CWG

ROAD 30: CREATING SUSTAINABLE VALUE THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

Road to 30: CWG’s Present

The story of CWG has been one of growth, advancement, and endless possibilities. As a leading provider of IT services across Africa, CWG operates a firmly established partnership network that connects businesses, enterprises, governments, customers, and consumers, utilizing value-added services to help them efficiently drive processes, and improve across their respective activities. 

With over two decades of immense contribution to the Information Communication and Technology Sector, CWG has continuously remained a benchmark for excellence in Africa. We believe in and pursue an excellent service culture and deliver our operations through global best practices using its ISO9001 certification process across the entire group.  

Presently, we service various sectors of the economy: 

Financial Service Institutions 

Globally, Financial Services Institutions are constantly undergoing technological upgrades. CWG supports this drive in Financial Technology platforms and provides cloud services and software solutions to about 60% of all financial institutions in Nigeria and has successfully implemented and supported Finacle which is the foremost core banking application in Nigerian banking system. To date, CWG has installed over 4,000 ATMs, currently provides support services and manages over 2,500 of these ATMs on behalf of the banks: whilst taking its commitment to excellence further through her ATM as a Service Initiative. 

Telecommunications 

CWG provides managed services, IT infrastructure support and integration to major telecommunication giants such as MTN and Etisalat. Also, Cloud services such as the SMERP are being introduced into this sector. 50% of mobile calls are routed through enterprise servers and storage and are managed and supported by CWG. CWG also provides 40% of telecommunications managed services. 

Public Sector 

CWG is responsible for identifying areas within Government operations that can be improved with the integration of Technology to ensure overall efficiencies and operational excellence. Our partnership with the various levels of Government improves service delivery to citizens and increases contribution to the GDP of the economy. Some of these CWG E-Government solutions which are adaptable in either the Executive, Legislature or Judiciary arms of the Government creates avenues for revenue collection, accountability and transparency, whilst ensuring excellence in operations. Our involvement in the Government sector supports the CWG strategy of deploying Technology solutions that enable growth. 

  

Emergent 

The business landscape is constantly evolving as are the needs of the populace of any developing economy; hence CWG’s Emergent Business Sector is constantly seeking ground-breaking solutions for tackling would-be or existing challenges that would invariably lead to economic growth. Technology is the life stream of every economy, and the emerging market sector is always ‘live’ with the need for many technology platforms the business can deploy, establish or integrate to ensure economic stability. 



TECH TRENDS

The 10 Most Innovative Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Companies of 2022 

The selected firms are making ample impact on their initiatives across the categories, including the most innovative artificial intelligence, design, and security companies. Last year, much better look at mixed-reality products that could play in post-pandemic life. Mixed reality (XR) in its various forms includes virtual reality and augmented reality which seemed like the answer to attaining some level of togetherness at work now that spending much more of our time working from home. People began using XR for everything from collaborative design sessions to department meetings to informal hangouts.  

It started with the Metaverse; mixed reality technology expected to be the way of accessing that all-purpose virtual space in the XR space. Companies like Meta promote a vision of the technology well before delivering the actual tech to make those experiences real. 

While most Big Tech XR remains rumour and hype, smaller companies have made ample impact on innovative strides toward useful and enjoyable spatial computing. AppliedVR and others are developing VR experiences that have the exact positive effects on several mental health issues. Companies such as Google, Niantic, and SightCall are fine-tuning AR apps that work on technology we already have such as phones and tablets. Snap continues to modify its Spectacles glasses, a work in advancement edging nearer to being a wearable social AR device that people will feel comfortable wearing in public. Startups such as Avegant and Lumus are developing advanced in-lens displays.  

Accumulatively, this industry made vital strides toward the vision of wearing personal computing devices on our faces, with the world in front of becoming part of the UX. These are the most vital contributions to the growth of technology. 

  

SNAP 

For advancing practical uses of AR. 

Snap continues to introduce hundreds of millions of people into augmented reality, bit by bit rather than all at once. Snap elevated its try-on tech this year to allow for more accurate fits in eyeglasses. Utilize gesture-recognition tech so that Snapchat users can signal to the Snap camera when they want to see another handbag or view it in another colour. Farfetch uses Snap’s new voice controls to allow users to try new styles in conversation with the app. Snap is supplying the glasses to developers to help them begin building more immersive AR experiences. 

  

NVIDIA 

Creating an Omniverse for developers. 

Tech companies talked about consumer experiences in the metaverse. Nvidia’s new innovative Omniverse platform allows developers from different companies using different tools to quickly share and sync 3D graphics using a Pixar-developed open standard called Universal Scene Description (USD). Enterprises have already seized on Omniverse to develop digital twins of their facilities or service areas. Ericsson, for example, is using Omniverse to build digital twins of cities to help it understand how 5G wireless signal propagates. Siemens uses the platform to create digital versions of the devices that can run simulations and predict when parts of the facility will need replacement. These applications are for single companies, but Omniverse is an open platform on which creators using many different tools could agree (on a practical, technical level) on the physics and function of a single, fluid metaverse.  

  

NIANTIC 

Allowing AR to bloom. 

A handful of big tech companies presented the public with what they think experience in the metaverse. They imagined through the technologies available today, which appeared closed off and proprietary, as through a VR headset. Niantic made vital strides toward enabling other developers to build their own AR experiences using the company Lightship development platform via an Augmented Reality Development Kit (ARDK). It gives developers access to Niantic’s 3D map of the world, which lets them anchor digital content to real-world places. This year, the ARDK left beta and became available worldwide. Niantic also added new technology to its Lightship AR that allows people using regular smartphones to contribute images or videos to the map.  

