CIO East Africa
A total of 87 percent of CEOs in Africa expect to increase their technology investment this year and list technology as a top three item on their boardroom agenda according to a report released by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
According to PwC's Annual CEO Survey, the warm reception by the executives towards technology is now being viewed as an easy enabler of agility and growth as it helps companies to manage and address risks, subsequently impacting talent development and retention.
Still on ICT, the report shows that CEOs have on top of their agenda other priorities including data analytics that will help them predict trends and technology to support standardization and automation of both back office and delivery processes.
"CEOs see technology as the tool that enables them to be agile, able to do more and cut stages that would make certain processes longer and time consuming. Technology is helping them leapfrog certain stages," said Anne Eriksson the regional senior partner for PwC's East Market region Africa.
One particular trend that is seeing increased uptake is business outsourcing with CEOs interested in outsourcing business processes and function.
According to the report, 32 percent of CEO's are planning to outsource certain processes of their organizations in the next 12 months.
"Organizations that can deliver reliable, scalable outsourced services will be well placed to respond to increasing demand for both technology and business process outsourcing as a service in Africa," reads the report.
Outsourcing is also attractive to companies as most CEOs expect their organizations to grow inorganically hence hosting software and infrastructure outside the organization can reduce capital expenses.
Mobile technology has also been mentioned in the report as a platform to deliver services, development of Africa-appropriate applications and key to drive innovation in banking, health and agriculture.
PwC however highlights that the penetration of mobile devices especially in rural Africa is however lower than often reported even as connectivity challenges remain.
Under cloud, the report shows that CEOs have recognized various solutions they can utilize using cloud technology though a number of companies are still having concerns with data privacy.
"CEOs want to be mobile and connected to their organizations and they want the same for their sales forces, to build customer relationships using applications from any device anywhere they go," the report quotes Microsoft Nigeria's managing director Emmanuel Onyeje.
What is very clear from the report is that CEOs have noticed that technology and changing trends are no longer items you can ignore while creating strategies and agenda with the speed of technological change identified as an important threat by CEOs across most territories.