Telecom evolution has impacted Nigeria significantly – Expert, Omodara

Telecom evolution has impacted Nigeria significantly – Expert, Omodara
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A telecommunication expert and budget and financial control manager, Mr Omodara Bamidele Emmanuel has revealed how the evolution of telecommunications in Nigeria has reshaped the country in various positive ways.

In an interview with newsmen on Saturday Omodara expressed optimism that telecommunication will witness more progress and transformation globally and in Nigeria, stating that its evolution from inception has been quite impressive.

He said, “ As we look back on the history of telecom, we can see how far we’ve come. From the first generation of cellular networks (1G) that was primarily analogue and provided only basic voice communication. The shift to digital technology in 2G also paved the way for the development of more advanced mobile networks, such as 3G and 4G. These networks have continued to evolve, with the latest generation (5G) promising even faster speeds and more advanced capabilities. Each innovation has brought us closer together and changed the way we communicate. And with 5G on the horizon, we can expect even more exciting developments in the years to come.”

Highlighting the most significant changes in telecommunications, he said, emerging technologies such as 6G, IoT and AI were capable of shaping the future of telecommunications.

According to him, “As we move forward, the world of telecommunications is set to experience even more significant changes. Emerging technologies such as 6G, IoT, and AI will play a crucial role in shaping the future of telecommunication. As we explore the evolution of telecom, we must consider not only the technological advancements, but also the social implications of these changes.”

On his journey into the telecom industry and what basically attracted him, Omodara said, it all started two decades ago after the birth of GSM in Nigeria. The introduction of GSM in the telecommunications industry provided the opportunity to join the telecoms with enthusiasm to grow with the industry. It has been a good experience working with a Multi-National Telecommunication industry and adding value to the success of the industry at large. I am a Manager, Budget & Financial Control and a Subject Matter Expert & Process Lead in Order2Cash & Receivables Oracle Cloud applications.

“The attraction is about endless career opportunities, Career advancement, capacity building and constant innovation. Telecoms is a vast industry with numerous roles and specialisations. Telecoms is an industry that thrives on innovation, from 2G to 5G, the evolution of wireless technology has been nothing short of remarkable.

“The skills you acquire in this industry are transferable globally, Moreover, telecoms professionals often work on projects that impact global communication networks, contributing to the betterment of society on a global scale.

“And working in telecoms space allows me to address real-world challenges, allows for best practice and how to turn them to opportunities. And the work environment is more fun, exciting, and engaging.”

​On how the evolution of technology impacted the industry, he said, “The evolution of technology has impacted greatly in so many ways. One of it is by implementing digital transformation, telecom firms not only progress the efficiency and reliability of their services but also innovate new solutions that open fresh business opportunities. This transformation is critical for staying ahead in a competitive market where technology changes quickly.

“Secondly is changes in communication methods. Technology has introduced new ways of communicating, such as email, instant messaging, and video conferencing. These methods have made communication faster and more convenient, but they have also led to a decrease in face-to-face communication.

“Thirdly is Improved Efficiency and Productivity. Technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) allow businesses to automate repetitive tasks and improve efficiency.

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“Lastly is Innovation and New Revenue Streams. Digital transformation fosters a culture of innovation within organizations, encouraging experimentation and the development of new products, services, and business models. It opens avenues for creating additional revenue streams and staying ahead of competitors.”

Speaking on the various projects he had executed, he said, “It was a good experience to be part of the project team that champion the system migration from one ERP Financial System to another better, robust Cloud ERP Financial System in year 2021. As a Order2Cash Process Lead for the Implementation of ERP Oracle Cloud Fusion Application Solution for the Back Office Operations Standardization & Transformation (BOOST) project in MTN Nigeria. This involved end to end of the entire project management program cycle.

Program Organisation and Governance: Delivering of status report during weekly programme governance and risk management meetings.

“Architecture and Design: Inventory Organization hierarchy setup, hub and spoke product design, data management and Integrations to optimize O2C processes.