  

SIGHTCALL 

For adding a new layer to remote assistance service calls. 

SightCall’s augmented reality tool lets customer service reps offer real-time video assistance–with overlaid digital graphics–to faraway customers. Customers point their cameras at problem areas, and then SightCall uses AR and artificial intelligence to guide them through the steps needed to solve their problems. In 2021, the company launched SightCall Digital Flows, the self-service option that customers access AR assistance sessions designed to fix specific problems without the help of a customer service rep. Some high-profile companies are now using SightCall’s product to connect with customers, including L’Oréal, Kraft Heinz, GE Healthcare, and Jaguar Land Rover. The company says it has 300 enterprise customers to complete 3 million customer video assistance calls every year. Importantly, SightCall introduced live speech interpreters and real-time AI speech translations to meet the need of multinational companies to assist customers all over the world.  

  

APPLIEDVR 

Using VR to manage pain. 

With its innovative EaseVRx device, digital therapeutics start-up, AppliedVR has developed a series of two- to 16-minute virtual reality experiences that help people with chronic lower back problems deal with pain. The technology prescribed by a doctor consists of a VR headset and a controller of a breathing amplifier attached to the headset that directs the patient’s breath toward the headset microphone for deep-breathing exercises. The VR program teaches users skills such as deep relaxation, attention shifting, distraction, immersive enjoyment, and healthy movement. 

  

GOOGLE 

For annotating indoor spaces. 

Google Maps now sees how augmented reality places markers and directions through your phone to help you navigate complex indoor environments, such as labyrinthine subway stations, airports, and shopping malls. Google says that it uses AI to analyze millions of photographs to understand the vantage point of a user for the Live View feature. It also relies on new techniques to determine the precise altitude and placement of objects within a building (a store inside a multilevel mall, for example). Google launched the feature for malls in a handful of cities in March 2021 and has been busy expanding the rollout to airports, malls, and transit stations in new cities. 

  

AVEGANT 

For making a giant tech leap toward miniaturizing smart glasses.  

Augmented reality glasses face some significant technical hurdles. So, no tech company has managed to fit the displays, sensors, processors, and battery into a form factor small enough and light enough to be worn for extended periods. The company says its innovative AG-50L light engines, which it launched in September, are no thicker than a pencil and weigh about as much as a paper clip. They use eye-tracking sensors to project light just where the user is looking. The company intends to sell its light engines to tech companies that are now trying to overcome the R&D challenges of developing AR glasses that look reasonably similar in size and weight to regular glasses. 

  

HTC VIVE 

For creating a VR headset immersive enough for enterprise use. 

The Vive Focus 3 is HTCs third try at a stand-alone virtual reality headset, and the company nailed it. The innovative headsets in 5K high-resolution graphics, tight head tracking and 120-degree field of view make them easily superior to the consumer VR headsets currently on the market. HTC gave the headset a unique active cooling system (a fan), which allows it to push the processor hard enough to create more compelling and immersive augmented reality content. But the Focus 3 is not a consumer product (sorry, gamers). Many companies already hold remote meetings with faraway partners to work through design issues using virtual 3D models in VR, rather than bearing the high expense (and uncertainty) of sending people to meet in person. For example, Avatar, which counts Meta and NTT Docomo as customers, intends to use Focus 3 to help its government and enterprise clients with remote collaboration and site inspections. Corporations also routinely turn to VR to train employees, especially on more complex jobs that require refined skills. VRMADA, for example, will use Focus 3 to deliver the VR training simulations it creates for its clients, including Cisco and British Airways.  

  

3DAR 

Letting viewers unlock new ways to experience VR in film. 

The virtual reality production studio 3dar has become known for pushing the boundaries of VR as a storytelling tool. In 2021, it followed up its impressive Gloomy Eyes short, which won best VR piece at South by Southwest in 2019, with an even more groundbreaking animated called Paper Birds. In part one of the 30-minute interactive VR story, the main character, a young musician named Toto, moves from childhood through adulthood as he navigates life and wrestles with the mysteries of inspiration. Visually, the creators cast luminous little scenes and animations in great gulfs of dark space. The animated characters, voiced by Ed Norton, Joss Stone, and Archie Yates and designed by illustrator Oscar Ramos, are adorable and highly controversial. But the groundbreaking aspect of Paper Birds is in its interactivity. You are to use the hand tracking in the Oculus Quest headset to paint brushstrokes of stars in the void of space, conduct music, and unlock portals. Paper Birds premiered at Tribeca Film Festival 2021. The Academy of International Extended Reality (AIXR) gave Paper Birds the award VR Film of the Year at its fifth annual VR Awards in December. 

  

RESOLUTION GAMES 

For taking the VR gaming throne with Demeo. 

Resolution Games bet on virtual reality gaming earlier than most developers. A Swedish company released its most innovative and compelling game yet, Demeo. Though Resolution Games could have easily used VR to make Demeo an action role-playing game, it chose the slower pace of a board game genre that recalls physical games like Dungeons & Dragons. One of the experiences in the game involves a storyline where the sewers under the city of Sunderhaven have a rat problem, and players must descend into the smelly darkness below and work as a team to defeat the Rat King and his loyal minions. The avatars float over a dungeon floor that doubles as a game board, where they advance by picking up cards and game tokens using the trigger on the hand controller. One of the reasons for the success is that it pulled people together (either in person or virtually) to play Demeo and socialize.  

