Why Nigerian Businesses must take Data Seriously

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September 17, 2019
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“Intelligence (The right and smart engagement with Data) seats at the center of true and sustainable organizational growth and the development of human capital for 21st century national productivity, growth and development.”

Gospel Obele – Economist.

Part of the age of globalization and the fourth industrial revolution is the rise and relevance of data and information use. This relevance cuts across all strata of the society from public to private sector, associations, Non-governmental organizations, international community engagements, the high, middle and low class etc.

For Businesses to realize their true potential in today’s global and local economy, especially those in highly dynamic and developing markets, they must understand we are in times where:

  1. There is an increasing coexistence of social-economic advancements, problems and dysfunctionalities that strongly inform, shape and influence buying, spending and revenue outcomes.
  2. The consumer is in the middle of a fast changing world with many moving realities, thus the rising need to understand them in-parts and holistically requiring “expertise” and contemporary systems thinking.
  3. There is growing struggle for personal attention, empathy, the war between rationality and irrationality and stories that further shape buying decisions and narratives. This therefore places businesses, brands, systems and nations who refuse to find and tell their stories at risk of those with lesser or lower knowledge of their functionalities telling it for them.
  4. The innovation community has come to understand that despite so many “solutions” around, that same problems exists in growing wild patterns, leading to need to carefully understand problems/a phenomenon and their varying causation mechanisms in order to provide solutions that speak to what the problem is and not what we think it is.
  5. Organizations need to embrace action learning to solving day-to-day business problems as they evolve and realizing that at the heart of this, learning for organizational change and development through time is a strong culture of using and building intelligent systems.
  6. Context is powerful but more powerful and well understood for advantage when engaged with the right and smart information.

 These and many more speak to urgent need to lead and do business more intelligently as the dynamics are changing. The Nigerian consumer landscape and the resources and opportunities it offers have not been optimally explored yet because there is inadequate understanding about what exists, where it exists, the various patterns of its existence and how to maximize them.

For example, an NGO set out to understand the demographic and psychographic needs of populace in Yaba local government in Lagos, through the community development areas the study identified and informed what kind of social interventions and impact programs were necessary to deliver the developmental aspirations of the people in the region.

Our education system and socio-economic fabric has made us believe any initiative (even as expressed through government policies) can be embarked on without the relevant information needed, because we have been used to “intelligent guesswork” and mounting pressure on teams to deliver at any cost. But at this point of our national history is the need to unlearn that culture, in as much as learning the culture of smart information use for strategic engagements can be highly technical, intellectual, capital intensive and creates culture shock. This is one critical way or quick win for businesses to unlock their potential, evolve as well as to position themselves to contribute to the aggregate level – national human capital productivity and development.

Advanced economies with credible brands have adopted this as a critical tool to understand, engage and lead change for profitable business impact despite assumed to have more better informed consumers, thus their growing brand value and equity that ties to home country advantage and positioning in the global market and economy.

Author: Gospel Obele

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