Wi-Fi is an Answer for Africa: Across Africa demands are changing, access models are changing and consumers are blurring the lines between corporate
A+ A A-
Monday, 11 August 2014 09:17

Successfully investing in Africa requires investing in the right technology

Successfully investing in Africa requires investing in the right technology

It has been reported* that economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa will continue to rise from 4.7% in 2013 to a forecasted 5.2% in 2014. A portion of this performance is enhanced by rising investment, especially in natural resources and infrastructure. Considering the projected growth, it is no wonder Africa is on the ‘Investment Map’ – one that keeps expanding as the continent continues to flourish.


And so, with this, investment into Africa is rife. However, investing successfully in Africa requires the right understanding of the market, coupled with the right approach and just as importantly, the right technology!

Published in Analytics & BI
Thursday, 13 March 2014 09:35

Building a customer centric business

Building a customer centric business

In our modern world consumers expect companies to be intelligent and connected, Leopold Malan one of the founding partners at BrightRock insurance discusses with Geoffrey Dean, Publisher of The SA Leader, how BrightRock designed its systems and material in a very conscious effort to “debunk the gumpf” and to build products and systems that work for the customer, not just the company.

Published in Media & Marketing
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 09:46

Data virtualisation – it’s about business

Data virtualisation – it’s about business

Data virtualisation is not about IT – it’s about giving decision-makers immediate access to all the relevant information and only the relevant information. Information has become the strategic business advantage; hence how well businesses use the information at their disposal determines how well they perform in an increasingly competitive environment. Simply owning vast amounts of data is not enough. To deliver business value, this data must be instantly accessible to the business decision-maker through a single access point, in formats that are easily understood.


Data virtualisation delivers the solution. This agile data integration approach has matured over the last few years, and now allows organisations to gain more insight from their data, respond faster to ever changing analytics and BI needs and save 50-75% over traditional data replication and consolidation methods. Growing numbers of enterprises are seeing its advantages. Analysts Gartner, TDWI and the BI Leadership Forum have each estimated adoption at around 25% today, with projected growth to 50% within two years.

Subscribe content preview

To continue reading: Log-In above or Subscribe now.

Want the full story?

The SA Leader Magazine Cover


Get The SA Leader  the way you want it

  • One Year Digital Subscription - R320
  • 10 Issues Print Subscription - R580
  • One Year All Access - Just R900  Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only content on SALeader.co.za

If you are already a subscriber, please Log-In using the Log-In button found on the top right of the site!

click here
Published in Analytics & BI
Monday, 02 September 2013 10:19

BI to boom as enterprises seek the competitive edge

BI to boom as enterprises seek the competitive edge

Next generation Business Intelligence is rapidly being accepted as the critical tool for business success, says Ayanda Dlamini, Business Development Manager of LGR Telecommunications.


Knowledge is power, and never more so than now, when access to the right insights from the relevant data can make the critical difference between business success and failure.


Across the continent, organisations of all sizes are turning to next generation Business Intelligence (BI) tools to assist them in harnessing the knowledge residing in vast amounts of data, and put the resulting insights to use as a competitive differentiator. We see this in particular in the mobile space, where operators across Africa face declining voice revenues and seek new revenue streams in an increasingly competitive environment. Detailed understanding of the customer, the environment, competitors’ behaviour and internal operations is critical for making the strategic decisions that support growth.


Driving this dramatic increase in the need for advanced BI tools are a number of influencing factors. The proliferation of data, social media, mobility, consumerisation and the growing need for enterprise agility are forcing rapid change in businesses’ approach to BI.


In the past, BI was employed to analyse historic patterns and data residing within the enterprise to understand operations and customer behaviour. However, the pace of change has intensified. Thanks to the power of global social media networks, change now takes place in minutes. Disruptive influences skew what were once predictable patterns in a matter of days, or even minutes. Now, business must be constantly aware of changing market forces and customer sentiments, and must be able to refocus and change direction accordingly. This level of business agility can only be informed by next generation BI.


