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Women in ICT Feature: Megan Nicholas

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“We've been at the core of enabling work from home for many large enterprises, which has helped corporates to stay alive and remain profitable. Essentially, business never stopped, but simply moved to a new way of operating.” - Megan Nicholas, GM: Large Enterprises, MTN

With bad news comes good news

While some large businesses may have the funds to stay afloat, the new normal has been punishing and we are seeing the most vulnerable companies being pushed to the edge. According to Megan Nicholas, MTN's General Manager, Large Enterprises, Covid-19 has exposed how far behind South Africa is on 4IR and digital transformation.

She says the pandemic underlined how corporates were not aligned with their ICT objectives, with some having a vague strategy for 4IR, but not one primary goal.

“Corporates must immediately look at their strategy differently – which does not necessarily mean reducing their workforce. The workforce simply needs to work differently, which makes it an important part of the strategy to prepare staff with the skills required to follow through on a digital journey.

Strategy must factor in staff and we have to learn to manage people differently. This period has been really trying for them as they literally had to grab a chair and table and start operating from home. This also exposed how only a small number of people actually had connectivity, which opened our eyes around how to operate away from an office environment.”

Nicholas says that a huge amount of knowledge was accumulated over lockdown as MTN helped thousands of people to work remotely. It mobilised its services and solutions so quickly that its corporates were able to operate from the first day of lockdown.

“While we had a product and solutions offering in place prior to Covid-19, our customers did not see the potential and value at that time. When Covid happened, they immediately saw what we could do for their organisations and as their needs changed, we were able to meet them.”

While it is being said that the onus is now on business continuity, rather than growth, Nicholas says that the business continuity box should already have been ticked by large corporates. However, this appears not to have been the case as many industries have taken very hard knocks.

“On the other hand, some industries have experienced exponential growth with the opportunities as a result of Covid-19. Companies in some of the most severely affected market sectors have been seen reinventing themselves and changing their strategy.”

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