CIO EA May Edition 2017

Page 1

VOL 9 | ISSUE 5 |












IT 14 Improving adoption: a

digital health perspective

Oyugi on 29 Danish driving Lenovo's

business in Kenya

Sophia Bekele: 34 Meet industry trailblazer and internet-governance pioneer

May 2017

Timothy Otieno on Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital’s technologyadoption journey

Kshs. 300 Ushs. 9,000 Tshs. 6,000 RWF. 2,200 Rest of the World US $ 9 An publication

Editor’s note E














EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Harry Hare EDITOR Rob Hough TECHNICAL STAFF WRITERS Lillian Mutegi Baraka Jefwa Jeanette Oloo COLUMNISTS Ben Roberts Bobby Yawe James Muritu Peter Muya Sam Mwangi HEAD OF SALES & MARKETING Andrew Karanja BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Njambi Waruhiu ACCOUNT MANAGERS Amuyunzu Oscar Vanessa Obura SUBSCRIPTION & EVENTS Ellen Magembe Mellisa Dorsila DESIGN Nebojsa Dolovacki Published By

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Rob Hough



sales manager for a major consumer-goods company recently commented that she wants the ability to respond swiftly when people comment on social media about their kids and school – with offers that appeal to parents of school-aged children. From the average-person perspective, those ambitions and offers may seem fantastic, no big deal, vaguely discomforting, utterly disturbing. A high-level guy at the Nairobi office of a big company shared an interesting point: For centuries, in villages, small towns and cities, some people have been in positions to know things and some people talk so maybe privacy has always been something of a myth. All that’s true, though, people who come to have personal information about others are ethically and in some cases legally bound to not share it, much less sell it. This gentleman spoke of how doctors and pharmacists know who’s getting what medications and having what kinds of issues. He noted that shopkeepers know what customers are buying. A memory from working in a grocery store at the age of 17: an older lady who’d come in on every Saturday night for a bottle of wine, sit down at the waiting area by the door and have a drink from the bottle. My views at 17 were not always full of compassion and understanding, but that felt sad. Now we can only wonder what stores and companies might do with the knowledge that she is buying wine every Saturday night Maybe they’d try to sell her more wine. Maybe they’d try to sell her aspirin. Do we need and want so many of our interactions to be monitored and monetized? Given how willing we – darn sure include me among the “we” – have been to give up privacy for something, perhaps it’s not paranoia to wonder about what devices around us are hearing, too.

My cousin has the Amazon thing, Echo, and it’s handy enough. You can say, “Alexa, play Sauti Sol,” and it plays the band’s songs. Ask it the temperature in Kisumu and it will tell you. Is it ludicrous to wonder if that device or similar devices are listening to conversations before they are summoned by a key word or phrase, “Alexa” in the case of Amazon’s device, although they’re not supposed to, or that the terms of service will change? Would it be disturbing or fantastic if conversations in our dwellings about vacations generate offers of travel discounts appearing via various devices and platforms? If you’re starting to wonder if you’re reading the rantings of a lunatic, it is possible. Seriously, though, do we not wonder a little when we read of companies that have 2,000 pieces of information about every adult in the USA? People in IT can’t go two minutes without hearing about Big Data, some of which relates to data about what human beings, a.k.a. you and I, are doing. In the last presidential election in the USA, the winning’s side’s width and breadth of data and data analysis were staggering. Maybe what they did in the campaign was not good, but they were good at what they did. It’s hard to imagine there will be less of that in future elections everywhere. Meanwhile, how many people with some concerns about privacy are 100-percent committed to that view? How many people accept it when a restaurant offers free coffee with meals if customers download their app, which – oh, by the way – monitors everything people do online and everywhere they go. Me? Coffee Is good. Free coffee is real good.




Timothy Otieno, CIO Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital

I remember the First CIO I met at Gertrude’s used to have her office as the server room and she used to operate all computers; her main role was to ensure everything is working well and most people never knew her or what she was doing. It was purely an operational role.

FROM OUR ONLINE LOCATIONS Five most popular stories on

Centrify appoints new EMEA Channel Director Applications open for ‘Safe Sister: The East African Women’s Digital Safety’ BlackBerry wins $815 million in overpaid royalty to Qualcomm Tigo launches call centre in Tanzania to protect customer information and identity Half a million people sign up for M-TIBA

Danish Oyugi, Lenovo Country Manager – Kenya

Sam Mwangi, Columnist, CIO East Africa

A lot has changed in the market, in terms of the smartphone industry especially in Kenya. The smartphone penetration is still low and we have quite a long way to go. We are talking about a penetration rate of 15 percent so the opportunity is quite high for us.

An organisation needs to have culture of innovation, as well; innovative employees thrive in this space and enjoy brainstorming sessions with colleagues in other parts of the world. In an organisation that is performancedriven, collaboration is easily adopted. You need the help of others to succeed in your tasks and shared workspaces enhance teamwork and prompt delivery.

Five top cioeastafrica posts with highest reach Launch of Ajira Digital Platform Phase One. (Video Credits: ICT Authority) Winners of the Oracle innovation awards at #Connectedke2017 Little, through their Little Ride Product, were winners of this year’s Innovation Awards sponsored by Oracle at the Connected Kenya 2017. Little integrates car transportation within the city onto a technology platform, ensuring convenient, transparent and quick service fulfillment for the customers and driver-partners. Earlier at #ConnectedKenya2017, a panel discusion underway exploring ways in which IoE/IoT will change our daily lives, what impact will it have on sustainability and what shouldn’t be connected? The panel also looked at how companies can digitize the process or products and new ways of completely doing business in emerging industries.

