The evolution of the digital person at MESA 2023

November 2023 News

The Fred Davis Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), an information systems theory released in 1989, is as relevant today as it was almost 35 years ago. Addressing delegates at the recent Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) Africa international summit, Dr Suven Ramsunder, digital transformation expert at Schneider Electric, emphasised that individuals’ perception of what technology can do for them continues to influence their decision-making process.

Dr Suven Ramsunder.

This perception also forms an important part of the Davis TAM theory, which hypothesises that when users are presented with a new technology, there are two basic factors that influence their decisions on how and when they will use it: perceived usefulness (PU) and perceived ease of use (PEOU).

“Our choice in cell phones is a good example. It is often based on how easy it is to use; we don’t want to waste our time relearning simple tasks. Furthermore, it should also meet our unique aesthetic preferences and provide us with the requisite functionality to make our lives easier,” he explained.

In his presentation, Ramsunder also focused on the evolving relationship between man and machine, and its impact in the workplace. “In our personal lives we tend to embrace technologies quickly, however, in the workplace we’re often reluctant to adopt new systems, which again boils down to perception. It is vital to utilise technology to work alongside humans, to make lives easier. Interestingly, we underestimate the constant state of change in our lives, assuming everything remains static. We are in a continuous state of change, however, this doesn’t have to be monumental.”

Addressing change in the workplace, he said: “Initiating small-scale implementations, fostering open communication, embracing failures as opportunities to learn, and adapting quickly are key principles that should be maximised in the workplace. By applying these principles, workplaces can unlock the potential for swift and effective innovation. Change has always been a constant in our work lives. Embracing and adapting to these shifts is an integral part of our professional journey.”

Schneider Electric was a platinum sponsor of this year’s MESA International Summit, which was held at Kloofzicht in Johannesburg.


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