- Technology Alone Can’t Solve Business Problems
We are all enamoured with life-altering impacts technology has in our lives: even the littlest of tech innovation has a way of conditioning the way we act as humans. Take, for instance, the ubiquitous smartphones – they have not only shaped the nature and modes of human interactions, multimillion dollar businesses have also been birthed based on their existence.
“Technology is always created by humans and in turn re-defining what we can and will do. Every single technological change is now impacting humanity in a much deeper way than ever before,” futurist author, Gerd Leonhard, tells Forbes in a 2016 interview.
But technology is not an end in itself when business is concerned, it is a merely a means of achieving it. Just as there are those that will point to negative impacts of technology products, so there are instances where over-reliance on tech to solve business problems have proved costly due to the absence of human connection.
While technology has, no doubt, redefined the way we do business, the soul of any business is still human. “Technology has revolutionised manufacturing,” says Marek Zmyslowski, the chief executive officer of HotelOga.com and co-founder of Jumia Travel in a tweetchat with The Guardian on Thursday. “But humans are still irreplaceable in services.”
But Zmyslowski is quick to point out that technology has been instrumental in revolutionising the travel industry, especially when the different players in the industry have to connect real time. “Technology obviously is a must here,” he says.
However, while technology can shape, and perhaps, refine a corporate culture that defines what a business stands for, it cannot create one on its own. Zmyslowski acknowledges this seeming shortcoming and argues that businesses thrive when their corporate cultures have a human face. To him, human-to-human connection in business environment irrespective of what technology is in use aids seamless decision-making.
“How your employees treat each other will affect how they treat customers,” he notes.
For instance, if your employees have created a culture of not helping each other solve problems that arise on the job, it may be difficult for them to offer a helping hand to a customer who has a hard time understanding a product or service, especially if that product/service is technological in nature.
Will that attitude be detrimental to a business?
I think so. Take note that acquiring customers can be done through technology, but a human-to-human approach is vital to retaining them.
The implication is that businesses need to understand where human and technological influences begin and end. There should be a clear demarcation of expectations –the expected deliverables from technologies used in a corporate environment and those of employees.
Bear in mind that technology can enhance the visibility and viability of your business. But it can only do much. I am yet to see a Twitter handle that posts content on its own without human being behind it nor can a self-driving car exists without engineers. Like Leonhard says, “we should embrace technology but not become it because technology is not what we seek, it’s how we seek!”
Truecaller Hits 43 million African Users, Releases a Business Solution
Truecaller, a caller ID service and phone search engine, has launched an identification solution to help companies prove their legitimacy while calling customers, thus increasing safety and reducing fraud.
Truecaller helps users to see who is calling and automatically screens out spam calls and SMSes.
Truecaller Business Identity, a modern enterprise solution, allows companies to verify their identities using a green checked business badge that accurately displays the company’s profile name, photo, and logo.
“Fraud continues to be a major problem across Africa, and as a company, Truecaller wanted to provide solutions on a business as well as a personal level,” said Zakaria Hersi, Director of Business Development in Africa. “Trust is at the core of everything we do, and because we spend so much of our time on our phones, we need to make sure that our contact takes place in a secure atmosphere, which was also part of the strategy behind our harassment campaign in March this year.”
The new solution increases trust and productivity in business-to-business contact by providing customers with the assurance that the caller is a Truecaller-verified business.
A checked business on Truecaller gets a verified tick mark icon and can lock their brand name and profile picture in addition to the green Caller ID and green Verified Business badge.
Consumers would be able to tell which calls to trust as a result of this.
Importantly, users will continue to see the amount of spam marks as before, and they will have the option of labeling checked phone numbers as spam or blocking them entirely.
FG Lifts Ban on New SIM Cards’ Issuance
The federal government yesterday reversed its policy banning the sale of new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, in agreement with industry stakeholders, also yesterday revised the National Digital Identity Policy for SIM card registration.
