By Damilola Fasawe

Transitioning from logistics to Fintech is not an easy feat, but the fantastic thing for me was applying technology in the new industry I was moving to. My career navigation to building a business in the digital technology space cannot overemphasise the importance of technology when building a business or developing an idea. I have always wanted to be involved in core digital technology, and when the opportunity to be a part of the Flutterwave team came up, I jumped at it. Being a program manager helped me onboard faster as I am privy to many processes and challenges the business faces at the forefront of my role. My primary focus is to proffer technical solutions to these problems, which I enjoy doing.

My time at a logistics service business gave me minimum exposure to the actual building of the infrastructure required in digital technology. It was beautiful to evolve from handling mainly excel reporting to an entirely automated process of analysis. My desire to create a structure that worked was fire! Unlike other aspects of business, technology brings that idea to life by creating a product that consumers and investors can resonate with. Wikipedia simplifies technology by defining it as continually developing the result of accumulated knowledge and application in all techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in industrial production and scientific research.

In the Startup world today, one common attribute is the ability of founders/entrepreneurs to use technology to develop solutions to solve challenges the world faces today. Technology is universal, so it is imperative in all business facets. When we understand the evolution of technology, there is a higher tendency to appreciate the process and share in the large vision the creators of technology had-simplify processes and make life easy.

Businesses are birthed to help the owners/founders make money, but one main goal is to aid society in economic development. This is why we can see the stories of many businesses originating from the need to resolve a societal challenge. Businesses spring up where there are challenges, and challenges create opportunities. From the beginning of time, the goal for humanity has remained evident in the evolution of companies.

In each era, businesses took advantage of available resources to improve the standard of living. Hence, the switch from the thought process of customer survival (think trade by barter) to sustainability. A common similarity across these eras is the influence of technology. Technology has always been present and is here to stay for a long time (till infinity). Technology is vital in business, and the need for business efficiency has led to ever-expanding possibilities. It is safe to say that every stride recorded by companies over the centuries has been on the back of the available technology.

The evolution of technology

New technology is constantly emerging from the prior discovered technology because of necessity. The adaptability of technology calls for acceptance and change in mindsets and habits. The economic impact of every new technology follows the innovations and creativity explored and applied. Businesses that ride on technology survive through all times.

There are three stages associated with technology evolution; the tool, the machine and the automation. While we walk through these, one steady condition is the development from the previous stage to navigate to a better or developed phase.

The Tool stage provided the mechanical ability to accomplish a physical task. This stage involved a lot of human physical effort to perform tasks. This form of technology was prevalent in the preindustrial era. Although businesses still apply the tool stage in some of their activities, it is gradually being phased out.

The Machine Stage gradually reduced the application of human physical effort in completing tasks by substituting part or all of the activities by introducing a tool. Basically, in this stage, tools were used to reduce the human effort needed to complete tasks making them less energetic and more applicative.

Constant evolution and development of the stages above led to the automation stage, where the world is now. The automation stage removes the application and control of physical human effort with automatic algorithms (codes in today’s terms). While this stage aims to reduce human endeavour totally, the world in which we exist today still needs a certain level of human effort to make this work (mental effort). The automation stage has made it easy for businesses to exist in multiple locations and concurrently run seamlessly without the need for too much physical effort to be put into these processes. A typical example here is where I work; I can see the use of APIs to enable transactions without the need to monitor the inflow of data and effort. It is all automated; just plug in an API.

Embracing Technology for Your Business

When a business takes advantage of technology, failure subsides to an extent. Let us note the use of the word reduction because technology alone cannot ascertain the success of any business; it helps improve and provide a certain level of sustainability but does not guarantee survival. Companies still require human effort to build and scale for success, particularly in the management aspect of the business.

Following the definition of technology, as mentioned above, we can say business technology uses technological applications like engineering, data, and information to support businesses for growth. This support comes in customer service, product development, marketing, communication, operational efficiency, and security. These do not limit how technology is employed to support businesses, as we can see its impact and influence in other business areas like legal and people management. Technology is essential in the general direction of any business, simplifying and coordinating the activities required to grow the business.

To a large extent, technology influences any business’s performance during the different stages of existence.

As a program manager, I am constantly looking to technology to create frameworks and design processes to create a smooth sailing work environment. One of the major projects I am currently working on is the implementation of operational efficiency in the organisation.

