Use of analytics in East African region gains momentum

January 7, 2014

A research on use of analytics in East African region has revealed an increase in the number of regional businesses that are committed or committing to the adoption of analytics well known as fact-based decision-making, equaling their counterparts in the Southern African region and the North Africa. However, a majority of companies surveyed indicated that analytics was not yet deeply ingrained into their fabric like in the western countries where it is as an integrated and enterprise extended approach. In Kenya, a third of businesses are satisfied with business outcomes driven by their analytic investments. In Tanzania, a majority of companies said they have seen credible business outcomes with the use of analytics in the development of new products and services while more than half of them were satisfied with use of analytics in customer retention and in mergers and acquisitions. Most respondents in Uganda also indicated that the senior management establishes formal data collection and sharing protocol, as well as majority expecting a clear return on investment.

Multiple studies show that effective analytics are built on various factors that most businesses in East African region continues to ignore. One of them is lack of establishing top management commitment and streamlined processes that guarantee valuable insights and clear recommendations being generated, acted on, and benchmarked for effectiveness. Also, organizations have failed to build, buy and partner’ strategy to source skills due to incompetency and also supply constraints. Some have also failed to apply technology that would ensure data integrity, quality and accessibility. In western world, analytics are an increasingly valuable source for differentiating products and services, but for those who understand African markets knows all too well that the region data is unique compared to their western counterparts. In the report, it is clear that by far data integration is the main key challenge and for one reason or the other most businesses are struggling with identifying the outcomes required from data.  In Burundi and Rwanda, the regional backwater, most analytics efforts are often not coordinated and mainly stay within one business unit rather than spanning widely in the enterprise but there is hope of change soon.

However, things are looking up as organizations in the region are now integrating analytics into the decision making process in functional areas, with predominance in growth-focused operations such as the evaluation of new market opportunities created by the customs union signed few years ago in Arusha Tanzania and the development of new products and services that could help avoid duplication in the region where innovations are rarity.To address, the shortages in supply of analytics professionals, the report recommends that organization should solve the immediate challenge by retaining managed services and investing in tools and software. Establishing future driven sourcing strategy and structure for accessing scarce skills would be a game changer and should include the ability to scour the much developed western countries for the necessary talent and integrating them into organization. Having the right people focused on the right set of problems, is one of the most critical components of an effective analytical capability and that is where organizations in the region need to place their energies.

Contador Harrison