The 18th of November 2010 saw the first ever CIO 100 awards take place at the exclusive Safari Park Hotel where the top ICT personalities and organizations were recognized for their contribution. The CIO100 is a premier awards event that brings to the limelight the innovation and hard work done by Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in the East Africa region in improving the communication and interactive processes in the organization to add business value and I was privileged to be one of the judges.
“It has been a very interesting journey for the CIO 100 team, we have seen excellent applications from various companies across East Africa, and I can confirm to you that businesses in the region are now starting to look at ICT very strategically,” said Harry Hare, Publisher CIO East Africa (www.cio.co.ke) the organizers of the event.
The event was kicked off by a golf tournament that was followed by a 3-day symposium that saw the participants and eventual winners make presentations and showcase the impressive and innovative ways in which they had implemented IT in solving some of their business problems. The main event was the dinner gala that saw Safaricom, Kenyatta University, AAR Health Services Tanzania, Makerere University, Nairobi Stock Exchange and Equity Bank emerge as the some of big winners of the inaugural CIO100 Awards Competition.
Some of the guys who have made it work…
The main thing that caught my eyes was that many of the impressive technologies submitted by the companies and were in the finalist were mainly mobile-based. Safaricom’s M-Pesa emerged victorious as not just been innovative, but having positively impacted both Safaricom as a company and its more than 3 million users. M-Pesa has changed the way people do business today by making payments easy and convenient.
The NSE was also recognized for implementing the Automated Trading System (ATS) making it one of the most advanced stock trading houses in the region. But what caught our eyes was the third placed M-Kesho technology. Close as 2nd runners up was M-Kesho by Equity Bank which takes the advent of mobile money to a new level by integrating M-Pesa with its banking services thus allowing M-Pesa users to have and run bank accounts through their mobile phones. It morphs the new and the old to bring mobility, mobile banking and traditional banking to its customers.
Coca Cola East & Central Africa bagged the manufacturing sector category based on their submission of the new mobile based system developed by Virtual City that seeks to streamline their chain of distribution. This is basically the same application that emerged top at the Nokia Apps competition earlier in the year. Kenyatta University was mainly recognized for its implementation of the smart cards for students and staff but with one had to mention the use of mobile technology by students in accessing information such as fee balance. and exams results.
Think about it…
I can write an entire series to highlight and mention numerous case studies on how organizations in Kenya (and Africa as a whole) have successfully used mobile technology in increasing efficiency in their business processes. The above are classic examples of how African companies and industries are coming of age in implementing technology to increase business value and CRM (Client Relations Management). Its impressive how much mobile technology have been adopted across the continent but at the same time its rather heart breaking to count how many other firms are still promoting Neo-Luddism by taking a back-step in the moving forward with technology.
This blog post was only meant to open the minds of company executives in Africa to the possibilities of technology and show that it can be done rather well in Africa. the diverse industries shown in the examples above are a testimony of how easily technology can be adapted into the different organizations in diverse sectors ranging from education (Kenyatta University), banking and finance (Equity Bank) and even manufacturing and consumer products (Coca Cola EA). According to the reports from the event organizers, a whopping 29% of the entire projects submitted relied on mobile and wifi technology either partially or entirely for their successful implementation.
What is your organization doing to tap into this new territory that will help take your firm to new heights in terms of business process efficiency and sales lead generation?