“This year, we started. Next year it’s either do or die,” says Ebrahim Dinat, COO of South African customer experience solutions provider, Ocular Technologies.

He is referring to “digital disruption”, a term that could not be escaped this year,and the reality of doing business next year.

“What we thought of as ‘newbie’ technology is certain to go mainstream next year, and so we’ll experience a higher adoption of artificial intelligence technology to connect to the customer, for instance,” says Dinat.

He highlights that it’s not only technology that plays a role in digitising a business. “There is a reason it is called the ‘digital disruption’ as it creates disorder to very order in an organisation,” Dinat continues. “That means it is also certain to disrupt long-held company cultures and an organisation needs every employee to make digital a success.”

He cautions that digitisation needs to be emphasised “in all its essence” for every employee so that it is fully embraced. “Change management, culture transformation – the path to digitalisation is in every business unit’s hands. That is, not only IT or exco, but also HR and communication. It requires employee engagement like never before and a shift in ‘old’ to ‘new’. Importantly, it should not be seen as alien or scary or as something that will eliminate human roles – but rather a way of living and doing business that is entirely influenced by humans. The more personality your digital company has, the better the customer experience.”

Dinat recommends organisations create a clear strategy to manage the “people element” in their business, to ultimately ensure people buy-in on your digital journey.

“It’s like change on steroids: if you don’t do it now and do it fast, you seriously risk being left behind,” he concludes. “It is a race and the pressure from competitors is on, making learning, knowledge, change and communication key to remaining relevant.”

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