My recent experience at Korle-Bu teaching hospital is a classic situation that should make leadership to review the whole concept of the digital transformation we seek. Let me narrow the frustration to just the last day, where myself and others had to be kept waiting for hours just for a code to be generated to enable us make payment at the bank pay points to get our relatives discharged.
You even have the accounts staff themselves equally frustrated because they get the bashing, when we get frustrated for hours. They indicated leadership is yet after several feedbacks on the system installed to make any strategic change to solve the issues.
The digital transformation should not only be about compiling new technologies, but should be a careful evaluation of the various business process needs and to apply appropriate technology for efficiency.
We must all as a people appreciate that digital transformation, be it in the public or private sector is complex and often times difficult to manage. To alter the way of life of a people is not an easy task, but a proper management principle applied can help ensure that the set objectives are achieved.
The drivers for any tangible outcome are to first make it a human centred endeavour and secondly must stay relevant through innovation at all times. This can be so if the focus is to identify and eliminate the pain points for customers or citizens. Fixation on procuring new technologies for departments, ministries or government agencies alone will not cut it. If care is not taken, we will be making huge investments only to abandon technologies which quickly become obsolete.
Understanding Digital Transformation
The ability to replace large quantity of paper folders stored poorly most of the time with storing soft copies on a computer can only be termed as digitisation. A true digital transformation will affect the process of collecting information, storing and processing it. In effect it transforms the working culture of the people. Either partly or completely the workflow is overhauled.
DT is Multidimensional
The multidimensional nature of it requires that it be managed strategically. It is also to be seen as a continuous process that will require professional change management skill. Yes, it is multidimensional because it involves; changing the culture, be it in corporate or public environment, communicating the change and its benefit clearly to all stakeholders, empowering target users including staff or customers or citizens and continuously innovating to stay relevant to deliver value.
So, for the case I witnessed at Korle-bu myself, leadership will be prompt in dealing with feedbacks to improve the system to curtail the pain points for patients and staff
Must be Data-Driven
A critical concern for the management of especially digital transformation should be data analysis. I strongly want to believe that some data for example, informed the decision by Ghana Revenue Authority in its quest to go cashless to set the following dates:
- Effective 1st May,2021, Domestic taxpayers should pay their taxes using the Ghana.gov platform and at any of the Twenty-two (22) designated banks
- From 1st June,2021, all cheques must be paid at the banks.
- The cashless drive will be fully enforced effective 1st July ,2021 when GRA will no longer receive cash at our offices
Let me come to the recent census exercise, I had my chance to get counted during the mop-up just last week. There are Ghanaians who purposefully avoided the census offices. Some even refused to open their gates for them when they knock. If the agenda is not properly communicated to the target audience this is what happens. This data will be very useful if applied in moulding various digitalisation initiatives.
As mentioned earlier if prudent data analysis becomes the fulcrum for our digital transformation initiatives, then leadership will better appreciate the capability of target users. This will inform ways in which, be it staff, customers or citizens are trained/educated to use the new tech tools. You see if this does not happen it only breeds a new set of agents who necessarily have to charge to assist the citizens to use the platforms. Thus, the chain instead of being shortened will become longer for the target user.
I like the role the Vice -President, H.E Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is playing alongside Ursula Owusu, Minister for Communications and Digitalisation in leading our digital transformation agenda. There is also the need for sector ministers, C.E.O.s of SOEs etc to be seen as leading the various transformations happening under their stewardship.
With the ownership however comes the responsibility to clearly communicate the agenda, the objectives, benefits and plan from the top to the bottom line. Then will the stakeholder embrace and follow your lead in helping to achieve the set goals.
Obviously, the digital transformation we all seek may be complex, challenging our old way of doing things, plucking some loopholes which existed, but it requires some boldness to see tangible results.
Taken from Hon. Ken Ofori Atta’s Mid- Year FISCAL policy review of the Budget Statement
- “…there are also other positive trends from the pandemic, as digital technology is assuming a more significant role in the operations of businesses”
- “Almost 9 out of 10 firms are now leveraging digital platforms to market their products.
- “Similarly, mobile money, door-to-door delivery via courier services and internet usage for business operations also increased by 77 per cent.
- “….. digitization of records on lands will reduce the time for registration to a maximum of one month. The digitization will also be a step forward towards the implementation of the Electronic Conveyancing introduced by the Land Act.
- “…the deliberate strategy of the Akufo-Addo Government to invest in digital infrastructure and get Ghana fully plugged into the global ecosystem of digital technologies has been further vindicated by the Covid-19 crisis”
- “Digitalisation is making the delivery of services more efficient, diversifying production and boosting productivity”