The changing landscape? No. The landscape has changed. We live in a digital world, welcome to a Digital Botswana.
For years we have been talking about the future – the future of business and the nature of work, brought about by the constantly changing digital landscape. We have talked about the advent of technology and the “consequences” of digitisation; consequences such as job losses and unemployability, not having the prerequisite skills for the jobs of tomorrow.
Computers and machines have already “taken away” many jobs, especially in the industrial sector, leaving many supposedly-skilled people jobless. Today, we need fewer bank-tellers than before as we have progressed to online banking; the mail man doesn’t collect and deliver letters as we send them ourselves with a click of a button; and just next-door in South Africa food retailers have introduced self-serving tills, that means no more disgruntled cashiers, and more delighted customers! With such speed and efficiency, it is a no-brainer that in 5-10 years time, there will no longer be a job title as “cashier/teller.” Unfortunately this equates to less families fed. Robotics, automation and artificial intelligence are poised at taking your job away too, and if you think you are safe, I guarantee that your educated children will struggle at finding employment.
Whether we are ready not, whether we like it or not, the digital age is here. The question is, is Botswana ready for a digital transformation? Are our leaders aware of the changes? Are the schools and the education system preparing the children for jobs of tomorrow?
There was a time where knowing the difference between a word processor and a spreadsheet was an advanced skill, when creating a slideshow presentation was considered flamboyant, and coding was reserved for geeks and geniuses.
Those times are gone. The landscape has change. Listing your ability to use MS Word as a competency on your C.V should be frowned upon. H.R managers and recruitment agencies should no longer be accepting applications by post. Only typed-out applications, with clean formatting, sent by e-mail should be accepted. The days of certain departments requesting documents to be sent by fax are over, fax machines belong with type writers.
There was a time when having a website was optional, and being on social media was trendy and was for for the young and cool. Times have changed, the landscape has changed. Most publications, including this one, have to post their articles online for majority of people to read. The most engagement and commentary they receive is on social media, even a lot of their revenue comes from online advertising. Traditional advertising (print, radio, t.v) is dwindling, and majority of marketing spend is rapidly diverting towards digital advertising, reaching consumers on their mobile devices, anywhere and everywhere.
The cellphone is practically a new limb on the human body. The cellphone can be a business in your hand, or a billboard in your customers hand.
It is no longer business as usual in 2018. Business has gone digital, and the growth and/or survival of many businesses rests on their ability to adapt to the new landscape, the digital landscape.
We are witnessing the biggest changes of modern society in every sector. Disruptive technologies and digital businesses have popped up worldwide, rapidly innovating new business models and challenging old norms. No sector is safe from disruption, be it banking & finance; transport & logistics; tourism & hospitality; security & intelligence, or media & entertainment. Even politics, the oldest game after religion has had it’s fair share of rumblings. Political leaders worldwide have tried controlling the spread of information and misinformation, and the new propaganda is being fought on social media, ‘fake news’ sent out by bots (no, not short for Botswana, but robots). It begs the question, who has the power in today’s age? Perhaps not a question to be answered now.
The questions we should be asking ourselves are, “Where do we fit in this digital world?”, and “What do we need to do to become players and not spectators?”, “How do we plan for our future, and our children’s future?”