Social media

To tap in to the unprecedented wealth of information residing within social media networks, enterprises need next generation BI delivering advanced analytics capability. While enterprise data may tell the historical story, social media analysis allows the enterprise to get accurate insights into customer sentiment and external market conditions as they change. The ability to adapt in line with new trends will be key to business success in future, and enterprises are aware of this.


Big Data

The need to incorporate social media data into BI presents the Big Data challenge. In addition to social media, enterprises must now have the capability to analyse competitor movements, email and other digital communications, location-based data and more. As the volume, variety and velocity of Big Data increases, advanced Big Data tools will become increasingly necessary to manage vast amounts of structured and unstructured data.



Africa is a mobile continent, with individuals and enterprises leapfrogging landline and moving directly to high speed mobile connectivity. In line with this shift, enterprises need dashboards that deliver on-the-go access to critical business and market information allowing them to make key decisions faster. C-level executives now want the ability to interrogate figures on the move, and so gain a competitive advantage.

In line with the move to mobile, simplified, more intuitive data visualisation tools are increasingly in demand, allowing users to assess status at a glance, and drill down into relevant content on even small screens. With the advent of tablets and consumerisation changing the enterprise computing space, enterprises across Africa are demanding full functionality on their smart mobile devices; they want to talk to the figures more.


Avoiding BI disappointment

It is crucial to embark on a future-proof BI strategy by asking: ‘how do we do business and what data do we want from our systems?’ .


Many companies have disappointed in their BI implementations in the past, frequently because their strategies have been poor or because they were not asking the right questions at the outset.


They need to take stock of what equipment and solutions they already have in place, assessing their current infrastructure and whether it properly supports advanced BI tools. They need to understand how mature their business processes are, whether they are capable of supporting BI. Defining the key business endpoint is a good start. By beginning with a broad understanding of where you are and where you want to move to, you will be in a position to determine what steps need to be taken to achieve your goals.

Published in Analytics & BI
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 11:42

BI service providers: not all equal

BI service providers: not all equal

Business Intelligence is not just about software – it is a long term strategy best carried out in partnership with experts. Sean Paine, Chief Operating Officer at EnterpriseWorx, explains how to choose the right BI partner.

Published in Analytics & BI
Friday, 26 April 2013 09:24

How SMBs can benefit from business intelligence

How SMBs can benefit from business intelligence

Whenever they hear the term “business intelligence” (BI), owners of small-to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) might be under the wrongful impression that it is a solution meant to be implemented only by major corporations and large enterprises with multi-million budgets.


The truth is that BI is crucial to anyone who wants to keep track of all aspects of their business’s performance – be it a major conglomerate or a smaller establishment with less than 100 employees. After all, it doesn’t matter how big or small a business is, in the end they all work towards the same goal: to increase revenue.

Published in Analytics & BI
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 16:28

The business analytics dilemma

The business analytics dilemma

In today’s world, there is no longer any argument over the need for business analytics. It provides facts and information that can be used to enhance decision-making, improve business agility and provide an important competitive edge. However, much confusion remains in the market over centralised and decentralised solutions, so-called agile Business Intelligence (BI) and traditional BI, which provide different levels of analytics freedom and IT control. This typical disconnect between business and IT leads to the business analytics dilemma – the need to keep both business and IT happy and deliver solutions that provide real business value and return on investment (ROI).


The reality is that top performing companies are analytics-driven, as the proper optimisation of information assets provides insight to guide actions throughout the business. Organisations are now looking to increase investment into business analytics to cover multiple areas, including BI, data exploration, trend and statistical analysis, what-if analysis and predictive analytics. In this manner, it is the ultimate goal of the enterprise to change the culture and discipline of their organisation to rely on analytics driven decisions, rather than going by gut feel or using what amounts to educated guesswork. The challenge is no longer around the decision to implement solutions for data and analytics, but the actual process of going about doing so successfully, so that benefits will be realised and goals attained.