 

The Future of Data Center 

The switch from on-premises data centers to the cloud has enabled organizations to offload and better manage complex data load, provide access to computing, storage and network. 

The definition of data center and the central idea of how it provides its services is changing rapidly. 

What then is the data center of the future? What aptitudes should it have and what scenarios should it handle? New technology demands such as IoT, smart devices, and data security and regulations, are raising new challenges and opportunities. The following are some necessary features of future data centers: 

  

Flexibility 

There will be a need for new data centers to be highly flexible to accommodate many diverse environments. Public cloud providers will be an essential part of this future and on-premises environments will continue to be relevant. 

Flexibility should also be applied to the use of public cloud providers. For example, organizations may want to use multiple providers simultaneously, or switch from one to another for various reasons such as cost, platform constancy, or feature set. 

  

Distribution 

Another feature of future data centers should be their ability to be distributed. There are three main reasons this is important:  

  • Reduction of data loss and outage 

This can be achieved by avoiding single points of failure. The number of things that can go wrong in a data center is long: power outages, fires, system failures, human error, network disruption and system outages are a few of many potential incidents. By distributing infrastructure across various geographically distanced data centers, organizations reduce these risks. 

  • Proximity 

Data is increasingly consumed and produced at the edge, and because of this, future data centers will serve more and more devices at proximity, for instance, parking sensors, video surveillance and self-driving cars. Proximity offers several advantages such as reducing latency and decreasing the cost of data transport.  

  • Data location control 

Organizations are progressively required to control data location to assure regulatory compliance, data sovereignty and data protection. The ability to adapt to jurisdictional and customer requirements aligned with data protection laws will require data centers to operate seamlessly with hosting infrastructures all over the world.  

  

Vendor Agnostic 

Future data centers will have to be vendor agnostic. No matter the type of hardware or underlying virtual machine, operating and administration abilities should be seamless. This flexibility enables companies to streamline their deployment and maintenance developments and prevents vendor lock-in. 

These data centers should have the ability to run in any environment in order to achieve distribution requirements. For that reason, new data centers will largely be made of open-source components in order to achieve such a level of interoperability. 

  

Great User Experience 

The feature of distribution and flexibility should not come at the expense of ease of use. Data centers must permit seamless cloud native capabilities, such as the capacity to scale computing and storage resources on demand, as well as API access for integrations.  

 Exploring The Metaverse 

What does the future Metaverse present?  

The metaverse is a vision for the next step in the internet’s development; the metaverse directs to digital worlds in which individuals will assemble to work, play, and hang out. Some of those online spaces will be immersive 3D experiences and need fancy goggles to enjoy. 

With the world what it is these days, you can see why people might be itching for an alternate reality to reboot the system and start fresh, which is the appeal of virtual realms: The locations where power inverted, disappointments escaped, and capitalist injustices left behind for something more thrilling, malleable, and meaningful. 

The multiple metaverses, or digital spaces which commonly are decentralized, integrate augmented and virtual reality, keep information on the blockchain and authorize the users to own digital goods. So, like the internet, the word “the metaverse” depicts a sprawling web of sites and spaces. 

The Opportunities Connected with Metaverse 

  • The metaverse gives a unique world for accessing unique, creative, and myriad marketing opportunities. 
  • Metaverse evolutions such as Microsoft Mesh could sustain the creation of entirely customized virtual work environments in the future. 
  • Another promising application of the meta verse which might gain momentum in the future is virtual tourism. Using AR and VR technologies can support the creation of immersive worlds where users can engage with genuine content. 
  • Remote learning has skyrocketed in popularity, and the metaverse future might have the perfect possibilities for improving possibilities in this sector. At the same time, virtual reality simulations could also keep better learning backgrounds for students all over the world. 

What does the Future Metaverse Present? 

Is the metaverse our future?  

Comprising Web3 technology allowed through blockchain technology (NFTs and Crypto), the future metaverse would be very similar to the real world in several aspects and even substitute some real-world activities. The metaverse of the future traverses on a notion of operating openly, almost without any interruption from a single community or organization, as the contribution of innovators will be from across the world as more labels are looking to open their platforms on the broader meta verse just like on the internet of the present times.  

Organizations like Meta and Microsoft appear to think so, though their virtual worlds stay closed rather than the open ideal. There’s no doubt that excitement, money, and swiftness are pushing to some new form of digital fact. It will mirror the desires of its user base, be they entrepreneurship, escape, or convenience.  

 

INDUSTRY-LEADING SOLUTIONS

Cloud: Adopting Digital Channels in Cooperative Societies in Africa 

The pandemic has fuelled the migration of group interactions to online channels. Virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meets have become an essential element of modern culture, enabling family members, professional colleagues, and other people groups to interact safely amid the outbreak of the highly contagious disease. Furthermore, there is a growing appetite for virtual channels for investments, commerce, and recreation.  

As a voluntary association of individuals with economic and social interests, cooperative societies in Africa should adopt the trend and take conscious steps to migrate their operations to digital channels. The cloud and connected technology are an opportunity for cooperative societies to improve the user’s experience of the members and ease administration to deliver more services efficiently. 

The adoption of digital technology holds the key for cooperatives in Africa to fulfill their potential as agents of economic development. Technology has played a vital role in organizing the activities of cooperatives in nations where they are making a substantial economic impact. 

Cloud computing is a technology that is very appropriate to cooperatives today. It directs the delivery of computing services such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, and analytics over the internet to deliver faster and more flexible services to different users. Service providers create cloud computing systems to help business or research needs. 

