Exponential transformation under way, with data at its heart in SA

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically fast-tracked digital transformation globally, launching a wave of exponential transformation. This is according to Anthony Marshall, Senior Research Director, Thought Leadership at the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), who was speaking ahead of an iOCO – IBM webinar on 'Using AI Powered Analytics for Digital Acceleration'. 

Marshall says new research by the IBM IBV has found that 59% of organisations are accelerating their investments in digital technologies as a result of the pandemic, and contrary to expectations, capex is increasing. “Our research shows that COVID-19 created a sense of urgency around digital transformation, and as many as 66% of organisations we surveyed said they had been able to complete initiatives that previously encountered resistance,” Marshall says. “Executives have become more trusting of what technology can do and they are pushing ahead with digital transformation.”

Marshall cautions: “There has been a dramatic acceleration, but the faster the car goes, the easier it is for the wheels to fall off. To deal with speed, you need very disciplined processes. As we move into a phase of dramatic transformation across the board, organisations need the ability to drive with clear objectives, measurability and feedback.”

The IBV’s most extensive CEO research project ever, the 2021 CEO Study, revealed that key themes this year are flatter, faster and more flexible leadership structures, a shift to remote and hybrid work, the increasing importance of emerging technologies, open innovation and cyber security.

Lisa-Giane Fisher, IBM IBV leader for the Middle East and Africa, says when comparing South African CEOs with their international peers, the local participants show a stronger than average focus on data and the technology enabling them to derive insights from it. “South African CEOs appear to be more likely than global outperformers to see technology as having an impact on data analysis, and to recognise that the ability to integrate data across clouds is key to sharing data and insights across their ecosystems,” she says.

“They see the potential of data insights to create new products, services and revenue streams, with 30% seeing competitive advantages from using data to identify opportunities.”

Marshall and Fisher will be among the experts addressing a webinar hosted by iOCO and IBM, in collaboration with ITWeb, on 'AI Powered Analytics for Digital Acceleration'. This event, on 27 October, will unpack the findings of the IBM IBV’s new digital acceleration study, outlining how South African businesses differ from global business. The session will also discuss the factors that accelerate business, why data and analytics efforts can fail, and how IBM is enabling business transformation through its AI-powered analytics innovations. For more information and to register for this event, go to http://ad.itweb.co.za/adclick.php?bannerid=50558&zoneid=0&source=&dest=https://www.itweb.co.za/webinar/using-ai-powered-analytics-for-digital-acceleration/index.html.

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