IOTFA2019: SAP’s Rudeon Snell unpacks the next level of IoT value

Rudeon Snell, Leonardo Leader for SAP Africa

Rudeon Snell, Leonardo Leader for SAP Africa

Everyone agrees that technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed the way we live our lives.

In the future, anything that can be connected will be and every machine will be connected with the aim to improve lives and positively impact businesses. Global predictions vary, with anything from 12 billion to 30 billion IoT devices expected to be connected to the internet by 2020. The developing world will hold a large portion of that tally (GSMA predicts nearly 60%).

African Analysis forecasts that the IoT installed base in South Africa will reach 35 million by 2020. The number of connected things will be unprecedented and IoT could solve many of the issues Africa is facing – especially those caused by social and economic challenges.

With this said, the third annual IoT Forum Africa is set to take place on 26 & 27 March 2019 at the Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand Johannesburg, South Africa.

The highly anticipated conference is targeted at thought leaders, IoT ecosystem participants and experts in Africa, and will create a platform for all players to share their knowledge of real-world IoT trends, challenges and solutions.

Futurist, Strategist and Business Transformation Leader, Rudeon Snell focuses on bringing together SAP’s experience with deep business processes and industry expertise to realise business outcomes that positively move the needle of organisations.

At the IoT Forum Africa, Rudeon will give insight on how businesses can realise the next level of IoT value, and SAP will also feature in panel discussions “unpacking the key challenges facing IoT Adoption in Africa” and “accelerating your IoT transformation journey”.

What role does SAP play in helping organisations transform digitally?

At SAP, we believe that the Intelligent Enterprise is a powerful concept that can truly help transform the business of our customers, so they can serve their customers better. Our ambition is to ensure we define the vision of the Intelligent Enterprise for every industry, and then deliver Intelligence as pervasive and ambient as electricity inside every one of our customers. We will double-down on our longstanding advantage in deep industry and line-of-business expertise, incubating and scaling new innovative solutions, that drive business outcomes that matter, directly influencing the top and bottom line of our customers’ organisations.

The IoT is reshaping the way we live our lives. What should we expect from IoT in the future?

In the future, everything that can be connected, will be. We will have an Internet of Everything where everything is connected, intelligent and available on demand. We will be able to move from connected things to connected outcomes with business processes imbued with intelligence, able to cater to needs we have not yet even imagined as we combine exponential technologies of IoT, Big Data, Machine Learning, Advanced Analytics and Blockchain into next-gen capabilities that deliver unparalleled experiences.

How important is it for organisations especially in Africa, to have an innovative approach to their business or incorporate IoT into business dealings?

Businesses who are able to adopt exponential technologies, especially IoT as part of their value proposition will continue to maximise value and drive new growth trajectories over those who do not. IoT has the potential to truly act as an enabler of economic prosperity, empowering African economies to take their rightful place on the global stage. With IoT as the foundation of digital transformation, African economies are poised to leapfrog developed markets, transforming various industries and accelerating the delivery of business value across the continent.

What are some of the challenges when it comes to the adoption of IoT in businesses?

IoT projects often come with a high degree of complexity, with the business outcomes they are enabling often not clear. In addition, maintaining cohesive security over IoT solutions can be a massive challenge with companies often struggling to scale their IoT solutions over time. Compatibility with existing infrastructure, a lack of integration into the broader enterprise and a lack of technology leveraging when it comes to other exponential technologies, all inhibit the maximization of value realization of IoT technologies.

Are businesses in Africa open to leveraging this technology?

Absolutely, but as with most technology projects, without a clear focus on business benefit and business value, they tend not to get the necessary support required in order to truly make them successful.

How will Africa be affected by IoT and what can it do for people across the continent that previous developments in technology failed to?

With the many challenges Africa faces, the application of the right technology, driving the right outcomes can play a massive role in solving these challenges and creating more opportunity for all across the continent. As an example, with the rather poor levels of existing digital infrastructure, low levels of industrialisation and low levels of high speed, reliable connectivity, could potentially be a blessing in disguise as African economies do not have the problem then of overhauling existing digital infrastructure in order to deploy digital solutions and embrace exponential technologies, like their developed nations counterparts. This could allow people the opportunity to truly build the businesses that build the continent and usher in a golden age of progress and possibility for all.

What advice would you give to future leaders who are starting out within the IoT industry?

Be crystal clear about your vision and the purpose of what you are aiming to achieve. Learning beats knowing in this new technology dominated world, keep learning. Remember that people come before money. Earnings, profits, revenues are vital to continued business success, however money is a result of efforts expended, it is a by-product of the value the organisation has added. Proactively seek out partnerships for mutual benefit. Start small, think big, keep iterating.

By Neo Sesinye
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