What does the head of a wildly successful manufacturer of edible oils have to do with fintech?
I’m glad you asked. Whatever the question is, the answer is customer-centric. Vimal Shah, Chairman, of Bidco Africa, and Ahmed Abdulwahab, CEO, of Next Arabia faced off in a Fireside Chat. Highlighting the CEO Breakfast held today morning at Movenpick Hotel & Residences, the Chat contained major pearls of wisdom for banks and fintech. Pick out your lesson below.
- Understand your supply chain management. Know what’s happening with your products in the market. You don’t want to be understocked or overstocked.
- If you are inside of digital transformation, you should not attempt to forecast. Instead, be responsive.
- Your suppliers must invest in digital transformation as well.
- Dear fintech – do not integrate with banks. Banks talk about it but they don’t know what fintech is. Their DNA is not fintech. They need structure and regulations.
- The CEO must be okay with digital transformation and it must be driven top-down. If management and C-Suite are not on the same page, then digital transformation will fail.
- You need to have one solid system. You cannot have parallel or duplicated systems. Once you have the one running, build in redundancy and make sure everything is secure.
- Your systems and strategies need to be agile. That way, you have fewer people doing the work of many. Agility is important. So, make sure you can adapt.
- Yes, there are ways of measuring RoI and the impact of digital transformation. Measure revenue growth, and cost reduction (reducing wastage, not cost), and there should be no more people generating reports. The latter should be automated.
- Have you become sticky to the customer? Now that they have so many choices, are you available? Do you meet them where they are?
- What are your people doing? Egos get things stuck.
- Banks need to figure out new business models.
- Stop being scared of digital transformation. The whole process is David v Goliath. Frankly, David can defeat Goliath using digital transformation. Everybody can be equal, and digital transformation can level you up. It is also your differentiator.
- We have a serious advantage of being ahead of the curve in Africa.
- Jump into the bandwagon of digital transformation but do not think of it as a destination. It is a journey you get into all the time. How do you deal with culture change and people?
- Your people are your biggest challenge and also, your biggest opportunity. If they don’t commit to the process, digital transformation will fail.
- Robust organisational design whittles out ego. There is no room for one to look good at the expense of others.
- Be agile and commit to changing as customer needs change. If the customer has changed their needs, you change with them also.
- Design your organisation to be very agile, very mobile, and bring problems over very quickly.
- Use the system. Get information from the system. Data integrity will ensure that your data will give you a clear picture all the time.
- Remove the fear of leapfrogging. For digital transformation to succeed, people need to know it is ok to make a mistake. And if someone makes a mistake, they need to know you’re on the same team.
- Move fast when you break things. Admit the mistake was made, and move on quickly and fast. In IT, you’re going to make mistakes. Something will go wrong.
- You are there as one team. Organisations that breed competitiveness where one person looks good because the organisation stuck to their one plan will not succeed. You need enrollment from all.