Opinion:Digital Transformation (Meaning, Case Study & Impact)

Greetings. As we explored last week, digital transformation is the key to bridging the gap between technological advancement and business development. In discussing this, we realized that because of the exponential nature of the growth of technology, and the linear nature of the people behind businesses, there's a significant gap that leads to incumbents getting disrupted. 

And so, what is digital transformation? And what can I as an organization do to be able to explore and harness the various advantages that it promises to give? This article will serve as a guide to show and illustrate what digital transformation is, and then we'll go on to use an example of a local incumbent that has been able to use digital transformation to transform their organization. 


According to the Harvard Business Review, digital transformation is the act of leveraging data technologies to increase operational efficiency, improve customer experience, and find new good opportunities. To illustrate this, we will look at a local incumbent. 

Case Study: Botswana Post 

Until 2012 Botswana Post was just a postal company. This meant that they took mail from point A to point B across their large network of branches. However, the advent of email, social media, and other digital technologies meant that their core business would become depleted over time if they did not transform. 

Therefore, their organization embarked on a digital transformation journey that was aimed at:

1) increasing the operational efficiency of their current core business; 

2) improving their customer experience in the services they were providing, and 3) going on to find new, exciting opportunities. 

Transitioning to Cloud-Based 

Firstly, Botswana Post started off by bringing their T infrastructure and moving it completely to the cloud. This meant that they were able to integrate their services across a wide array of platforms and systems. This led them to create cloud-enabled services that ensured that all their different branches would be in sync and that operational efficiency across the branches would be maintained and improved. 

Improving Customer Service 

Additionally, they were also able to improve their customer experience by adding convenient added services including online services. One of which was a mobile application to assist customers to navigate services over the normal 24-hour cycle.

Finding new growth opportunities 

In addition to this, they also use digital transformation to find new growth opportunities. This brought about the introduction of Poso Money, which is a money transfer service where they leveraged different financial technologies as well as USSD technology to be able to support the unbanked populations around the country to be able to transfer money across accounts. This service allowed them to tap into an industry that they had no business in, which is financial services, ultimately allowing them to create more opportunities with the clientele they already have. Additionally, they were also able to exploit API technologies as well as cloud technologies to provide courier services to individuals shopping from international online stores. This opened up a new avenue of business that they traditionally had not been able to tap into, but also leveraging things that they already had the ability to be able to ship across multiple horizons. 

Conclusively, we have been able to explore how a local incumbent that was at risk of extinction was able to rise up and ensure that they manage to not only survive but thrive for the future. By using digital transformation they managed to improve operational efficiency; improve their customer experience and find new opportunities, which then led to them increasing their revenues, reducing the operational expenditure, and ultimately increasing profitability. 

Over the next few weeks, we'll explore the technologies behind this digital transformation in an attempt to help you understand what is out there at your disposal as an organization.

By Tavonga Muchuchuti

Tavonga is the Managing Director of Xavier Africa, a software development agency based in Gaborone, Botswana

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