Fresh from celebrating heritage month in South Africa in September, Insight Consulting’s Sales Director Charlene Smith says while it is prudent to pay homage to the immense talent pool across Africa, it is important that companies such as Insight Consulting commit to fast-tracking even more African companies’ data strategies so that they can unlock their immense potential and become more competitive in the rapidly digitising world.
Insight Consulting (www.InsightConsulting.co.za), which recently partnered with sugar manufacturer TPC in Tanzania, also does business in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. “Africa is a very important part of our business strategy,” says Smith. “This continent is blessed with a natural abundance of talent and potential and it is our mission to build long-term partnerships with customers to unleash this and help drive the competitiveness of businesses in Africa. The first step is to fast-track data strategies across the continent,” she says.
However, she adds, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that can be applied in different countries, and so consultants and service providers need to have a deep understanding and experience of the conditions in different regions across the continent. “Some challenges are unique to Africa, and so African countries need to partner with companies that have on-the-ground experience, and we are pleased that our investment in building up this experience is really starting to accelerate our footprint in Africa,” she says.
While many may worry about connectivity or skills shortages, Smith says these challenges need not stand in the way of partners solving business problems. “Essentially, our strategy lies in solving a real problem through building long-term relationships and building individual solutions and processes to achieve the desired goal. Through these relationships there’s an opportunity to identify and build skills within customer businesses, but also for us to learn from our colleagues in different countries,” she explains.
“Even challenges such as data sovereignty are surmountable when individual solutions are designed for the unique context of each business.”
She says expanding throughout Africa was always a natural fit for Insight Consulting because its extensive work for various companies headquartered in South Africa, with divisions across Africa gave it the opportunity to be exposed to the people and businesses in other African countries. “This is an enriching experience, and one which cemented our belief in the continent,” she says.
With Africa’s population expected to reach about 1.7-billion people by 2030, the continent is poised for rapid urbanisation and increasing incomes. “It is prudent for businesses on the continent to fast-track their data strategies to be able to benefit from this rapidly growing urban population and remain competitive,” explains Smith.
“Our strengths lie in assisting businesses with defining and implementing data strategies. Once businesses have these strategies in place, we are able to go the next step, by bringing the power of integration and analytics to organisations so that they can use the masses of data they are harvesting to build the type of BI that delivers meaningful return on investment.”
Smith says that one of the most apparent benefits of helping customers throughout the continent build effective BI solutions is that it breaks down silos in their organisations. “This is important,” she says, “because it gives the business a single, unified view across its divisions even if there are geographical obstacles. This enables businesses to more easily identify and fix problem areas, and focus on opportunities, thereby honing in on their revenue and cost drivers.”
Smith says that Insight Consulting has designed bespoke processes to support data strategies and then built world-class solutions in organisations across a myriad of industries on the continent, including finance, retail, manufacturing and education to name a few.
“We are very excited to be pioneering this concerted effort to help African organisations accelerate their data strategies,” she adds.