Five top tweets with the highest reaction Aldo Maurese: In a few months we will relaunch @ TelkomKenya and have a new network with 50% new sites #Connectedke2017

Bob Yawe, Columnist, CIO East Africa

It is time someone used all this connectivity penetration we keep receiving awards for to do something better than providing high-speed access to questionable content from thousands of miles away and instead address the fundamental issues of feeding the nation. | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA

Dr. Katherine Getao: Kenya is an example of what can happen when companies innovate for their countries @WorldBankKenya #PASETFORUM Govts need to communicate on data because people are fairly naïve in the data area as data is an invisible resource. #ConnectedKenya2017 Connected Kenya Summit was first held in 2009 #Connectedke2017 Citizens’ data is becoming precious; the fact that private entities collect and keep citizen’s data is a case in point #ConnectedKenya2017 5





hereas historically workplaces existed in decentralized forms, outside office settings, the late-19th century saw the emergence of the first true workplaces that were confined within commercial offices. Technology played a critical role in shaping the latter and thanks to the invention of the various technology components such as telephone, telegraph and railway, the advent of work places within an office setting took shape. Back then, the whole purpose of the office workplace setting was to support the employees in performing their jobs with a strict clock-in, clock-out system. Whereas the office environment still remains as a unifying factor where employees clock in every morning to perform various duties, the role that technology has played and can play in disrupting this arrangement has been downplayed by multiple organizations across the world. Technology has advanced some new forms of disruptive workplace arrangements that can not only increase a company’s employee productivity but also reduce operational costs and foster innovation. From bring your own device (BYOD) to virtual teams to work from home (aka works for me), the opportunities available are numerous. The diminishing of brands that were once held with awe and emergence of new tech-driven outfits is enough proof that a company’s size, years in business and vast branch networks are no longer defining parameters of what it takes for a company to be regarded as successful. Besides tapping on emerging value-adding services around cloud, mobility and social, the next block of indus6

trial giants need to prioritize workplace transformation as a competitive advantage creator. An Avanade-commissioned research project that was done a few years ago found that only 44 percent of companies in the West have had adopted digital workplace tools, which leaves one to ask about the status of workplace transformation in emerging markets. From Nairobi to San Francisco, there’s need for companies to leverage workplace transformations that will go beyond saving costs, but also attract and retain talent. There’s a huge opportunity for forward-thinking companies to formulate digital workplaces that harness cloud services, mobility and collaborative systems in an intelligent context that is tailored to an individual employee’s role, location and duties. A company that’s still stuck in the mind set of email, intranet and social-media links as the only means of employee

Finally, digital workplace transformation is not just a nice catchphrase; it’s a transformative and disruptive organizationwide concept that touches on change management, company culture and an overhaul of existing processes, policies and systems.

collaboration and engagement is truly trailing. In my travels across such cities like Bangkok, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi, I am continually dismayed at the time that employees waste in traffic jams with an added paradox of good performance pegged at how early the employee arrives at work. An arrangement that pegs an employee’s productivity and performance around output vis a vis office confinement is truly revolutionary and also goes a long way in creating the future workplace. A digitally driven workplace transformation journey needs to ask a few questions: 1. Has the HR team formulated policies and procedures that match an employee’s needs around the new digital workplace? 2. Has the IT team implemented systems and applications that support and enable a digital workplace? 3. Has management embraced emerging concepts such as BYOD, flexi hours and work from home? Finally, digital workplace transformation is not just a nice catchphrase; it’s a transformative and disruptive organization-wide concept that touches on change management, company culture and an overhaul of existing processes, policies and systems. This is how companies can continue to drive revenues, attract and retain talent and outperform the competition in a hyper-connected world. CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |


MAY 2017 6 Guest Editorial 8 In Brief 9 Appointments 10 Regional Round Up TREND LINES

12 13 14

STARTUP CORNER promotes 33 Startup sexual education

World bank: M-Akiba success reflects culture of savings, growth of mobile money

using a bot


Paset forum focuses on IT education, hightech partnerships to close skills gap Improving IT adoption: a digital health perspective



Predictive analytics can stop ransomware before it stops you

data-driven business

on Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital’s technology-adoption journey

Danish Oyugi on driving Lenovo's business in Kenya


Steps to create a 24 10single view of your

Timothy Otieno


How to ensure you’re not part of the next botnet


Cover story:





The human side of the data revolution



Citizen participation in government takes an automated turn thanks to M-power

modern work36 The place: are you en-

abling your business?

for Africa 37 Designed Hikvision special iVMS-5200 VSaaS software

new fridge goes 38 LG’s green to help save energy

OPINION earns a major 39 IoT role in managing supply chains

para40 Omnichannel digm communciation in communications and marketing


Technology for workspace collaboration


42 A nation of roofers



Meet Sophia Bekele: industry trailblazer and internet-governance pioneer 7









he artificially intelligent personal healthcare assistant provides users with diagnosis based on the results of their interactions with the platform and goes further to connect them with health facilities close to them based on the diagnosis ascertained,” the company said in a statement Commenting at the launch of the product, the founders reiterated the lack of information and poor supporting healthcare infrastructure, along with the resulting problems. There is a real need to address “fragmentation in the healthcare system, a lack of information regarding healthcare options and a lack of basic medical records, ”co-founder, Dr. Tobi Obisanya said in the announcement..



