For businesses to ride out the pandemic storm and continue to remain relevant, it will be necessary for managers to invest in new technology that will help them adapt to the new normal, Country Managing Partner of Deloitte Ghana, Daniel Kwadwo Owusu, has advised.
Speaking ahead of the Ghana Most Respected CEOs breakfast meeting tomorrow organised by the B&FT, Mr. Owusu emphasized how the pandemic has swiftly changed the way of doing things, including business operations and interaction with customers, hence, he said, including technology will ensure service delivery that will keep companies in business and ahead of competition.
“We believe there should be a focus on the fundamentals – connectivity, application systems, network infrastructure, data warehouses, hardwares etc. For example, at the height of the pandemic, companies that were able to maintain some sense of normalcy to both employees and customers albeit remotely, were able to win more business when competitors could not even engage their clientele.
Of course, business managers should make investments in new technology to unlock their growth potential in this new paradigm. Every business is different and depending on the strategy as set by board and management, careful investments in new technology to differentiate either on cost or quality will drive the growth agenda.
The high cost of investments in technology – implementation, subscription costs and employee training – need to be evaluated against the potential benefits. Yet we are seeing a new wave where using technology, advances are being made to understand customer needs, employee engagement and performance appraisal, and drive business innovative solutions internally and externally,” he said in response to questions asked by the B&FT.
He further stated that firms with very innovative strategies are the ones which will make a difference in this period of uncertainty, hence, any tool or technology adopted by businesses must be those that can stand the test of time to yield the needed results.
“We work with a lot of different businesses across different industries – financial service institutions through to public sector clients. It is very clear that every business is different, and thus the strategy that yields results for similar businesses within the same industry will be different.
For example, the fallout from the pandemic saw increases in deposit balances for some banks while other banks saw adverse declines in interest income. A similar contrast is seen in the hospitality industry, innovative hotel chains provided solutions around work from home and “staycations” where patrons could respect COVID-19 protocols while other hotels were caught flat-footed,” he said.
Mr. Owusu also commended government for providing tax rebates to some businesses and waiving off interest and penalties on all outstanding tax liabilities up to December 2020 in a bid to provide some breathing space for businesses in this challenging period.
However, he urged government to provide the needed education and infrastructure that will encourage businesses to take advantage of the new continental trade pact; adding that, government must set the structures for cost of production to be competitive for local companies so that they can have a relatively level playing field against their foreign counterparts.
How Deloitte survived
The Country Manager further narrated how his outfit, even before the pandemic, invested in technology and tools that came in handy when the coronavirus disease eventually became a global pandemic and disrupted the business environment.
“It may seem a long time ago but pre-pandemic, Deloitte made some substantial investments in technology. At the core of what we do is professional service to clients, and we decided to reinvest in new ways of working – enhanced employee engagement and practice management, client interactions and effective and efficient service delivery.
For example, our reinvented performance management tool, deployed pre-pandemic, allowed line managers and supervisors to have a pulse on staff wellbeing and development and timely corrective action to support professional and personal growth of our employees. The pay-off of these technological investments has been immense – we have delivered world class service to our clients in these turbulent times at no additional cost. We are seeing increased employee engagement and an uptick in client satisfaction around our availability and efficiency,” Mr, Owusu said.
The Ghana’s Most Respected CEOs, a quarterly breakfast series organised by Business and Financial Times, brings together seasoned business leaders to deliberate on topical issues across different sectors.
Themed: ‘Business Adaptability and Sustainability in 2021: The role and impact of Finance and Technology,’ this edition will feature speakers such as Ethel Cofie who is also the founder of Women in Technology; Nana Dwemoh Benneh, CEO of UMB; Dominic Adu, CEO of FNB Ghana; and Daniel Kwadwo Owusu, Country Manager for Deloitte Ghana. Others are Leticia Browne, CEO of Intelligent Capital Group; and Daniel Addo, CEO of CBG.