Titilope Fakuade, CIO at MTN Liberia, discusses the company’s IT strategy and its use of new technologies to improve customer experience and connectiv...
Throughout Titilope Fakuade's 14-year career at MTN, she has worked her way through the ranks, starting as an Engineer . Today, she is the Chief Information Officer at MTN Liberia. “I have always been a solution orientated and customer focused individual. I strive to implement positive development and lead people. It has been a wonderful experience to work with IT solutions, developing new technologies to deliver solutions for multiple customers,” says Fakuade. “MTN Liberia is very different. Our brand is powerful and connected with its customers because we truly value them. I believe this is evident within the products we offer, how we engage with our customers and how we relate to them. Our vision is to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our customers . We believe everyone deserves the benefits of a connected modern life and we are committed to achieving this.”
Since joining MTN, Fakuade has seen the company develop and adopt new technologies as trends evolve, “in the past we have evolved with 2G, 3G and 4G, and now as a business we are moving beyond just voice and SMS to digital and financial services,” comments Fakuade. Current telecommunication trends that Fakuade is seeing shape the industry include: 5G, the internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, cyber security, artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots and data analytics. “In addition to these new technologies there is also an increased need for agility and quality of service for a great customer experience, which is driving the sense of urgency around automation in every aspect of the business,” she says. “With automation, the industry will see improved time-to-market, improved customer experience and increased efficiency of back office operations. Ultimately, as a result of all of these technologies we will be able to create truly personalised experiences for our customers.”
When it comes to MTN Liberia’s IT strategy, Fakuade notes that “one of its key goals is to become a FinTech and digital player. Therefore, we are evolving our technology and IT landscape to enable true innovations that provide business value. In order to do this effectively we need to understand the business landscape and direction.” As part of its IT strategy, Fakuade explains MTN Liberia makes use of innovative technology and the benefits it provides in order to achieve the company’s overall goal of improving connectivity within the African region. MTN launched a digital transformation strategy tagged OXYGEN aimed at transforming our technology stack on the journey to becoming a digital operator. “Automating mundane or time-consuming processes can reduce costs, improve time-to-market and can provide real time data analytics and insights, something which we have experienced at MTN Libera. We have also been using virtualisation technology to further help to reduce costs from a customer support perspective, as well as providing us with the ability to predict and preempt customer issues, which is where our use of data analytics comes in. The digital transformation journey has seen us adopting digital workplace to leverage on unified communication and collaboration, workplace mobility and paperless environment. MTN Liberia is striving to become a digital operator and provider of individual personalised experiences. To do this we need to be able to understand our customers and their behaviors to offer more innovative services that are tailored and specific to each customer’s needs.”
However, alongside innovation comes challenges. Fakuade highlights some of the key challenges MTN has faced and resolved during the implementation of its IT strategy. “Some of the challenges related to implementing new technologies include ensuring it is beneficial to business success with positive returns on investment , and that the innovation will be widely adopted. With every new technology there is a change management process to ensure new technologies are adopted properly across the business and that they provide the most value.” Fakuade also explains that cyber security is something no one should overlook. “As new trends and technology emerge each day, there is a need to protect our data and ensure that the business is secure. These technologies enable us to transform the business, but it requires constant engagement to stay ahead and ensure the business and our customers’ data is secure.”
Reflecting on the company’s transformation so far, Fakuade acknowledges the important role partnerships play when it comes to evolution. “There's a need for collaborative efforts when implementing an IT transformation strategy. In engaging with partners from an early stage we can open up new opportunities. Over the years we have partnered with Ericsson, Microsoft, Oracle, Huawei and Afrissance Digital to define our innovation roadmaps and drive collaborative evolution of digital experiences for customers.” As the company continues to implement its IT strategy, Fakuade would love to see further adoption of AI, machine learning and Big Data within the business, as well as the evolution of 5G.
Looking at the company as a whole, Fakuade believes that MTN Liberia's biggest strengths and successes to date are its customer’s affinity to the brand as well as its promotion and support of African culture to drive growth within the region.
“Some of the challenges related to implementing new technologies include ensuring it is beneficial to business success with positive returns on investment , and that the innovation will be widely adopted” - Titilope Fakuade, CIO, MTN Liberia