Finance Indaba: TransUnion Africa driving digital transformation agenda

"TransUnion is an exciting business to be a part of. It’s an organisation that has amazing global intellectual property, and when you combine that with great people and data, it allows us to solve some of the greatest challenges businesses and consumers are facing today," says Lee Naik, CEO of TransUnion Africa, a silver partner at the Finance Indaba Africa 2017 on 12 and 13 October 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

  • Finance professionals and accountants register for the Finance Indaba for free with code FB2017!

Do you want to learn more about how TransUnion Africa is solving the continent's problems? Then don't miss the Finance Indaba Africa 2017.

In the coming weeks, we will be chatting to all the Indaba partners, asking them why they are joining the event and what their most important message for finance professionals is.

You were a speaker at Finance Indaba 2016. What is your opinion of the event?
"I think it's always great when business leaders come together who are serious about challenging the way they work or think. The Finance Indaba not only provides the platform to do this, but gives us all an opportunity to network and collaborate with our peers, which at the end of the day, are all facing similar challenges and opportunities. Learning from each other is how we change the collective face of business in a very dynamic marketplace."

What will you be speaking about at this year's event?
"Creating our digital future! There is no doubt it's tough out there - but it's in these moments where we need to be bolder in how we identify and go after new opportunities. It's not always easy, so my plenary discussion is going to look at the key trends you need to be aware of in this new digital world and how to leverage these to drive individual and business relevance. Digital is not a thing anymore - it's everything!

"My breakout session is around Reimaging the Finance Function. Here I want to look at how the finance function is evolving and how it may look in the next 3-5 years. Whether you're an accounting professional, a finance professional, or an independent consultant, the question will be, how will the finance function best position itself to offer value to the organisation? It's beyond the Income Statement and Balance Sheet. It's how we use the information behind the numbers to look for new ways of contributing to the business growth agenda."

You took the helm at TransUnion Africa earlier this year after a long tenure at Accenture. What has the transition been like and what are you hoping to accomplish?
"I've been here for nine months now. I think a lot of my time to date has been spent on how I balance the convention of the older skill and experience, with a newer group of people who bring to the table experience of digital transformation, and driving value propositions.

"TransUnion is an exciting business to be a part of. It's an organisation that has amazing global intellectual property, and when you combine that with great people and data, it allows us to solve some of the greatest challenges businesses and consumers are facing today.

"This, combined with the opportunity to grow TransUnion in Africa, makes this journey so much more exciting and challenging. I was reminded of this again recently in a meeting with our global team, where we were talking about the solutions we have implemented in my market. They were blown away! I think this is often the case with South African businesses, we don't always realise our ingenuity. The problems we are solving don't only have the potential to change Africa, but can be used to solve bigger global challenges."

Do you still find pockets of resistance to digital transformation among South African businesses?
"Businesses have become very receptive to the need to change in the digital world. Initially, it was a nice-to-have, but now it's something you've got to do to drive relevance. Consumers and customers demand that they be served through a multitude of channels, at their discretion and with a consistent customer experience. Large organisations have to reimagine how they organise themselves to drive the right product, at the right time, at the right price, and at the right value for the consumer. Businesses are starting to come to the party, challenges their own orthodoxies of how businesses should be run, but not all of them have got it right."

What is your key digital transformation message?
"For a long time, we were trying to evolve, and had to figure out what 'digital' meant. The world is now highly connected, and as we seek to drive our relevance, we need to fundamentally reimagine and rethink how we exist in this digital world - Reimagine should be your new Strategy. Trying to change only on the periphery won't change our relevance. We need to rethink and reimagine everything about our businesses, asking ourselves what we start, stop and continue to make sure that as we evolve as a business and continue to drive to remain agile and responsive to the changing marketplace."