In a rapidly changing business environment, businesses are under pressure to not only comply with constantly changing regulations, but also to modernize their processes and systems. The purpose is to help reduce compliance costs, improve efficiency and effectiveness, stay competitive and drive innovation whilst looking for better ways to serve their customers.

Against this backdrop, businesses will become more successful based on how they use data, analytics and collaboration in the new analytics economy. This was the thrust of the conversations made at the SAS Road to Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence, AI Showcase in Lagos recently.

Other topics treated at the forum include the path to digital transformation – how to prioritize data, analytics and automation processes, and using analytics to accelerate your organization’s path to value as well as demonstration of practical examples on how AI has improved customer experience and how innovation through analytics is possible.

Desan Naidoo, Vice President, SAS Africa welcoming the participants noted that seeing we are in the analytics economy where data, people and machines work right to accelerate the pace of innovation, critical business decisions must be made via data analytics instead of gut feelings and guess work.

“At SAS, we are the leaders in business analytics software and services, and we help organizations across the globe transform their data into deep and well-defined insights. Insights that provide fresh perspective on your business, helping to identify what’s working and fix what isn’t and innovate in ways that keep you ahead of the competition. Our solutions turn large amounts of data into knowledge you can act on, and also empower business leaders to capitalize on new opportunities and be seen as strategic business advisers by using analytics to align the marketing process with the customer journey.”

He added, “we want to avail businesses operating in Nigeria with solutions that help them to achieve a customer-centric business strategy with an integrated decision management approach—underpinned by artificial intelligence capabilities such as machine learning and cognitive computing. Our platforms address critical challenges across marketing —including planning customer-centric strategies, gaining insight from big data and analytics, optimizing omni-channel customer interactions, and understanding the customer’s digital experience.”

A keynote presentation from Neil Harbisson, referred to as the world’s first ‘cyborg’ artist, who is visiting Africa for the first time was received with rapt attention. With a fully-functioning antenna installed in his skull to help him “hear” colour and paint sounds, Neil “decided to merge with technology in order to sense more realities with the natural world.

“Humans have limited number of sensors, but if we merge with technology, we could have more sensors that will enable us understand and unfold the real beauty of nature. We can add new senses and additional organs to extend our bodies’ capacity to experience the world. We can, in effect, redesign ourselves. Our current evolutionary step is to merge with technology and take an active part in the birth of our future selves. I work with artificial senses, which I call AS,” Neil said.

In his presentation, Senior Business Solutions Manager – Advanced Analytics & AI, SAS, Larry Orimoloye encouraged organizations to adopt AI as it is transforming businesses by enhancing current analytical capabilities to better understand customers and deliver the best experiences like never before – and fast enough for business differentiation. AI also sets new target for organizations and helps them to make informed decisions based on the outcome of its data analytics.

“AI has increasingly refined the ability of machines to study data in order to detect patterns, that then allow computers to organize information, identify relationships, make predictions and detect anomalies. Today, modern applications of AI have already given us self-driving cars and virtual assistants and our solutions have helped us detect fraud and manage resources like electricity more efficiently. AI will help organizations improve their marketing effectiveness, increasing digital intelligence by integrating web analytics data with multichannel data to gain a comprehensive view of the customer for better personalization and engagement, said Orimoloye.

He further noted that contrary to envisaged fears that emerging technology like AI will put a lot of humans out of jobs, if well applied; AI will create more jobs and help enhance business efficiency. Mundane tasks can be operationalized by robots that will intelligently carry out these tasks without fail while previously assigned personnel can be up-skilled into more productive assignment, without losing their jobs, and add more value to the business of the organization.

Marketing Content & Communications Lead, SAS Africa, Vijayne Govender said that SAS is a leading global analytics firm and a technological partner across various industry verticals and public sector that has always played a proactive role in fostering innovation and transformation of processes and systems, from regulatory compliance to strategic decisions support, from digitalization to risk assessment in real-time and also providing analytics solutions which allow organizations to improve human efficiency, using data analytic.


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