Botswana Development Corporation (BDC), which is the government’s investment arm and a major player in the financial services industry, is at the cutting edge of how corporate entities are transforming their operations to respond to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a difficult 2020 characterised by shocks brought about by the outbreak of COVID-19, the year that followed proceeded to throw curveballs at the business community and 2022 does not appear to be any different.
Many companies have now turned their attention to return and recovery. Business leaders are now thinking about long-term strategic moves, particularly as the “next normal” looks dramatically different from the future they had been planning for before 2020. When COVID-19 hit, businesses had to re-think things through the lens of the pandemic and how it was affecting their stakeholders. It was necessary to pivot, refine and veer in an uncharted direction. More reliance has now been placed on data-based decision making.
With COVID-19 having changed the way the economy will function for the foreseeable future, the biggest challenge that will be faced by professionals is failure to pivot and adapt to the direction the world is moving in, doing “more of the same” and not taking the time to listen to specific consumer needs in various cohorts. Falling into this trap would mean that businesses entirely miss the importance of community in building strategic plans that deliver on what the market is asking for: “Data First-Human Last” thinking.
There is an increased need to understand and apply technologies that will drive a cohesive digital experience. This will be the differentiating factor between organisations that thrive and those that are constantly in triage. Additionally, the ability to track and report analytics has become critical to showcasing business success during a time of churn.
BDC has made data-driven decision-making the norm, creating a culture that encourages critical thinking and curiosity. The Corporation’s strategic business decisions are based on data and facts that will inform management of the direction to take. However, it is worth noting that transforming how a company makes decisions is no easy task but incorporating data and analytics into decision-making will yield a transformative impact on business. This requires a dedicated approach to developing and refining skills in this area. Data-driven decisions have also gone from being a priority goal to being absolutely necessary to survive the unplanned and significant changes to the business environment.
It is therefore important for business leaders to make technology investments, support broader data skills (analytics proficiency) and develop infrastructure that enables wide-scale decision-making to reap greater value from data and analytics. BDC is enthusiastic about the new strategic plan it is embarking on that will scale its leverage of technology and digitisation to improve business efficiencies, align technology and operations with business goals in order to boost more inclusive and sustainable growth.