Middle East & Africa companies must increase their focus on talent and leadership to realise value from digital investments

Wednesday 06 March 2019
Dubai - MENA Herald:

The case for digital transformation has been made, and organisations across industries are committed to change. But there is no one-size-fits-all approach to going digital, as leadership focuses on unique business conditions and the experiences of their diverse customers and employees. PwC worked with Oxford Economics to survey 2,280 executives in more than 60 emerging and developed countries covering 15 sectors. The sample included 175 responses in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), with representation from Nigeria, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, among others.

Divergent digital aspirations

When asked about their digital aspirations, executives in the MEA regions, like others around the world, have varying aspirations, highlights include -  to modernise their brand, to become more efficient, to change their core business model, and to break into new markets. Respondents in the MEA region are also more likely than others to focus on expanding to new markets.

Experience Imperative

Improving the employee experience is critical to successful digital initiatives, as companies increasingly rely on their workforce to drive transformation. MEA executives are engaging the workforce with their transformation processes, in line with global responses (55% vs. 57%), but may lack the leadership prowess to encourage innovation: just one-third say their leadership is digitally savvy.

Obstacles on each course

Organisations in the MEA region and around the world face similar challenges on their path towards digital transformation, most of which centers around updating internal processes, skills, and workflows. In the MEA, inflexible processes and a lack of properly skilled teams are the top two barriers to digital initiatives, according to our findings; followed by outdated technologies. To overcome these obstacles, MEA executives should focus on investments in digital processes, training, and technologies.

The path to value:

MEA executives are focused on cost savings, reputation management, and talent recruitment and retention as they make investments in digital technologies. Better customer experiences and improved decision-making are the areas most likely to have yielded value to date, according to the survey’s MEA respondents.

Imad Abu Izz, PwC Middle East Consulting Technology leader at PwC said “To increase the likelihood of realising value from digital investments, executives should set a clear goal for digital transformation, and focus more on developing the talent and leadership needed to make it happen”

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