Sagicor Bank Jamaica limited last week Wednesday, November 27, explored how local business operators can use information technology solutions to propel their businesses forward in the digital economy.
In a live-streamed webinar on the bank’s social media accounts, a panel of local and international experts delved into the topic ‘Organizational Transformation Through Advancement in Information Technology’, advising business leaders how to effectively innovate to sustain business operations and remain viable during this period of COVID-19.
In his address, Michael Willacy, Sagicor Bank vice president of retail, SME and corporate banking noted that the onset of the global pandemic accelerated the necessity of digital transformation within the local business sector and pointed to the importance of businesses incorporating technology in order to survive.
“The fourth industrial revolution is now. As business operators, we must adapt to the changing tides and rethink how we serve our clients and meet their needs. For a business to thrive in this era, they will need to incorporate the use of technologies within their business model to provide a convenient and simple service,” he explained.
Like Willacy, Dr Maurice McNaughton, director, Centre of Excellence and Innovation at The University of the West Indies, Mona expressed similar sentiments and appealed to business operators to adopt a sustainable business model during the digital economy that combines the physical and digital aspects of a business. He outlined further that business strategy, organisation and talent, culture and capabilities are pillars to focus on when transforming their enterprises.
McNaughton also encouraged entrepreneurs to embrace technology as an enabler of business agility. He highlighted American streaming service, Netflix, as an example of a business that has been strategic in transforming and redefining the home entertainment sector.
“In this digital world, it is not so much how big you are as a company but how fast you are; and that is how organisations need to think in this era to remain relevant and thrive. In this new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish, it’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish,” he said.
Another panellist, Camille Sterling, chief operating officer at Vertis Technology Solutions Limited, shared tips on how businesses can begin the transformation process and the factors to consider when doing so.
She said that in order to achieve a successful transformation, organisations must implement a plan that focuses on training its people, digitising its processes, and selecting suitable technology that adds value to clients. Sterling also underscored the importance of digital transformation in the current economy by citing a recent study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which predicts that between 25 to 36 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises could close permanently if they fail to transform during the pandemic.
“This pandemic has affected many organizations, with some still struggling to adapt. Adapting quickly to market changes is a key aspect of business transformation,” she said, adding that customers expect the delivery of products and services to them will be an efficient process.
The panel of experts also included Sagicor Bank Vice-President of Innovation, Assurance, Projects Andrew Burke, who reminded business leaders of the value in innovating to satisfy their clients’ needs; and Maria J Barreiros de Juste, Director – Product Management, Commercial Products, Latin America and the Caribbean at Mastercard, who shared the company’s innovations to assist businesses to change their business models. Howard Smith, manager — SME Business Banking, Sagicor Bank acted as moderator for the forum.