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The Digital Transformation by Hassan Hachem

Like the industrial revolution that profoundly changed the society of the nineteenth century, the digital transformation of companies is challening our society.

It is now an integral part of our daily lives and especially it is likely to develop and intensify in the coming years. Companies, employees or customers, no one can escape.

But what is digital transformation?

An upheaval induced by new technologies

Digital transformation, sometimes referred to as digital transformation, refers to the process that allows businesses to integrate all available digital technologies into their business.

Digital transformation is not a new concept since it has existed since the rise of the internet, reminds Raphael Richard, internet pioneer and author of “The Digital Butterfly”.

The trivialization of email in employees' daily lives is one of the most obvious examples of this technological revolution in the corporate world.

If digital appeared first (the digitization of documents constituting the first digital heritage of humanity), digital has allowed a simpler use of different technological tools.

Digital transformation: The human and the common vision in the center

Hassan Hachem, a lebanese entrepreneur with several companies in Africa testifies: “Transformation is a question of humans and without them, no major breakthrough in the digital transition of the company”. The first thing to have in companies that are digitalizing, is the common vision on the subject of digital transformation.

One must be able to educate and evangelize on the subject, before forming his teams on the major axes of the digital transformation of the company. Human relations have a predominant role in this transition, and they are responsible for supporting staff and meeting their needs and questions.

This is not an easy task, but a quick and effective transformation must focus on the human and the internal vision first.

The training will then come to allow each to take his place and his position in the company.

Digital transformation: A deep hierarchical disruption

The digital transformation is always accompanied by a multitude of projects to be set up internally. The hierarchy is often one of the first projects targeted, but also the most complex to remodel from a human point of view.

"It is always difficult to touch on previous learning and then redefine the responsibilities and the latitude of the employees" continue Hassan Hachem. The principle of reshuffling aims to break the silos, and distribute the skills often focusing on the collaborative.

To bring out ideas, skills ... and refocus on the human, is essential in the context of a digital transformation.

Digital transformation in the age of mobile

75% of the world's population now has a mobile phone. A major axis in the digital transformation of companies.

And for several years, smartphones, these smart mobile phones, arouse a real craze because they bring to their users the control of the technology while giving them the freedom to move.

It is therefore impossible for companies to ignore this reality; unlike many companies such as Uber have built their business model on the mobile phone, leveraging some of its strengths such as geolocation and real time.

The smartphone has become one of the main drivers of digital transformation.

We can say that not only does it remove the distances between people, because it abolishes time barriers thanks to real time, but also because it allows everyone to connect anywhere in the world.

Work differently through digital transformation

Mobility is now one of the strongest symbols of digital transformation

Hassan Hachem

Mobility is now one of the strongest symbols of digital transformation; it is precious in our daily life but also in our professional life.

At the center we can place a set of collaborative tools to bring the human and bring in a co-creative and productive approach, recommends Hassan Hachem, who experienced several reorganizations in its distribution and construction work.

It suggests the disappearance in the short or medium term physical boundaries of the company, or at least companies subjected to the global digitization of their activities and services.

Is this not already the case with telework, which tends to become more widespread as the digital transformation takes place? Other forms of work such as nomadism and freelance appear in turn, replacing the way in which the tradesman operates.

Working differently through digital transformation

“Mobility is now one of the strongest symbols of digital transformation; it is precious in our daily life but also in our professional life. Which international business man could work without it ? Which construction manager could do without ?” highlights Hassan Hachem.

At the center we can place a set of collaborative tools to bring the human and bring in a co-creative and productive approach.

It suggests the disappearance in the short or medium term physical boundaries of the company, or at least companies subjected to the global digitization of their activities and services.

Is this not already the case with telework, which tends to become more widespread as the digital transformation takes place? Other forms of work such as nomadism and freelance appear in their turn, replacing the way in which the traditional business operates.

Hierarchies in silos also tend to disappear in favor of transversal management, less dependent on the hierarchical weight

"Big data is a source of valuable data in digital transformation"  - Hassan Hachem

The digital transformation allows companies to access an infinite amount of data on their customers, through the information we provide on the web: written messages, published videos, social networks, sites consulted ...

Bid data Digital Transformation - What is Digital or Digital Transformation?

This data can be retrieved internally or purchased from data specialists. Many companies are interested in this information because big data is in their eyes a gold mine to optimize their business model.

They strive to make these data speak to improve their profits, friends this is not an axis still acquired and won for all. The major difficulty encountered with big data is precisely the ability to make the data speak ... to make them say what and for what purpose?

If big data will not set you up tomorrow's business model, you will have to be able, however, to have a vision and thus anticipate models, new axes etc ...

Digital marketing, a pillar of digital transformation

Digital marketing or digital marketing is one of the main pillars of digital transformation. To improve the customer relationship, businesses rely on digital channels to promote or sell their products. Anywhere in the world. Geographically, isolated or not well connected countries are the ones that benefit the more from Digital Marketing, Mali, Uganda, Equatorial Guinea, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia, Eastern Siberia, Moldavia, south Argentina, for example, have yet to take the full scope of what the digital marketing revolution can bring to their economy, insofar as it can enable them to compensate for their -relative- geographic isolation.

Of course, we can mention websites, mobile sites, social networks or even applications for tablets and smartphones.

But they also use digital tools such as emailing, natural referencing (SEO), the purchase of paid keywords (SEM), or SMS.

