IT ISN’T MUCH ABOUT AI BUT CULTURE- by Elo Onyia

If you’d ever lost your smart phone it somewhat feels like an integral part of you was lost and you just can’t get through the day as usual for awkward reasons. There are ‘thousands’ of things you can get around with using your phone. Perhaps, you’d set morning alarm and reminder for important meetings. You may also have scheduled a round trip on Uber to drive you round the town or work. While in the taxi, you may decide to pay bills or make some bank transfers to creditors. If you are like me, you may take a snoop on news feeds or check traffic on your route using Google map. Whichever way, your mobile device is just the perfect personal assistant of a sort. The enhanced functionalities of the modern mobile devices as a mini-computer and personal organizer challenges the rationale for companies to continue hiring personal aids for the top executives. This demonstrate how simplest technology can colorate an existing practices and culture in business. To understand why and how organizations pursue certain policies it’s key to also understand their core values and general cultural framework. The question is, what happens to an antiquitous cultures that are directly impairing changing business ecosystem and dynamics. At the heart of every business is to create an efficient processes, products and services that isn’t just profitable to shareholders but is also systemically sustainable. This essay is an attempt to demonstrate how today’s businesses and communities are changing the narrative and leveraging digital technology in artificial Intelligence, cloud and virtual reality to solving big problems in such an extraordinary way — that the paradigm shift isn’t about technology anymore but culture.


Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

To put this in perspective, imagine asking “Siri” or Google assistant to help you reserve a hotel accommodation. Siri will in real-time place a telephone call to your choice hotel to secure your booking and have confirmation details delivered to your email. This AI solution is already causing a major disruption in the hoteling and protocol services industry — forcing a massive attrition in the size and strategic value chain of the traditional travel and reservations industry. In Dec 2016 Amazon launched AmazonGo. An automated end-to-end shopping experience that uses computer visioning and deep learning algorithms to create an automated shopping experience for its customers. They achieve this by littering thousands of AI cameras on the roof of their store and customer image visuals to identify shopper’s cart and then calculate the bill and debit same to your credit card instantly. The idea is to let customers walk into any amazon store, shop and walk away without going through payment queue or interact with cashiers. If you are not an AI-powered organization the temerity to achieve a strong advantage of introducing bots to streamline customer service, take some pressure off help desk and optimize HR and marketing processes usually lack the desired support.

Service Level Agreement (SLA) across industry and business sectors are twitching fast. One of the most orthodox assumptions marketing firms have made in recent years is that satisfaction alone will guarantee customer loyalty. Our research thematic questions this assumption. We explored the correspondence between customer satisfaction and loyalty, and found as many as half of the “satisfied” customers to be predisposed to switching service suppliers. This satisfaction‐loyalty gap reflects the fact that different components of service quality drive satisfaction versus loyalty. Satisfaction is driven more by “technical quality” while royalty is “subjective quality”. Major indicators on consumer behavior bothers on the fact that customer satisfaction isn’t just about how clients generally feels about service. Clients are also more concerned about deliverable conveniences and speed of service. The amount of time it take businesses to deliver service and the ability to tailor such service to client’s specifications and taste is a unique market analytic intelligence AI-powered companies are leveraging.

A recent study shows that consumer’s perception about big brands are shrinking big time. This is partly because more consumers are now exposed to resources and insights on alternative product options. To remain in the game companies must embrace smart-tech innovations and big data to scale competition and drive market share. You must be bullish and understand the “Silicon valley effect” and how the game of disruptive pitching have become the next big thing. Vusi Thembekwayo is a South African based business developer and a venture capitalist. He is the author of the book “Vusi: Business and Life Lessons from a Black Dragon”. In his book, he portrayed the wolf picture of the Wall Street and the game of disruptive modeling of the post twenty-first century in the business ecosystem. According to Vusi, it’s either you are disrupting or you’re being disrupted. The catch is, organizations must find a way to create new leads and influence the market place — otherwise it will be dissipate by competition. Harvard Business Review in a recent publication suggest that tomorrow’s businesses will have to invest ten-times more resources improving IT security and automation to remain competitive. Digital assistants, chatbots and every other kind of artificial intelligent service are taking up significant space in the business world. Though AI has been around for years but adoption has slowed in some clime. There’s still a large amount of cultural apathy to artificial intelligence especially in developing economies where the work force are largely mid-tier with barely little exposure to AI capabilities.

My aim is to show you how innovation especially in AI and machine learning are redefining cultural construct and business dynamics — the attendant pressure it places on people to adjust behavior and re-think existing values. As a complex whole, cultural shifting isn’t such a concept with flexibility in a constantly fast paced business climate. So far new technology and products continue to tweak and twitch there are concerns that today’s workforce will likely face much pressure adapting to l new technologies in AI. Before now the big question in the mind of most tech companies for new product launch has often centered on market acceptability. However the table has turned and there a strong push back forcing culture to adapt.