These solutions are designed to support large customer or user numbers and are an ideal solution for cooperative societies that seek to operate more efficiently. Adopters commonly pay only for the cloud services used and can lower their operating costs, enhance security, run infrastructure more efficiently, and scale operations. A way to achieve this cost efficiency is by partnering with digital solutions companies. 

By adopting cloud technology, cooperatives can revolutionize their operations in several ways. The collection and organization of members’ data on a cloud platform allows cooperatives to create financial accounts efficiently. It endears the cooperative to financial service companies, making them keener to offer loans and other services to cooperatives. Sadly, cooperatives in Africa struggle to provide financial accounts and data on members’ contributions. As a result, they are unable to take advantage of financing opportunities such as the loans currently being offered by the various Government in these countries through various intervention schemes. 

Technology is also changing how members relate to each other. Participation at meetings, voting, and notifications are virtual, saving time, and resources, increasing participation and making engagement more convenient for members. Also, the adoption of digital technology opens a new approach to customer service and customer experience. Members can access information about their contributions and receive personalized services on their own time. 

The use of digital methods to organize the operations of cooperative societies also enables a range of prescriptive and predictive analyses that are otherwise not possible without data. Managers of cooperatives can analyse the membership and peculiar needs and circumstances of members on a platform made possible by cloud computing technology. 

For example, data mining: cooperative societies can more accurately ascertain the products and services that could interest their members. Also, through the processing of data and the creation of appropriate algorithms, the cooperative is more likely to improve member satisfaction by anticipating their needs and product preferences.  

Data processing can also be a valuable tool in risk management concerning designing rules about the loans/credit provisions to members. The power of data can just be released today when organizations adopt digital methods, their services provisions, and the management of their operations. 

The application of digital technology to drive innovation in the activities of cooperatives is a growing trend across the world. Digital technology does not only support the efficient issuance of loans to credit union members but enables peer-to-peer rental of farming and other equipment in most countries. Given at large cooperative societies in Africa, the substantial scope for these groups to improve their impact on society, better help their members, and guide the current public health matters. 

Another reason cooperatives should adopt digital technology is the danger of potential upheaval of their businesses from an outsider. Cooperatives in Africa must wake up to the peril of technology in their business and embrace it before advancements in technology cause them irrelevance in the future. An example of a cooperative platform is the UCP cooperative platform which will help simplify, improve, automate and digitalize all your cooperative operations and cooperative needs on a single platform. 

The pandemic created uncertainties across economies around the globe. Yet, this dire outlook develops new opportunities to do things differently and harness new development opportunities. 

 Experience is Redefining the Future of Business 

Customer experience is the most critical driver of brand equity today as we live in an omnichannel world and how people experience digital content-to-commerce channels defines their impression of a brand. Consumers are looking to build relationships and experiences rather than just products and businesses need to think about how they can create seamless experiences across all their touchpoints.  

Businesses need to ensure seamless transitions and customer experience, and this is becoming critical for business success, especially when organizations are increasingly competing on a whole new scale for market share. Customers need to be front and centre.  

A great way to create a connection and build a lasting relationship with the customer is for them to see themselves as part of your story. If you want to add value to an experience, your customer must feel part of the bigger brand story, whether that is about your business sustainability, origin, or future. 

The most crucial point is that the customer experience must speak transparency and trust and must have the same look and feel. This means building trust and transparency, which will eventually mean that customers will be more likely to proactively share their data with the brand. 

Businesses must realize that digital commerce is becoming more nuanced. Knowing their customers will be vital as they build out seamless experiences across all customer touchpoints and working out what those touchpoints should be. 

With Finacle, customers can seamlessly make and receive evidence of transactions, enjoy the convenience of online banking, maintain data security, and receive well-tailored and peculiar services.  

FinEdge is proven to help banks and other financial organizations enhance agility and efficiency of operations, while significantly improving customer experience and returns. 

SMERP is a software platform for time-consuming routine tasks. This software can quickly automate inventory, accounting, and even marketing data, freeing up resources for small businesses to focus on other areas of their operations. 

Receiving and paying bills can be a time-consuming process and can affect customer experience. BillsnPay is a mobile and web application that assists customers in making quick, easy, and convenient payments.  

UCP ensures your members enjoy a seamless cooperative experience from contribution to loan management, to accounting. 

  

 

How to Turn a Supply Chain Platform into an Innovation 

Many companies are concerned about keeping a steady supply of inventory rather than having a better grasp understanding flow of demand and production process.  

With the right platform, organizations can ensure that their product or service is not only available when the customer wants it, but also at the right time, at the right price, and in the right amount giving the organization a competitive advantage. 

According to Geodis (2019), 57% of companies believe that supply chain management gives them a competitive edge that enables them grow and to further develop their business. Efficient supply chain management can help businesses be more aggressive against competitors. With the advancement of technology, the advent of data analytics and automation can now be integrated into supply chain processes making the process to become more streamlined than ever. 

With the integration of technology, supply chain management has become faster and efficient than ever before and has completely changed the structure in which businesses operate. 

Seamless business processing is a major challenge for SMEs globally. Because it involves the integrated planning and implementation of procedures required to manage the movement of materials, information, and financial capital in activities that broadly include demand planning, sourcing, production, inventory management and storage, logistics, and returns, it relies on both organizational strategy, specialized software, and collaboration. 

It is quite an extensive and complex undertaking, each must communicate and work together to create efficiencies, manage risk and adapt quickly to change. This is such a huge challenge for SMEs globally. 

