Developing the talent in the digital sphere is the next step for South Africa

31 July 2019 2 min. read
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While investment in technology is no longer an issue for businesses in South Africa, the new barrier to realising the economic potential of digitalisation appears to be a lack of skills in the market, according to Johan Walters, Managing Consultant at digital marketing advisory firm DQ&A. 

When digitalisation first hit the South African market, the larger corporations were quick to adopt the latest technology, while the smaller businesses were weary of the high costs involved in implementing various technological enhancements. Nevertheless, that scenario appears to be changing.

The small and medium enterprise (SME) sector in South Africa appears to have embraced various technological domains, particularly cloud computing and blockchain, which enhance operational efficiency. The next step, according to Walters, is to develop the skills required to optimise this technology.

Developing the talent in the digital sphere is the next step for South Africa

Walters’ analysis echoes a number of reports on the South African market in recent times, which illustrate that the demand for a new variety of skills is emerging. Professionals must develop the skills required to work in collaboration with various technologies, including artificial intelligence. 

Failure to develop these skills is likely to worsen the unemployment scenario in the country. According to Walters, lack of technological skills is also likely to affect the ability of businesses to capitalise on the financial potential that technology has to offer. Nevertheless, Walters believes the sentiment is right for growth.

“While the majority of South African brands are still playing catchup when it comes to both skills and technology in digital marketing, there is a growing awareness that advancing a company’s digital maturity can be fast-tracked,” says Walters.

“In all fairness, many of the shortcomings cannot be blamed on marketing leadership. In many cases companies are not in a position to extract data from their systems. Or, have not implemented digital marketing strategies which moves them closer to personalisation of the customer and are still in the early stages of their own digital maturity. They will often not have an e-commerce offering, or have not thought about loyalty offerings and may not even have connected CRM,” he added.