How Digital Transformation is driving Disruption in Wealth Re-Distribution

  • by Nkemdilim Uwaje-Begho
  • Apr 02, 2020
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I spent yesterday evening talking to my friend and leading wealth coach in Nigeria, Abiola Adekoya on her maiden edition of Disruptors with Abiola Adekoya, an IG LIVE series focused on Disruptors, Industry Trends, Wealth Creation and how to navigate the 21st century with all it’s quirks and kinks.

Our topic was How Digital Transformation is driving Disruption in Wealth Re-distribution and if I do say so myself it was an hour and half packed with lots of insights, opportunities, industry trends and information that will help CEOs, Entrepreneurs and Investors navigate the current situation.

COVID-19 and the current global economic crisis has forced us to test our readiness for the 4IR (4th Industrial Revolution) and reshape our habits as individuals and businesses.

Here are some of the key takeaways that we covered during the LIVE session:

1. Consumer Behaviour is Changing

There is a massive shift happening globally as consumers are changing their habits during COVID-19.

Some of these behavioural changes are:

  • People connecting with friends and loved ones across the globe on the Houseparty app, having virtual dinner parties or company TGIF sessions and engaging in fun games and banter.
  • Children attending class online and parents being more involved in class activities
  • People taking part in virtual exercise and dance classes, DJ sessions and live cooking activities using LIVE.
  • Thought leaders and subject matter experts using digital video streaming apps and webinars to engage
  • People working from home at scale — this is not something we are used to in this part of the world and as employers and employees forcefully navigate the WFH (Working from Home) culture, this may be something many Nigerian employers adopt going forward, especially if infrastructure challenges are solved.
  • People becoming content creators on platforms like Tiktok — we will surely see the next wave of tween content creator millionaires post COVID-19.
  • People getting used to having meetings via video conference calls, this may become the new normal — especially in cities like Lagos where 1 meeting can take 4 hours out of your day due to the heavy traffic. My guess is post COVID-19 we will see a significant reduction in pointless face-to-face meetings and will use technology to be more efficient in client interactions.

These new habits and experiences will lead to changes in consumer behaviour and increase the demand for businesses, educational institutions and Governments to deliver their services virtually.

They will also lead to more computing power and bandwidth being needed as more and more businesses move their operations into the cloud to further enable remote work.

We will begin to see a rise in VR (Virtual Reality) Experiences, e-sports and other immersive experiences.

I also think that the pandemic will lead to global digital literacy rates going up as more and more people come online in order to ensure that they are up to date and able to connect with their loved ones.

2. There are BIG Winners despite COVID-19

A lot of businesses are closing down, letting employees go or paying 50% salaries to staff as they struggle to stay alive, however there are some clear winners that have emerged on a global scale:

  • Big winners are online supermarkets and groceries delivery services. UK Online supermarket Ocado had a virtual queue of over 400K people. Walmart hired over 150,000 casual staff to ensure that they could meet demand. They saw daily surges of demand that exceeded over 160%
  • Other big winners are streaming services. With the increasing demand for digital content, an analysis published by Forbes has shown that streaming has jumped by at least 12%. Streaming services like Netflix, Youtube and Amazon have also had to reduce streaming quality from HD to standard to reduce the bandwidth being used. While the pandemic is at its all-time high, Disney+ services just launched in most European countries.
  • Collaboration Cloud Services are another clear winner with millions of people around the world working from home collaboration tools and file sharing has become more important. A report by Reuters suggests that Microsoft Teams has had a 500% increased usage in China since the end of January; Zoho is jumping on the bandwagon with the recent launch of Zoho Remotely, a suite of web and mobile apps to help teams collaborate remotely.
  • Video Conferencing & Chats are closely related to collaboration cloud services as video conferencing and chat usage has skyrocketed as work teams, families, friends and colleagues use it to connect. A report on Tech Crunch shows that between March 14–24, WhatsApp had a 40% increase in usage; Reuters reports that since early January, Zoom’s daily active user base has increased by 67%.

These are businesses that will continue to deliver value as we plunge into a global post COVID recession.

