• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

The Nigerian market is bursting with growth potential – Kamal Ramsingh

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Since the difficulties associated with digital documentation were resolved with the debunking of claims surrounding the millennium bug , the influx of major software brands like Google, Cisco and Microsoft creating platforms for the provision of rapid cyber solutions for their customer base has been on the increase.

This rise in internet proficiency has aided the growthstart-up ventures across the continent who leverage on technical software to deliver optimal service through integrated business processes.

However, in spite of the boom in the number of IT-dependents in sub-Saharan Africa, there are relatively few entrepreneurs who are willing to dabble in the fields of data processing due to the high amount of revenue required to successfully drive the companies to a state of profitability.

This is where the key function Kamal Ramsingh plays at Deloitte, the largest professional service firm, comes in to play.

Ramsingh serves as the Director of Technology at Deloitte  Africa leading the team that provides technology advisory as well as implementation and application support services to indigenous, pan-African and international  organisations.

For the last five years Deloittte has published The Technology Trends Report’. This annual report documents the firmspoint of view as to the top 10 IT trends that will impact businesses over the next eighteen to twenty-four months.

With the Nigerian economy already booming, the country is ready to gear for its next stage of growth. “There is an entire industry waiting to develop here and given the skills gap that the Africancontinent in itself has right now, masses of technical proficiency can be mobilized. Given the sheer number of people in the Nigerian market, this  potential outsourcing mecca could be a particular niche that can be explored.”.”

The cyber security industry is one of particular interest where pioneering IT-research can propel Nigeria, along with the governments help, as front runners in this particular IT vertical.

Ramsingh went on to suggest that perhaps government should place some key investments in technology in order to try and enable some of crowd-sourcing channels help the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises participate more actively in the technology market. This in turn will assist in buildingpools of talent which will be phenomenal support for the SMEs as well as be an attractiveintervention for investments in technology.

As for challenges that hinder venture capitalist advancements for the benefit of increasing the returns on investment as predicted by experts in the maximization of modern technologies for commerce, Ramsingh insists that with government funding entrepreneurial ideas and acting as a source of support for their execution, most of the issues can be avoided.

Nevertheless, the IT-professional drawing from his over twenty years of experience in data computing on a cautionary note states that for public and private enterprises to reap profitably from the opportunities that abound, an appraisal of the regulations surrounding the ease of importing, building and exporting skills that are available in other areas is necessary.

He further said that as a nation crossing a great digital divide, we may have to look at whether legislation prohibits or encourages new entrants into cloud computing, crowd sourcing and other digital endeavors. Speaking on some of the changes indigenous public and private sector investors should make in order to harness the opportunities that abound as a result of the huge market the sheer size of the country’s population presents, he stated, “I think there is an enormous opportunity in using the very high levels of internet connectivity to introduce a lot the technologies that are being innovated, whether it is for corporate needs or merely for social upliftment, education and mobile health.

“Over here in Nigeria,” he continued, “we have got over 130 million mobile subscribers and over 65 000 000 active internet accounts and that is a big opportunity.”

While many bemoan the impeded responsibilities of Chief Information Officers in organizations where a bias for income generation far supersedes the quest for research and development, the inability for management to bridge the gap between laboratory expeditions and real life situations has been cited as one of the reasons for the low creativity rate and underfunding experienced in the sub-regional IT sector.

However, for the benefit of market dominance and enterprise continuity, an effective portfolio overhaul enabling the strategic performance of assets, projects and vendors as directed by the CIO’s need to be carried out.

As a solution, Ramsingh posited, “I do think that the role of the CIO in Nigeria has to be radically relooked. They have to embrace the “CIO as Venture Capitalist” trend to actively help businesses transform and not merely deploy technology.”

In other words information gate keepers and generators need begin to sell their ideas to management in such a way that puts the emphasis on reducing cost or increasing the bottom-line for the organizations they belong to, especially if they intend to stay relevant within the companies.