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Elo Onyia is business analyst, customer relationship and business strategist with a drive for new challenges and opportunities, a Corporate Banker with one of the leading banks in Nigeria. He currently consult for start ups and empowering young leaders.

The Hard Facts Around Empowering Today’s Youth; through soft skills training

Embracing the pace of change

Upon leaving school, college or university, today’s youth are entering a job market that is shifting and changing as fast as technology shifts and changes and as we are all too aware, the pace of change is happening at a faster rate than ever before. 

Today’s job market demands a lot more from the youth who are entering the workforce for the first time and no longer does it suffice for young adults to possess only a technical qualification when entering the workplace.  Nowadays, employers are looking for a different type of commitment from the individual, over and above technical competencies.  The new world of work requires that to be successful young people need to develop another type of skill set altogether to aid them along.  This skill set is commonly referred to as soft skills.  Providing the youth with soft skills training goes a long way towards bridging the gap between completing school, college or university and coping with the demands of the modern world of work.

Shifting trends – women in the workplace

Over and above the idea that one needs the intangible set of skills known as soft skills to succeed in the modern workplace, there are other factors involved that have led to the emergence of shifting trends of major significance.  For example, we can say that the time frame from about the past 50 years onward has seen more women entering the workforce in technical positions as well as positions of power.  Hence, the job market is not only affected by shifting technologies but also by cultural shifts.  Even in the Western world, as recent as only 40 years ago, women were still being typecast into job roles such as nurses, secretaries, hairdressers and teachers.  It was unheard of in the latter part of the 20th Century for a woman to be the head honcho of a major corporation.  In fact, in the 1950s and 1960s most women were far from being actively involved in the workforce in favour of their male counterparts.  It was quite normal in those days for a girl to leave school with a senior certificate, and while having obtained a university pass, not ever make it to university because ‘other expectations’ were held of her such as getting married, having children and becoming a home maker while her husband went out to work. 

Shifting trends – the ‘house husband’

The changing trends of the workplace have seen the roles of women changing in that there are now more women who head up multi-national corporations while their husbands are at home during the day looking after the children.  More men are taking on the role of ‘house husband’.  In the 1950s and 1960s and even as recently as the 1970s, it would have been completely unheard of for a woman to be the main breadwinner of the household while her husband tackled the tasks of house cleaning, cooking and looking after the children.  This is mainly due to historical cultural influences the world over leaning towards a more patriarchal society.  Nowadays, there is an emerging trend that sees more men in domestic roles than ever before. 

Soft skills training bridges the gap between school, college or university and the workplace

Global trends reveal that the use of technology is rapidly changing the nature of work on a global scale.  This means that now more than ever when young people leave school, college or university to enter the job market there is a dire need to provide them with the soft skills required to prepare them to enter the workplace.  Soft skills are the intangible attitudes, behaviours, personality traits and individual qualities that empower individuals to achieve their goals and objectives in working effectively with others. 

In the current job climate awareness around the need for soft skills training is growing rapidly.  Employers are beginning to recognise the value of soft skills in enhancing productivity and providing young people with a broader scope of competencies.  Developing soft skills in young people should be carried out in tandem with their technical skills development, hence, the two are not mutually exclusive as both skill sets serve to move individuals and business forward.

What employers are demanding from the youth in the current job climate is that the youth demonstrate that they are flexible, proactive, creative and are willing to collaborate. 

What are soft skills?

Soft skills can be defined as the set of skills, behaviours, attitudes, personal attributes and type of mindset that can be used by individuals to succeed in everyday situations both in business and in one’s personal life. 

In-depth analysis has found that soft skills development among the youth should be geared towards the following skill sets:

While this list is by no means exhaustive and while there are numerous other skills that fall under the soft skills umbrella, there is evidence to support the fact that developing these particular skills will lead to more positive employment outcomes.  Acquiring the right soft skills also goes a long way towards helping young adults to healthily mature and more effectively take on roles with greater responsibility as they grow in their chosen careers.

Helen Fenton, Senior Analyst:  Business Optimization Training Institute (BOTi) www.boti.co.za

Reference source:

  1. What Works in Soft Skills Development for Youth Employment? A Donors’ Perspective

Business Optimization Training Institute (BOTI) is a Johannesburg based, Level 1 BBBEE business.  As a Services and MICT SETA accredited company, we have trained thousands of individuals from over 650 companies and our extensive course offering consists of Short Courses, Soft Skills Training and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Learnership Programs.  In addition, we offer bespoke training programs designed to cater to specific business needs.  Our training courses are focused on knowledge and skills transfer and we pride ourselves in being able to provide training anytime, anywhere across South Africa.