South Africa is well-positioned to benefit from digital transformation, due to its high ICT penetration and its innovative business environment, says Peter Goulding, Global Public Safety Expert at Huawei Enterprise Business Group.
Industrial leaders in South Africa are digitising essential functions and are focused on driving both revenue growth and operational efficiencies.
90% of local companies expect to expand their product portfolio with digital offerings over the next year, according to the Industry 4.0 report by PwC. Digital transformation is now a priority for most South African CEOs, and the level of digitisation is expected to rise to 64% within the next five years.
Digital transformation in South Africa
“There is no doubt that digital transformation is a priority in South Africa,” says Goulding. “The country has a good, educated workforce, an innovative business environment, and a good legal system – all very important for digital business.”
South Africa also has over 30 million Internet users, placing local Internet penetration at 54%, according to the International Telecommunications Union. “This places South Africa in a good position to drive digitisation – the foundations are already there,” Goulding adds.
Digital transformation in South Africa does face some challenges, however – namely skills shortages and the accessibility of services. Local companies are still hard-pressed to find the right expertise to achieve their digital transformation goals.
“Huawei wants to play its part in addressing the skills gap as well as making services accessible to those outside of the major cities,” says Goulding. “We’ve been focusing on making our technology as agnostic as possible so that it is easy to use and integrate. Furthermore, our cloud is built on an open stack platform to make connectivity and development easier.”
He adds that the collaboration between business and government is encouraging. “One of the reasons that South Africa is so well-positioned is because everyone is doing their part. Businesses are pitching in to assist with problems that many other countries – especially in the first world – would consider government responsibilities.”
As a global company, Goulding says Huawei is well-equipped to provide the technology South Africa needs to drive digital transformation – particularly in industries such as energy, transport, public safety, public sector and agriculture.
“Every country has a different combination of challenges, but many of the problems we encounter have already been solved elsewhere in the world, and we can very quickly deploy a similar solution in South Africa,” he explains. “We have the advantage of already having the solutions and having cracked the technical problem, so it’s about making it specific for South Africa.”
In fact, Huawei has experience applying the principles of digital transformation to its own organisation, evidenced by the exceptional growth the company has experienced over the past 30 years.
“We have 14 regional headquarters (including regional-level representative offices), 15 research and development and centres, 31 joint innovation centres, and 45 training centres worldwide. Huawei’s products and solutions are deployed in more than 170 countries and regions worldwide,” adds Goulding. “Operating in such a large and complex organisational structure has required both business transformation as well as process and IT implementation. We are proven experts when it comes to digital transformation, and we aim to be the first choice for South Africa.”
For more information, visit the Huawei Enterprise Business Group website.