With businesses around the world continuing to grapple with the realities of a disrupted landscape on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, they must adopt and apply technology in new ways if they are to thrive in the new normal.
John Obaro, founder and managing director of SystemSpecs, a leading financial and human capital technology firm shared this perspective at a recent MTN REVV Masterclass aimed at providing SMEs with access to new markets, productivity support and business advisory services.
Emphasising the positive correlation between technology deployment and productivity optimisation, Obaro highlighted the need for small businesses to leverage everyday technology in new ways to enhance the various aspects of their operations for value creation, team building and superior returns.
“We must not underplay the role of technology for optimal performance especially during the growth phase of businesses where it is important to keep costs low, operations lean, creativity at its highest and customers excited,” he said.
According to him, the COVID-19 pandemic offers enormous opportunities to SMEs to reimagine and recreate their businesses, leveraging online technologies as well as engaging customers beyond the pre-COVID norms.
Drilling down to the issue of team-building and people management in the new normal, he advised small businesses to leverage technology to build a family-like atmosphere within the workforce to deepen teamwork, trust, and ultimately increased productivity.
“The basic thing for me from the outset is that relationships matter. You hire right and relate well with your employees. You need to create a work atmosphere where people are free to make mistakes and learn from them. I have always placed emphasis on giving them (employees) the kind of freedom that they need. Building that trust in a relationship is important.
“As an SME, it gives you an opportunity to really get personal; as you grow bigger, it probably becomes more difficult, as you would need to get more structured. And of course that comes with different challenges,” Obaro added. He advised that small businesses should be careful to employ people that buy into the organisational vision because an employee without passion for the business would be counterproductive.
Speaking further, Obaro whose software company developed Remita, HumanManager and Paylink said as SMEs grow beyond early stages, they would need to pay more attention to employee issues such as performance management, compensation, capacity development, career progression amongst others
Other notable panellists who featured at the masterclass include Bolaji Olagunju, founder, Workforce Group and Owners Institute; Adora Ikwuemesi, founder, Kendor Consulting; Chichi Ojeme, HR expert and entrepreneur; and Esther Akinnukawe, Chief Human Resource Officer of MTN Nigeria. The session was moderated by the acting Executive Secretary of MTN Foundation, Odunayo Sanyo.
Minister Commissions NCC, USPF, NITDA Projects
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has commissioned more projects executed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) towards advancing the digital economy vision of the government.
The projects include the NCC’s Emergency Communications Centre, Ado –Ekiti; the Digital Awareness Programme (DAP) for Secondary Schools, whose beneficiaries are Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba, Lagos State and Bishop Okoye Girls’ Secondary School, Ukpor, Anambra State; as well as the School Knowledge Center (SKC) at Ijaloke Grammar School, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, executed by the USPF.
The Minister also flagged off the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) initiative located at the Jewel’s Suite, Okoe Urejee, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, which was executed by the National Information Technology Development agency (NITDA).
Speaking at the 7th phase of the virtual commissioning of digital economy projects for a digital Nigeria by agencies under the Ministry on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at the NCC’s Communications & Digital Economy Complex, Abuja, Pantami said the NCC’s ECC project is critical to enhancing the security of lives and property of Nigerians.
He also said that the DAP by USPF is an initiative designed to expose students to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) awareness and usage. “The DAP is a programme by which the NCC, through the USPF, contributes to the digital economy by ensuring inclusive growth of human capacity development as well as economic development of the Nigerian population.”
Accordingly, Pantami said the SKC is very key to the digital economy agenda of the Federal Government. “This is because FG understands that demand for jobs in the nearest future, as predicted by the World Economic Forum (WEF), would change completely. As such, job demands would be more on soft skills such as critical thinking, collaborative thinking, agility and adaptability among others, all of which can be aided by ICT.”
While stating that the NAVSA project by NITDA is also in line with the Federal Government’s economic agenda to diversify the economy by driving agriculture with ICT, the Minister said the projects, altogether, were a demonstration of accountability and transparency on the part of government for ultimate promotion of a digital economy in Nigeria.
The special guest of honour and Minister of State for Health, Senator Adeleke Mamora, as well as the Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi, commended the Ministry and its agencies for the ICT projects and expressed optimism that the projects would help in human capital development through driving innovations in the ICT sector.
Fayemi, who doubled as the chairman of the occasion, expressed satisfaction at the various ICT initiatives implemented in his state. With respect to the ECC project, he said the “the ECC will help in strengthening the security architecture of the state and we will put it to utmost use”
Mamora said the various ICT initiatives introduced in the wake the COVID-19 pandemic have been very helpful to the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
NCC Emerges Outstanding Government Agency of the Decade
The Nigeria Communications Commission has emerged the Outstanding Government Agency of the Decade at the Nigeria @60 ICT Hall of Fame Awards organised by TechTV www.techtv.net.ng in collaboration with techeconomy as the highpoint of the 2020 Titans of Tech Virtual Conference and Expo..
