As various stakeholders stress the neeed for the use of data for economic and business planning, Managing Director,Ciuci Consulting, Mr. Chukwuka Monye, in this encounter with Festus Akanbi said organisations would be able to come up with products and services that meet the needs of the market through the use of market intelligence. He also spoke on the need for human capital development
The place of data in economic and business management cannot be over-emphasised. However, there is a great dearth of relevant data in the country coupled with the reluctance of business owners to avail themselves of market intelligence services offered by few firms in the country.
Speaking on the challenges facing economic and business planners in the country, Managing Director, Ciuci Consulting, a management service company, Mr. Chukwuka Monye said Nigeria is facing three data-related issues.
“When it comes to data in Nigeria, we have three major issues. The first is the availability of data; there is limited availability of data and even when this data is available, it is usually outdated. The second is the lack of use of available data; individuals and corporate organisations typically make key decisions without conducting proper research, hence this negatively affects the outcome of their decisions. Finally, the general behaviour towards the use of data is very poor. Nigerians need to adopt the culture of embracing data and research so that they make informed decisions. Currently, about 80% of the people that use our reports are based abroad. This further emphasises our point that the Nigerian public hardly relies on data to make key decisions.
Ciuci Consulting recently undertook a survey of consumers’ perception of banks in the country. Explaining why his organisation took such an audacious step, Money said, “Various banks around the world now utilise analytical insights to inform product development and modification. A bank in the USA for example, said its consumer analytics helped it reshape its products – offering more web and mobile applications and providing loan products that appealed to a customer base that was recovering from recession.
“Analytics also helped them understand that their customers preferred “simple” products. This therefore shows the importance of customer insights in developing quality banking products. With this in mind, we decided to conduct a survey to promote customer centricity and to also serve as a guide to banks so they are constantly trying to satisfy their customers. We analysed different parameters across variables such as age, income level, location, etc. We also conducted a ranking of Nigerian banks based on customer perception.”
International Business Award
When asked if he anticipated that the company would within six years contribute so well to the extent of winning an international laurel like the International Business Award it bagged in Barcelona Spain last week, he said,
“No I did not. However, Ciuci Consulting has always been passionate about national development. The firm has also invested a lot of its resources in research primarily for the purposes of circulating useful information to the public. We have published over 50 reports that have been available for free to the Nigerian public. Both the public and private sectors have used some of these publications to make very important decisions. Some of our reports include; “Harnessing the potential of Nigeria’s N86 billion sesame seed market” and “Outbound Medical Tourism: Result of a Poor Healthcare System.”
“Although we are only in our sixth year of operation, it is evident that we have a stake in the development of the continent as we are committed to providing a positive social and economic impact. Ciuci Consulting is passionate about this that we have turned down projects that were more financially rewarding for projects with high social and economic benefits. I am pleased that we are being recognised globally for our efforts.”
Improving Qualities of University Graduates
Employers of labour have continued to criticise the quality of graduates churned out by the nation’s universities. When will the situation improve? Monye said “There are no shortcuts to developing human capital. Organisations need to dedicate time, money and effort into developing their workforce. Ciuci has developed two ways to improve the quality of both its workforce and employees of other firms. The first is through our analyst training program (ATP); new employees from Ciuci Consulting and other organisations go through six months of rigorous training in key areas that help develop core technical and soft skills needed to excel in the business environment.
“The second is The Classroom; these are open enrollment training programs Organised periodically to improve the quality of both recent graduates and individuals already working in different sectors in the Nigerian economy.
Gap in Education System
“There are a plethora of issues plaguing the Nigerian educational sector. One major issue is the lack of skilled teachers who have the required knowledge needed to deliver quality training to students. Also, another crucial area is the outdated educational curriculum still being used. There is a heavy reliance on theory rather than knowledge application. Students are barely taught how to apply their training in practical situations. What we have is a theory-based system where students are taught strictly theory. Hence, they have adopted a “read to pass” mentality where the primary objective of studying is to pass exams. This has caused most students to struggle when they enter the “real” world.”
Partnership on Training
He confirmed that Ciuci Consulting works with firms with expertise in certain specialised areas in order to make its impact more robust. He however stressed the need for a comprehensive “on the job training” program, which he said cannot be overemphasised.
According to him, “The fastest way for an organisation to improve the capacity of its workforce and therefore its output is for it to make a conscious effort to constantly train its employees internally.
He said, “Most large organisations have a comprehensive internal training plan That is strictly followed to develop capacity. Small and Medium enterprises therefore need to make on the job/internal training a part of their organisation in order to get the best out of their employees. At Ciuci Consulting we organise a weekly internal training program (INTrain) where trainings are delivered based on the training needs of employees. In addition to the internal training, organisations need to always ensure that employees keep learning and improving while performing their daily tasks. A key way to ensure this is by implementing a “lessons learnt” plan where employees are instructed to send in a summary of all they have learnt during the course of a project or task.”
On the outlook for the economy in the fourth quarter, he recalled that “The nation’s GDP grew by 6.18% between the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2013. The second quarter had an estimated GDP of N9.115tn, lower than N9.840tn estimated for the corresponding quarter of 2012 and N9.493tn recorded in the first quarter of 2013.
“Although the oil sector has been experiencing production challenges, the non oil sector output has maintained a steady increase. This can be attributed to the growth in activities recorded in the agriculture, tourism, construction, manufacturing and retail sectors. Based on this performance, I expect a higher growth in the economy in the last quarter of 2013.
This growth will be as a result of the increase in economic activities in preparation for the festive season. The retail sector for instance will continue to experience growth because of factors such as rising purchasing power, huge growth potential in the economy and a large population with a strong appetite for consumer goods, etc.