Poor telecoms infrastructure, skills hurting Zimbabwean business digital advancement


HARARE – Zimbabweans endured a slow weekend, as mobile banking applications faced glitches that were blamed on the poor internet infrastructure. Customers took banks to task on social media platforms and the latter issued a stream of apologies throughout the weekend with common problems being a failure to transfer funds and inefficient e-commerce.

Such situations are a regular feature. And an expert told Business Review that  Zimbabwe lacked the depth in technology skills to combine the power of digital applications and data science.

“What we are seeing is a rush to set up mobile applications without a concept,” Brighton Musonza, a United Kingdom-based expert said on Saturday.

“A digital concept is built on data mining, data analytics, and to some extent, the big data mined on social media. Data analytics as comprised of information technologies and report processing support, data mining, and statistical analyses.

“Network-effects of consumer-generated data and data-enabled learning can place strong competitive thrusts on Zimbabwean companies.  A company needs not only a critical mass of customer data to out-compete rivals, but it also needs network effects regularity”.

“The data technologies in Zimbabwe are not well integrated to build platforms that can add value threshold to the banks’ competitiveness.

“When companies mine huge amounts of customer data and apply various tools of data analytics, the intended objective is to capture unfulfilled consumer insights.

“In the developed world; companies or be it banks or any (other business) outsource these skills or resources, argued Musonza.

“It’s because everything is not Cloud computing through Software-as-a-Service(SaaS), Business-Process-as-a Service (BPaS). If Zimbabwe wants to develop its industrial and business internet, it needs serious investment in telecommunications infrastructure to attract Cloud Computing Services.

“With Cloud computing, it means companies including banks; can get all their digital platforms managed by specialist experts as a service,” said Musonza.

Data Mining

Data mining amasses large chunks of unstructured data of consumers. This however requires  an expert to clean that data and model it into usable models in data analytics.  Mostly, these roles are performed by experts who don’t work within traditional banking set up.

Musonza said: “Today’s marketing is no longer focused on customer services; it is focused on customer experience and much of this customer experience is that of digital natives who dictate what they want rather than the old school marketing research focused on market segments.” Digital natives or digital millenials have created a new horizontal social order in which they are empowered with the mobile digital devices.

“Social media platforms, wearable smart mobile devices or smart devices lodged in cars, household appliances in homes, retail store cash registers; have sensors capturing and transmitting data through cloud applications interfaces.