All of the actions and tools that make up digital marketing are a priority in the digital transformation because it allows to extend and measure its actions. Note the interest of training its teams upstream if necessary.

The human being at the heart of digital transformation

Digital transformation cannot be reduced to the only technological revolution of the web and its tools. It also goes through a human story, with our way of thinking that must evolve at the same time.

Companies must take into account this new reality of digital transformation: it is by making the digital culture live, by giving it a human framework that they will drive innovation and increase their activities.

The digital transformation cannot be done without a profound change in our way of thinking

A new way of seeing digital transformation

Placing people at the center of digital transformation is only possible if the company agrees to do so. It is the role of HR in particular that should encourage their staff to take training courses adapted to changing technologies.

But will they know that 47% of French companies consider digital as a temporary phenomenon?

Digital transformation, a current challenge but also a challenge for the future

Only 31% of business leaders in France see digital transformation as a real opportunity.

Yet understanding the mechanisms and challenges of digital transformation is necessary for all companies that want to develop their business.

Because the digital transformation is in perpetual movement; she does not seem to want to stop, neither today nor tomorrow.

Cloud, internet of things, smart data, connected health, cloud development 3D printing, virtual reality or even collaborative robotics, so many technological concepts that shape our future life. It is up to man to adapt to new technologies and not the other way around. Cradled in the world of new technologies, future generations should not feel the digital transformation; at least not as much as today's employees.Everyone of us must be ready to take the plunge if he does not want to miss the passing train, that of digital transformation ...

More about this topic

Government of Central Africa are becoming aware of the potential of the digital economy on their economic development. Even oil dependant Equatorial Guinea commits itsself to the digital transformation of the country. Equatorial Guinea hosted an African submit from 23 to 27 September 2019 in Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea under the theme "Digital Transformations and Economic Diversification in Central Africa: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities". It enabled senior officials, experts, inventors, innovators, researchers and representatives of leading institutions in the field of development as well as academics present to take stock of the health of the digital economy in Central Africa, a region perceived as recording the lowest performance in this sector on the continent.

Three plenary sessions were scheduled for 2019 meeting: a high-level dialogue on the digital economy in Central Africa to explore the views of policy makers; a demonstration platform on experiences and applications in the digital economy; and a special event to analyze the status of structural transformation in Central Africa based on the dimensions of employment, production and society as depicted in the publication Profile 'STEPS' Regional Profile for Central Africa.
Antonio Pedro, the Director of the Subregional Office for Central Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

According to figures from the ICT-Eye portal (2017) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Central Africa has the highest cell phone costs on the continent (up to $0.08 per second for mobile-to-mobile calls per second in Chad and Sao Tome and Principe, for example). It is also the weakest region in terms of performance. The penetration rate of fixed broadband telephony is only 0.8% while that of mobile broadband is 22.48%. However, the overall level of Internet penetration is encouraging and stands at 48.6% against a world average of 62%; the average speed of online transfer and downloading is below 10 megabytes per second.

Thus, delegates will deepen their understanding of the causes of this poor performance in terms of access and content and will lay out a full range of transformations to be undertaken with a view to resolving the glitches and making the digital transformation a nodal point for the industrial rise and economic diversification in Equatoria Guinea.

Development theorists and think tanks around the world agree that technology and innovation are the main drivers of economic growth today. Equatoria Guinea must place innovation at the center of development to fan the flame of digital innovation in its ecosystem in order to stimulate transformations in a wide variety of sectors including : governance, education, agriculture, energy, banking and finance, employment, manufacturing, creative industries, transport and logistics, trade and the digital sector in question, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the blockchain, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and other innovations," said Antonio Pedro, Director of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Sub-regional Office for Central Africa, ahead of the Malabo meeting.

"Although the countries of Central Africa have not been major players in the industrial revolutions of the past, the present era of intelligence+ and networking, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, where digital innovations are associated with broadband to connect everything and propel productivity, represents a golden opportunity to surpass all other eras to position ourselves on the path of sustainable development. In our theory of change for the economic diversification and structural transformation of Equatoria Guinea, we see the digital economy as the game-changer; hence our meeting in Malabo.

The Director stated that a comprehensive and well-structured strategy, endorsed by the highest political authorities in the subregion and with the support of many stakeholders, particularly the private sector, will be needed to invest in and benefit from the digital economy for economic transformation, but also to better cope with the disruptions associated with the expected paradigm shift in production and related ecosystems.

As recently pointed out by ECA Executive Secretary, Ms. Vera Songwe, by 2020, the value of the digital economy in Africa will amount to US$300 billion - a space that young entrepreneurs and women in particular will need to capitalize on. They will also need to make the most of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTAA). The contribution of young people and women will figure prominently in the ICE discussions.

Several estimates indicate that the global digital economy will reach 24.3% of global GDP by 2025, up from the 15.5% of global GDP (representing US$11.50 trillion) estimated for 2016.

In this ecosystem, mobile telephony occupies a place of choice and is rapidly being exploited in Equatorial Guinea. According to the ITU, mobile telephony has grown faster than any other technology in history, with the total number of mobile broadband subscriptions increasing from 268 million in 2007 to 4.2 billion in 2018, worldwide.

On the eve of the 5G revolution, the question now is who will benefit from these digital transformations. How to facilitate the vast deployment of digital solutions in Central Africa in order to boost productivity, increase efficiency in service delivery, reduce costs, connect people and finally make the subregion a dynamic and competitive player in the digital economy will be one of the main tasks of delegates at the Malabo conference.

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