Digitalization is a key factor for expanding companies and strengthening the Jamaican diaspora abroad.
Over the few last years, in order to strengthen the bounds of the Jamaican citizens, the government has been oriented toward developing IT infrastructure projects to reduce costs and increase flexibility. In an interview with TBY, Pat Tomlinson, Country Manager of IBM, mentioned that one of the most significant projects in Jamaica was a tax administrative reform, in association with IBM Canada, where it built the infrastructure for the government to assist it with collecting taxes, at the time, one of the largest deals in the Caribbean.
Additionally, in the Jamaican Investment Forum (JIF) 2018 organized by JAMPRO, Maurice Barnes, CEO at eGov Jamaica Limited, manifested the intention to create an authority to increase the commitment to ICT in the country. As well, the government has been hosting events such as the Global Digital Marketing Summit to increase the receptiveness in digital markets, and it has been motivated to acquire and develop new software to increase the citizen’s quality of life. Furthermore, according to the Jamaican Information Service (JIS), the government has been promoting the passage of a legislation called the National Identification System Bill, supported and funded with JMD64 million by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is meant to compile the personal information of the registered Jamaican citizens and provide a nine-digit national identification number to access different services.
When it comes to digitalization, it is necessary to relate it to characteristics such as accessibility, service, information, infrastructure, databases, analytics, machine learning, smart data solutions, neural network, and technology. These allow the stable growth and convergence in an ecosystem that is meant to link experiences, practices, markets, projects, and investments on a real-time basis. Most important, to lead the country to a new era, the government and the private sector have been taking advantage of the most important sectors such as tourism, IT & BPO, logistics, and transport by increasing the interaction between Jamaica and the world and giving the diaspora incentives to invest via a few clicks on web portals or applications. In other words, the purpose of a digital Jamaica is to connect all the activities across the country, and abroad, to guarantee immediate interactions between smaller companies, major corporations, and governments involved by having virtual services and smart solutions. In this way, both public and private sectors will work to link their daily activities to enhance the experience of locals, the diaspora, and the international investors attracted by the country.
In an interview with TBY, Courtney O. Campbell, Group President and CEO of Victoria Mutual, noted a digital transformation is vital to increase the relevance of the companies and remove barriers between the international offices and clients; therefore, the focus on digitalization has enabled companies to provide high-quality service delivery to their clients across the world. Oliver Townsend, CEO of Knutsford Express, told TBY the internet continues to play a bigger role in modern life to enhance the experience of customers, most of them millennials, expecting to do business differently.
As the government continues to modernize the IT infrastructure, initiatives as the Agri-Linkages Exchange, intended to connect farmers with buyers in the hospitality sector and so forth via supporting web platforms and applications, help showcase different sectors and attract greater investment from the diaspora and other potential stakeholders. Nonetheless, in order to increase internet penetration and grow the number of digital users, there are commercial challenges in providing new products that are aligned to cybersecurity standards. Only by overcoming these can Jamaica achieve proper digital e-governance and become a smart country that efficiently provides e-services such as taxes, trade, invest, online company registration, voting, and so on to everyone, especially the diaspora.