SMERP provides SMEs with a 360-view of production and an effective supply chain management, allowing you to identify bottlenecks quickly and easily and sort out issues from raw materials to delivery of products. 

Visit www.smerp.ng to get started. 

  Can Traditional Banks Compete Against an Army of Fintech Start-ups? 

The financial service industry in Nigeria remains a growing sector, with over $9 billion in value pools, but despite high levels of competition, lack of access to services, especially in rural areas, issues of affordability, and poor user experience leaves most consumers underserved. However, with the increase in smartphone penetration and a drive to increase financial inclusion and cashless payments, Nigeria is now home to over 200 fintech standalone companies, plus several fintech solutions offered by banks and mobile network operators as part of their product portfolio.   

Between 2014 and 2019, Nigeria’s fintech space raised more than $600 million in funding, attracting 25 percent ($122 million) of the $491.6 million raised by African tech start-ups in 2019 alone. This is second to Kenya, which attracted $149 million.  

In line with the evolution of fintech in other markets, payment solutions currently represent around 15 percent of banking revenue pools in the country and continue to grow. With these statistics, would one define the relationship between fintech and traditional banks as a symbiotic or a parasitic one?  

The shift from traditional to digital banking, which has been gradual and continuously on the rise, is constituted by varying degrees of banking service digitization. Fintech provides users with the ability to access financial data through desktop, mobile, and ATM services. It involves the digitization of all traditional banking products, procedures, and processes to serve customers through online channels. 

Today, it is crucial that financial institutions of all types and sizes realize how critical it has become to quickly adapt to the recent volatile changes in how different financial products and services are delivered and consumed on a digital space, especially considering all the new innovative Fintech exploding worldwide with innovative financial services that are affordable and easy to access regardless of their location. 

Finacle is a core banking solution that enables all kinds of banks with digital banking functionalities. It helps traditional and emerging financial institutions drive truly digital transformation to achieve frictionless customer experiences, larger ecosystem play, insights-driven interactions, and ubiquitous automation. It provides banks with the needed infrastructure to take new banking products to market as swift as possible. 

Visit www.cwg-plc.com to find out more. 

  

 How Business Messaging Can Enhance Customer Experience 

Consumer demand for personalized experiences is at an all-time high. Big data, marketing automation, and other technologies make it easy for companies to track their customers’ behaviours and preferences. Organizations that provide specialized, personalized experiences see more than just a boost in consumer satisfaction and a glimpse of significant growth in their lowest line. 

When it comes to customer communication, customers want to choose how they communicate with you. Conventional marketing channels are slowly becoming less effective and even damaging. Businesses either must invest in expensive marketing initiatives or find new ways to connect and engage with customers. 

Business messaging gives companies a way to improve the customer experience at scale. With business messaging, companies can communicate with customers on their preferred channel to deliver a great customer experience and help consumers interact with companies for pre-and post-sales activities. Organizations use business instant messaging software for more direct and group conversations between employees and customers. These tools also enable rapid communication among team members. 

What is a business messaging? 

Business messaging allows companies to connect with consumers on their preferred messaging channels. It’s a powerful strategy for building strong customer relationships and driving profitable business outcomes. 

Companies use business messaging to provide a great customer experience, improve their marketing and sales efforts, and drive revenue growth by creating stronger brand loyalty among the consumer base. 

Business messaging, also known as synchronous messaging, is no longer a new concept. With the advent of messaging apps, changing buyer behaviour and expectations, and increased competition, businesses use communication channels to connect with customers. 

Short messaging service (SMS), or text messaging, is the most used messaging medium. Have all received shipping notifications, advertising offers, promotional campaigns, and reminders from companies. These are the types of interactions we often associate with business messaging. But business messaging isn’t just one-sided, not restricted to texting. Business communications can happen on any digital platform where your consumers already spend their time, and it’s expected that such practices enable two-way conversational interaction. 

Businesses have found that the success they need to engage their customers using smartphones and other messaging-enabled devices. Consumer preferences have forced companies to make essential changes that affect which channels they use for customer engagement. Companies now deliver a personalized experience through real-time communications channels like instant messaging (IM) and social media messaging. Customers engage with companies using instant messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and LINE. 

Here are a few ways businesses communicate with their customers in real-time: 

Direct messages are exchanged via social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Kik to provide personalized customer support. 

A merchant communicates delivery information to customers via text messages to avert inbound phone calls. AI-sales assistant solutions provide customers with more personalized product recommendations and guided selling. A website visitor who requires assistance utilizes an online chat feature for support. 

Examples of business messaging channels 

There are many businesses messaging platforms, including: 

  • Facebook Messenger 
  • Twitter 
  • Microsoft Teams 
  • SMS 
  • Apple iMessage 
  • WeChat 
  • Google Hangouts 
  • WhatsApp 
  • Weibo 
  • KakoTalk 
  • Viber 
  • Instagram 

Why is messaging important for businesses? 

From social networking sites to SMS, messaging has become an essential component of daily life and has significantly altered how we connect with others. But it’s hard to overlook the reality that, when utilized appropriately, these chatty channels offer enhanced engagement and competitive differentiation for consumer-facing businesses. Communication itself, not the medium, is valued in conversational messaging. 

Each user journey starts with discovering a new product that satisfies that need. Addressing product inquiries, clarifying features, or responding to customer issues allows companies to convince buyers that they’re making the right decision. Business messaging provides a quick, easy, and seamless way for customers to communicate with brands, regardless of their stage in the customer journey. It also enables organizations to shift from one-way to a two-way dialogue with buyers. Allowing users to interact in a two-way discussion using a platform they’re most comfortable with increases engagement and improves the experience. 

