Digitization in Business: The past and the now

The way information is now passed down and shared is no longer the same as it was 30 years ago. Digitization has caused multiple businesses to take a long at the standard operating procedures and make some changes.
Tunohole Mungoba
Digitization is the conversion of information into a digital format, which is by no means a new concept. This new way of living has lead for businesses to transform towards a more digital workplace such as accessing information from mobile devices in the field and collaborating on ways for employees to work from home. It has also forced businesses to start catering for their audience digitally in the absence of paper.
The tourism industry were one of the first sectors of business to transform to a digital way of operating as they often need to cater for guests who live outside the country.
Hilkka Nekwaya, manager of Etuna Guesthouse in Ongwediva says the demand of international clients has allowed them to seek ways to be as accommodative of international guests.
Officially opened in May 2006, Nekwaya says digitization has drastically changed since the opening of the guest house as Etuna Guesthouse is now on the world map. “We are now connected on the international market. We handle enquiries for international guests online. We take bookings over emails, our website, social media platforms and bookings agencies such as booking.com,” says Nekwaya.
“During the Covid-19 outbreak, we had to implement and apply the Covid-19 precautionary measures and adhere to the regulations to ensure the safety of our staffs and customers. We did this by notifying our customers via our online platforms. Back in the day, we would have handed out flyers or put this information on notice boards,” she says.
She also says she although their accommodation services cannot be provided remotely, Etuna Guesthouse takes part in marketing expo and one day hopes to create and host virtual experiences.
The Doughnery, a doughnut making business in Oshakati is run by Liina Shivute, a 24 year old medicine graduate from Oshakati. After running for only a few months now, Shivute says she uses social media to her advantage. She receives about 10+ customers on a weekly basis and this is through social media. “Social media is an effective way to reach new audiences with engaging content. It allows businesses to increase brand awareness and their market reach. With social media, you can build a reputation for your brand, engage with your customers and build customer loyalty. The possibilities are endless,” says Shivute.
Shivute also has that digitization has a number of challenges which make it difficult for clients to cater to their clientele. “One of the biggest challenges is a lack of technical expertise. Digitization demands an exploration of technology which is constantly evolving. This can be a huge challenge to individuals with no expertise,” she says.
“There is also a divide in terms of access to and usage of communication technology. Other challenges include how costly it can be and issues related to security.”
According to Shivute, strong visuals, insightful, engaging and organised content are some of the qualities that make a good social media business profile.
“I see digitization becoming a necessity and part of the top agenda for most businesses in the future. My prediction is that soon, every sphere- including social interactions, will be completely transformed and highly dependent on digitization,” she says.

Social media – A key tool for businesses
Betty Sibeso, chief creative officer of Beso Media says the rise of digitization and the growth of social media has allowed her company expand and offer a new service - social media management and content production. “Because almost everyone is on the internet these days, social media has become a key element in marketing, reliability and a reach for businesses all over the world,” she says.
Beso Media was officially opened on 1 September 2017 and Sibeso says their business objective is to be a leading creative agency in Namibia, Africa and the world. “Our main aim is to assist businesses in curating their online presence.”
Instead of clients physically coming into their office for website consultations, Beso Media is was started as a virtual company so working over emails is not new to them. We on board international clients just as we do local. It all goes down on our website. It is all about creating guests’ virtual experiences at the customer's convenience environment, like from their home,” says Sibeso.
She also advises businesses on making use of social media platforms to attract new customers. “Businesses can use social media to entertain, educate and sell their products and services to their customers. Being on social media allows them to build a community with their consumers – which would then encourage trust and customer loyalty.”
Sibeso says Instagram is her favourite social media platform for businesses because it offers a great user experience and interface for consumers and businesses. “It has different features, from imagery to video. It acts an online portfolio where people can browse your offerings easily,” she says.
“We live in a country where a lot of people still don’t have easy access to the internet. We cannot speak about digitization until everyone is included. For this reason not every business is encouraged to digitize their services, however they can still serve both consumer bases.”
Photo 1: Liina Shivute, owner of The Doughnery in Oshakati.
Photo 2: Betty Sibeso of Beso Media.


Allgemeine Zeitung 2023-06-07

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