Covid-19 has moved digital transformation from a luxury to a necessity, says Phokeng Mogase

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Phokeng believes the pandemic has strengthened the business case for digitisation.

We sat down with Phokeng Mogase, CIO at the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and the recent CIO Visionary awards finalist for 2022, to reflect on all things tech and life after Covid-19.

Tell us a bit about your role at the FSCA?

My portfolio involves driving the FSCA digital transformation agenda, coupled with overseeing ICT operations, information and data governance. I do not take this responsibility for granted, As CIOs, CTOs and CDOs, we are leaders during unprecedented times and that should count for something.

It’s often said that in one’s lifetime, you are bound to go through two economic recessions and if unlucky, a depression as well. Well, we have already gone through a recession (2008), a pandemic (Covid-19), an industrial revolution (4IR), and to add to the mix, stage 6 loadshedding – all before some of us reach our 70s. These are truly unprecedented times! It’s quite an interesting time to be a leader.

What is your view on 4IR?

In my opinion, 4IR has made big changes possible! It has levelled the playing field and has made collaboration a non-negotiable factor for organisational change!

We have over the years witnessed such big changes, particularly in the financial sector. Fintech, infotech, regtech and suptech have all been coined through this revolution.

This big change, though, can only happen when people collaborate to build frameworks that are interoperable, take advantage of these transformative technologies, and put them widely to use. It is through these collaborations that we have witnessed innovations that have transformed lives in ways we could not imagine before.

What we don’t talk about enough, is the risks posed by the ability of these transformational/disruption technologies like AI to transform themselves. Should we be concerned? Should we go with the flow? The possibilities are endless, but are we ready to go wherever this fourth industrial revolution takes us? I don’t know, but either way, I am all here for it!

Looking back into the last couple of years, Covid-19 has come and “gone” – where to from here?

Covid-19 happened and suddenly all the business cases to digitalise became more urgent; more prevalent and prominent across industries. Those who were early adopters of such technologies could continue life as “normal” and those without, faced an increasingly difficult time to effectively operate and grow.

Covid-19 was devastating but it did good for digital transformation. As a disclaimer; I personally lost members of my family to Covid-19, so I am in no way suggesting that it was necessary. What I am saying is that the pandemic elevated the importance of staying abreast with technological developments; it provided a great use case for rapid adaptation in the midst of big changes.

It has given us the gift of what is possible when change is the only option we have. It has shown us that when change is made necessary It can happen and adaptation is then inevitable. Our strategies must therefore be as compelling, if big changes are to happen.

What does 2023 hold for you?

The work we do is exciting and rewarding! Our focus going into 2023 is to accelerate our digital transformation. AI, advanced analytics, etc. are technologies whose applications remain of interest to our journey.

Scarcity of skills is something that we all have a challenge with. We are all scrambling for the same scarce talent. However, we have committed ourselves to reskilling our workforce and creating a pipeline of much needed specialised technical skills. Likewise we are also in the market scouting for the best of the crop to come and journey with us.

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