Presenting the prestigious Government Agency of the Decade Award to Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communications (NCC) at the ATCON National Dialogue, Don Pedro Aganbi, President, TechTV Network noted that over the years earned a reputation as a foremost Telecom regulatory agency in Africa.
The Commission’s transparency, professionalism and forward thinking regulatory acumen has helped to catalyze the use of ICT’S for different aspect of national development across the country.
“The NCC has persistently demonstrated a unique appreciation of the role of the consumer in the provision of telecommunication services and subsequently always sought to protect them and promote their interest. In the early days, the commission established the Consumer Parliament, quickly followed by Customer Call Centre and continual insistent that the operators put the consumer as “King” always, even punishing operators for short comings in this regards. The Commission also enforced the “Do Not Disturb code” across the networks. What more, the NCC contributes handsomely to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Don Pedro Aganbi said.
In his remarks, Prof. Danbatta thanked TechTV Network for the honour. “This is a great honour for us at the commission especially coming at this auspicious time when Nigeria is celebrating her 60th anniversary. This will certainly spur us at the commission to deepen the growth and progress we have made in the sector. I hereby dedicate this special award to the Board, staff and management of the Nigeria Communication Commission. Prof. Dambatta stated.
Now in its 16th edition, Titans of Tech is a flagship industry event that annually celebrates excellence in the Nigerian ICT space. Titans of Tech is unique for a lot of reason, the most important is the sheer breadth of sectors, industries, businesses and individuals covered every year. Every year, core ICT firms, entertainment, business, academia and fintech are nominated, recognised and celebrated.
It is preceded by a conference and expo. A platform where the most influential players in the West African information communications technology (ICT) markets can come together to exchange ideas and to positively influence and promote ICT agenda for optimal good. It is perhaps the most sought after and respected Nigeria’s ICT engagement
Experts Set To Discuss 5G As The Future Of Technology, Services
By Adeniyi Adunola
Chief executive officers and industry regulators will at this year’s Nigeria ICT Impact CEO Forum (NIICF) and Africa Digital Awards (ADA) discuss how fifth generation (5) technology will drive the future of works, government and growth of other sectors.
The 2020 edition of the forum which is scheduled to hold November 27 at the Prestigious Oriental Hotel, Lekki, is being organised by ICT Watch Magazine and will attract government officials, regulatory bodies, industry players, and all the crème de la crème in the country’s tech space.
With the theme ‘5G: The Future is Here’, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami will be the special guest of honour at the event while the executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta will present the keynote address.
According to the Editor-in-Chief of ICT Watch Magazine, Mr. Tayo Adewusi, the Impact CEO Forum is envisioned as the foremost impactful meeting of top-level executives to assess the impact of ICT on their businesses and make projections into the future.
“It is a must-attend event for those interested in the deployment of ICT to improve efficiency and productivity. As such, the Impact CEO Forum is expected to attract about 200 participants across all sectors of the economy”, he said.
Adewusi added that the event will hold concurrently with the Africa Digital Awards (ADA), through which the distinguished individuals, government agencies, state governors who have been “using the potent power of ICT” to execute different ideas would be honoured.
He said the Impact CEO Forum offers an opportunity to expand the business network of “contacts, identify potential partners and share experiences and valuable time.”
The organiser said a comprehensive list of confirmed participants would be provided “on request” few days before the forum. “This will encourage participants to arrange for meetings in advance and make the most of the forum.”
Already, six lead papers will be presented at occasion. The presenters, he said, have been confirmed for the event. According to the organisers, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ferdi Moolman is to present the first lead paper ‘Readiness for 5G: Technology & Service perspective.’
The second lead paper is to be presented by the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Inuwa Abdullahi, on how 5G can lead to growth in agriculture, healthcare, transportation, smart cities, and other industries in Nigeria.
The Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Muhammed Abubakar is expected to present a paper on how the 5G revolution will drive future government, while the Chief Executive Officer of VDT, Mr. Biodun Omoniyi is to deliver a paper on delivering technology excellence for a 5G world. Managing Director of Inlaks, Mr. Femi Adeoti is billed to present a paper on how will 5G shake up banking and FinTech.
Expected attendees at the event include the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA); National Broadcasting Commission (NBC); Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT); National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP); Galaxy Backbone Limited; and Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON).
Others are the Association of Licensed Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ALTON); Nigeria Computer Society (NCS); Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN); Nigeria Internet Registration Agency (NIRA); Telecom companies IT companies; Lagos State Government; and representatives from Nasarawa, Plateau, Osun, Ondo states Assemblies.
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