• Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

COVID-19 Accelerated Digital Transformation in Nigeria . Here’s Why Your Business Should Keep it up 

ByYinka Okeowo

Nov 6, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the speed at which businesses have adopted 4IR principles and digitally transformed operations and ways of working. And this is the case for their clients as well.

Between 2019 and 2020, online real-time payment transactions in Nigeria increased by an unprecedented 90%, and in the first quarter of 2022, Nigeria’s ICT sector contributed a significant 16.2% to the country’s GDP. e-Conomy Africa has also predicted that Africa’s Internet economy “has the potential to reach $180 billion by 2025”, accounting for 5.2% of the continent’s GDP.

The Nigerian Communications Commission reported that Internet usage surged in the first nine months of the pandemic as more people turned to online portals for remote work, e-commerce, entertainment, and social interaction.

Technology is also transforming traditional economies into fast-growing digital economies that are able to leapfrog progress and compete against more developed markets.

As Africa’s most populous nation with the largest mobile market, Nigeria is in an ideal position to leverage this change and expand our thriving digital ecosystem. The recent boom of investments in Nigerian FinTech is certainly a testament to this.


After two years of increased focus on digital transformation primarily as a means to overcome pandemic-related challenges, businesses must ensure that they don’t lose momentum. The accelerated shift towards online activity and digitalisation will be beneficial even after the pandemic, and it will continue to define modern customer expectations – as well as operational business environments.

Digital transformation therefore needs to be viewed as a long-term strategy that enables organisations to become more innovative, adapt to change, and find lasting success in a technology-driven climate.

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This may require improving the role of technology in many areas of the business – not just IT – and building a strong digital culture to support this vision.

Transformation is a continuous process

Because every business and industry is unique, there is no single roadmap for digital transformation that can be applied universally.

For organisations that have not yet heavily invested in digital technology, transformation may involve experimenting with a more digitally enabled business model – while facing the challenge of migrating away from legacy infrastructure.

And those that have already made great strides in their digital transformation journey may be focussed on refining their strategic priorities and maximising the business value gained from existing technologies.

Digital transformation is also not a project with an endpoint, but a process of continuous change in the ways we work to gain a competitive advantage. Businesses may be at different stages of adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud computing, data analytics, automation, artificial intelligence, blockchain, or cloud-native applications.

They could also be moving toward more agile practices such as DevOps, or new and innovative technologies such as containers and microservices.

Whatever an organisation’s journey may look like, undertaking digitalisation doesn’t come without a fair share of challenges. Progress is often hindered by a reliance on legacy technologies or technical debt, a local scarcity of digital talent, financial constraints, bureaucracy, or simply transformation fatigue. And while these challenges may seem daunting, the benefits of navigating them successfully are tremendous.

Transformation starts with culture

What many organisations often don’t realise is that digital transformation is as much a cultural shift as it is a technological one. You cannot transform your organisation’s processes without transforming its people, but inspiring teams to embrace change and move away from outdated and siloed ways of working is often a major obstacle.

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Organisations need to create buy-in from employees by investing continuously in skill-building opportunities to support putting new skills into practice.

Organisations also need to provide a clearly defined vision for their transformation efforts and ensure employees understand how their jobs will change.

Many organisations are often sold on the idea of digital transformation before knowing why they’re making their technological investments.

Business leaders need to understand their organisational objectives and recognise the need for technological transformation where it will matter most.

Breaking down the silos

Even as we move out of the constrained business environment of the pandemic that drove many businesses to digitalise, digital transformation will continue to be increasingly critical to the success of any organisation.

Organisations need to actively address the challenges preventing them from transforming digitally and ensure they have clearly defined business goals to lead them forward.

If they don’t, they will not only fail to keep up with their competitors – they will also be missing out on the many lucrative opportunities that come with improved technological capabilities.

With a rapidly urbanising population and an ever-increasing number of Internet users in Nigeria, the opportunities for digitally enabled businesses will only continue to grow.

To take advantage of these digital opportunities in Africa’s emerging markets, organisations will need to make a considerable effort to expand their technological capabilities. Effective digital transformation will require overcoming siloed ways of thinking.

Businesses and governments need to drive collaboration across both internal teams and the wider tech ecosystem to accelerate progress towards a digital future.

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Not every organisation may have the expertise to move away from their legacy infrastructure or leverage new and innovative technologies to their full potential. It is imperative that those businesses find the right technology partner to help them on their journey.


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