hese combined solutions will allow enterprises to optimize energy consumption, streamline workforce tasks, increase efficiency and optimize operational costs at improved levels,” they said in a statement. The platform “is designed to address three key areas of enterprise challenges: energy, remote site management and asset tracking,” the statement said. Energy Monitoring is “a private limited company incorporated by entrepreneurs with a vision to become a major energy services company and an industrial solutions provider,” the statement said. “EML offers next-gen technology in the energy sector in partnership with renowned brands globally.” 8


he 20th-anniversary edition of the company’s Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report drew on responses from 1,351 organisations across 80 countries in Asia Pacific, Australia, the Americas, Middle East & Africa, and Europe. More than 84 percent of organisations report an uplift in revenue as a result of improved customer experiences, CX, while 79 percent report cost savings, but only 36 percent have appointed a board-level executive who is responsible for customer experiences, according to the report.



he company has announced Espresso, a system that provides increased network performance to users of the company’s applications.

It works by applying software-defined networking to the edge of the tech titan’s network, where Google connects to the peer networks of other internet service providers. Rather than rely on individual routers to figure out the best way to direct internet traffic, Espresso hands that responsibility off to servers running in the data centers Google operates at the edge of its network. Espresso aggregates all the data about network performance from across its peering points and uses that to dynamically direct traffic to users. That allows Google to offer major performance improvements, instead of sending users information from a static point based on their IP addresses or the addresses of their DNS resolvers.



he micro-blogging service said that Lite, which is available at, takes up less than 1MB of devices’ storage.

Lite offers Twitter features such as the timeline, tweets and direct messages, along with features to save data, provide offline access to loaded content and fast load times. Smartphone adoption grew to 3.8 billion connections by the end of 2016, but 45 percent of mobile connections are still on slow 2G networks, a Twitter official has said. CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |

APPOINTMENTS NEOTEL APPOINTS RAJ JANDU CFO Pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet Global, has appointed Raj Jandu to be Neotel’s CFO. “Raj joins Neotel from Liquid Telecom where he has been CFO for the east Africa region since 2013, overseeing the financial management and growth of the company's operations in several key markets, the company said in a statement. “Previously serving as CFO of Altech Technologies in east Africa for five years, he made the switch to Liquid Telecom after it acquired Altech's networks assets, which included operations in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and the DRC. Prior to that he served as Finance Manager for Sameer Investments, as well as senior manager for Budgeting and Budget Control at du in Dubai.” The firm also announced that Michael Allschwang has been named Neotel chief sales and marketing officer He “previously worked for African mobile network operator Vodacom. During his 13 years with Vodacom, he held the position of corporate sales director for the group, as well as serving as managing executive for Vodacom Business. Over the last two years, he has worked as Group CEO for South African sustainable solutions provider The Green-Co.,” the company said in a statement.

SAP AFRICA APPOINTS DR. ADRIANA MARAIS AS HEAD OF INNOVATION SAP Africa has appointed Dr. Adriana Marais to take on the role as Head of Innovation. Based at the head office in Johannesburg, Dr. Marais will lead the IoT Lab, the Co-Innovation Lab initiatives, as well as other innovation streams for SAP while taking the company’s Digital Platform solutions to market. She will also drive strategic co-innovation projects and take responsibility for the SAP Start-up Focus programme – which provides SME’s with digital solutions to help accelerate growth. Dr. Marais “is also one of the top 100 candidates in the Mars-One project and aspires to be one of the astronauts involved in the development of a human settlement on the planet,” the company said. Commenting on her new role at SAP Africa, she says, “We live in the digital revolution where innovation is key to survival in today’s economy. What appealed to me about the role is that I can put my knowledge and experience into action and help transform Africa while changing the lives of people across the continent.” Before joining SAP Africa, Dr. Marais was a Postdoctoral Quantum Researcher at UKZN and lectured in physics at UCT. She received her BSc in physics and philosophy from UCT in 2003 and at BSc Honours in theoretical physics in 2004. During 2007-2009, Dr. Marais completed her MSc at UKZN in quantum cryptography and started working towards her PhD in quantum biology at the UKZN in 2010.

MULTICHOICE APPOINTS MWENDWA MAUNDU GENERAL MANAGER OF REGULATORY AFFAIRS, EAST AFRICA Multichoice has announced the appointment of Mwendwa Maundu to the position of General Manager – Regulatory Affairs within East Africa. Maundu has extensive work experience in ICT, policy & regulatory affairs, competition law as well as intellectual property law. His last position was at Safaricom Ltd within the Regulatory & Public Policy Department and he previously worked for Mohammed Muigai Advocates. He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) from University of Nairobi and is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya. In his role, Maundu will drive regulatory and public policy within the business. | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA






public notice from UCC’s Executive Director, Mr. Godfrey Mutabazi, said the initial deadline of 20 April had been reviewed and adjusted.

