An Interview with Sanjay Budree

Anticipating the Enterprise Africa Summit we asked Sunjay Budree to answer some key questions in order to give event attendees a clearer idea of his value as a speaker.

Enterprise Alliance: You have been working for some years helping business leaders looking to transform their organizations to become digitally connected and relevant. As you look forward to addressing an audience of business leaders in need of insight into how to get their arms around emerging and tempting technologies, what barriers to their understanding have you observed in recent years?

Sanjay Budree: More and more, there is a clouding of companies’ sense of identity and vision. Specifically, the proliferation of technology and the constant hype from multiple industry sources has a way of distracting business leaders from understanding the intended value add of the tech to their context. That in itself has been and continues to be one of the greatest barriers to business leaders and organisations adopting emerging technologies.

Many business leaders also make the mistake of only looking internally for advice – the need for an unbiased external trusted advisor cannot be under-estimated.

Enterprise Alliance: What can you best do to help get past these barriers of understanding and help them get over the fear?

Sanjay Budree: Vendors and technology developers need to get out of their own way and get back to understanding the needs of their customers and back to understanding why they even want to position these technologies with customers in the first place.

Fear may not be the best word, perhaps it is hesitancy. Customers have the intent to digitally transform, but from the outset, it appears to be this behemoth task. From where I sit, we go above and beyond in trying to understand the customer and the journey they are on. With this understanding it is easier to contextualise any and all technologies as a support mechanism in assisting organisations in their journeys.

So, it is a case of understanding the vision and journey of an organization and removing the hype factor from tech so that we can add genuine value to our customers.

Enterprise Alliance: There is always a lot of vendor, and even analyst, hype surrounding emerging technologies. What brief advice can you give to prospective attendees of our event that will help them set the hype aside and concentrate not on what they can do but how to approach their adoption and eventual deployment?

Sanjay Budree: In the words of Chris Rock “Don’t believe the Hype!!!” Technology is always evolving and there will always be something new and shiny in the market. For all the hype that comes with new and emerging technologies, each one is positioned as a silver bullet for the various business challenges of the day. This inevitably leads to situations where technology comes first and business needs come second.

The best way to get away from the hype is to always try to drill down to basics. Ask questions such as: “Practically, how will this tech help me grow? Reduce costs? Achieve ROI? Save time?” If you do not get a practical answer, then in that situation the technology is coming first and the business need second.

Enterprise Alliance: Specific to the African continent, are there aspects to the market that you consider to be beneficial to client organizations seeking technology evolution?

Sanjay Budree: Across Africa, organisations and communities have demonstrated the uncanny ability to leapfrog technology debts and adopt technology in interesting and unheard-of ways. That alone is a competitive advantage unique to Africa. It gets a bit more interesting when you factor in the unique nuances and contexts of each country within Africa.

Each geography is a double-edged sword, presenting both unique challenges and even more unique opportunities. It is that collective ability of Africans to find those unusual adoption routes for technology that will always be beneficial to organisations.

Enterprise Alliance: What one nugget of advice can you offer to prospective attendees of this event?

Sanjay Budree: Keep an open mind, actively challenge vendors and peers around business issues and technologies. That, and ultimately, where technology is concerned, “Don’t believe the Hype!!!”