Profusion beckon companies that grasp digital opportunities, ignominy awaits those that fail

December 21, 2013

Recent studies on Internet impact on visionary companies and governments in Africa have shown Governments that fail to embrace e-governance and businesses failing to adopt IT-based businesses would likely founder in the next decade. With over 200 million Internet users, and an average Internet penetration rate of 10% of the population, Africa has an ever-growing market of mobile commerce and online customers. To capitalize on this digital growth, the continent of more than one billion people is entering an age of opportunity for small and medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs who embrace the online and mobile technologies. 
Increasing numbers of Internet based customers are creating a huge online market and necessitating the need for new and improved business models, which can then be leveraged by small and medium sized businesses. Growth of African mobile subscription in 2014 is expected to grow by 100 million users and research shows that currently on average users spend 60% of their time online on social networks roughly two third of their day on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin, Instagram and Pinterest among others. With African consumers flocking to the digital space, small and medium businesses are already embracing the opportunity present there.

The other day I came across a South African website providing online brochures and electronic direct mailers while another website from Kenya was offering e-commerce ordering services. This means that entrepreneurs can now complement most of their businesses with online services, for a fairly reasonable price although it costs twice the rates in Western Europe. Multiple studies have shown that utilizing web applications or moving into the online retail space, entrepreneurs are able to develop new services, expand products and create deeper content, tailored for their increasingly Internet savvy users. 

Providing localized solutions to Africans could be a powerful business model with homegrown brands providing better suited services than overseas based Internet based brands. Digital space may seem like a challenging place to navigate, and the small and medium businesses marketplace seems increasingly competitive but that is where the future is. To manage the heavy competition there are plenty of existing tools and technology that can help cut costs and provides bigger and better services to customers. Gone are the days where businesses could rely on handwritten receipts and all transactions were manual and paper based. In order for African indigenous brands and companies to grow and maintain their edge in local markets against foreign multi national in this highly competitive world of business, they should utilize technology to streamline their workflow.

Constantly falling costs and accelerative innovations in technology mean that purchasing the right tools for small and medium businesses is much easier than it has been before. Overall, the cost of purchasing technological advantages is constantly going down and studies have also revealed that starting up a website or obtaining a laptop for mobile computing is more affordable than ever in most African countries. 
For business and government institutions, to be able to keep their technology updated as well as investing heavily in data storage and security services mean they do not have to spend much to protect themselves from the unexpected in this world full of cyber criminals and as my review on inside the hacker’s world http://www.contadorharrison.com/we-are-anonymous-inside-the-hacker-world-of-lulzsec-anonymous-and-the-global-cyber-insurgency-by-parmy-olson/. Whether you are a small or medium sized business there is need to revamp rudimentary way of doing things to benefit immensely from the advantages of embracing the digital space that are endless and advantageous. Digitalization is central to the success of business at affordable costs and more reliable and that is emphasis is being placed on technology adoption. Whether we like it or not, the consumption landscape has changed because of digital technologies. Anyone who would want to survive in the business should be on the side of embracing technological change and not being left behind. Technology is advancing so rapidly that each day, digital solution seems to affect businesses in a different way. It is stupid and backward thinking that as we edge closer to being a digital society, not all of us have a mindset constantly being programmed to cope with these changes.

Contador Harrison