“The Commission informs the public of the said extension and urges the general public to utilise the extended period to verify and validate their SIM cards using their National Identification Cards and numbers. The telecommunication service providers are directed to comply,” Mutabazi said in a statement. The UCC was established to monitor, inspect, license and regulate the provision of telecommunication services in Uganda. On 11 April, the Commission directed that within seven days, all SIM cards would be verified and validated against the National Identification and Registration Authority database using the National Identification Numbers for citizens and passports for alien residents, effective 13 April to 20 April. The new deadline comes amid mounting pressure from the public to have the deadline extended, according to media reports in the country.



ith the rapid growth of the information sector, along with technological advancement, online security was becoming increasingly jeopardised. This calls upon us to improve our performance in areas of cyber-security through learning new skills and under this cooperation, the KISA will train us on new skills,” Dr. Maria Sasabo, Ministry of Works, Transport and Communications Permanent Secretary, said in a statement. The Korean NGO, KISA, has also established working relationships with governments in several other countries; it described its work with Tanzania as “pivotal” because of the country’s location, which makes it a bridge to other African countries. 10





he Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philbert Nsengimana, who discussed the event at a press conference, said smart infrastructure will be part of African capitals embracing technology to effectively deliver services. “The conference will include different side events such as Smart Women Summit, an award ceremony for the best female innovator in ICT and Africa Smart Cities’ forum while the youth will be given a platform to pitch their ideas to potential investors,” said the minister. Dr. Hamadoun Touré, executive director of the Smart Africa Alliance, said in a press statement, “Since the inception of the Smart Africa Alliance, one of our main principles has centred on the critical need to create an enabling environment for private-sector involvement. We realise that economic transformation must be driven by private companies focused on the use of ICT to increase access to markets and information for business.”



hough the Party Secretary General, Raphael Tuju, cited those concerns as a motive for not using the cards in the party primaries, he said that they would be used as additional tool to identify members. The Jubilee Party launched their much-discussed smart cards in January with the aim of ensuring free and fair elections. The cards, sold for Ksh 20, contain a member’s name, identity number, mobile phone number and voting details such as polling stations. “The party will deploy new ballot boxes fitted with a security mechanism that would ensure they cannot be opened at the polling stations and ‘stuffed’ with papers. The party will additionally set up central primary tallying centres that will ensure proper tallying of votes as they trickle in from locations,” Tuiu said. | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA






eferring to the pilot program as “another first for Kenya,” the report recalled that the Treasury “launched a world-first retail-level, mobile-phone based government bond auction platform… The purpose of the M-Akiba bond is to mobilize domestic funds to support government infrastructure projects.” M-Akiba also dramatically lowered the barrier to entry for investing in programs of that nature, said the report, which also documented Kenya’s considerable growth in the use of mobile money. “Until M-Akiba, the minimum amount required to participate in the government bond auction was Ksh 50,000, however under M-Akiba, the minimum investment required is Ksh 3,000, thereby making it affordable to a wider cross-section of Kenyan society.” Reviewing the program’s details, the World Bank said, “The coupon rate for the three-year M-Akiba bond is fixed at a tax-free rate of 10 percent per annum. Interest payments will be made every six months. The bond will be listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and tradeable by mobile phone.” Looking ahead, the World Bank said, “This pilot launch should help test the platform and address any implementation challenges before the main launch, which is expected in June with a target amount of Ksh 4.85 billion to be raised.” Over the years, the effective use of technology in the financial sector has been instrumental in fostering a “savings and investment culture among ordinary Kenyans,” and made M-Akiba possiblethe 69-page report said. Reflecting that mindset, the initial response was substantial. “Just six days after the launch of M-Akiba it is reported that at least 61,000 Ken12

yans had registered on the M-Akiba platform and some Ksh75.2 million (50.2 percent of the target amount) had been raised,” according to the World Bank. The government announced in midApril that the initial interest had been sustained; more than 100,000 people registered on the M-Akiba site and investments reached the Ksh 150 million goal before the offer closed. Some 5,000 people invested in the program, in amounts ranging from Ksh 3,000 to Ksh 1 million, with an average investment of Ksh 20,000, according to the government. M-Akiba’s attractive interest rate and widespread use of mobile money in Kenya should produce results the government hopes for, the World Bank believes. “With 31 million Kenyans (64.4 percent of the population) having mobile money subscriptions, and with deposit rates at banks lower than the M-Akiba coupon rate there exists further potential for the government to raise funds, while supporting a savings culture.” While those would be noteworthy, positive developments, there will not be a broad change in the market’s key players, the organisation added. “Notwithstanding the expected success of M-Akiba, participation in the government bond market will continue to be dominated by larger investors, pension

In reviewing the country’s mobile-money figures, the World Bank noted steady increases in several key figures relating to mobile money.

fund managers, high net-worth individuals and banks.”. In reviewing the country’s mobile-money figures, the World Bank noted steady increases in several key figures relating to mobile money. In January 2016, the number of agents totaled 146,710; it reached 165,908 by December. In December 2014, there were 125,826 agents. Significant gains were also seen in the number of customers, the number of transactions and the value of transactions, the report said. There were 29.1 million customers in January 2016, 35.0 million in December, according to the report. The number of transactions jumped almost 40 percent, from 108.1 million transactions in January 2016 to 146.2 million in December – more than 4.7 million per day. Accordingly, the overall amount of transactions has also taken considerable steps forward. In January 2016, the value of mobile-money transactions totaled Ksh 243.4 billion. The number climbed steadily throughout the year, reaching Ksh 316.8 billion in December. Looking back to 2014 further reflects the considerable growth in the mobile-money industry. In January of that year, the value of transactions was Ksh 178.5 billion, less than 60 percent of what it was at the end of 2016. In that same time, the number of transactions more than doubled, from 67.1 million to 146.2 million. Customer growth in that time, from 25.8 million to 35.0 million, was just under 40 percent. The number of agents grew by just under 50 percent, moving from 114,407 to 165,908. CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |



PASET FORUM FOCUSES ON IT EDUCATION, HIGH-TECH PARTNERSHIPS TO CLOSE SKILLS GAP With 11 million new graduates entering the African job market annually, finding a solution to Africa’s skilledlabor deficit is a priority for many African countries, officials said at a gathering facilitated by the World Bank.


he Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) event in Nairobi reviewed both the roles higher education and private-public partnerships are playing in addressing the deficit; efforts in education cover considerable ground, a high-level government official noted. “Higher education plays the role through teaching, innovation, research, community service and inter-generational storage and transmission of knowledge,” Dr. Fred Matiangi, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Education said at April’s PASET Forum, which included officials from 19 Sub-Saharan African nations, China and other countries. “It is, therefore, worth noting that investment in technical, vocational education and training alongside the higher education disciplinary areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which are major areas of focus in the global development agenda, will greatly determine the development direction of the region.” Organised by the World Bank and funded by African governments and their partners, PASET recognizes the need to strengthen African capabilities in applied sciences, engineering and technology (ASET) for Sub-Saharan Africa’s development, from the technical vocational level to the postgraduate level. The organisation has organized three prior Forums to facilitate international and regional knowledge exchange. Deputy President Mr. William Ruto said at the event that the organisation’s efforts are consistent with those of the Kenyan Government. “We have developed a competency-based education and training approach; improved infrastructure and training equipment in technical vocational education and training institutions and integrated ICT and technology in technical and vocational education and training,” he said.

Currently the Government of Kenya is investing USD $300 million in R&D at the IBM Research Labs

PASET’s other initiatives include a Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) to train PhD scholars and support research and innovation; regional benchmarking of Sub-Saharan African universities in ASET fields; and Regional Skills Development Centres for Excellence. The Forum also looked at its partnerships with the private sector and the focus on helping people while promoting science education, officials said. “Currently the Government of Kenya is investing USD $300 million in R&D at the IBM | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA

Research Labs,” said Dr. Katherine Getao, ICT Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications. “This money will help ICT researchers in Kenya and also introduce them to what other researchers are doing in R&D globally. The money will also cater to research priorities in the country every two years, to name but two of its uses,” Multifaceted facilities created in public-private partnerships have provided considerable benefits to people in rural areas, an attendee noted. “Philips inaugurated the first Community Hub in Kiambu County in 2014 with a focus on primary care and integrating the technology to a local solution to cater for the people from the area,” said Dr. Eddine Sarroukh, Head of Research, Philips East Africa. “In collaboration with Mandera County, the United Nations Population Fund and Philips, a facility, a Community Life Center, will be ready in the county by the end of this quarter.” The Philips Foundation adds that it “involves community members in the assessment and design of the Community Life Center in order to create ownership. The solution is tailored to the needs of the facility and the community and staff are trained and people mobilized to make use of the improved services of the facility. “And in addition to health services, the Community Life Center acts as a vital community hub. Local community members can buy clean water and sustainable products like Philips’ smokeless cook-stoves and home solar lighting products and benefit from solar-powered LED outdoor lighting that illuminates the area at night, improving security and extending daylight hours.” The Philips technology package includes solar power, indoor and outdoor LED lighting, healthcare triage equipment, lab equipment, refrigerators, IT equipment and a supply of water along with purification equipment, the company has said. 13



IMPROVING IT ADOPTION: A DIGITAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVE User adoption is important across regions and sectors, but how does it differ in the health sector in East Africa? What can we learn and apply from other regions and sectors?


nd how can we optimize end-user uptake and satisfaction? As a growth stage digital health company in East Africa, we don’t have all the answers, but we have five years of experience to share and we are learning each month about this dynamic market and sector.

business strategy, your target user may deviate from the mass market in certain areas. This can include users’ preferences across many dimensions including preferred devices, commonly used communication platforms, level of tech literacy, work hours, and more.

It is essential to get a picture of the basic technology market and communication preferences, which in East Africa is dominated by mobile and relies on Short Messaging Services (SMS) and social media. Recent data from StatCounter shows that mobile devices make up more than 60 percent of the market share in Africa as an affordable, accessible and convenient choice. Desktops follow composing about 37 percent of the market; they are commonly used in offices, schools, universities and computer centers. The remainder is made up of tablets which have a small but growing presence. Beyond the device, the means of communication is important and led by SMS. In Kenya in the first quarter of 2017, The Communication Authority of Kenya reports that there were 15.8 billion SMS messages sent, which averages 35 SMS messages for every adult and child in the country. Similarly, GeoPoll recently found that millennials in Kenya and Tanzania prefer communicating by text while their counterparts in Nigeria and Ghana communicating by mobile calls.

The market in East Africa is quickly evolving, moving from limited information and communications technology (ICT) to expansive growth in infrastructure and innovations. The digital transformation creates enormous opportunities for solutions but also requires nimbleness and foresight. The fast pace of change requires companies to not only consider the current user and landscape but understand the shift to be relevant through the digital transformation. These dynamics not only influence product development but adoption.

These reports underscore the recent trends in the mass market, however, it is essential to understand the specific demographics for your technology solution. Depending on your

There are many African engineers and innovators developing a proliferation of solutions with varying levels of complexity. While some of them may be significant engineering feats, the end users may have much simpler needs that an innovator needs to solve first. Furthermore, for enterprises and consumers alike, the rapid growth of many solutions and apps can be overwhelming, particularly if the innovation is not designed with the problem in mind or is not well articulated in terms of its value proposition.

