FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AUGUST 23, 2022
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Businesses are being urged to focus on the changing nature of work as part of their overall digital transformation strategy. The prospects for the future of business made for robust discussions at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s Business Dialogue Forum held virtually on Monday, August 22, 2022. The panellists explored the theme Retooling MSMEs through Technology and Innovation and armed the participants with ideas, skills and perspectives to emerge and adjust to the post-pandemic era along with other present-day realities.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer, JBDC and moderator for the discussion, Mr. Harold Davis said “One of the things this pandemic has done is accelerate the pace at which the world adopted the fourth industrial revolution. All of these changes started before Covid-19 hit but there has definitely been an acceleration. This means that whoever decided not to board the train would have been left behind.”
Caribbean Business Consultant at CIAL Dun & Bradstreet, Mr. Kavin Hewitt asserted that an important aspect for businesses within this digital space is knowledge of how consumers have changed and how they want to be interacted with. He said, “When we think of our business in the space of digital transformation, we will have to look at how consumers will engage with the product or service that we are delivering. We have to look at how we will create awareness, interest, desire and action for our business in this digital space. Businesses must explore the various platforms and tools that they have and how they can use them to break through the noise and the clutter.”
Chiming in on the discussion, Jermaine McDonald, IT and Digitisation Consultant shared that it is businesses that choose to adapt and learn in unfortunate circumstances that have the chance of remaining successful. He said, “In the last couple of years we have seen how many businesses had to rush to implement technology because of the changes that were happening. One thing we may notice is that companies that were slow to adapt technological improvements are going to suffer the most if we are ever to go back to the state we were in two years ago in the heights of the pandemic.”
Mr. McDonald commented on what he believes we will see more often in the future as the nature of work is changing. He shared that, “I expect to see more hybrid working, which for companies mean letting go of the need to see employees at the desk to consider them to be working and instead to focus on outcomes, and for employees this means managing your time.” He went on to say there will also be more automation and artificial intelligence and that means the introduction of services that can be done through websites and bots as well as the exploration of roles that can be done by artificial intelligence.
Mr. McDonald also expects to see companies staffing for resilience, less focus on specific job roles and more focus on skills as well as companies exploring tools and platforms that help to monitor their employees.
Adding to the conversation, Mr. Davis provided additional context for seeing that retooling and transforming business is not only digital but has to do with the overall assessment of how business works. He said “Business transformation is not only “digital”, transformation must be central to your thought, business model, your value proposition, how you relate with customers and then you can begin to think about what kind of technological tools and products you can use to enhance these operations.”
Mr. Wayne Johnson, Relationship Executive, Investor Relationships with the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), added that a tool needed for businesses as they emerge during these interesting times is embracing sound financial management. He said, “Sound financial management involves monitoring and prudent administration of your company’s financial resources and cash flow to ensure business continuity. Companies need to be prudent when it comes on to financial management as it ensures that the company is in a position to meet its operating expenses, pay staff and ensure there is sufficient capital.”
He went on to say there is also a need for business planning, as with the market conditions it is very important to have a business continuity plan in place because you want your business to be resilient and able to recover.
As businesses continue to become settled again and find their footing in the new norm, there are necessary tools needed in the arsenal to build resilient businesses that are prepared for various difficult times. The JBDC’s Business Dialogue Forum is crafted to do just that by facilitating conversations within the ecosystem to arm Micro, Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) with the knowledge and the perspective to succeed. The JBDC is an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment & Commerce.