In this fast-paced digital world, connecting with, knowing and understanding your audience is invaluable to business decision making.
Digital transformation is one of Cele’s fascinations, which he explained in a We Talk Biz conversation.
“This is the process where you look into traditional methods and find ways to translate them into digital solutions,” Cele said. “We have a platform called Coffee With Socly where we illustrate how digital benefits – time, capital, skill — in different sectors.”
There are varied ways a service business can digitally transform, including with automation.
“There are different methods,” Cele said. “Take a simple flyer and convert it into insta ads or even electric motors. Automate your production process instead of having people do hazardous and tedious tasks that kill the brain.”
As pointed out to him, digital transformation is often just buzzwords used to signify prepping for the future and a more digitally focused way of doing business.
“Acting is better than planning,” Cele said. “Our economy is mainly hurt by people who plan and talk. These people merely function as placeholders for those who actually do.”
He noted several sustainable growth opportunities digital transformation presents:
- Independence for workers and entrepreneurs
- New industries popping up, such as insta shops, podcaster and rapid prototyping in the comfort of home
- Most importantly time, which is coupled with the speed of execution and time with family
In a traditional industry such as mining, such an opportunity would reduce the ergonomic effects associated with human labor drilling through rock. One company has turned to running a mine digitally.
“And a few other small mines,” Cele said. “You should see the stuff happening in the coal and salt mines in Australia. It’s amazing.”
While digital transformation is generally a benefit, industries also face dangers.
“The threats we mainly worry about is security, the level of access that people have in each other’s lives and information,” Cele said. “I’m not really concerned about job losses because evolution is evolution, and human beings are designed to adapt and evolve.
“I’m an optimist,” he said. “I believe, for every 10 jobs lost, one entrepreneur is created. Digital is here to empower and enhance our ability to be productive. Surely, this should result in job creation.”
Nevertheless, in a country with high unemployment, the possibility of job loses should be a big concern.
“We are already in the hole,” Cele said. “The only way to get out of it is through it. Entrepreneurship — easily fueled by technology — is the key.”
Digital transformation has an important effect on startups and entrepreneurs.
“It’s actually simple: freedom,” Cele said. “Freedom to work from home, freedom to gather free information, freedom to pick up a new skill. You name it.”
He explained that digital culture must be created and nurtured.
“Do it through the internet with great content and solid products,” Cele said. “The tech community in Cape Town, South Africa, is pretty strong. We should replicate this. From creative relationships with funds, schools and industry, we are destined to grow exponentially.
“This has been coming up a lot when the conversation of unemployment or Fourth Industrial Revolution comes up, and it’s a tricky situation,” he said. “Businesses need to stay competitive, and people need jobs. People also need skilled jobs. We’ve been relying on many lower-skilled positions.”
Cele dismisses the notion that digital invention will outpace regulation and policies.
“Human beings are adaptive and deeply insecure creatures,” he said. “I don’t see that future. I only see us being bionic, not Terminator 2, but it’s a massive possibility.”
Although Cele does not envision specific digital trends, he believes “the Renaissance Man is back: Pick up as many skills as possible.”
Regardless of the future, Cele recommended digital transformation strategies businesses should adopt to disrupt industries.
“The biggest killer of talent is misplacement,” he said. “Imagine having the best accountant designing for you. No one will be happy with this arrangement. With new information, we have a chance to make better and faster decisions.”