Solve a real problem Start with the pain point or goal rather than the technology. If a technology doesn’t address and improve a real problem in the market, no other steps towards adoption will matter. It may be technically impressive or get traction in a niche capacity but products will not scale unless they solve an issue that people care about and want fixed.

Know your audience Understand your user and develop your product accordingly. The social and demographic trends of your users should dictate the development and features - consider the language, technology experience, device and platform preference, internet availability, age and job position. 14


TREND LINES For example, while M-Pesa thrives in Kenya, it was discontinued in South Africa due to a lack of adoption, likely driven by major differences in the audiences. Some reporters have noted that the age dependency ratio (those below 15 years or above 64 years of age as compared to the working age population) was substantially higher in Kenya as compared to South Africa and this the increased the need for financial transactions in Kenya. Others note the percent of population banked in South Africa was significantly higher prior to the introduction of M-Pesa. It is important to know the key attributes of your users and scale with those in mind.

Prioritize usability Users need to be able to quickly understand not just the value of the product but how to use it. Even if your solution solves a real problem and is built for your market segment, if it is too complex, uptake and adoption will be slow. Simplicity will drive efficiency and adoption. Each part and new feature should be as intuitive and easy-touse as possible. Initial training and ongoing support are important, particularly for those newer to technology or in complicated fields which often includes healthcare, but with some basic guidance anyone should be able to learn how to use the technology correctly and quickly. There are a number of good open source technologies that solve real problems. However, many in the African digital health context are difficult to use. Adoption of these technologies is slow because an average user cannot simply use them and furthermore, training and support for such technologies is limited unless one can afford significant consulting fees. For widespread uptake and use, users have to easily and quickly be able to use the technology.

Learn from early adopters Build on the learnings, feedback and successes of first users. It is invaluable, and even necessary, to have a collaborative relationship with a set of initial users | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA

The social and demographic trends of your users should dictate the development and features - consider the language, technology experience, device and platform preference, internet availability, age and job position. to understand what is not working and where they want something more or different. They are truly the experts of their issue and can provide great insights and suggestions. Checking in on a regular basis will not only improve the product but can build loyalty that will also help them become champions of your product. For our enterprise solution, amHealth, which is now used by approximately 200 facilities in East Africa and benefiting two million patients, this

relationship with early users was critical in our early stages to refine our idea and has become an entrenched part of our company culture and how we engage the market.

Create a feedback loop Beyond discussions with your users, feedback loops that consider rewards and incentives or that provide analytics and insight can go a long way to support additional adoption. For example, analytics on usage and real data on improvements demonstrate use and value to you and your users. Users are motivated by real changes that they see from uptake and can even be motivated by besting their own use numbers. Strong enterprise and consumer products in Western markets are increasingly doing this through automation and bot driven technology but there is an opportunity to tailor these types of approaches to African users in ways that are relevant to them based on culture, language, and demographics, particularly in the enterprise space. The digital health space in East Africa is growing and dynamic. At access. mobile, we consistently strive to increase adoption and work through each of the above steps – building products that are practical, usable and affordable, working with our users to iterate and improve, and providing data analytics for a mutual feedback loop. As the East African digital market continues to transform, the adoption strategies of technology companies including ours will need to evolve with it. Cecilia Mwangi is a customer success manager at International 15

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HOW TO ENSURE YOU’RE NOT PART OF THE NEXT BOTNET The good news is, it’s relatively simple to en- ers rarely change), which provides malware Botnets are sure your computers and devices aren’t part of direct login access in many cases. Recent escovert armies the next botnet attack. This article will discuss timates place the number of IoT devices out how you can protect yourself against the risk there still using default credentials at around of compromised of botnet infection and easily identify any bots 500,000. networked operating on your network and clean them up However, what’s particularly troubling is that before they become part of the next cyberatcomputers and many of these devices also have back-door tack. support or diagnostics access credentials devices (bots) that owners don’t even know about. This Botnets and the Internet of Things that.yhave tirubeen ces tniThe opproliferation dne ooftmobile hcand aonetwork rppde-a w endevices ylettoebelp moeven c Aif their enables exploited subverted by vices has created enormous benefits for us. owners do the right thing and use complex can now remotely access not only our login credentials. malware to enable We computers, but our security systems, camremote control by eras, appliances and a growing list of other With this massive new army of IoT devices devices that are now all interconnected with joining the legions or previously comproa cybercriminal. the cloud, enabling us to monitor and control mised computers, cybercriminals are now Botnets are bred them wherever we happen to be. Collective- armed with an unprecedented amount of ly referred to as the Internet of Things or IoT, computing power — computing power that and nurtured by very affordable and easy-to-use devic- can have a devastating effect when brought hackers to provide these es enable a whole new level of control and ef- to bear, as we’ve just witnessed recently. ficiency in managing our world. However, this a powerful, dark collection of interconnected devices How botnets work and how to stop cloud-computing massive also represents an enormous opportunity for them d n a n o i t c e t ed tniopdne noitareneg-txen a si X tpecretnI sohpoS hackers who are continually looking to ex- In order to understand how to identify and network used stop botnets, it’s important to understand ploit new systems into their botnets. to conduct how they work and how they get started, how , s t i o l p x e y a d o r e z , e r a w m o s n a r p o t s o t d e n gised mroftalp esnopser cybercrime The most troubling aspect to the growth of they spread, and how they operate. internet-connected devices is the lack of ba- Like any other malware, botnets start by enattacks. sic security considerations. .ecnIt’segbad illeenough tni tatering erhtyour denetwork liatethrough d edione voofrpa few dndifa


that nearly every IoT device comes from the factory with default credentials (that own-

ferent conventional means:

• Email attachments: malware is often delivered as an email attachment as part of a spam or phishing campaign that attempts to have the user execute the attachment to kick off the initial exploit. • Web sites: compromised websites often contain malware that can be silently executed by the browser, kicking off a chain of events that ends up exploiting a vulnerability on the system and infecting it. • Remote access: IoT devices that are exposed to the internet, allowing direct login access with factory credentials, are the worst offenders, but hackers are not beneath brute force password hacking or exploiting known vulnerabilities in web interfaces to gain control of a device. • USB sticks: while this infection technique is now almost legendary, there’s

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x-tpecretni/moc.sohpos.www | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA


SECURITY still a clear and present danger that a user will foolishly plug in a USB device of unknown origin into their computer to see what it contains, only to introduce malware onto their system. Malware designed to exploit IoT devices can be extremely rudimentary, simply port scanning large portions of the internet looking for access opportunities and relying on default credentials or brute-force hacking to gain access. This is much easier to defend against, as it merely requires proper firewall configuration and protection. Once malware has a foothold in your organization it will typically call home to the hacker’s command and control (C&C) server to register its success and request further instructions. It may be told to lie low and wait, attempt to move laterally on the network to infect other devices, or participate in an attack. This attempt to call-home presents an ideal opportunity to detect infected systems on your network that are part of a botnet, but it requires the right technology to be effective. Unfortunately, other than the call home communications, a bot on your network may be extremely difficult to detect. In most cases, the infected device will continue to operate normally or perhaps experience a slow-down in performance that might easily be attributed to any number of factors. When a bot on your network is called into action to participate in an attack, it will typically communicate with the C&C server to get instructions such as the target and type of attack. This presents another ideal opportunity to identify the botnet hosts on your network. However, once an attack is underway, the attack itself can be very difficult to detect. From a network traffic perspective, the device will simply be sending emails (spam), transferring data (stealing information or mining bitcoins) or doing DNS lookups or performing a variety of other mundane traffic requests (used in DDoS attacks). None of these types of activities in isolation is particularly noteworthy or cause for alarm.

The impact of botnets

Botnets not only have a massive effect on the greater internet, but they can also have a devastating impact on 18

your organization, particularly if the objective is to steal sensitive information. And even if the botnet operating on your network is not after your data, it could be using your devices and network resources for nefarious purposes and cause devastating harm to another organization – perhaps an organization you do business with. So don’t let your network become part of the next botnet attack.

How to protect your organization

The essential ingredient to effective protection from botnets is your network firewall. Look for the following components to ensure you’re getting the best protection possible: • Advanced Threat Protection can identify botnets already operating on your network. Ensure your firewall has malicious traffic detection, botnet detection, and command and control (C&C) callhome traffic detection. • Intrusion prevention can detect hackers attempting to breach your network resources. Ensure your firewall has a next-gen intrusion prevention system (IPS) that’s capable of identifying advanced attack patterns on your network traffic to detect hacking attempts and malware moving laterally across your network segments. • Sandboxing can easily catch the latest evasive malware before it gets onto your computers. Ensure your firewall offers advanced sandboxing that can identify sus-

A Web application firewall can protect your servers, devices, and business applications from being hacked. Ensure your firewall offers WAF protection for any system on your network that requires remote access from the internet.

picious web or email files and detonate them in a safe sandbox environment to determine their behavior before allowing them into your network. • Effective web and email protection can prevent botnet recruiting malware from getting onto your network in the first place. Ensure your firewall has behavioral-based web protection that can actually emulate or simulate JavaScript code in web content to determine intent and behaviour before it’s passed to the browser. And ensure that your firewall or email filtering solution has topshelf anti-spam and antivirus technology to detect the latest malware in email attachments. • A Web application firewall can protect your servers, devices, and business applications from being hacked. Ensure your firewall offers WAF protection for any system on your network that requires remote access from the internet.

Best practices for your organisation and home:

• Immediately change the default passwords for all your network devices to a unique complex password, and use a password manager if necessary. • Minimize the use of IoT devices and keep your essential devices up to date. Disconnect any unnecessary devices, upgrade older devices to newer more secure models, and keep all your devices up to date with the latest firmware updates. • Avoid IoT devices that require ports opened in your Firewall or router to provide remote access. Instead, use cloud-based devices that connect only to the cloud provider’s servers and don’t offer any direct remote access. • Do not enable UPnP on your firewall or router. This protocol enables devices to open ports on your firewall on demand without your knowledge increasing your surface area of attack. • Use secure VPN technologies to manage devices remotely.

The author, Harish Chib, is Vice President, Middle East & Africa, SOPHOS CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |



PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS CAN STOP RANSOMWARE BEFORE IT STOPS YOU It’s been two years since a U.S. county was hit by ransomware. The wealthiest county in the state of Michigan had three years’ worth of tax information possibly at the mercy of cybercriminals.


s a local government, county CIO Rich C. Malewicz said they have been a target of ransomware, but in this instance they had backups at the ready. He said the most memorable ransomware attack was a result of a watering hole campaign using malvertizing to infect users visiting a local news website. “This attack was very clever in that all you had to do to get infected was visit the website, you didn’t even have to click on the page. Once the user went to the local news website, they were immediately redirected to a site hosting exploit code and the infamous page appeared demanding a ransom with instructions,” he said. The attackers embedded malicious code in the iframe that redirected the users to the exploit landing page. The ransomware spread to several PCs and servers before it was contained. “We were fortunate enough to have a working backup of the data and we recovered shortly after. If we didn’t have a working backup this could have been a disaster,” Malewicz said. Aside from the loss of personally identifiable information of the 188,000 citizens of the county, the government would have been looking at the labor cost to replicate the documents on top of the damage to its reputation. The county’s network is also shared with public safety entities as well as educational institutions.