According to him, the activation of new SIM card, banned in December last year, will begin in April.
Pantami directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to ensure the provisions of the National Digital Identity Policy for SIM card registration are strictly followed by all operators and subscribers.
He said the implementation of the policy and issuance of new SIMs and other suspended activities would resume on the same date, provided that verification had been completed and the guidelines fully adhered to.
According to a statement by the Technical Assistant (Information Technology) to the Minister, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, an earlier policy was approved on February 4, 2020, while the revised policy was developed in early March 2021. The policy was further improved and endorsed for implementation by President Muhammadu Buhari on March 26, 2021.
According to the statement, the final amendments to the revised policy, based on the directives of Buhari to make the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) mandatory for all SIM registration, were completed on April 14, 2021.
The policy includes guidelines on new SIM acquisition and activation, SIM replacement, new SIM activation for corporates and Internet-of-Things/Machine-to-Machine (IoT/M2M), among others.
The statement said: “For the corporate registration, institutions will be required to appoint a telecoms master (at the minimum of an executive management level) to provide the operational primary NIN representation. The telecoms master will also be responsible to ensure that the users provide their NINs to serve as a secondary NIN.
“For IoT/M2M activations, SIM security protocols would be implemented on the SIM profile to ensure that SIMs can only be used for point-to-point data services specific to the URL they are working with. All other services will be barred.”
Pantami stated that progress had been made in the NIN registration process.
“Nonetheless, the federal government is committed to supporting all Nigerians and legal residents to obtain a NIN. The biometric verification process has been slower than anticipated, owing largely to the non-adherence of many previous SIM biometric capture processes to the NIMC standards.
“The revised policy will ensure that operators conform to the required standards for biometric capture. The guidelines in the policy have been painstakingly developed and while they are thorough, it should be noted that they have been developed that way in national interest since the SIM is essentially a national resource. Citizens and legal residents are encouraged to bear with the government as the process has been developed in the best interest of the country,” the statement added.
Walmart eCommerce Sales to Grow by 21% in 2021 to $65 Billion, Nearly a Sixth of Amazon’s $367 Billion
A massive boom in click-and-collect trends is expected to accelerate Walmart’s pandemic-driven momentum through 2021.
According to the research data analyzed and published by ComprarAcciones.com, Walmart’s online sales will grow by 21.2% to $64.62 billion in 2021. Its share of US online sales will rise from 6.7% in 2020 to 7.1% in 2021.
Based on the latest NRF ranking, Walmart is the world’s biggest retailer, followed closely by Amazon. Its total sales for 2020 – both online and offline – amounted to $559 billion, more than $200 billion ahead of Amazon’s figure.
Click-and-Collect Purchases will Grow by 15% to $83 Billion in 2021
Walmart’s US online sales for 2021 will almost double eBay’s estimated $38.67 billion. They will also be higher than the combined total of $60.59 billion that Best Buy, Target and The Home Depot will generate.
However, the big box retailer will be far behind the top US online marketplace, Amazon. Amazon’s sales are projected to reach $367.19 billion, nearly six times the Walmart total. Its share of US online sales will increase from 39.8% to 40.4%. Third-party vendors on the platform will grow sales by 16.5% to $220.39 billion. That will be 60% of total sales.
Among the factors driving Walmart’s growth is its huge brick-and-mortar footprint which drives online sales via click-and-collect. It has more than 4,700 stores in the US and 90% of Americans live within a 10-mile radius of one of them.
The click-and-collect trend saw significant growth in 2020. According to an eMarketer report, US shoppers made purchases worth $72.46 billion using the method. Compared to the 2019 total of $35.02 billion, the figure marked a growth rate of 106.9% YoY. It accounted for 9.1% of all online purchases, up from 5.8% in 2020. The growth is expected to carry into 2021. Total sales are also set to rise by 15.2% to $83.47 billion.
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