3. There are great opportunities for Investors

As a Wealth Coach Abiola is always thinking about investment opportunities and prior to this session we had long conversations about opportunities in the global markets and I kept saying….TECH TECH TECH….and I think I have convinced her to jump on my bandwagon…here are my top technology stocks and reasons why I think they will do well….please note that I am in NO way qualified to give any investment advice. This analysis is simply based on my predictions of a post COVID world:

  1. Disney — You may think of Disney as a traditional brand, but they spent the last decade rapidly investing in Digital and are the poster child for Digital Transformation — you can read The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger to gain more insights on why I say so. They also recently launched Disney+ across Europe and the UK and have seen a surge of new subscribers. I think they will continue to invest in their Digital and win big post COVID.
  2. AMD & Intel — As the demand for computing capacity increases and we see more and more demand for cloud and quantum computing chip makers will become more and more relevant and both AMD and Intel have invested heavily in the next generation of chips. They also have solid balance sheets and I think we will see them win big in the post COVID era.
  3. Netflix — streaming in general has jumped up by 12% globally and people who have never done Netflix and chill are suddenly online. I think this will be a stock that will remain stable throughout the crisis and beyond, however it may be close to it’s max.
  4. Zoom — Everyone is doing meetings on Zoom all of a sudden and all my non-techie friends are talking about it like it’s some new tool 😂😂😂 and I am more than delighted because this means it will be easier to get clients to do Zooms post COVID. Zoom has also gained 67% new subscribers daily since the start of the pandemic and keeps growing. Rationale behind the success of this stock is same as for Netflix.

But apart from stocks there are many many other ways to invest in technology — Angel investing is one of them.

There are many awesome Angel investing networks in Nigeria and across the continent. I belong to Rising Tide Africa — a women only Angel Investment network. Abiola said it so well when she said — take risks and invest early to make sure that you stand the chance to gain big as well.

I think angel investors should focus on local companies that are building platforms that enable remote work, elearning, streaming etc., as well as in companies that create the content that will be consumed.

Another big area to invest in is the talent pipeline and here is why:

Post COVID-19 many companies in Nigeria and globally will accelerate their Digital Transformation and will be looking to automate processes, build e-commerce platforms and digital channels to deliver their services, as well as integrate AI, VR, AR and big data into their service delivery platforms and solutions.

Innovation, disruption and Digital Transformation will win this fight in the long term and this means that we will need lots of technology talent — devs, product managers, data scientists etc. to build solutions that will help businesses and Governments dig themselves out of the post pandemic inevitable recession.

Areas that need to be invested in in order to leapfrog our talent pipeline are:

  • Learning resources and platforms: Virtual reality for example offers a huge potential to teach practical skills without heavy investment in infrastructure / labs or equipment, however VR developers are very very rare.
  • Training schools: also need support as most learners cannot afford the fees which means that we are seeing less and less talent being churned out. Funding mechanisms are key and these can reach from student loan initiatives to corporate funds that help sustain the pipeline. Post COVID we will all need to come to the table to ask ourselves how we will build our human capital, so that it in turn can build our nation and continent.

4. Business Owners & C-level executives need to think about Digital Transformation

For businesses that are struggling to stay alive my advice is:

  • Don’t give up! You can and will make it through this. My client and friend Ayodele Olajiga wrote a great article with some useful tips on having the right mindset to get through this.
  • Assess your runway: Understand how long your reserves can carry you if you do not earn anything and figure out what that means for your team.
  • Rethink your business strategies and if you haven’t thought about the role Digital plays in your business, now is the time. I urge business owners to use the time they have now to reflect deeply and to learn as much as possible about taking their businesses on a Digital Transformation journey — a great book I can recommend is The Digital Transformation Playbook by David L. Rogers. This is the time to strategise and plan your comeback post COVID-19, keeping in mind that we will plunge right into a recession.
  • Invest in Data — it’s the new oil: Start thinking about how you can use data to make better decisions. What are the tools you need to collect data, what are the tools to interpret it and how do you use it to make data driven decisions? Regardless of what sector you are in or who your target demographic is there are always ways to collect the right data, interpret it and use it to optimise your business.
  • Build your Brand Equity: Apart from planning your Digital Transformation journey this is the time to actively invest in building brand equity by investing in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives that you can amplify online and by investing in your digital content, knowledge sharing & content marketing.

If you need help thinking through Digital Transformation or how to use Digital to build your brand equity — let me know — my team at Futuresoft helps businesses think through their Digital Transformation journeys and guides them with regards to strategy development as well as execution. We are also currently working on a series of training courses for board members and CEOs on Digital Transformation Strategies and how to deploy Digital as a resilience strategy so watch this space! My amazing Digital Marketing Team can also help you think through building your brand using Digital.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nkemdilim Uwaje-Begho
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