The Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr Monica Musenero has emphatically revealed that the ongoing digital transformation in the country is spurring technological innovations among Ugandans.
She emphasized that digital transformation is a big economic push that fits well into the National Development Plan 3, and warned that Ugandans cannot afford to carry on in the analogue mode.
Dr Musenero made the remarks while speaking at an event on Digital Transformation on Friday 3rd March 2023 at Golden Tulip Canaan Kampala Hotel. The Forum was organized by Coseke and partners Kodak Alaris and Rookie Ninja.
She explained that with the presence of the internet, innovators now have access to the tools, platforms and safety measures to tap into the opportunities generated by digital transformation.
The Minister believes that the sustainability of digital transfer is dependent on technology transfer.
“All the players here, I want to encourage you to dig deeper; what do we need for that [technology transfer] to happen? What is it that we need to institutionalize technology transfer and begin to build and contribute to digital transfer?” the Minister wondered.
She remained optimistic that the time is now for Uganda to be a source of digital transformation input. She cited the progress made by Kiira Motors as an example of how far local innovation can go in digitizing Uganda.
She acknowledged that while Uganda might be decades behind the developed countries, it is not interested in ‘trying to crawl while others are running very fast’.
“So we are going to fill the gaps while we are moving at par with what is moving. We have a national strategy we call loop and leap for digital transformation. The strategy deals with ensuring that gaps we missed are filled,”
She noted that the private sector is a very important partner and asked experienced companies like Coseke Uganda Limited to join in and share their experiences and point out what is not working for correction and improvement.
Mr Josephat Macheta, the Country Manager Coseke, noted that digital transformation is a matter of urgency because it addresses risks that are associated with the way organizations and government work. Coseke, since 1990 specialised in providing information and content management solutions by effectively capturing, managing, preserving and digitizing information to improve operational efficiency.
This way, Mr Macheta explained that the risk of losing documents with important data through theft, fires and other forms of destruction is minimized by transferring data from hard or manual form to digital or soft copy for proper storing and safety.
Digitizing data, Mr Macheta said, improves its authenticity, minimizes duplication and puts in place better security controls which prevent the wrong people from accessing this information.
“This is why we normally talk to our clients and share with them the type of solutions that we can offer. The main purpose is to secure their records,” Mr Macheta told the meeting.
“To do this, we need to use systems that can be able to protect access to these records. Our systems don’t allow someone who, say, has stolen a document that has already been captured into digital to be accessed unless they use a specific tool that protects that document,” he noted.
“When this document is being accessed during transfer, just in case it lands to someone it wasn’t intended for, our system provides for security and restriction tools which can protect and allow specific people using user rights access it” he added.
To digitize data, Mr Macheta says one needs a digital transformation strategy that informs him or her what type of hardware they need like document scanners and software to process, organize, classify and process images.
Jeff Thuo, the Managing Director of Coseke Group, notes that the main challenge in digitization and technology is change management because technology sometimes disrupts how life has been and how things are done.
He adds that getting people to do things differently and getting people to trust the system as opposed to the physical people can be hard.
“Overtime, we have learnt to take the customer through this journey of change management, how to build the system by showing them audit trails, showing them the authenticity of the system, the security features, and give them the confidence to work with the system,”
He explained that automation gives an organization an edge over the competition, saves time; it’s cheaper and is environmentally clean as it saves trees that would have been cut to make papers to print on data.
Speaking at the same event, Rosemary Kisembo, the Executive Director of the National Identification and Registration Authority of Uganda (NIRA), said her organization has worked with Kodak products supplied by Coseke to digitalize data at NIRA over the years and the results have been good.