The results of the PwC Global Digital IQ Survey are out today and the picture painted is rather grim.

The most notable point in the survey results is pointed out by digital lead for PwC South Africa Tielman Botha.

“Despite notable advances in technology, company leaders are no better equipped to handle the changes coming their way than they were in 2007,” reports Botha.

The report reveals that while 87% of executives in Africa are identifying opportunities to digitise their business only 63% of respondents are taking a systematic approach to evaluating emerging technologies and how it could impact business.

Survey respondents also revealed that senior executives are disengaged from digital transformations. Only 68% of respondents said that their chief executive officer championed digital.

What tech is Africa exploring?

While the PwC survey does allege that more African firms must focus on digitising business, that same report also reveals that local companies are exploring technologies such as the internet of things and artificial intelligence.

The survey reveals that 69% of respondents are investing heavily in IoT while 42% are investing in AI. Virtual reality is also drawing significant investment according to 21% of respondents. In the rest of the world on 7% of respondents said they were investing in VR.

Humans aren’t designing for humans

Perhaps the most revealing tidbit of information from the PwC survey is where firms lack skills. When it comes to user experience design only 40% of respondents say this skill is well developed within the workforce.

Worse still only 65% of African respondents said that their business’s talent model was updated to account for changes in digital skills, this a very far cry from the 72% average in other parts of the world.

Africa is progressing but if local firms want to succeed Botha has some advice about digitisation.

“Having a high Digital IQ is about integration, and requires fitting together the pieces of the puzzle – the business, the customer and employee experience and the technology – to build one cohesive and transformative solution. This is what will give a company the competitive edge.”


Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.