As Nigeria prepares to meet the 30 percent target for 2018 regarding the National Broadband Plan, an ICT expert has affirmed that digital revolution is key to achieving it. In this interview, NIIT International’s head of Product and Delivery for International Education Business, Mr. Pankaj Sharma takes a look at how tech firms are helping Nigeria’s digital transformation journey.
What’s digital transformation in today’s world?
Digital Transformation has been a game changer and has impacted every aspect of our businesses, economy and everyday life. It is not just about embracing new technology, it is about a change in thought process and culture of an organization.There is an urgent need for organizations to address the change in business scenarios, dynamic business demands and innovate ways to quickly cater to these changing needs brought forth by digital transformation.
How is digital transformation impacting on our daily lives?
Digital transformation is unwittingly impacting every aspect of our daily lives. Right from the way communicate, we learn, or we navigate, has been changed by digital transformation. Smartphones, google maps, social media, online learning tools, online payment gateways and many such apps and tools have immensely improved our daily lives. Digital transformation has changed the way we shop, the way we learn, the way travel, the way we undertake our financial transactions.
More importantly, digital transformation is changing the way we work and run our businesses.
Will these impacts affect Nigerians and Nigeria as a nation too? If yes, what changes should we expect to see?
Like everywhere else in the world digital transformation is changing the way Nigerians work and live. Organizations in the country are embracing the Digital revolution, leveraging technology to transform the workspace, up lift customer service and the client experience.
Digital technologies that are gaining traction in Nigeria include cloud computing, Mobility, Social, Web services, Analytics and smart grids.These technologies are altering the business landscape and transforming the world of work.
What’s the role your organization (NIIT) is playing in the digital transformation journey in Nigeria?
All along our journey, we have been working towards providing training that is completely state-of-the-art and centered around software, platforms and applications that are shaping the office and home environments. Recognizing the immense untapped opportunities that exist in several African nations, NIIT offers large portfolio of training programs, proven learning methodologies, cutting-edge curriculum, highly trained faculty.It is also enabling professionals and entrepreneurs to upskill themselves to remain relevant at this time of Digital Transformation in Nigeria.
Does NIIT offer programmes to enable Nigerians bridge the Digital gap?
NIIT offers cutting-edge, in-demand Digital Transformation Technology programs in Nigeria to bridge the digital gap:
DigiNxt MMS (Software Engineering) Full Stack Developer, an intensive program aimed at creating Full Stack Developers with specific skillsets in Python, REST, Angular JS, REACT and DevOps.
Data Analytics, a program which enables participants to learn about the tools and techniques required to analyze information from business data. Beginning with the fundamentals of statistics, the program goes all the way up to advanced tools like R and Python, Artificial Intelligence and Business Intelligence.
Digital Marketing, a program that equips learners with knowledge of advanced social media tools and techniques to execute compelling social campaigns, and understand how to plan, implement and manage a comprehensive Digital Marketing strategy in SEO, SEM, Mobile, e-mail, and ORM.
Big Data, a program that teaches students about how to analyze extremely large data sets computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially related to human behavior and interactions. The course covers technologies such as Hadoop, Zookeeper, Hbase, Hive, Storm Distributed Live Computing and Sqoop.
Java with DevOps, a program that provides organizations with the knowledge to produce applications for multiple platforms using Java. With the DevOps model, they are able to bring together their development and operations teams, so that the work is no longer in silos.
How will Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning help change the faces of businesses?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be the single most disruptive technology the world has seen since the Industrial Revolution.AI can be effective in creating a more customized user experience, predictingcustomer behavior, fraud prevention, enabling 24/7 customer support, provide easily accessible data insights, improve analytics results, enhance online security etc.
Machine Learning is the latest approach to digital transformation, making our computing processes more efficient, cost-effective, and reliable. Machine learning is on the verge of seriously impacting workplace communicationsenhancing the role of the employee within an organization. While people will always be a brand’s asset collaborating and being creative, machines will streamline this process, allowing businesses to understand how those ideas will be shaped, repeated, and executed at scale.
Can you mention some examples of successes recorded or what humans have been able to achieve with the aid of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in today’s world?
AI and ML are already here and has successfully redefined our experiences in many ways. Few examples are:
Siri or Cortana – Voice reorganization system such as Siri and Cortana use ML and other technologies to imitate human interaction. As they progress, these apps will learn to understand the nuances and semantics of our language.
Facebook – Today the social network’s algorithms recognize familiar faces from your contact list, using some seriously impressive technology.
Google Maps – Google maps analyses the speed of traffic through anonymous location data from smartphones. This enables Google to reduce travel time by suggesting the fastest routes.
Uber – Machine Learning is crucial to the Uber model. The tech giant uses machine learning algorithms to determine arrival times, pick-up locations and Uber EATS’ meal deliveries.
Many online payment platforms use machine learning algorithms to combat fraud. By implementing deep learning techniques, these companies analyses vast quantities of customer data and evaluates risk accordingly.
What has been the nature of NIIT’s engagement with Nigeria, particularly in the area of skills and talent discovery and development?
NIIT established its presence in Nigeria by setting up an education center in Ikeja, Lagos as far back as 1999. Since its inception, NIIT has been involved in the creation of a skilled ICT workforce and has launched several initiatives in Nigeria. Presently, NIIT is operating with 20 education centers across various cities in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, NIIT provides IT education to individuals; offers customized training solutions for corporates; and caters to the IT learning needs of University and School students.NIIT has been investing in new technologies and keeping its pipeline of state-of-the-art ICT/Digital trainingprograms strong, thus ensuring that Nigerian youth are ready for the future.
Won’t robots take over most humans work in the nearest future, thus making human workforce redundant?
While digital transformation will take away some jobs, many new jobs will also be created in the digital economy.According to The World Bank, 600 million new jobs will need to be created by 2030 worldwide. The future jobs will require new skills with more problem-solving abilities and critical thinking. The skills that will be in demand in future include Virtual Reality, the Internet of Things, Big Data Analysis, Robotic Process Automation, Cloud Computing and grasping the tools that make Social Media an effective ally in promoting their careers.
What should business organizations (most especially private firms) do not to be left behind in the digital transformation journey?
Businesses should first determine what “Digital” means to their firm. While digital transformation is important, the first step is to understand how it is impacting your company and business model. Since digital transformation is the means to solve a problem, each organizationdepending on its maturity, industry, competition, value chain, and ecosystems, can use digital transformation differently. Therefore, it’s critical to diagnose the challenges that and determine what digital solutions that are suitable for their company to achieve its goals.