Industry experts who covered at the recently concluded Information Communication, Technology and Telecommunications Exhibition and Conference (ICTEL EXPO 2017), organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have called on businesses in Nigeria to expand Nigeria’s ICT industry to global standard by patronising indigenous technologies and structure their business model in line with the needs of their local environment in order to become a major player in a fast-paced digital economy.
While giving his key note address at the event, Demola Aladekomo, Founder, Chams Group Plc and Chairman, SmartCity Resorts Plc, who spoke on the 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 people as well as the availability of data, which now connects the country’s market to the global market.
According to Aladekomo, 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 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 different completely. 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.
Also speaking, Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, said that private businesses should play their part as the Federal Government is already doing so much to ensure the development of ICT in Nigeria.
“The Ministry of Communications has the mandate of the Federal Government to promote and facilitate the development of the ICT industry and increase its contribution to Nigeria’s GDP; utilize ICT to drive transparency in governance and improve the quality and cost effectiveness of public service delivery in Nigeria, among others,“ Shittu said.
Commending indigenous tech companies, the Minister said; Our Ministry will continue to support the establishment of companies or organisations in the areas of hardware and software development by ensuring that they are protected through regulations or other means. We will assist them to grow. We have accepted that Nigeria must take the leadership role in Africa’s ICT ecosystem.”
Speaking on the importance of business analysis, Aladekomo urged businesses not to overanalyse issues as future is now. The ICT expert 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.