By Kester Omu
For indigenous businesses to become major players in the fast-paced digital economy, they must accept the presence of technology around them and structure their business model in line with the needs of their local environment
This position was taken by Sir Demola Aladekomo, founder, Chams Group Plc and Chairman, SmartCity Resorts Plc, when he delivered a Keynote Address at the Information Communication, Technology and Telecommunications Exhibition and Conference (ICTEL EXPO 2017), organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Aladekomo, whose address was on the exhibition’s theme; “The Digital Economy: Strategies for Growth in A Connected World”, stated that there are numerous potentials to be exploited with technology, especially with the changing demography of Nigeria being populated with lots of young persons as well as the availability of data, which now connects the country’s market to the global market.
According to him, technology will serve as a foundation of all activities in the digital economy and would also create a lot of inventions and opportunities, which will liberate resources, create new markets and eventually disrupt the current supply chain system.
He, however, advised that businesses must before brace up for the new developments before they get caught by the tide of technological revolution, noting that change could come in a harsh manner.
“The possible effects of this new economy that we are looking at includes that the core structure of your business is going to be completely different. If you can remember the VHS days, when we used to go and rent cassettes. Now, you find everything streaming online. This means that the business landscape therefore has completely changed. Your value proposition will also change as a result of the presence of data available. There is going to be massive explosion in new businesses, new organisations and new markets as a result of technology.
“Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to accept the inevitable, that your market has changed, the supply chain has changed, technology is going to disrupt every single thing that you are doing. If you do not change, change is going to come to you, and it will be disastrous if you do not accept it. There will be lots of opportunities created. There will be challenges also created, but will both be for you or for your competition? If you are the one disrupting the market, then you are creating challenges for your competition, but if you allow your competition to create challenges for you, then you are in trouble”, he said.
Speaking on the importance of business analysis, Aladekomo urged businesses not to over analyse issues as the future is now. The ICT guru also stated that businesses should have a fundamental understanding of the local market rather than structuring their business models solely on technology.
Aladekomo said; “We do know that everything is not about software, no; it’s about the business model. You need to think out of the box. In coming up with a business model, we need to look at the technologies that are available. For us to know about the technologies available, we must understand them, we must learn about them a lot, but learning about them is not even as good enough as understanding the local environment.
“You need to have localised these technologies. You can still take some of their features and localise it and shape your market. If you cannot conquer your own local market, you are not going to conquer the American market. The apps can be easily developed but the important thing is your business model.”
He also advocated for a periodic review of business strategies and the need to take concrete action in order to keep abreast with their contemporaries in a digital economy.
The ICTEL expo had in attendance the Minister of Communications Technology, Barrister Adebayo Shittu; Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, represented by Prof. Gloria Elomo, Director General, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO); the representative of the Lagos state Commissioner of Science and Technology, Olufemi Odubiyi; President, LCCI, Chief Nike Akande, and stakeholders from the technology and business sectors of the economy.