Time is every customer’s most important asset, not being placed in a queue and waiting on the phone to talk with an agent unless these hurdles are eliminated with the business messaging. Using messaging in conjunction with existing channels reduces the incoming and outbound engagements and allows customers to interact with the brand from anywhere at any time. Whether at home or halfway around the world, customers can interact instantly and get the solutions they need in real-time. 

Most companies have similar priorities: stay available to consumers on their chosen channels to enhance quality service, promote brand engagement, improve customer experience, and relieve the burden on customer care agents. Companies can achieve these objectives by communicating with consumers through multiple channels. Adopting an omnichannel messaging approach helps companies achieve their goals and boost potential savings. The purpose of omnichannel messaging is straightforward: to keep the dialogue going even when the customer switches platforms. 

Unlike traditional business communication, omnichannel messaging allows users to choose which channel to communicate with, giving them more choice during the interaction. For example, customers are sent to a web page by SMS, or an interactive voice response (IVR) can route them to a WhatsApp Chat. While business messaging has become a crucial component of most consumer marketing strategies, it isn’t always an exact mode of communication. There are several platforms, countless rules, and numerous variations amongst them.  

Live chat, often known as web chat, integrates a chat function directly onto your website. Customers often visit your website for one of two reasons: to buy something or receive an answer to a question. They should be able to accomplish both with live chat support. Live chat is often deployed as a widget in the bottom corner of a website and triggers when visitors click on it. Alternatively, a pop-up window can urge users to start a discussion. Businesses employ live chat software to manage web chats for the company site. 

Companies can use live chat solutions for various reasons, including customer service, technical assistance, sales, and marketing used to generate leads. Although live chat windows are available on a website 24 hours a day, this doesn’t imply that agents must be ready to answer inquiries at all times. Offline modes allow website users to submit queries or concerns handled by a chatbot or an agent during business hours. 

Business text messaging has grown in popularity in communicating with consumers. Unlike other messaging applications, text messaging does not require an internet connection. Anyone with a phone plan can receive text messages, making it a readily accessible alternative for your customers. Businesses also choose SMS marketing because these campaigns have far higher open rates than email marketing. Text messaging requires a cellular network to deliver texts, including SMS, Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), and text messages. SMS marketing software enables companies to interact with their buyers via text messages. Businesses also use SMS marketing to deliver bulk SMS campaigns and participate in two-way discussions with customers. 

Email is still one of the most successful ways businesses connect with buyers. It’s also one of the most widely employed digital channels for customer care. Personalizing your content is critical for increasing client engagement via email. It instructs to maintain an accurate audience segmentation based on demographic profiles and behavioral insights gathered from past interactions. The major disadvantage of email is its popularity. Every day, our inboxes are inundated with emails because they are overused, and people entirely default to them, even when there are better communication channels for particular situations. Email marketing software helps businesses send commercial messages to groups of people via email. 

Social customer support is successful because it allows consumers to reach out to your organization on their most-used channels. Using social media to answer customer issues or complaints is known as social media customer service. Businesses use conversational marketing software to engage potential customers with personalized, one-on-one conversations that route to specific product recommendations, offers, or customer service requests. In conversational marketing, the software helps businesses discover potential buyers on social networking sites, respond to concerns or queries, determine the most suitable products, and send consumers to payment gateways or sales representatives to complete transactions. Offering omnichannel services via social media is difficult for large and small companies. Smaller businesses struggle to keep up with consumer requests due to a lack of personnel. Large companies with high levels of engagement find it challenging to connect with every user. 

Features of business messaging tools 

All business messaging systems have some features in common. As the market becomes more competitive, some vendors add extra communication and productivity capabilities to help differentiate their products. Some of these features are: 

  • Instant messaging: The primary feature of most messaging software is instant, direct messaging. Users can instantly send direct or group messages. 
  • Group chat: Messaging apps allow multiple users to participate in a private and secure online conversation. Group chat boosts communication and productivity between teams. 
  • Conferencing: Many companies want integrated audio and video conferencing capabilities in business messengers. Support teams can quickly address problems and resolve queries more effectively when they can quickly switch between text-based and audio-based discussions. 
  • Emojis: usually included in business messaging services. Some apps even let users design their emojis. 
  • File sharing: The ability to share files and documents rapidly & easily is one of the main advantages of such communication channels. Users can share links to cloud-hosted files or attach files stored on their desktops.  

Choosing the most dependable business messaging platform is the first step toward effective marketing. Here are some essential things to consider while selecting a good platform for your business. 

  • Pricing: Choose a business messaging vendor that charges you based on the services you need. Verify for hidden fees and API limits that can increase your total cost. 
  • Features: Depending on the use case, organizations should look at the platform’s messaging features that will help them accomplish business objectives. 
  • API access: Select a messaging tool that provides application programming interface (API) access. APIs offer unique solutions for improving user experiences and integrating the platform into existing business processes. 

Business messaging enables efficient and simplified interactions. As a result, introducing a business messaging platform opens up new communication channels for consumers wherever and whenever needed. 

Below are some of the most common business messaging use cases; 

Business messaging for customer support Some businesses excel at providing exceptional customer service. But for others, the customer experience consists; of a series of awkwardly disjointed contacts with various employees who repeatedly ask to explain your problem. 

It’s easy to blame agents, but the fact is that client interaction is often organized between tickets even though the finest agents struggle to get the complete picture. Business messaging makes this process much more manageable. 

