Having garnered the opinions and insights of influential thought-leaders, BigFive Digital has unveiled its Executive Survey findings. The results highlight the increasing importance digital solutions are having in the local commerce ecosystem in Africa and the Middle East.
Presenting the findings, Paul Plant, BigFive Digital co-founder and operations director, said the survey responses were consistent across the regions.
“Notably, over half of respondents indicated that digital solutions contribute at least 50% of their revenues right now,” says Plant.
“When asked about the market’s state of readiness for digital solutions, less than 10% described the market as being ‘very ready’. Perhaps more significantly, however, almost everyone is aware of it and they see it as something they must get on board with. Put very simplistically, digital is on everybody’s radar.”
The survey revealed some common issues among business leaders, most notably the challenges associated with acquiring and retaining customers, as well as concerns about economic uncertainty.
Another key take-out from the study is the need to source the right talent, with access to people with digital skills emerging as a key industry challenge.
“Beyond the talent question, one of the things that we see more of now (compared to 10 years ago) is that people in the supply side of the industry – those who sell and service solutions to SMEs – are starting to work together and forge partnerships,” notes Plant.
“These partnerships are key, particularly as the breadth and volume of technology solutions on offer continue to grow. Additionally, in terms of what gets sold, it goes beyond pure marketing and advertising solutions, to cloud-based business efficiency and productivity solutions. As leaders and digital specialists, it is incumbent upon us to assist SMEs in navigating the emerging digital supply chain with ease and efficiency.”
In terms of technology adoption in Africa, more than 80% of online usage takes place on a smartphone. Mobile commerce and payments play an important role in driving engagement with other digital media products and channels.
A first-of-its-kind event for Africa, BigFive Summit is designed by and for companies engaged in the supply, sale and servicing of digital marketing and productivity solutions to SMEs across the Africa/Middle East region.
This year’s event proved to be a remarkable success, with key industry thought leaders and innovators coming together to promote entrepreneurship and innovation while fostering a collaborative digital ecosystem across Africa and the Middle East.
The Summit is organised around the five key elements fuelling the rise and growth of digital engagement across AME – Search, Social, Mobile, Location and Payments.
“We take a holistic view of the challenges faced by local small businesses, addressing the interconnections between the five pillars,” explains Thabo Seopa, BigFive Digital co-founder and chairman.
“We also make sure to explore and address the underlying challenges faced by SMEs in an increasingly complex and disruptive digital economy.”
This year’s event featured an inspiring group of speakers representing the leading edge of innovation across the digital ‘big five’. Headline talks included speakers from companies such as Yoco, OCFO, MTN South Africa, Google My Business, Yext, AfriGIS, Kagiso Media, Yola, Matchcraft and Startupbootcamp AfriTech, among many others.
“The event was a great success and demonstrated the importance of bringing key industry stakeholders together to promote and sustain the local commerce ecosystem,” concludes Plant.
“Our survey findings have reiterated the central role that digital is playing in growth and expansion across AME, as well as highlighting the fact that digital media and technology solutions providers have a major role to play in demystifying the online landscape for millions of SMEs throughout the region.”