CEOs Survey: Four in every five Kenyan firms eye internal data hubs

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Four out of every five Kenyan CEOs plan to establish data hubs in their organisations within the next one year to automate decision making.

A survey involving more than 50 CEOs done by Xetova, a Kenyan-founded technology company, shows that organisations plan to upgrade their IT departments to include data scientists who use artificial intelligence tools to streamline their supply systems and cut costs by improving their distribution systems.

The survey found 80% of CEOs interviewed have implemented digital solutions within the last year, with a view to shifting from legacy IT departments to modern data hubs that support more precise decision making.

“Digital solutions means different things to different organizations. In financial services it means better risk management, in healthcare delivery of better care, in government better service delivery while in manufacturing more efficient production,” said the founder and CEO of Xetova, Bramuel Mwalo, during release of the survey report in Nairobi today.

Mr Mwalo noted that Kenya’s tech ecosystem has already started making data driven decision making and Artificial Intelligence (AI) not only the corner stone of its digital transformation, but also a critical tool in improving product and service quality.

Xetova is a Kenyan startup that focuses on innovative tech solutions to solve procurement inefficiencies through use of AI.  

“Digital transformation is when technology begins to make life easier for a human being. When a human being’s life is easier, transformation begins. It all starts with the human being,” said Mr. Mwalo at the Xetova Insight Summit 2022 held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi’s Upper Hill.

The survey found that machine learning, AI and robots are increasingly shaping Kenya’s policy and decision-making providing roadmaps towards cheaper and more sustainable supply chains.

The Covid-19 pandemic that was first reported in Nairobi in March 2020 has further accelerated the digital shift, the Xetova survey found.

“As our internal digitisation was taking place, our customers started engaging us outside the traditional face-to-face set-up. One direct adaptation to this trend is the upgrade to our call center, which mostly dealt with after-sales support calls pre-Covid-19. Since mid-2020 we have a fully-fledged telesales team. Just a year later, our telesales saw an increase of 84% and the growth curve shows no sign of slowing down,” says Rita Kavashe, the Isuzu CEO, in the survey.

Isuzu already has four fully-functional modules, spanning operations, business administration and sales.

The Coca-Cola Vice President for East and Central Africa, Debra Mallowah, says her company’s Route to Market (RTM) digitisation has impacted the entire value chain across multiple industries from farming to FMCG.

“The utilisation of digital tools allowed us to gain deeper understanding of which markets and channels were most affected by the pandemic and how to better support them,” said Ms Mallowah.

UAP-Old Mutual, a general insurance provider with over 1.2 million customers across 17 countries, in early 2021 adopted the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) platform, which eliminated the need of data capture from a printed version.

The platform also provided visibility of the status of submitted invoices for both the insurance provider and the hospital, eliminating the need for manual reconciliation for the majority of its medical business claims.

“Digitisation can entirely remove the need for physical documentation which brings about efficiencies and – importantly – improves service delivery timelines. With the entire world going digital, medical insurance is no exception,” said the Old Mutual Group Acting Managing Director, Jeff Ogalloh.

The full report provides deep insights on experiences by over 30 businesses and government agencies.

Xetova tailors insights-as-a-service solutions across Africa by leveraging on information technology and data analytics to help organisations build on resilience and innovation sustainability.

The company was listed among the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2020 health security and pandemic finalists that were set to receive $2 million (Sh236 million) funding.

It employs talented software engineers and data scientists to develop technology-led solutions for clients.

Xetova handles the full spectrum of data-based insights needs for buyers, suppliers, financiers and distributors.