Inem Essien
Inem Essien CEO

Data has become one of the most valuable commodities, which makes it crucial for businesses to transform if they want to play an active role in the digital future.

According to the World Bank’s 2019 World Development Report, new technology is the driver of enormous opportunities, including the creation of new jobs, increased productivity and improved public services.

As we approach the middle of the year, we will continue to see the advancement of key enterprise IT technology. Let’s take a closer look at where Nigerian businesses are in the race to adopt current technology.

AI is not integrated into the business

End-to-end AI solutions provide access to a myriad business benefits such as increased productivity and revenue, lowered risks and costs, and enhanced customer experience. The reality is that businesses are not as focused on implementing end-to-end solutions as they should be. IT infrastructures are operating in silos because some businesses don’t have a scalable data infrastructure and smart data layers in place.

To maximise the capabilities of AI in the enterprise environment, businesses need high-quality data and to move from thinking big to thinking deep. Enterprises that harness their data can use it to identify new opportunities that lead to smarter business decisions, more efficient operations, higher profits and satisfied customers.

Nigeria has made significant strides in the deployment and use of AI. The University of Lagos and Yobe State University have dedicated AI centres, while the banking sector is also using AI-powered bots. However, it remains to be seen how quickly widespread enterprise adoption will occur.

Increased investment in cloud-based services

The International Data Corporation forecasts that global spending on public cloud services and infrastructure will increase by more than 20% to $210 billion this year. In 2018, almost 80% of businesses in Nigeria increased their cloud computing budgets.

Computing services use servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence over the Internet with the aim of delivering faster innovations, flexible resources and economies of scale. Cloud computing software allows businesses to quickly access and manage their files and resources.

Cloud services are particularly popular in business because you can run applications without requiring a major investment in IT infrastructure and skills. Businesses tend to take a step-by-step approach in the use of cloud services, adopting one or two cloud-based applications or services at a time before moving on to others.

Due to its ease of use and cost-effectiveness, cloud computing is particularly beneficial to organisations that are non-technical or don’t have in-house IT specialists. When enterprises hand over control of their cloud computing to a third-party provider, they don’t have to worry about installation, security and upgrading.

Software as a Service

Gary Middleton, Group Networking Senior Practice Director of Dimension Data, says: “Software as a Service (SaaS) is a burgeoning trend in the market, allowing organisations to utilise capabilities such as WebEx, and Office 365, giving them time to focus their resources on delivering better infrastructure.”

SaaS supports routine tasks and frees up resources needed elsewhere, providing value creation through the use of resource-sharing, standardisation of processes and centralised data.

SaaS continues to attract interest with businesses because they gain a competitive edge since they can provide faster upgrades and patches. Additionally, the SaaS application allows a software implementation project to be started on a pay-as-you-go basis, scaling on business needs.

Saas is gaining momentum in Nigeria with a few vendors occupying the space. Unfortunately, a lack of trust remains a hurdle for ongoing adoption among enterprises.

There is no denying it, business strategies are inseparably linked to technology. What was once a “nice to have” is now a “must have”. Leading organisations have to rethink the way they engineer their IT departments with the right IT solutions leading the way.

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