This challenge is only exacerbated when different advisors and vendors raise the perceived conflict between centralised or decentralised solutions, which provide different levels of analytics freedom and IT control. This rift, or lack of vision and cooperation, between the “business” stakeholders and the “IT” stakeholders, is a common challenge in many areas, and is well known if not well understood and dealt with. Traditional BI is perceived as being a dinosaur, too rigidly controlled by IT to provide the necessary information to the business to enable them to make decisions. However, the so-called agile BI tools claim that analytics can simply be “plugged in” to any data source and can then be used. The danger of this scenario, while it does provide compelling freedom to the business, is that this data is then uncontrolled, and different users could get different insights based on different data, which may well lead to conflicting predictions and analytical outcomes.  


Solving the dilemma means satisfying both the business demands for access to information, and the IT need to control and manage this data in an acceptable manner. Satisfying both parties can prove to be immensely challenging, and often results in a stalemate, where nothing gets done because a suitable middle ground cannot be found.


In order to meet this challenge, it is critical to include both IT and business in all analytics decisions. The business should not simply task IT with finding a tool, as happens so often. IT often does not understand the needs and requirements of the business, and business users do not understand the mechanisms and requirements of IT.


Finding the middle ground requires a balance between access to information as well as applicable regulations and control. It is no use having a solution that is so rigid with rules and regulations on how to access the data that business users reject it as impractical, as this is a waste of a significant investment. At the same time, business users should not be permitted unfettered access to any and all business information. The freedom to explore information and understand how business can benefit from reporting and analysis should be balanced by the discipline required to validate the data, provide a single version of the truth for reporting purposes, and standardising dashboards and reporting across the organisation.


Business users must be given access to the tools they need, and IT must cater to this new breed of business user. However it is still vital to exercise the right governance and control over the information. The only successful outcome for the organisation is a solution that offers an agile and personal analytics capability, which is integrated with approved enterprise planning and forecasting, analysis, profitability modelling and performance reporting.


While this need may be well recognised, achieving this balance still proves to be an insurmountable challenge for many organisations. Organisations need to understand the full spectrum of their requirements before opting for any solution that they are sure will provide for all of their needs, even if they start by addressing only specific pains. Partnering with an expert consultant, one which understand the business needs as well as having the right vendor solutions in their stable will ensure that the most appropriate solution is selected and effectively implemented to meet the needs of both business and IT around business analytics.

Published in Analytics & BI
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 16:02

Adopting a Lean approach to data governance

Adopting a Lean approach to data governance

Data governance is fast becoming a priority on the business agenda, in light of regulations and guidelines such as King III, which outline recommendations for corporate governance of which data governance forms a critical part. However, data governance can be a challenging and complex task. Adopting a Lean approach to data governance can help businesses to eliminate wasteful data governance activity and promote efficiencies.

Published in Analytics & BI
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 10:09

Business growth requires smart marketing

Business growth requires smart marketing

Marketing is confronted with a stark choice. To avoid losing its place on the business ladder, it must either step up and become an integrated hub of insight and innovation or fall down to the rung of catchy tunes and pretty pictures. Marketing risks being replaced at executive level by disciplines with a real ability to move the business needle – those departments with measurable intelligence and predictable or tangible business case delivery. Today customers are informed, connected and powerful. They will not accept irrelevant messaging or mediocre products; they will not be hoodwinked by vague or veiled promises. People generate data wherever they go, through their purchasing behaviour, online search history and their conversations – and they expect that business will use the information they give knowingly to provide products and services that they want, when they want them. Marketing is faced with a world of opportunity and its next move will decide whether it climbs or slips on the ladder of influence.


