According to the World Bank, there are 7.41 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Kenya, employing over 14.1 million people. With these numbers in mind, MSMEs are crucial to job creation and increased productivity in Kenya and beyond. But businesses need to think quickly about how digital technology and tech trends can be used to scale operations and boost productivity.
As we’ve seen over the past few years, global tech trends can change the way we run businesses and develop new ideas. While cybersecurity and the cost of digital transition stand out as the most significant challenges faced by MSMEs in Kenya, it’s essential to take stock of what embracing the digital realm means in terms of overall growth and development for both businesses and their customers.
Almost every part of the economy is affected by digital changes that cause real, measurable disruption. As such, Kenyan businesses should be aware of the digital trends set to impact the landscape in 2023. The more you know, the better you can prepare for change.
Cloud computing set to accelerate growth across Kenya
One of the most significant techn trends of the last few years has been the move to cloud computing. Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Amazon Web Services (AWS). Microsoft Azure. Dropbox. Hubspot. Netflix, Apple, Fitbit, and eBay all use it. Although owning and running one’s own data centre was once the norm for businesses, we’ve reached a point where using the cloud is necessary to stay competitive. The question facing companies in Kenya is no longer whether they should be moving to the cloud, but when and how.
Using big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the cloud together means businesses – big and small – can have successful communication, connection, and transference of data between devices. It also means this synergy leads to an enterprise solution that is scalable, reliable, and agile. Any company dealing with a large customer base, or an ecosystem of suppliers and clients, must embrace the cloud to operate efficiently and cost-effectively.
Whether your business is scaling up or down, a cloud computing solution gives you the level of protection you need. By scaling up the cloud solution, you can prevent server crashes during periods of high demand. Then scale back at slower times to save money.
AI – An integral part of the journey to digital transformation
AI is currently one of the hottest, if not the hottest, tech trends in 2023. If it hasn’t already arrived, it’s coming to your industry soon. AI adoption is integral for businesses that want to get ahead and stay ahead in a rapidly changing and competitive landscape.
AI can help companies identify new opportunities for growth and innovation by analyzing data, predicting trends, and giving organizations a competitive advantage by capitalizing on emerging trends and customer needs. It can help optimize operations and processes by automating routine tasks and identifying inefficiencies, which helps save time and money and improve the quality of products and services. Leveraging AI helps businesses personalize customer interactions and improve the overall customer experience. Finally, AI can help businesses stay agile and responsive to changes in the market by providing real-time insights and analyses.
In terms of cybersecurity, AI uses machine learning and deep learning to identify patterns on a network and cluster them, meaning that deviations or security incidents will be detected. These patterns can then help improve security in the future, making it possible to detect similar threats and block them.
IoT – Turning the future into the present
IoT, big data, and cloud computing all work together to benefit each other, giving your business access to actionable insights. Some of the most compelling reasons to leverage IoT technologies include improved efficiency and productivity. Companies can make operations run more smoothly and reduce the manual work required by connecting devices and systems and automating processes. IoT leads directly to better customer experiences, as it enables businesses to gather data about customers’ behavior and preferences, which can be used to provide more personalized and relevant experiences. In an industry such as e-commerce, this is integral. It also opens new revenue streams, such as providing new services that are enabled by IoT devices and systems. Ultimately, leveraging the power of IoT results in gaining a competitive advantage.
Customized endpoint security solutions are increasingly being offered by cybersecurity specialists and device manufacturers leveraging AI and machine learning applications. Because IoT devices are so widespread, AI can step in to provide a scalable, customized cybersecurity solution.
Not being online is no longer an option for businesses
Every business needs to use technologies like cloud computing, AI, and IoT to run efficiently. However, companies should work with trusted, established technology partners that can minimize the risks associated with a move to the cloud, help businesses comb through the clutter of a fast-evolving world, as well as provide the necessary connectivity and level of innovation needed to leverage the potential benefits of cloud computing, AI, and IoT. The advantages of cutting-edge digital technologies are too compelling to ignore.
This article was written by Patrick Ndegwa, SEACOM Business Sales Lead for SEACOM East Africa.
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