Sep 21, 2020

21st Century Technologies: digitally connecting Africa

Digital Transformation
connectivity
21st Century Technologies
Centili
Wale Ajisebutu
3 min
Digital transformation and connectivity in africa
Wale Ajisebutu, the founder and CEO of 21st Century Technologies discusses the company's ambition to better connect Africa to the digital world...

Wale Ajisebutu, the founder and CEO of 21st Century Technologies, has an ambitious goal - to achieve the extraordinary. Fuelled by a passion for technology and guided by the firm belief that Africa can be better connected to the digital world, he founded the company to use state-of-the-art infrastructure to provide world-class solutions. The vision is to become the foremost integrated ICT solutions provider in Africa.

21st Century Technologies has formed a beneficial partnership with Centili, borne out of the desire to rewrite the history of technology in Africa.

“Our combined experiences and knowledge of technology is legendary,” says Ajisebutu. “I have always believed that one of the key elements of success is partnering with esteemed organisations such as Centili, principally to leverage on both companies’ core competencies to build the most advanced digital services in Africa.”

Ajisebutu believes 21st Century Technologies and Centili are similar in many ways. He says they both started out from humble beginnings, have experienced rapid growth, and are now having significant impact on the region and beyond.

“21st Century Technologies is a regional powerhouse with huge infrastructure and a mission to provide world-class solutions to our valued customers through highly motivated talent and strategic alliances,” says Ajisebutu.

“Our partnership with Centili will bring digital transformation to Africa which many economic sectors deserve. More importantly, it helps create a sense of focus and determination to succeed.”

There is an African saying that goes ‘If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’. 21st Century Technologies has chosen Centili to go far enough to transform business in Africa.

Partnership with Centili

Working with Centili has allowed 21st Century Technologies to build the most compelling aggregator platform in Nigeria. This solution will propel 21st Century Technologies to become the number-one aggregator VAS business operator on the continent.

The partnership sees both companies creating digital services that will revolutionise everything from online retail to gaming, logistics to financial services, e-commerce to entertainment.

As well as creating affordable access to technology and information, they are building new products and services that are deeply relevant to Africa. Together, they are using technology to solve complex problems for key industries as diverse as healthcare and aviation, as well as empowering people to use technology as a resource for liberty.

Digital transformation

As the world adapts to the new normal, 21st Century Technologies is accelerating digital transformation.

“We aim to position 21st Century Technologies as a company with operations across Africa to take advantage of emerging opportunities,” says Ajisebutu. “We sincerely believe our activities will move Africa’s digital economy towards a new era, with the internet and data at its heart.”

Ajisebutu believes the time is right for tech companies to grasp these opportunities, and building on infrastructure is key. Over the years, 21st Century Technologies has invested heavily in holistic infrastructure with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities. The current infrastructure includes:

36MW data centre across Nigeria

Technology park

Innovation centres

Cybersecurity centre

An Academy

Software Development Centre

Fibre Optics network

Green energy buildings

21st Century Technologies is building the most compelling ecosystem and infrastructure that will change lives, empower customers, and deliver the future.

For more information on business topics in Europe, Middle East and Africa please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief EMEA.

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May 28, 2021

Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work

Automation
UiPath
technology
repetitivetasks
Kate Birch
4 min
As a new report reveals most office workers are crushed by repetitive tasks, we talk the value of automation with UiPath’s MD of Northern Europe, Gavin Mee

Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.

Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.

Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.

When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”

And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.

Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work

By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.

“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”

These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.

Repetitive tasks that can be automated

Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”

These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.

“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”

Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.

Five business areas that can be automated

Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.

  1. Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
  2. Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
  3. Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
  4. IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
  5. Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.

“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”

 

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