Wednesday, 11 March 2015

SERVICE PROVIDERS & MOBILE TELEPHONY MAUFACTURERS: A PARTNERSHIP THAT CAN TRANSFORM THE WORLD

The emergence and growth of digital technologies is one that has had a fast move in our world and has been quickly bought over by individuals, firms, industries and governments. The advent of digital technology has brought about new ways to communicate, interact and transact business.An Accenture 2015 Digital Consumer Survey, reveals that consumers find smart devices increasingly relevant to their lives, and are inspired by the possibilities of the connected world. Another Accenture research also goes to show that large enterprises believe that digital technologies are a good potential for business transformation.
Knowing that communication is key not only for inter-personal communication but business as well, digital technology has changed the face of business communication with the ubiquitous nature of the internet, instant messaging, teleconferencing and even telecommuting have become possible.
In Nigeria, there has been a proliferation of digital activities with the high penetration of smartphones and tablets. Studies show that strong global and indigenous mobile manufacturers in Nigeria are now giving in-depth attention to the smartphones and tablet divisions as against the computer.In the Nigerian market, the activities of service providers are regulated by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).  
This high penetration of mobile devices is attributable to the laudable benefits it brings to end users; individuals and businesses alike.It has helped individuals build a large network of people, create new ways for interaction and has aided communication by taking away the barrier of space and time. For organisations, theyhave learnt new ways to conduct business, reduce employee work load, collaborate with other organisations and outsource jobsirrespective of location. These are just afew of the advantages digital technology has brought to Nigeria and the world at large.
Holistically, digital technologies are now mainstays in the business world with some organisations even having the role of a “Chief Digital Officer”. Thus mobile manufactures and Service Providers (SP) have become indispensable in our daily lives.
With the functionality digital technology plays in our world, conferences are held round the globe to discuss issues pertaining to this industry. The challenges they face, successes recorded and the way forward.It is also an opportunity to make business deals and network. From the 2nd to the 5th of March, 2015; Barcelona Spain, will play host to this year’s World Mobile Congress (WMC), which has become a Mecca to anyone interested in things relating to the internet. Mobile manufacturers also use these events as an avenue to launch their flagship products. South-Korean conglomerate Samsung, launched its Samsung S6 and S6 Edge at the 2015 WMC.
Jim Bailey, the Group Managing Director Accenture Digital –Mobility at the 2015 WMC said “insurance and financial services industry now want to connect everything to the internet, because they see it as an ‘insurable’ opportunity”.
With the potential of digital technology to transform business and thus the economy at large,a unique partnership with mobile manufacturers and service providers should be considered. Though it may seem like the functions of mobile manufacturers and service providers are clearly different in the business of digital technologies, a collaboration with both parties can transform not just individual lives but the face of business.
Mobile manufacturers should continually design, manufacture and sell wireless technological equipment that allow for seamless business transactions and interactions. And on the other hand, service providers should ensure that information is efficiently and effectively transmitted.The benefitsof this partnership are innumerable with some including the ability to create new revenue opportunities, increase product and service development speed, an increase in customer engagement and also help create new markets for business.
However, these two key players in the world of digital technology are poised with some short comings.
The issue of security is one that cannot be over floggedin the digital ecosystem. In recent times, there have been problems of authorization and authentication; with intruders gaining access to secured networks and information (hacking). Nonetheless, there are a range of security measures and applications available to individuals and firms.  Organisations like the Centre for Internet Security help combat insecurity in the digital world.
In an Accenture global consumer survey, it was discovered that consumers believe that the use of a single service provider to manage communication and entertainment products and services aids security. Tom Loozen, managing director and global Communications Industry lead, Accenture says “Consumers’ preferences for a single, trusted provider also place SP networks in the spotlight”.  He further goes to say that “this can be a distinct advantage for SPs, because they can combine their expertise in building and managing IP networks with their increased capabilities to develop and deliver new, customer-focused services that incorporate data analytics for highly personalized services. As a result, SPs are positioned to do well in the digital ecosystem.”
However, in Nigeria this is not the case as individuals and organisations use different SPs on their different devices. Businesses may stand on the fact that the use of different SPs makes it easier to connect with their customers. Also connected to this is the issue of signals in different areas in Nigeria. Due to the terrain of the country, the networks provided by some SPs may or may not work in some locations. Thus it may be wise to employ the services of more than one SP in order to be within reach at all times.
Conclusively, organisations must see digital security holistically, treating them as an extension of wider organisation security on an ongoing basis.”
Another hindrance to the advancement of digital technology in business is the complexity associated with using them. People who possess technological devices consider using and managing them a herculean task.However, Loozen posits that “SPs who establish themselves as ‘trusted providers,’ enabling customers’ products to function effectively within this ecosystem are not only providing a valuable service, but helping drive digital for mass adoption.”
Closely associated with this is the fact that organisations have difficulties in building technological partnership due to the pervasive nature of digital technology. Thus the partnership between mobile manufacturers and service providers will help bridge this gap, and hence remove the difficulties inherent in creating the right partnership in the digital ecosystem.
Loozen also adds that “consumers are considering service providers as their facilitators for the digital goals they aim to achieve and as such have an important role to play in the move to the digital age”.
The Nigerian digital ecosystem is a constantly growing field with mobile technology being at the forefront. The Vice President Nigerian Communications Commission, Dr. Eugene Juwah, as at 2014, put the total number of smartphones in the country at 12 million. This buttresses the point that Nigeria is a viable ground for software engineers, applications developers and technological gurus to invest in, in order to meet the ever evolving needs of digital Nigeria.

Digital technologies have been instrumental in transforming business and industries round the globe and thus mobile manufacturers and service providers who have a key role to play should endeavour to make this trend void of all technicalities and difficulties in order to get the buy-in of organisations in order to make this global village a better place. 

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