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Simplifying the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Both government and business need to become more efficient, says Lee Naik of TransUnion Africa.

NASTASSIA ARENDSE: Money Expo 2017 will once again be hosted at the Sandton Convention Centre on July 28/9 2017. It’s now in its third year and brings together industry experts on finance, investing and entrepreneurship.

Today we have one of the speakers, Lee Naik, who is the CEO of TransUnion Africa. Lee, thank you so much for your time.

LEE NAIK:  My pleasure.

NASTASSIA ARENDSE:  Let’s start of with a bit of professional background for those will be coming to the Money Expo and who are anticipating your talk on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Who is Lee Naik?

LEE NAIK:  Lee Naik is the CEO of TransUnion Africa, one of the largest credit bureaux in Africa as well as a company focused on using data and information to drive goods for both consumers and businesses.

NASTASSIA ARENDSE:  You are going to be talking about the subject of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and I’m sure a lot of people hear about it, but some may not necessarily understand what it is. So, from your perspective, to give it the Lee Naik definition, what you say it is all about?

LEE NAIK:  One of the key things like to simplify what the Fourth Industrial Revolution means to me, is that technology and digital technologies are intrinsically becoming part of our lives. And, as this technology becomes part of our lives, what it means in terms of how the world works and how technology plays a role in automating processes and adding value to organisations. In many regards we talk about how technology will for the first time have to co-exist with humans in driving services and value to both citizens and to organisations.

NASTASSIA ARENDSE:  In terms of how we react around it, how people wrap their heads around this concept, what would you say is the number one reason you believe people would need to get their heads around the concept?

LEE NAIK:  One of the key things with us right now, given our current economy, is that we need to become a lot more efficient and effective as government and businesses, meaning that we’ve got to find ways to remove the inadequacy and the issues around inefficiencies in our businesses and the realities the like of automation and artificial intelligence. In many regards, if you aren’t starting to consider these technologies in your organisations, it is going to have an impact on your very ability to survive as a business.

And, when you start to think about that, then the consequence is that you start to think about the people doing those jobs, and you need to ask yourselves do you have a place for these individuals in your future organisation. And if you don’t, how do you re-skill and re-deploy them to a new set of jobs that are starting to emerge in South Africa and the global economy.

NASTASSIA ARENDSE: From your perspective, and where you are sitting right now as the CEO of TransUnion, what would you say are some of the fintech businesses that you are watching that are of particular interest right now?

LEE NAIK:  Well, of what I’m watching right now, the biggest ones that interest me are any businesses that are stating to use telco network data, specifically to drive insights about human behaviour. I think the biggest challenge right now is finding more insights about the individual. And some to consider would be called unstructured data, meaning data coming from mobile phones, WhatsApp messaging, Facebook – even Google searching to allow organisations to what we call hyper-personalise their efforts.

So we want to know as an organisation how you start to understand Lee Naik better or Nastassia better, to allow organisations to better serve your needs. We recognise that there is a lot of competition going on right now, and any organisation that is able to use data and insights to get better personalisation of messaging services, products and pricing, are those that survive and drive their relevance in the economy.

NASTASSIA ARENDSE:  While we are on the topic of the economy, what would you say would be the one big impact the Fourth Industrial Revolution has on inequality in the middle class?

LEE NAIK:  One of the biggest things that technology will have is starting to create what I call an egalitarian type society. Government has been trying to drive a digital connected  society and in many regards what digital does is it allows you to overcome some of the many years of legacy, maybe apartheid in some cases, by allowing us to connect many societies, be it the higher LSM levels or the rural areas, bring many regarded or help us overcome some of the impediments to our own successes as organisations; but to citizens give them services for the first time that they were never able to get hold of.

NASTASSIA ARENDSE:  Lee, thank you so much for your time

LEE NAIK:  My pleasure.

NASTASSIA ARENDSE:  That’s Lee Naik, who is the CEO of TransUnion Africa.

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The fourth industrial revolution has more to do with automation and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and its application in many different fields.

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