By Nimot Adetola Sulaimon
Lagos State Government has enjoined Cooperatives Societies in the State to implore the use of digitalization strategy in their business processes in order to gain competitive advantage in the ever emerging competitive globalization.
This was the focal point of discussion at a capacity building programme on Digitalization Transformation Strategy for Cooperative Societies organized by the Lagos State Cooperative College in Agege, Lagos.
An Information Communication Technology expert and facilitator at the programme, Mr. Joseph Onyema, said, that Cooperative Societies needed to move away from man to man way of doing business and transit to digital model that would increase their customers base, profit and then keep them afloat in the business acumen.
He said, “digital transformation technology strategy is actually the life blood of any business. For Cooperatives in Nigeria, we are beginning to realise that their space is being encroached by the fintech, banks are beginning to dabble in to their space.
“For cooperatives business, one of the things that is key to them is to be able to transition their business model to a digital business, that will grow their customers base, reduce cost margins, and increase profit as against doing man to man marketing and locking themselves in within a few cooperative members.
“They need to expand using the internet to leverage and have cooperative with hundreds of thousands of people. I see digital technology as a life line they have to hold on to, if not at some point, they would begin to struggle because the fintech are coming the banks are coming in to their space.”
The cost of acquiring the technology, according to Onyema, was not enormous. “You didn’t acquire the whole technology from the start. There were so many solutions, so many service solution providers that offer pay as you go.”
The first thing, he said, was to do a profile of the business processes and began to digitalized gradually, one step at a time and scale up as the business activities increased.
‘The cost of digitalisation in most cases are not so high, first of all, you identify your processes and begin to look at where are the bottlenecks. Once you are able to figure out these bottlenecks and what repetitive task can be digitised. You then begin one step at a time and begin to grow through this process.
‘You don’t need to throw the entire garment of a sum at a time, to say, I want to buy servers or all of those things from the start. The good thing is that there are solutions you can buy in the cloud and you can pay as you go.
”Monthly, you pay little by little and as you digitise and as your business needs more, you scale that more. One step at a time, you don’t throw entire technology in at a time; if you do, it is going to sink margin, is going to cause a bit of shaking the business and is going to drop profit margin badly,” he said.
In the same vein, Kenneth Odusanya, a financial expert has enjoined cooperators to be financial literate in order to avoid creating liabilities that would damage their lives.
He said that financial literacy is borrowing to make investment and not borrowing for consumption of frivolous things that only create liabilities at the end of the day.
Speaking on Business Planning and Control Cooperative Management, Odusanya, said that cooperators should borrow to meet investment needs that would yield passive income and make them to be financially independent.
‘You see many financial cooperators are not financial literate and most time they end up creating liabilities for themselves rather than creating assets. The cooperators need to understand that each time they spend; they either spend on asset or liability which has to do with their borrowings from their cooperatives.
‘If Cooperators just go and borrow and each time they borrow they create liabilities they lack financial literacy.
”They need to know that borrowing is good when it is used to create assets but it can be very damaging when it is used to create liabilities. So, I proposed that every cooperator must be financially literate enough to understand the difference between assets and liability.
“Financial literacy will lead to financial independence. From financial literacy, you can know how to plan your financial independence many lack financial independence because they are financial literate and they will never achieve financial independence because they are illiterate,” he said.