 

Challenges SMEs Face today 

Establishing a business is not without challenges and requires a vast amount of determination, patience, and effort. If this business does not make that effort to distinguish it from its up-and-coming counterparts, they risk dillydallying. It is a comprehensive and challenging task that must be shared and work together to create capabilities, handle risk and adjust to change swiftly. 

How can SMEs crush the challenges they face today? 

Attract New Customers 

It is a problem that many businesses struggle with, including the big players too. However, these larger businesses with historic success usually find it easier to attract new customers as they have a strong brand supporting them. Trendy branding is crucial when it comes to greater recognition, increased business value, and the ability to generate new customers at a faster pace. Attracting new customers while maintaining a high-quality service with existing customers can be tricky, but it’s vital to succeed in a competitive market. Pro-activity is also crucial for any small business. It implies making phone calls, attending appropriate networking events, and mastering the different marketing channels when it has a presence. 

Sustain Profitability 

No matter what industry a business operates in, maintaining profitability is a challenge every business to consider at some point. However, some things can help: 

  • Lower costs 
  • Improve turnover 
  • Improve productivity and efficiency 

Businesses should look at their suppliers, premises, production processes, and finance facilities which were a good fit a year or two years ago may no longer be the best solution. Introducing initiatives such as remote working may enable a business to reduce and save aloft costs at the exact time to boost employee efficiency. 

Maintain The Right Employees 

Appreciation goes a long way. A failure to demonstrate the worth of employees and the work to do could lead to a business losing some of its most valuable assets. It’s also important to remember that salary is a factor in employees feeling valued. As a business and its profits grow, so should salary of employees. These people are driving businesses forward, and their success or failure relies heavily on how they act. While paying employees more may cost a business in the short term, the impact of rewarding them will help your business make more money in the long run. 

Secure Your Finance 

Although business lending now far more accessible than in prior years, accessing finance is still a concern. Many SMEs are pivoted away by their high street bank, but it’s important to remember that this isn’t the only option. Alternative lenders are there to support and come without the usual tick-box psyche, indicating they can provide flexible and customized funding solutions. Whether a business is looking for a short-term business loan or more flexible credit with a longer-term, there is a wide range of funding options available. 

Grow Your Revenue 

It’s typical knowledge every business struggle to navigate, maintain and sustain growth. These businesses cannot control all the market forces up against and to do that can help boost revenue. For example, if business processes operate within a market that is too small to yield the expected profit, offering more products or services increases people’s curiosity about business might be something to consider. These businesses might also consider adjusting their pricing strategy, especially facing severe market competition. Price is often the most factor in any purchase for consumers, and it is a difficult balance to strike. While dropping prices too much can harm a brand, raising them by a noticeable amount could cause a reaction and encourage customers to look at competitors instead. The suitable approach is to change your prices gradually in price adjustment and which are paramount neglected by consumers. 

Adopt technology 

While most businesses have welcomed technological advancements of the past few decades, others have buried their heads in the sand. Technology recreates the role of business nowadays, with software apps available to make processes easier & simple for business owners and ease some of the challenges they may regularly face. Some include accounting, CRM, software packages, marketing tools to help distribute monthly newsletters, and project management tools. 

Social media 

These are mistakes businesses make other than having an online presence merely because they have a website. But there is more to be done outside website essential a decade ago for any business earnest about being successful on social media has proven to be a powerful tool in helping maximise brand exposure. Having an online presence means businesses can engage with a far larger audience, which could increase profits if being able to capture the attention of the demographic they want to buy their products and services. 

Brand awareness should be a priority for all businesses, and the best way to achieve this is by being present, informative, and consistent. All self-starters and entrepreneurs will uncertainly agree that starting a business is hard the SME landscape is competitive these businesses should rest assured that there is help at hand. 

The challenges are overcome by searching for a technologically driven platform that fits your business processes in all areas of expertise. SMERP provides SMEs with an intelligent, efficient, and effective automated ERP platform, from purchasing, production, accounting, inventory management, supply chain management, and warehousing that helps simplify managing, tracking, and monitoring your daily business operations seamlessly with no hassles. 

Visit www.smerp.ng to get started. 

 Five Stages of Small Business Growth 

The characteristics of small businesses vary widely, and your experience may not exactly match the model with typical problems that enterprises tend to face at different stages of development.  

Learn about them, be in a better place to plan, and continue to thrive as your business reaches new stages of growth takes viscosity during the most suitable times to start a business is challenging and rough. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it became a pursuit for the survival of approximately small businesses were closed amid the lockdowns and reopened their doors or launched anew as consumer demand boomed back. Small businesses in Nigeria have their unique flavor, challenges, and path to success by bringing real-life examples to illustrate the five stages of small business growth: existence, survival, success, take-off, and resource maturity. Daily convey your insights from our contributors on the business growth and begin at the outset stage of launching a business and figuring out everything from product fit to customer acquisition. 

Launch: – Product Market Fit 

What does the irregular customer need for the product or service?   

No significance what the product or service, priority is identifying and growing the target customer base is best to evaluate market fit. 

No business of any size runs without a customer base. It’s a continual race to validate the new product or service supplied by discovering customers. In many ways, it is a requirement to determine if or when the start-up business can move to the next level of growth. If the market fit is tangible, even, and develops into a growing and diverse customer base in the early weeks and months of operation will directly allow the possible triumph of the new business to survive and even thrive for years to come. 

