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Combining technology and strategy for efficiency

BY: Emmanuel Bruce
Prof Robert Ebo Hinson
Prof Robert Ebo Hinson

The need for businesses to leverage strategy and technology effectively in their operations to guarantee efficiency and growth cannot be over-emphasised.

It is for this reason that the Springboard, Your Virtual University, a radio programme on Joy FM, used last Sunday’s edition to educate businesses on how to combine technology with strategy.

The show which is hosted by Rev Albert Ocran had Sales and Distribution Executive of MTN Ghana, Mr Eric Nsarkoh,and Professor Robert Ebo Hinson of the University Of Ghana Business School.

Citing a report by the African Development Bank (ADB) which indicates that by 2025, mobile phone coverage in Africa will be almost universal and the population of the continent will be over two billion, mostly made up of the youth, Prof. Hinson pointed out that businesses had to look at some of these demographics and start planning now by combining technology and strategy.

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“When you look at some of these demographics, you need to start planning for where you are going. As a business, if you don’t think about how you are going to engage with changes in demographics and changes in preferences, you will not do too well,” he stated.

Quoting from a book titled ‘Be Our Guest’, he added that, “in this volatile business environment of ours, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels or even pause and retrospect. Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future. Combining strategy and technology is the best way of preparing for the future and effectively compete.”

Mr Nsarkoh, for his part, said as individuals and businesses sought to improve on a daily basis, it was very necessary to connect technology with strategy.

“I am yet to see any individual or group of people who are not aspiring to be more efficient and to be able to create better innovations in their lives to solve problems in different ways. For this to be possible, we need to combine technology and strategy,” he noted.

“As we explore the things that constrain us as a country, I often hear the debate about which ideas are superior to the other and which initiatives are better, but I think the collective process of adopting better technologies and transformational engines within the way we operate has not really being addressed,” he pointed out.

“Today we are talking about roads, next time water, and another time housing but we are not taking care of the fact that the execution requires systems, strategies, technology, and transformation so we end up being always unhappy with the outcome,” he added.

Experience economy

Prof. Hinson, touching on the changes in customer preferences said life had moved from consumption to experiences.

“We had the product era, we had the services era and now we are in an experience economy so even though individuals are aspiring to get better, they are also desiring good experiences. People have rising affluence, their time is short, and have more choices so yes, we want to improve but I guess one of the fundamental things undergirding this social shifts and the way we are conducting ourselves is the fact that we all desire excellent experiences,” he stated.

“If you go to the Havard University now, the engineering and business schools are marrying and they are coming up with a new Master’s programme that takes the best of technology and the best of their MBA programme and they are marrying them to create new leaders,” he added.

He added that “people want to get better, they want to rise to the expectation of the changing market place but technology is just a facilitator and if you don’t understand what you are applying the technology to, society will not improve, customers will not have good choices and people generally cannot make the kind of changes in their life that they find satisfactory.”