Terry-Ann Segree, strategy, programming and innovation lead officer at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has said that the use of technology is an enabler and not the solution for businesses in Jamaica with digital transformation being a mindset.
Segree was speaking on a panel discussion at the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica’s (PSOJ’s) President’s Breakfast Forum held today (June 6) at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel Jamaica in St. Andrew.
The forum was held under the theme, ‘Beyond Macroeconomic Stability; Igniting Growth’.
“At the private sector level, there needs to be digital transformation and I’m not talking about digitisation. There is a difference between the two. It’s not just including technology in what we do or including it in your business to say that you are ‘doing digital’ or ‘transforming your business’. That is not it,” she said.
In highlighting the mindset of digital transformation, she said, “It’s really looking at the processes that exist and how technology can improve these processes to make them more efficient for us to operate, to improve the efficiency and the productivity of the businesses,” she added, stressing that there is a lot of work that needs to be done in utilising technology to solve some of these problems.
“A perfect example is ChatGPT which everyone is talking about. There is tremendous benefit in using it but you have to know what to ask and you have to know how to use it,” maintained Segree.
“There is a fear that it will disrupt the lower levels of jobs that are out there. But there is another way to look at it. How can you use some of these artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to identify the weaknesses and deficiencies within the organisation to then be able to spin this around in real-time, to know where the gaps are. To know how to improve on customer service and your whole productivity,” she added.
She mentioned the IDB innovation lab and said that the organisation supports a lot of digital transformation at the private sector level as well as supporting the government. She shared that the innovation lab looks at prototyping and testing new solutions.
“There is a plethora of options for digital and innovation within our businesses,” she said referencing digital wallets and mobile payments. She made clear that technology does not necessarily mean innovation.
For his part, Charles Ross, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Sterling Asset Management said that from his perspective in the financial sector “it’s almost as if technological innovations bring greater threats in terms of the need to ensure that your cybersecurity is absolutely cutting edge.”
“I think that the Jamaican private sector is fully capable of optimising the use of technology. What will happen is that our companies will adopt and adapt to technology to improve their efficiency and productivity. Because the export sector will be much more competitive, it will also have to be internationally competitive. I think that if we saw that development taking place in Jamaica, then that would be where the country would be among the leaders in adopting technology and using it to maximise their output,” he added.
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