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        Tech the great enabler                                              accelerated digitalisation of government.
                                                                               This provides a clear case for the

                                                                               From supporting eGovernment strategies,
                                                                            to assisting tele-health infrastructure and
        By Doug Woolley, Managing Director,                                 investing in the digital transformation of
        Dell Technologies South Africa                                      education, government’s 2021 plans are
                                                                            embracing the importance of universal access
                                                                            and the role of technology as an enabler of
                                                                            a more equal society. This is underscored by
            ust twelve months since the world                               a focus on connectivity in recovery planning,
            woke up to the ‘new normal’,                                    setting out to improve internet access and
        Jwith many countries entering                                       preparing for 5G connectivity.
        unprecedented lockdowns, vaccination                                   In the Dell Technologies 2020 Digital
        programmes and an easing of local                                   Transformation Index, we found that 79% of
        restrictions are sparking light at the                              organisations in South Africa have successfully
        end of the tunnel. Now, we have the                                 accelerated at least some of their digital
        possibility to build a bold new world as                            transformation programmes this year. This
        we look to the future. But first, we have                           shows good progress; however, there is still work
        some reflecting to do.                                              to be done.
           Looking back to March 2020, it was clear that to survive and flourish amidst
        the ensuing uncertainty, innovation would be key to sustaining some of our   Staying connected is key
        most vital sectors, supply chains and jobs. The sheer speed and scale at   Connective technologies will support the roll-
        which digital transformations took place and supported entire industries as they   out of digital services, keeping organisations,
        adapted, was astonishing. Technology took the spotlight, keeping businesses   businesses and public sector services operating
        open, students in (sometimes virtual) classrooms, social lives connected and   efficiently – a crucial point as citizens now
        essential services flowing.                                         have higher expectations.With data-driven
                                                                            tech, governments can leverage analytics and
        Technology as an enabler                                            predictive insights, helping to prevent anything
        Last year we were reminded of the force for good that technology can be –   from future epidemics to public safety incidents.
        providing a glimpse of what is possible now and in the future, and we have   Technology is a powerful tool for
        learned that a digital future will be a central pillar within our societal evolution.   governments to build a world that works for
           If harnessed effectively, tech will continue to lead global efforts to support   people, globally. By committing to continual
        recovery, playing a pivotal role in enabling governments to “build back better” for   transformation – even amid uncertainty –
        the long-term – that is, ensuring that the systems we put in place not only solve   businesses can help to shape their ideal future.
        the problems of today, but also ensure that we are prepared for the challenges   The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has
        of tomorrow.                                                        illustrated that businesses can be nimble and
           The continued digitalisation of governments will be a crucial stepping   transform quickly.
        stone when it comes to driving change in the medium and long term – and
        if we can take anything from 2020 it should be the pace of innovation and   Building back better means digital
        hunger for change.                                                  Technology will drive the recovery agenda
           As global leaders design and implement recovery strategies to repair and   and enable truly innovative proposals and
        reinforce resilience, it is not surprising that across the board we are seeing a real   programmes that are citizen-centric, reform-
        emphasis on technology, connectivity and bridging digital divides. We are living   focused and which promise to make a
        in a world where we can see the fruits of digital transformation – with doctors’   meaningful impact across the healthcare and
        appointments going online, the world embracing video calls for work, sharing time   education sectors as well as eGovernment –
        and celebrations with family, and many essential services and supply chains going   with sustainability at heart.
        digital; now we can dare to dream even bigger.                         Digital technologies will form the backbone
           Some medical offices and hospitals have already been turbo-charged with   of future-facing infrastructure planning, creating
        real-time analytics, helping them respond to and prioritise patient needs, while   seamless integrations across organisations and
        driving better patient outcomes. Building back better means making these digital   making essential services accessible for all.
        technologies mainstream on a global level and ensuring everyone has access   Through building the critical infrastructures
        to those improved outcomes. The fact that only those locations and citizens with   to support digital growth, we can design services
        good digital access can benefit is pertinent and shows the scale of the challenge   that embrace sustainability, which is also crucial
        that lies ahead for many governments as they build protections against potential   for our collective futures. This all requires out of
        future crises.                                                      the box thinking, excellent use of digital tools
                                                                            and the bravery to set our world on a different,
        Keeping up the pace of innovation                                   more harmonious course. Now is the time to be
        The agility and resilience of businesses and the public sector has been put to the   bold, dream differently and drive the recovery
        test, and those organisations with a solid grip on digital technologies fared better   with enhanced governmental and workplace
        in the pandemic than those that didn’t.                             digitalisation.                     n

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