Blockchain and other technologies are gaining momentum in South Africa

16 May 2018 3 min. read
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According to a new report from Deloitte, South Africa is right in the mix of the digital disruption phenomena currently affecting the global business environment. As per the report, the country has attained a medium level of readiness, a high level of relevance, and is going through its phase of disruption in tandem with – and not later than – the global environment.

Advancements in the global information communication technology (ICT) segment have affected practically every aspect of business. Be it through the impact of blockchain technology and FinTech on the financial sector or the impact of AI and robotics on the manufacturing sector, traditional models of business are all but a thing of the past. 

The South African economy is developing rapidly, although several aspects of the country’s business environment remain at the relatively early stages of development, which makes it all the more prone to digital disruption.

The mining sector, for instance, and other such labour intensive areas, are crucial to the South African economy, but are most subject to loss of jobs from automation. According to recent analysis from Accenture, automation and robotics could lead to the loss of nearly six million jobs in South Africa, if skill development is not placed high on the agenda.

Amongst businesses, larger firms are being able to benefit from leveraging the latest in technology, while smaller firms have been reluctant to do so in light of the high costs involved, which has thus far created a divide in the economy. Nevertheless, this trend appears to be changing, as the latest technology gains momentum amongst the relatively smaller businesses.

Global impact of digital advancement

Earlier this month, senior executives at a top South African tech firm revealed how small and medium enterprises have increasingly begun to opt for migration to cloud-based platforms, thereby overcoming their hesitation around costs and competing with larger firms. Now, a new report from Big Four firm Deloitte has revealed that a similar trend is visible in blockchain and other digital techniques.

“Blockchain can serve as a new foundational protocol for trust throughout the enterprise and beyond. We are now seeing some forward-thinking organisations approach change more broadly. They are thinking about exploration, use cases, and deployment more holistically, focusing on how disruptive technologies can complement each other to drive greater value,” said Mohammed Gausse, Technology Leader for Deloitte Africa.

Three broad aspects of digital advancements are set to gain traction across South Africa and across the globe, namely digital reality, core transformation, and enterprise data sovereignty. The first lies in the domain of augmented and virtual reality, and will track developments along those lines.

The second represents a crucial aspect of digitalisation that is commonly neglected amongst businesses. Most businesses are keen to leverage the latest technology to develop new products and expand into new markets. However, digital tools can also be used to optimise the core processes in a firm and make its overall functioning faster and more efficient. This latter use of technology is set to grow substantially in popularity.

The last trend, i.e. enterprise data sovereignty, defines everything that is advantageous about blockchain, including its decentralised access, high levels of transparency, and automation of basic processes for scale and speed.