Build: Drafting of several business requirement documents and involved in stakeholders’ engagement according to Oracle’s True Clod Methodology (TCM)

Testing: such as Unit, Integration, System Integration and Smoke testing were done. Transaction and Cutover Management. A key part of the transaction and cutover committee, Overseeing Order to Cash(O2C) related activities to ensure readiness and successful cutover. B And a Business Continuity Programme (BCP) was established and put in place for business continuity in ensuring minimal disruptions with no revenue loss.”

On some of the unique roles he had played in the industry, he said strong analytical and critical thinking skills to analyse data, identify trends and patterns, and make informed decisions to drive operational improvements and cost savings couldn’t have been left out.

He stressed on effective communication skills to communicate goals, expectations, and feedback to the team and communicate with other departments and stakeholders as some of his greatest skills.

He hammered on Business Intelligence tools and financial modelling skills to developing budgets, and forecasting profit and loss statements. According to him, this helps to allocate resources effectively, optimize spending, and align financial objectives with organizational goals.

“Predictive analytical skills to supports the development and execution of the sales strategy, in alignment with the organizational goals and objectives.

“Financial Modelling skills to support the Financial Reporting of the organisation on the 3-statement format and also used to calculate the impact of a future event and decision making,” all formed part of those unique skills that made him thrive in the industry.

On problem solving in the industry, he said divergent thinking was capable of generating lots of potential solutions and possibilities, otherwise known as brainstorming.

He said hosting regular brainstorming sessions, team meetings, and collaborative projects provide opportunities for employees to bounce ideas off one another.

Narrating one of the most challenging situations you faced and how he surpassed it, he said: “the challenging situation is about the declining of gross connections which resulted into drop in market share. And to address the situation it was imperative to have a business strategy to grow gross connection and increase the market share to be a market leader.

“The situation is about making use of the Big Data analytics to determine the focus areas across the geo-political zone of the country.

As the Sales Analysis & Reporting Manager, I developed a Model and a Dashboard using a predictive analysis and regression/correlation analysis on gross connection growth forecast the future. The Dashboard report is published daily for the use of the field sales team in monitoring daily performance of target vs actual. Partners and Stakeholders engagement for active collaboration on Trade Activations and direct-to-retail sales.

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“The model was adopted across all the regions and there was a positive result with increase in gross connection which also led to increase in market share.

​Highlighting some of the biggest challenges facing the telecommunications industry today, he said “In this fast-evolving landscape, challenges have also emerged in areas that include market competition, regulation issues, and cybersecurity threats, Economic factors such Higher Interest rates, Higher inflation, Forex Liberalisation, high taxes and the remover of fuel subsidy affect the telecommunication industry. Business performance to profitability is threatened with these challenges- because of high operating cost.

​He said some of the emerging trends or technologies will shape the future of telecommunications.

“Artificial intelligence (AI), Robotic and automation are the most transformative and consequential technologies to impact telecommunications. Integrating AI into networks and operations optimizes performance, automates repetitive tasks, and improves customer service.

“Network operations are transformed using AI and Machine learning (ML) techniques, realizing operational and performance efficiency.

The transformation from Cloud-Native to Edge-Native. This is done to achieve low latency, effective bandwidth consumption, and security with uninterrupted operations.

“Cyberattacks and threats are increasing and becoming complex with technological advancements. To cope with cyberattacks, key security trends are evolving in the cybersecurity market such as application security, cloud, and edge security, IoT and mobile security, and Zero Trust framework.”

To stay up to date with industry trends and advancements, he said it requires continuous learning and professional development, “Read all you can about your industry, your market and the world in general. Get involved in your industry, Networking and Industry Events, keep in touch with your customers, monitor your business, Study statistics, observe your competition, leverage Technology and Tools, Analyse Market Reports and Research and engage in Online Communities. Attend industry conferences and seminars to learn about emerging trends and technologies and researching new technologies and industry trends.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein

He stressed on the importance of continuous learning and professional development, stating that, “CPD is about developing your professional practice. So it may help keep your skills and knowledge up to date; prepare you for greater responsibilities; boost your confidence; help you become more creative in tackling new challenges; enable you to make better decisions, or help you take your career further.

