hail a taxi ride from the comfort of your phone and enjoy the convenience that comes with it. Technology is very much part of what we do on a day to day basis. Private and public means of transport are used for mobility. Some of the inefficiencies in mobility have been resolved by ride-hailing apps like Uber. On top of
According to African Leadership University, an entrepreneurial leader is a leader who solves problems in creative and innovative ways with limited resources. This is what technology is all about. Technology has changed existing and created new business models. In the process it has massively created efficiencies by reducing costs of operations for most companies. When KCB launched their first SMS banking product known as KCB Connect using shortcode 522 in 2005, Ksh 85 out of every ksh 100 they made in income went to costs. Come 2018, for every Ksh 100 that KCB made only ksh 48 went to costs. This underscores the importance of technology in creating efficiencies by automating processes, allowing customers to serve themselves and speed innovation. HF Group, which is the oldest mortgage lender in Kenya, recently increased the number of customers that they had in 53 years six fold in only 1 year using an 100 percent digital banking application dubbed HF Whizz. It took Barclays Kenya just one year to hit 3m customers on their digital banking platform called Timiza. Technology has revolutionized the way in which organizations do their businesses.
Before Mpesa the existing means of sending money from person to person were money orders, bus company courier services, friends and relatives etc. So most people living in urban places found a better way of sending money and influenced their dependents in rural places to register for Mpesa service. Mpesa created trust by sending a message for confirming that the money was sent successfully unlike the by then existing means creating an unmatched trust and user experience. The process that would take days with an experience of ‘send and pray’ became a matter of seconds with much superior experience. Now it is almost literally socially unacceptable not to have a Safaricom Mpesa mobile number in Kenya.
The long lines of workers going to look for casual jobs in Nairobi’s Industrial area are soon going to be replaced with millennials glued onto their laptops doing freelance jobs on Upwork or Kuhustle or selling goods through Social media. According to Bloomberg, at one time in 2018, Google had more contractors than permanent employees. Such employees do not receive special employment benefits as permanent employees. This means that the workplace and nature of jobs are changing in the era of technology disruption.
Some forward thinking organizations have started training their staff in preparations for the skills gaps that might be created by new technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence and edge computing. Safaricom, Kenya’s most profitable company has created Safaricom Academy, to train and enrich their staff knowledge on digital skills. They skills included Cloud computing, Cyber Security, Mobile & Web App Devt, Dev/Ops & Automation, Data Science and Analytics etc. They are using hybrid learning methodologies in partnership with external vendors such as Strathmore Univesity, Moringa, Edureka and Huawei. According to CNN, JP Morgan Chase, one the biggest USA banks is investinf $350m to get workers ready for the future. The bank CEO, Jamie Dimon said that too many people are stuck in low paying jobs that have no future and many businesses cannot find the skilled workers that they need. The bank will partner with various players in the education sector to deliver the learning and research projects.
Rakuten, the Japanese equivalent of Amazon made programming a core part of training for newly hired graduates with about 260 non-engineering recruits taking a six-month course that includes entry-level Java and basic skills for building network architecture. According to a US media company the Information, Goldman Sachs has 11,000 software engineers which is 30% of their workforce.
Over 1 million Equity bank customers are not able to transact on their bank accounts from their simcard menus eliminating the need to go to the branch. In 2018, both KCB and Co-operative banks had over 90% of their transactions done on alternative channels that are driven by technologies. This eliminates the need for staff that would have carried out the roles being done by customers on their phones. KCB lent ksh 54b on mobile. The stores of value aspect of money and accessibility have been increased through alternative channels creating convenience for customers.
Technology has become a key component in value delivery. HR professionals and entrepreneurs need to be aware of the value that HR analytics creates in their jobs such as knowing which employees are likely to exit. Internet of things and automation are becoming key in manufacturing as world leading manufacturing countries such as Germany spend billions in research to formulate industry 4.0 framework. Industry 4.0 brings automation and data exchange to life using technologies such as internet of things, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. With the dwindling sales of print media, the traditional media which used to rely on advertisement in printed newspapers, radio and TVs are now facing disruption. Businesses are now able to find ways of reaching millions of customers online through social media, websites and blogs with small or zero budgets. KCB, Coop Bank & Standard Chartered amongst other Kenyan banks now have intelligence ATMs where customers serve themselves without the need for a bank officer to assist. That means that the would-be and existing tellers will have to upgrade their skills in readiness for other demand driven roles.
Public service sector has not been left behind. Most government services that would be accessed from different government offices at different places cam now be accessed centrally at Huduma Centres and the eCitizen platforms powered by technology. This puts pressure on civil servants jobs creating redundancy in some cases. A few decades ago, civil service was where people would go for retirement.
According to a recent report by
In the health sector, CIC insurance is championing micro insurance using airtime where telco subscribers are eligible for medical insurance based on their airtime top ups. The other technological development is how medical 3D printing and image-based planning have revolutionized patient care. 3D printing is enabling clinicians, researchers and engineers to transform innovative patient-specific treatments that help to boost and save lives. Through 3D modeling surgeons are able to match the exact planned position and angle of interventions with the reality of actual surgery. This leads to a better understanding of the patient anatomy and means fewer resources notably time and costs. This predictability increases confidence in the operation room. With Preoperative planning plus 3D printed models, the clinicians offer the patient a clearer understanding of the procedure and enter the operation room optimally prepared, knowing there will be less intra-operative decisions to take.
Technology has created unprecedented opportunities especially in the value chains of revolutionary services and products. Safaricom has over 150,000 agents and over 400 dealers. These are new opportunities that were not there before. There are over 50,000 bank agents who in most cases offer multiple financial services including mobile money agency.
There are several free digital skills and literacy platforms such as Google AI and Google Digital Academy, Microsoft and IBM also have free digital literacy platforms for individuals how want to learn or improve their digital skills. We have African leadership academy which provides a platform for young people with demand driven skills. Locally in Kenya we have iLabAfrica located at Strathmore University and Moringa School which provides hand on skills on technology. For entrepreneurs, there are several incubation hubs in Nairobi from where you can learn on how to package your technology products. Mentors can come also come in handy. C-level executive can attend some of the industry specific sessions such as Fintech programs offered in Harvard University and Oxford’s Said Business School. For organizations such as businesses and governments, the learning sessions can be delivered in collaborations with institutions such as University, EdTech companies such as Edureka, Moringa and leading industry vendors and solutions providers such as Microsoft, Huawei and Oracle. We might have learnt to live in the ocean of the past but we must learn how to prepare to swim in the undulating river of the future.