South African ICT solutions and service provider BCX, has announced the launch of its first Digital Innovation Report 2022.
This is a part of its ongoing effort to encourage digital innovation by large enterprises, small and medium enterprises (SME’s), as well as to encourage innovation on a broader scale within South Africa.
“The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we are all trying to solve problems never experienced before. At first it was for survival and business continuity, and later for some, it led to considerations for the future. It is without a doubt that digital technologies and digital innovation will play a big part of that future,” says Jonas Bogoshi, CEO at BCX.
According to Bogoshi, world markets have experienced rapid technological changes as a result of COVID-19 and in pursuit of economic revival. The pandemic presented South Africa and much of the developing world with increased challenges, which seem insurmountable. However, it has also provided opportunities that must be seized if we are to rebuild the economy and remain competitive within a technologically driven global market.
The recently launched report includes a body of knowledge that outlines current trends and the status of digital innovation in South Africa, at both a micro and macro level. It provides an in depth look at subjects such as global and local trends in innovation, technologies that are fuelling digital innovation, especially in retail.
Looking at the Retail sector, the report suggests that digital innovation has had a massive impact on this sector. In 2019, South Africa’s online retail space (or e-commerce industry) was still in its infancy, accounting for only 1.4% of total retail spend. However, the onset of the COVID–19 pandemic brought about nationwide lockdowns and restrictions to the movement of consumers.
Retailers needed to reform their business models to attract customers without the enticements of shopping malls. It pushed the pace of change into hyperdrive. The pandemic served as a launchpad for digital innovation, with an increased uptake in e-commerce from online retail and click-and-collect to video streaming. South Africa saw a 50 to 70% growth in e-commerce in 2021.
Similar insights are presented on critical sectors of our economy, such as Banking, Healthcare, and Insurance, amongst others. There are ten case studies included in the report of local companies depicting their journey to success with digital innovation.
“We are at a critical period of our economy – most countries are still reeling from the fourth wave of COVID-19 and are focused on their future sustainability. The world’s larger economies are picking up speed based on substantial stimulus packages and an incredible pace of digital innovation. We are playing catch-up and must act if we are to compete” suggest Bogoshi.
South Africa has however, greatly increased its adoption of digital technologies over the past 18 months. Although digital innovation and transformation have been priorities for South African organisations for a number of years, the COVID-19 pandemic has escalated the importance of digital innovation to ‘survival level’.
The report cites a study indicating 79% of organisations in South Africa had fast-tracked digital transformation programmes by the end of 2020.
According to the BCX report, a positive aspect of COVID-19 has been the impetus it created for digital innovation, which was never experienced before in modern history. From the way we work and the way we buy groceries, to the way we receive healthcare and carry out our jobs, the necessity for less physical contact has opened a gateway for digital innovation from which we will benefit for decades to come.
“The BCX Digital Innovation report 2022 highlights the opportunities that our current circumstances present for large-scale transformation of South Africa through digital innovation. It should be an inclusive journey, ultimately leading to benefits for all, whilst limiting the negative impacts of rapid changes we will most likely continue to experience for years to come,” concludes Bogoshi.
BCX is playing its part in driving digital transformation by investing in and growing its technology offerings such as expanding its SD-WAN capabilities, optimising the traditional ICT environment, and reducing cost by automating IT operations.
The company has also refined its Artificial Intelligence for IT operations, continued its focus on security and software-defined networking and making other evolutions to its existing technology, so that it continues to provide best in-class, cost-effective, scalable, and secure solutions to clients.
In addition, through the Digital Innovation Awards, BCX has promoted some of the most innovative companies – from start-ups, SMME’s to large enterprises, showcasing the possibilities of adopting digital innovation. BCX partners with both employees and companies in testing new ideas that can be brought into the market and those that may have a positive impact to society
The Digital Innovation Report 2022 is available here.