Mr. TAMARA AMOBI, Business Support Coordinator, 1Source Technology Partners Ltd, an indigenous ICT firm tells IT Edge News, ANTHONY NWOSU, how 1SOURCE has been deploying local fashioned solutions to address clients’ needs in the country.
What is the unique solutions that 1Source is offering in ICT space in Nigeria?
Since 2008, we’ve been offering a variety of solutions. These include our fully ranged managed services specific to the needs of the organisation, from tactical utility-level IT tasks such as help-desk, backup and hosting to full service outsourcing of its entire IT operations. What is important to us is that we understand the business and how technology can help them achieve their objective that is one of the many things that make us unique. We create custom middle-ware applications, our standard MODULA and e-Distributor Application Suites, integrate multiple complex IT systems. We also consult for clients during various phases. We architect robust strategies to improve the businesses in the IT environment. We are essentially the single point of contact for the IT needs of businesses across West Africa. We’re also different in terms of our resource; we have a unique set of skilled IT experts who focus on the needs of the business.
As a web application firm, what can you say about Nigeria software, what are the various Nigerian applications you have championed?
Interestingly, we’re not a web application business per say, that’s an element of what we do. We have a Sales Force Automation app (e-Distributor) which is currently being used by some of the leading Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies within Nigeria. The app simplifies business data access by presenting sales and trade marketing data of collated sales data from all the organization’s points of sales across territories at the same time and stores it in a central database for further business analysis.
There is a revolution in online transactions, are you looking towards this direction and do you have any application in this field?
At the moment, most of the FMCG’s are still using the old fashioned system of collating invoices. As mentioned, we currently have an e-Distributor which tracks sales and it has an API, Application Programming Interface, which allows major applications to connect to it. Our e-Distributor can be used from remote locations and it doesn’t have to be monitored. So yes, we’re looking towards the direction of utilizing technology for payment processes. We already have some key players in the industry using our products.
Mobile internet as at Q1 in Nigeria has about 64 million subscribers, what mobile application do you intend to use to launch into this market?
For us, we see that there is explosion of mobility within the Nigerian market and we usually work with business-to-business (B2B) on apps. They have a massive database which is fantastic infrastructure to meet consumer needs. Our e-Distributor is the application that has thus far proven successful, so we intend to focus on its success and develop the application further. Hence, the mobile application of the e-Distributor will be launched by this year hopefully.
Tell us the operational challenges you are having?
Yes, we have problems with electricity and of course internet services but we have learnt to factor these challenges into our deployment strategies for ourselves and the clients we handle. It’s important to always be aware of the environment you are operating in. That’s why when we’re creating solutions, we ensure to include an offline mode, so users aren’t affected if an issue arises i.e. internet issues.
In terms of ICT policies, do you think relevant regulatory agencies are doing enough?
The 1Source founder, Victor Okigbo, works closely with NITDA. One of the ways we’re also supporting government policy is with the creation of iDEA Nigeria, a non-profit organization that helps emerging entrepreneurs to build software skills and solutions critical to their business. However, there’s still a lot of work to be done to maintain Nigeria’s status as the ICT hub of Africa. They’re doing wonderful things in changing policies and training individuals for a brighter future in the IT sector.
As an IT outsourcing agency, what is your take on ICT skills development in Nigeria?
I think everyone involved is playing their role in the development of ICT in Nigeria. The situation is the same all over the world; people from other countries go to other countries to work. We support people with transferable roles and we also utilize local content. If we can get a Nigerian to do the work that we want, why not? As of now we have a lot of local programmers here in our office.
As a data recovery firm and enterprise architects, what is your take on proliferation of data centres in the country?
I don’t see it as proliferation, it’s a new industry and not many of the organisations have the required level of experience at the moment but there will be great improvement with time. Building a data centre is actually not an easy business around here, not only in terms of cost but ensuring the highest quality of products and regular maintenance.
What’s your projection in the next five years?
In the next five years, 1Source will be moving more towards the IT services sphere. We already successfully manage company’s day-to-day IT operations but we would like to focus more on this and we’ve already started making the move. Also, we’re moving more towards the clouds, most services are now cloud based. So we’ve started the process of offering migration to the clouds. Five years is long in the technology world but we hope to see an increase in business intelligence autonomy. If we see more companies utilizing technology to simplify their processes, it would allow the company to cut costs and improve decision making in the long run. On the international scene, there will be a lot of collaborations with world class ICT firms, this will be a strategy to reposition 1SOURCE as the ICT firm of choice in near future.
‘What is important to us is that we understand the business and how technology can help our customer achieve their objective. That is one of the many things that make us unique’