Marketing now, more than ever, is about real intelligence. It is about making smart choices in the moment, investing in the right places to understand your customers better, structuring your departments to facilitate the free flow of insight and directing innovation across the organisation through embedded process and intelligence gathering. Ensuring your marketing people have the analytical skills and are therefore asking the right questions is the first step to successful marketing strategy. Questions like ‘why do customers feel this way?’ or ‘what kind of experiences do they love?’ or ‘how can this brand innovate to make their lives easier?’ It’s the difference between information and insight – which is ultimately the difference between stagnation and growth.

There are five key things that marketing needs to get right this year:

  1. Relevance. Marketing’s core function is to be the customer insight champion. Businesses that understand their customers will flourish. And we mean real understanding – from needs and desires to passions, hobbies and political points of view. Marketers that ‘really get their customers’ build brands that resonate, connect emotionally and generate growth.

Practical tip: If you’re still using a segmentation model based purely on demographics then try and create a more multi-layered view using overlays like behaviour, attitude, needs, previous buying patterns and others.


  1. Purpose. The crises across our economy, political arena and environment have left consumers disillusioned and untrusting. It’s time for business to re-think its role in society and formulate strategies that are built on shared value. Well-defined strategic platforms that tightly knit into the core purpose of a business, help align marketing with people behaviour and at the same time deliver tangible societal value or improvement, will win consumer trust.

Practical tip: Try and re-write your business Purpose, Vision and Values (PVV) as simple, tangible, easy to deliver constructs that simultaneously deliver profit and social good.


  1. Intelligence. Yes, this is the age of Big Data, but we need humans to make sense of it all. We need marketers that are as empathetic, insightful and compassionate as they are comfortable with vast quantities of real-time unstructured data.

Practical tip: If you don’t have a planning meeting set up with the CIO to discuss the integration of marketing and IT initiatives then make one tomorrow.


  1. Relationships. Successful marketers realise that the power of real relationships change business fortunes. To increase advocacy and word of mouth, businesses must ensure increased relevant participation with their customers and must ensure that every interaction with their consumers meets or exceeds their expectations.

Practical tip: Undertake a simple qualitative internal audit to check the extent to which the business builds real relationships at every customer touch-point. The results will tell you what to do next.


  1. Innovation. Emerging markets used to play the ‘first to follow’ strategy really well but all of that has now changed. With markets changing faster than ever before, no one can afford to rest on their laurels. Disrupt or be disrupted: there are enormous business opportunities for those who innovate in emerging markets for emerging markets. But innovation for innovation sake will fail – be guided by real insight into your market and a clear business case on how to fulfil their unmet needs.

Practical tip: Review your brand or product / service portfolio and question whether there is any opportunity to extend to create new propositions that deliver against unmet category needs.


The stakes are high and the pressure is on. Now is the time for marketers to focus their energy and cut through the complexity by building real human relationships with consumers. Those who invest their time, resources and skills into getting these five key things right will add enormous incremental and tangible value to their businesses. They will prove that marketing effectiveness and powerful brands can grow revenue in existing markets, create new ones and perhaps even define a new industry. With smarter consumers the world needs smarter marketers.

Published in Media & Marketing
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 12:40

Still acting on instinct?

Still acting on instinct?

The value of business intelligence in contact centres


Opportunity costs and inefficiencies are the certain lot of contact centres that do not have an integrated, real-time interrogative view of customers and business flows, and cannot trace the link of these variables to sales, service and, ultimately, profitability.

Published in CRM & Direct Marketing
  • Start
  • Prev
  • 1
  • 2
  • Next
  • End
Page 1 of 2

The SA Leader Magazine


In the September issue

Leadership in a changing context

Interview with one of SA’s Young Achievers

While you’re speaking, what’s your body saying?



Copyright © 2014 gdmc (Geoffrey Dean Marketing Corporation cc). All rights reserved. Material may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. External links are provided for reference purposes. SALeader.co.za is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.

Login or Subscribe