Interview with our guest speaker at DevTalks Reimagined 2021 – JOAN CUKO, Digital Transformation Business Analyst at Vodafone @Main Stage

17 May 2021 news

Joan is a Digital Transformation Business Analyst at Vodafone Group and has been working with M-Pesa for 5 years. M-pesa is the most successful mobile money solution in the developing world and it has significantly improved millions of people’s lives by allowing users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services easily with just a mobile device (not necessary a smartphone).

Meet him and join his talk about ”Technology is nothing without Humanity”. See you soon at DevTalks Reimagined 2021!

1. Can you please introduce yourself in a few words?

I am a Digital Transformation Business Analyst at Vodafone Group where I work on large and complex Digital Transformation programmes to enhance the user experience and digitise the end to end journey. Also, I have been working with M-Pesa for 5 years. M-Pesa is the most successful mobile money solution in the developing world and it has significantly improved millions of people’s lives by allowing users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services easily with just a mobile device (not necessary a smartphone).

I am responsible for developing and driving innovative solutions and initiatives to improve the products and services of Vodafone, ultimately benefiting millions of customers. I have a strong background, in both Business and Technology, which is supported by two degrees, BSc in Business Informatics and MSc in Information Technology which has helped me to better understand the business needs and quickly adapt to changes in a dynamic marketplace.


2. What do you love most about your work?

The most interesting part about my job, is having to work with different business and IT stakeholders on a daily basis. Supporting the communication of business needs and enabling a smooth collaboration within the teams have helped me to build strong relationships while delivering value to the end customers. Moreover, working with creative people to design and build innovative solution by using the latest disruptive technologies makes my job even more appealing.


3. What inspires you?

Being able to work on large transformation projects with significant impact in business or in customers’ lives that can create and deliver a positive change, inspires me and makes me want to be part of something great as well. In addition to my daily job, I am also passionate about many topics, including but no limited to Innovation, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, FinTech, Futurism, Women Empowerment and an active member in many technology and innovation conferences, with unique insights on global innovation trends.


4. What are your hobbies?

I enjoy being physically active and spend a lot of time playing sports and team games. My favourite sport is football which I try to play at least once a week with my friends and colleagues. In addition, I also like going to the gym, but haven’t been able to go much the last year due to the pandemic and social distance rules which kept most gyms closed for over a year. Hopefully things will get back to normality soon and we will be able to enjoy things again like we used to.


5. What is the biggest challenge in the industry at the moment?

The main challenge for the telecommunication industry I would say is keeping up with the speed of technological change that is happening all around us. Telecommunication companies have been around for decades and most of them operate on legacy infrastructure. This prevents them from being flexible enough and able to introduce new capabilities, products or services in the market in a timely manner. Being slow responding to these changes is resulting is loss of revenues and market share especially to new entrants. In order to overcome this challenge, they need to prioritize their Digital Transformation journeys and transform themselves into digital companies sooner, rather than later.


6. What future technology excites you the most and what are the tools you use ?

I am passionate about technology in general and in particular very excited about all the disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Quantum Computing, Blockchain, Augmented Reality etc. All these technologies are shaping our daily lives, the way we interact with each other and the way we conduct business. We are living at a time where humanity will change more in the next 20 years than in the previous 200 years. Personally I am very excited about the future and I look forward to how we together will shape it using a collaboration between technology and humanity.


7. A short overview of what you will talk about at DevTalks Reimagined 2021 – the second virtual edition.

In our personal lives, waves of technology and social change are radically reshaping our reality. Exponential technological progress is fuelling a multitude of parallel developments such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, augmented reality, quantum computers, deep learning and robotics, re-definition of privacy and security, blockchain, new human-machine relationships (such as voice control), the complete reinvention of different industries and the rise of smartcloud-everything-everywhere (content, money, education, health, transportation etc). The ‘digital default’ is near: everything and everyone is getting connected, everywhere, anytime, at increasingly lower cost. How can you get ready for this kind of future, personally and professionally?


8. What is your message for Romania IT community?

It is great to see people with different background getting together in such conferences like DevTalks and share their knowledge, experiences and best practises. IT is driving the change in all the industries where more than ever we are seeing that “software is eating the world” with digital platforms and mobile apps that we can almost do anything online with only a few clicks. Therefore my message would be that in the future everything that can be digitized or automated, will be and everything that cannot be digitized, like creativity, imagination, relationships, emotions etc. will become extremely valuable. We need to embrace technology and all the change that it brings, but we should never forget what makes us humans during that process.