Companies across the world have navigated an unpredictable and unprecedented 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding economic uncertainty has exposed vulnerabilities for businesses and pushed many to self-reflect on past, current, and future strategy.
A constant through this disruption is the increasing use of digital technologies. IDC puts global spend on digital transformation (DX) technologies and services for these programs at $1.3 trillion in 2020.
The past year has seen many businesses question exactly how transformational digital transformation really is. The answer, as with all IT initiatives, depends on the scope of the ambition, the skill of the leadership, and the ultimate degree of business impact.
One company that is hitting the mark right, is actually a company that has not existed for very long. Yet, despite this, they are one of the most innovative business solutions companies in Kenya, who have been able to launch over five products, all interconnected and directly responding to the market needs, like a ‘web’, only this time, the web ensures prospective clients always get their money’s worth.
M-Zawadi was launched in 2016, and their focus has been on equipping MSME’s with the right tools, allowing them to become competitive with players who have more capital and access to resources.
“Our company later expanded to launch an enterprise loyalty programme that has transformed how manufacturers, FMCGs, Insurance and banks are creating incentive programs and also transform route to market,” Said Naftal Obwoni, the CEO of M-Zawadi.
As the pandemic struck like lightening, many companies had to take immediate shelter, while other that decided to weather the storm had nearly all their prospects set ablaze by the ferocity, and unpredictability of the lightening. “In the middle of the pandemic, there was need for companies to reduce their cost of acquisition, increase retention and lower the marketing costs. An opportunity to innovate digital products to cater for this need arose” explained Obwoni. Through this, M-Zawadi launched the first Manufacturer’s coupons in the country and Cashback products to help manufacturers and FMCGs to directly create coupons.
Cutting edge innovations like these, are helping companies to quickly do promotions without the need to plan and involve third parties for activations. In the process, the cost of merchandisers and activations is reduced by 75%, and the turnaround time for promotion is reduced by almost 90%. Plus, the solution also gives the companies direct access to quality data about the consumer purchase behavior thus reducing their research and survey cost by almost 90%.
In an almost chain reaction effect, M-Zawadi’s solutions display an adept level of inflexibility to a “permanently agile” condition. Meaning that they are not in a fixed state of digital transformation, they are willing to adapt and continue buoying as the waves of the transformation get stronger and higher.
The transformation of M-Zawadi therefore, has been a journey of creating what we call ‘spider economy’ that is anchored in our believe that collaboration is the new innovation, In order to give our clients (From Micro to big enterprises) an experience that no one in the market can,” continued Obwoni. This made it clear, that M-Zawadi has created an ecosystem of interconnections in Kenya and globally of over 20,000 retailers from whom, points or coupons earned through M-Zawadi can be redeemed. “We have over 600 brands globally where clients can now for example enjoy a cup of coffee at Starbucks-US from points earned in any of our clients,” pointed out Obwoni.
While digital transformations have some common themes across the globe, organizations now find themselves at different stages in terms of their respective digital transformation journeys and pondering how successful they’ve been with their efforts. One of the common themes that a company must endure, is a struggle to overcome particular challenges, especially when it is a start-up like M-Zawadi.
“Just like any startup in Kenya, we have passed through the same journey. We thank our clients however for helping us overcome major challenges that are either caused by technology or financial” stated Obwoni, before continuing, “We have concurred the 5 year milestone that few startups get to see, and now we are on an upward trajectory and working towards solving digital/technology related challenges businesses face. But, with hard work from our dedicated team, there is no challenge that they cannot overcome.”
This in itself, gives rise to the understanding that the digital transformation is not about technology alone. It occurs at the intersection of people, business, and technology. That intersection, is where M-Zawadi have woven their web. “We are already the biggest loyalty and digital coupons provider in Kenya with the biggest redemption infrastructure and ecosystem. Our target is to remain on top and give our clients most forward thinking innovations that will transform their businesses.” Through a goal like this, M-Zawadi is well on the trail towards creating and facilitating personalized experiences in every interaction a client will have with their products and services.
“Seeking solutions that will give you visibility of your market, create experience to your clients, and give you the flexibility to interact and increase client lifetime value, is our mission,” concluded Obwoni.