Growth: – Customer Service and Establishing Customer Loyalty 

Customer service is the essential growth engine for any company finding its foot in the entrepreneurial world to make purchasing conclusions based on their customer experiences and the experiences of the people they listen to, online and offline. Dedicate your time, effort, and focus where they count most and go the most outlying: towards improving your service with your business. Your customers will, quickly and dangerously, start to view your service or product offering as merely a commodity, view it interchangeably with the competition, and ultimately put your very survival at risk. 

Success: – Safe Fund for Expansion 

To grow to exponential heights or sustain linear progression? 

It is the crossroads that many founders encounter at some point during their business journey when sales are solid, the team stable, feedback is positive, a steady stream of customers arrives without trouble.  

Should it relinquish some of the pie in a search to make it bigger? 

Make raising investment a race, do not end up wriggling over the finish line, more significantly, so your business does not suffer from the distraction of expanding capital. 

Take-off: – Scaling Operations 

While building your enterprise from zero into a sustainable business is a problematic and rewarding experience, the next stage of rapidly scaling can be equally demanding and gratifying. Drive the fit moves before propelling your business into hypergrowth; however, it is shrewd, stumbling up around enterprises. 

Maturity: – Sustaining Customer Service while Rising 

If a parachute floated behind the lines of your business today with a customer service consultant attached, what would they uncover about your customer service state? Just being focused & attentive are typical for small business with a few customers who tend to slide when the customer roster begins to balloon.  

To successfully achieve and maintain these five (5) stages of your business growth by doing proper research, building a sales funnel, participating in networking events, forming strategic partnerships, and boosting customer retention. By comprehending the sequence of events in business growth, businesses can make better financial decisions. 

Also, utilize the SMERP platform to build and grow your small business at an attainable level. Where all your business processes are simplified and managed on a single platform, 

 

 3 Strategies for dealing with Cooperative Hassles  

A cooperative strategy can contribute meaningful benefits for companies that lack particular competencies, knowledge, or resources, enabling them to secure these through connections to other companies and retaining complementary talents or acquisitions. 

A cooperative strategy concerns an attempt by an organization to cooperate with other firms achievement of its objectives. Cooperatives service reduces costs with more secure supply chains, reduces competition, adds resources/knowledge/skillsets, and creates other synergies. Cooperative can be between suppliers, buyers, irrelevant businesses, or competitors, and antitrust law is involved. Commonly, this cooperative carries out in the form of a strategic partnership. These strategies proffer the possibility of overwhelming the difficulties of making acquisitions work. These are cooperative strategies classified into the two primary subsets of collusive approaches and strategic partnerships. 

 

System for a Strategic Partnership 

The three common forms of a strategic alliance are as follows: 

Joint Venture 

A joint venture is equal to a general partnership. Two or more companies come together for a specific purpose and specific time. The companies work together as partners in promoting their business interests. The result is a separate and new legal entity on each company serving as an owner. 

Equity Strategic Partnership 

It is a partnership through which two companies invest money in the other. As such, there is co-ownership between the companies. Generally, the arrangement is a consolidation of equals, and each equity partner receives equal control, authority, recognition, and ownership interest. 

Non-Equity Strategic Partnership  

It is a statutory relationship whereby two or more companies coordinate efforts and share resources. It can also have a pledge concerning operations and relationships between the companies. Generally, there is no co-ownership between the firms. Any sums of money exchanged or invested are acquired as part of service or supply agreements between the companies. 

CSR INITIATIVES FROM OTHER BRANDS

MTN Foundation seeks coordinated action against substance abuse by unveiling ASAP 2022 

MTN has kicked off its Anti Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP). MTN Foundation launched the ASAP initiative in 2019 as a multi-sectoral platform to improve awareness of the negative impact of substance abuse and addiction amongst young Nigerians. To promote a healthy and secure lifestyle among students across the nation, the MTN Foundation partnership with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). 

MTN Foundation held the first edition of its Anti Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP) Quiz competition for secondary school students in Nigeria. Students awarded exciting freebies such as smartphones, backpacks, and other goodies. 

 UBA Foundation observes International Day of the African Child 

In recognition of the International Day of the African Child 2022, the UBA Foundation corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group joined the rest of the world to mark African children. By having reading sessions for school children across the African continent and contributing thousands of books in a unique Read Africa initiative. UBA Foundation Read Africa initiative is committed to rekindling the dwindling reading culture in our communities and amongst their students 

 

Fidelity Bank Refurbishes Classroom Blocks and Commissions ATM Gallery In Zaria to Navigate Financial Inclusion 

The leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc, just commissioned the newly renovated Madrasatul Anwarul Islam school in Zaria, Kaduna State part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives targeted across Nigeria. 

Founded over five decades ago by the Emir’s father, late Maga in garin Zazzau, Alhaji Nuhu Bamalli, Madrasatul Anwarul Islam is the alma mater of the current Emir of Zazzau and has orchestrated several renowned personalities in the country.  

The bank also commenced a state-of-the-art Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) gallery to navigate financial inclusion within the community. 

BUSINESS UPDATES

CWG hosts 2021 Annual General Meeting 

CWG hosted its 2021 Annual General Meeting with the theme Creating Sustainable Value Through Technology. 

This annual event was held at Lilygate Hotel and had members of the Board of Directors, major shareholders, and members of the press present. 

  

CWG in Partnership with CIT Vericash organizes Digital Banking Summit 

CWG in partnership with CIT VERICASH organized an event that delves into its seamless end-to-end digital financial platform with the theme DIGITAL: The New Age of Banking. 

This summit was held on Friday, July 1, 2022, at Sheraton Hotel, Lagos. 

Thought leaders who have vast practical experience in championing digital transformation initiatives in the financial sector shared their views on the subject matter.