CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

28 January 2014

Africa: IBM Report - Africa Can Beat Technology Adoption Gap

IBM's new report that seeks to identify how Africa can bridge the technology gap shows lack of ICT skills and information security among IT leaders remains a major cause for concern to businesses with companies having devised ways of tackling the problem.

The report entitled 'Setting the pace in Africa: How IT leaders deliver on the potential of emerging technologies' shows that companies in the continent recognize the seriousness of ICT to business success with 87 per cent highly ranking analytics, cloud, mobile and social as compared to just 53 percent who will be pushing forward with adoption.

The study that surveyed Africa IT based leaders from 29 countries also reveals that 36 percent of businesses embracing emerging technologies could be considered as pacemakers in terms of prioritizing and rapidly adopting technologies.

This companies IBM general manager Nicholas Nesbitt says invest more on IT infrastructure and utilize analytics to assess risks.

"African businesses identified as Pacesetters in the IBM survey take a very different approach to addressing IT concerns. For example, 85 per cent of Pacesetters link IT investments to business outcomes, compared with 67 per cent of their peers. 79 per cent of Pacesetters use metrics and scorecards to assess IT risk, compared to 46 per cent of their peers. 46 per cent of Pacesetters develop IT skills to meet future business needs, compared to 26 per cent of their peers," he says.

The survey shows that companies have found ways of empowering their IT leaders through a cultural shift as well as internal engagement between business leaders and their business peers.

The center for applied insights that was a partner in the study alongside the center for CIO leadership says that the challenges that threaten to slow the tech driven progress are however being tackled with IT leaders positioning their organizations for competitive advantage.

"Africa is characterized by an innovative mind-set, and a billion-strong market waiting for innovative products and solutions. Regardless of individual realities, the opportunity business growth through IT adoption cannot be denied. The Pacesetters in Africa's business community have seen the potential and taken action to help them realize it. With the right strategy, their peers can follow suit," concludes Nesbitt.

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