High-Tech Solutions To Offset Low-Tech Problems

You can feel surprised if you come to know about the market that the global information and communications technology leader SAP is targeting. 

They are looking into groups like that of the women of the West African nation of Ghana, who collect and process shea nuts into the shea butter. SAP wants to test its high-tech solutions for low-tech problems. 

It wants to use its technology to enhance the global competitiveness and the Ghana shea nut industry’s position. Today, you can find other similar high-tech solutions like a data collection app for various domains like electric, oil, and gas. 

It allows the user to have complete control over field data with features like pipeline inspections and meter inspections, pole and transformer inspections. Such high-tech ICT solutions for those at the base of the pyramid (BOP) facilitate the welfare of the world’s poor people. 

How to Build the Business Case for Opportunities that BOP Presents

By developing ICT solutions for the BOP, a business can enhance the welfare of the poor and profit by testing new products and solutions. 

However, a challenge in using the usual business case for BOP initiatives is the continuous tension between long-term change and the demand for short-term profits. 

The issue can be addressed by incorporating profit opportunities and long-term advantages in the business case. The benefits include innovative developments, market-entry, and alignment with existing corporate responsibility issues.

BOP is a growing demographic with a very poor ICT penetration. So, success in BOP can easily position a company for robust long-term growth. However, faced with the need for a lesser purchase price and other constraints like the absence of infrastructure and challenging environmental conditions, companies must build clever adaptations to cater to the BOP. 

These adaptations can produce a good blowback effect in higher-margin products. BOP offerings can also align with corporate social responsibility priorities and give indirect advantages to the business by meeting the CSR goals of the firm.

Ways to Build and Scale Offerings for the BOP

Businesses can create and scale solutions for the BOP and be well-positioned to leverage changing demographics. Some of the ways to do it are as follows:

●      Define and map success: Remember that success at BOP will not appear the same as success in usual markets. So, bad performance in conventional measures like short-term ROI can dampen a BOP initiative prematurely. 

To avoid it, you must clearly define success for your initiative. Based on your firm and its strategy, look into innovation, brand recognition, and scalability measures. Finally, look into a long-term payback period.

●      Get close to consumers: A challenge in developing ICT solutions for the BOP is to get nearer to the consumers. It will enhance your understanding of their needs. This challenge includes cultural divides, environmental issues, and language and literacy infrastructure. In B2C products, the success of BOP depends on locally relevant products. 

●      Recognize and involve partners: Partnerships will allow you to overcome BOP’s hurdles. NGOs can give connections and on-the-ground knowledge to involve a BOP community and create trust with local stakeholders. Governments can make infrastructure, create public, and lend other business support. 

Solutions like a data collection app allow low-tech problems like paper-based inspections to transform into 100 percent electronic documentation. It, in turn, minimizes operating costs and enhances the efficiency of the inspection process. 

The wealth of information that the solution provides substantiates compliance with various regulatory requirements. Therefore, it has the potential to serve the BOP sector very well.

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