“Learning new skills and approaches broaden a person’s perspective and enhance problem-solving skills. Professionals who engage in continuous development are better equipped to address complex challenges and contribute innovative solutions.

“Continuous learning helps to achieve career development goals and obtain or update professional licenses or certifications. It helps in a way to explore new opportunities and perspectives about the work and personal development.”

Speaking on how impactful he has been to the industry, he avowed that “The use of big data analytics (BDA) in the telecommunications industry has the potential to positively impact the companies by providing valuable insights into consumer behaviour and preferences.

“Data Analytics in Telecom industry is highly used to monitor and handle network coverage disparity in different locations. With the help of real-time data analytics, we are able manage the network capacity and build predictive coverage models to expand the network connections.

Telecom companies use analytics to gain insight into their operational expenses, network optimization and identify opportunities for cost reduction. The outcome of the analytics can be used to make better decisions, improve efficiency and productivity, and create new products and services.

“Business Intelligence-BI plays a crucial role in enhancing organizational efficiency, competitiveness, and overall performance by turning data into actionable intelligence, thereby facilitating a more informed and proactive approach to business management.

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“Optimizing operational efficiency and costs is fundamental to the performance of any business, not least when input costs are rising. We gauge the true state of operations and provide transparency of indirect spending. An operational efficiency exercise can make a business much more competitive and profitable.

“Throughout my career as an experienced professional, I have had the opportunity to work on numerous impactful projects and achieve significant milestones. One achievement that stands out is my leadership in spearheading a process improvement transformation initiative through system automation that eliminate manual processes with cost savings. My achievements have also given me an Award of Excellence as a Unique Contributor to the Organisation.

Taking journalists through his career aspirations, he said, “My career aspirations are centred around constant growth and skill enhancement. I am committed to staying updated with the latest trends and technologies in the industry. In the year, I plan to pursue specialized certifications and attend industry conferences to learn from experts.

“One of my career aspirations is to be an expert in my profession build capacity and influence other, people management oriented and make positive impacts in the leadership position.

“I am eager to learn and contribute to a team where I can utilise my leadership and professional skills and continue to build upon them.

“In five years, I see myself as an important part of the telecom industry, having grown in my role and contributing to the company’s success. I want to improve my skills in Artificial Intelligence-AI relevant to the industry and take on more responsibilities, working with my team to reach our goals. My goal is to be a solution provider in a challenging environment, collaborate with stakeholders, and provide efficient solutions and make crucial decisions while applying my leadership skills.

According to him, the telecommunications industry is poised for groundbreaking transformations in the next decade. Advancements in technology, evolving consumer behaviours, and global connectivity are shaping a future where telecommunications will play a pivotal role, he said.

“There are some upcoming developments that may likely take place in the next decade such as the over-the-Top (OTT) partnerships, the Launch of 6G, Artificial intelligence-AI which has come to stay, the Internet of Things (IoT) will never be the same and increasing focus on fortifying cybersecurity and protecting data.

“Our previous experiences and knowledge of the world shape not only our behaviour, but also how we perceive our environment. I am always positive about things, hopeful and confident, and think of the good aspects of a situation rather than the bad ones as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (FCA). And my experience in risk and compliance and financial control assisted my profession as a Certified Professional Forensic Accountant (CFPA).

On what motivates him, he said, “The feedback from our customers and other stakeholders’ engagement gives me a new experience everyday by turning those engagement and challenges to opportunities. And feedback is a gift for improvement in our products and service and the way we do things. There are always room for improvement and developing new strategies on how to achieve our shared goals in the organization​“

Telecom evolution has impacted Nigeria significantly – Expert, Omodara


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