Experts seek digital channels to cushion COVID-19 effect on businesses

Experts seek digital channels to cushion COVID-19 effect on businesses





Experts in Nigeria’s business sector have called for more adoption of digital channels in running business activities, saying it would help cushion the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and boost the nation’s economic recovery post-COVID-19.

Speaking during the Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria’s (RMBN), Economic and Business Conference Webinar Series, tagged: “Digital Transformation: Building change into our DNA,” Chief Executive Officer, RMBN, and Regional Head of West Africa, Michael Larbie, said the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded the need to adapt to a new world order, as most businesses have gone digital.

He said the series was positioned to stimulate businesses to be responsive in the face of the current economic challenges, and be able to create customer-centric and digitally-savvy solutions in preparation for post-COVID era.

In his remarks, Head of Consulting, Agusto Consulting, Jimi Ogbobine, said despite the economic headwinds of COVID-19 on the Nigerian business space, the lockdowns accelerated e-commerce activities, as businesses and consumers have moved online.

Contributing, the General Manager, Enterprise Marketing, MTN Nigeria, Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, stressed the need for the government and private sector to invest more in telecoms infrastructure for digital businesses to be sustained in the long term.
 
Meanwhile, she said a great deal of work and investment has been done to prepare the telecoms sector to support the development of the Nigerian economy, adding that Nigeria has shifted from 2G to 4G and 4G+, and is constantly evolving to ensure customers derived the best value from telecoms infrastructure.

She maintained that networks are collectively advancing their capacity and capability, so businesses can move swiftly into the digital age, and urged telcos to transform themselves, as this is critical if they want to remain relevant. 

According to her, this means finding ways to become a value-added service provider, noting that telcos need to relook at customers’ journey, define mobile-first strategies, and move to platform services. She said the customer is at the heart of this, and the key to understanding the customer is by keeping a finger on the pulse of their data.

Speaking, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola, said the pandemic has forced businesses to transform, noting that technology is a massive enabler of transformation, while the human connection is needed to make technology optimal.
According to him, the right balance must be addressed and considered at all stages of technological advancement and implementation, to get the desired results and deliver optimal satisfaction to customers.
 

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Qucoon, Yinka Daramola, maintained that digital needs must become a way of life, as businesses globally are experiencing transformations led by technology.

He emphasized the need for business leaders to embrace the positive impacts brought by the on-going digital transformation, its cost savings, and efficiencies, noting that the new normal would be a constant change and businesses would need to choose their partners based on their ability to support agility and security.

In her remarks, Academic Director, Lagos Business School, Professor Olayinka David-West, said to transform efficiently, businesses should be innovative around customer needs, agile in responding to them, and should always implement digital strategies to ensure that customer data is protected.

“Nigerian businesses will sustain their digital transformation if they lead it from within, focusing on the desired outcomes and aligning with the overall strategy,” she added.



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