Creating an Operationally Efficient Business with Technology

Here, we understand the importance of our customers in growing the business and expanding our reach at Flutterwave. The profitability and growth are measured by how operationally efficient the business processes are. What is the ratio of the business revenue to its expenses? Many factors can determine the operational efficiency of a business since every company is concerned with maximising profit through the application of little effort.

The purpose of technology is to achieve more with little human effort input. Technology is applied to simplify tasks, develop products, measure growth and analyse data in the business. For the business to seamlessly achieve this goal, professionals who understand process engineering and are great at designing processes that work are brought in. This was why I was hired! I have always had some guiding principles when designing these systems, which I will share, but then, as I have always said, it all comes down to technology.

As technologies emerge, businesses evolve, and so does the world. If your business will remain relevant, adapt and adopt new technologies in your operations. Some of the software applications I have used to improve operational efficiency at my place of work include the Google workspace, Superhuman for emails, Asana for project management, Jira for product development, Quickbooks for accounting, and SlideShare and PowerPoint for presentations etc.

Below are guiding principles I promised to share earlier that have worked for me in adopting technology to create an operationally efficient business and environment.

Have a Deep knowledge of the business and its products? I am still new to the Fintech space and can categorically say it takes a few months to understand the industry thoroughly. You cannot improve a system or process if you do not understand it or how it works. We need to calm down, learn the ropes and then develop better ways to design how the strings are tied. This tip has helped me spot critical areas that require improvement in the business.

Refine the current processes. As I mentioned, I have taken note of some loopholes, and the way to proceed is by refining the existing procedures for better performance. Streamline Processes for better Decisions making. Creating and reviewing policies, examining employee roles and responsibilities, hiring pipelines, and building models for analytics and reporting all feed into the process of streamlining.

Set the NorthStar for the business by process mapping by improving process workflows, process innovation, and product development. These help the business reduce time wastage and create a focus by aligning on the next steps through a product roadmap.

Provide Team Support. Cross-functional collaboration on the team is essential when improving operational efficiency and company culture. Relationships are necessary for the business, so much attention should be paid to them.

Have an excellent Financial Strategy. A solid financial strategy is key to improving operations and scaling a business. Because the primary purpose of a company is to make a profit and have an economic impact, numbers are critical. To maintain a consistent and healthy margin, you should always look for best practices.

Leverage Top Technology. Businesses must lean into cloud technology by migrating from manual to automated environments. Not only does it offload administrative work, but it also helps measure operational performance and guides the business path to efficiency. Most of my processes are as automated as they can be, from sorting out my emails to designing repetitive tasks that take time. Creating a framework solves this challenge.

Advanced Integrations (Digital Integration). System integrators can optimise workflow by sharing functions and data from operations. By eliminating manual consolidation methods, integration saves time and effort while reducing the risk of human error. Once you have reduced manual processes and integrated workflows, it’s time to employ an integration solution.

Get rid of Bottlenecks. Using reporting and analysis tools for internal operations allows businesses to avoid obstructions causing delays in processes. For example, while designing a process improvement roadmap, I collaborated information from line and bar graphs to show the percentage makeup of a system and the frequency of occurrence of the issue. These techniques allowed the management to view the challenges and make business decisions based on the information provided.

Assessing Functionality. While analysing the current processes and technology, one of the recommendations was to include a routine check and evaluation of the systems and technology in use. These should be quarterly to check the solution’s functionality and the extent to which it benefits the business. The business also reviews the financial implication of the applied technology to ensure it is not a waste of business funds.

A company’s operations include all actions required to create products and services for its customers. When the operation of a business is not efficient, it can cause financial implications to the company, leading to the loss of funds that should have been directed to other areas of the business. The easiest way to measure how efficient the operations and processes of a company is is by calculating the input and output.

Operational efficiency is a continuous process, and this is not possible without considering the impact technology has on businesses. Using technology can project a business’s growth and return profits to its investors. Operational efficiency in business calls for efforts to optimise processes, financial analysis and assessment, people operations, and technology employment in processes. There is no versatile solution that makes for a scalable business model. Your offerings’ economic viability is highly dependent on the balance of components in your system through continued efforts.

Damilola Fasawe is a Tech enthusiast with a keen interest in funding innovations and building early-stage start-up companies for growth.



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