“It’s pretty clear that local government is a primary target of ransomware attacks, mainly because they have lagged so far behind the private sector in terms of cyber protection, many don’t have working backup solutions if any at all, and they tend to pay the ransom,” he said. Recent headlines show public safety agencies and local governments will pay the ransom, so they are targeted even more - attackers will migrate to the industry that tends to pay the ransom and to those that have an inadequate cybersecurity posture. Case in point a police department in the state of Massachusetts paid the ransom several days after they could not break the encryption and needed the attackers to send them the private key in order to access the data. “Protecting an organization from ransomware or any type of malware is similar to an arms race, as the threat evolves so must your defenses!” Malewicz said. The county turned to predictive analytics in hopes of halting the ransomware attacks. Livingston County uses Unitrends backup solution to provide Malewicz’s team peace of mind that in the event our cyber defense fails. “Ransomware was largely unheard of years ago, but today it’s a household name - everyone knows someone or some organization which has been infected. The future guarantees that more menacing ransomware variants will take center stage wreaking havoc in our homes and places of business. When ransomware exploits bypass perimeter cyber defenses you have only to rely on your predictive analytic cyber defenses to protect you, else I hope you have stable and secure backup to fall back on!” he said. It is thought that with predictive analytics, it brings the technology more into a savior category then a staple. It elevates the ability of the technology to detect changes in data, which points to outbreak of ransomware and then allows the IT administrator to refer back to the last legitimate backup point. Predictive analytics is a necessity because the malware of tomorrow is unknown and will surely evolve to our detriment. When traditional cyber defense technology is ren- | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA



Through predictive analytics and machine learning against backup data patterns, organizations of any size can not only detect ransomware before it wreaks havoc on their data, but also revert back to the last legitimate backup point to decrease down time dered ineffective or human error is at play, predictive analytic cyber defense technology becomes the last line of defense for an organization. The majority of cyber defenses in an organization is built around signature-based models of “known” malware, whereas predictive analytics is built around the “unknown”, establishing a pattern of life within the organization and protecting them from malware and other abnormal activity as well. Paul Brady, CEO of Unitrends, said, by infusing predictive analytics into Unitrends’ backup and business continuity solutions, the company enables customers to detect ransomware as the last line of defense. “Through predictive analytics and machine learning against backup data patterns, organizations of any size can not only detect ransomware before it wreaks havoc on their data, but also revert back to the last legitimate backup point to decrease down time,” he said. Unitrends explained the process: As backups occur, the software processes data regularly. Even without knowing the detailed contents of your files, metrics are collected, analyzed and stored for future decision making. These metrics include ingest patterns, change rates, growth rates, and more. The backup system is able to use machine learning over time to recognize that certain data anomalies are indicative of a ransomware attack. When the right conditions occur, the administrator is alerted immediately. Robert Huber, chief security and strategy officer at Eastwind Networks, said ransomware is at the top of the list of priorities for many CISOs and CIOs. Given the cost of an infection via loss of data, or the cost to reclaim your data it makes sense. “A great method to aid in detection, and more importantly prevention, is the use of predictive analytics, or machine 20

learning. Unfortunately, the compute to perform machine learning at scale has historically been slow and expensive making it mostly reactive. This had been compounded by the difficulty in deploying and managing such as solution,” he said. As the cost and ability to deploy machine learning (and in turn predictive analytics) have decreased, he said, expect to see many security companies add it to their solutions and apply it to the ransomware problem.

Often the “next-gen” moniker afforded to many new security products are just applying machine learning to existing problem sets, he said. The availability of platforms such as the Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine and Amazon Machine Learning have reduced the cost and complexity. In addition the community has improved the state of best practice for those who choose to build it on their own. “Less complex, expensive and faster [machine learning] allow companies to apply it to cybersecurity in more of a near real-time mode to predict/prevent, versus react. Of course, this presumes that companies are able to build [machine learning] models that can identify this activity while it is still nascent. And this is where you need strong data scientists to extract the relevant features to build the models,” Huber said.

TIBCO’s Michael O’Connell pointed out some examples of when predictive analytics and machine learning come in handy. ISSUE: Too many false positives arise because organizations tend to set independent thresholds for the rules and KPIs they believe need to be kept under surveillance. This is a nice starting point but inevitably leads to large inefficiencies, as the number of rules augments and their intracorrelations are not understood.

ISSUE: Dangerous transactions will be investigated by humans, who must decide for each transaction whether it is criminal or not. This leads to long investigation times to come to accurate and precise conclusions.

SOLUTION: Using machine learning for optimally combining existing or new rules into rich fraud indicators, based on tried and tested math, ensure you are way more likely to get relevant alerts in a much smaller sample of investigation efforts. TIBCO’s machine learning models have both supervised and an unsupervised component. Supervised machine learning models focus on distinguishing within historic data known past fraud cases from the remainder. Financial crime detection also needs to be able to accommodate surprises through the use of unsupervised models. This type of model focuses on profiling typical past transactions and spotting odd ones. Not necessarily fraudulent, but odd, and therefore worthy of investigation.

SOLUTION: Investigators’ decisions can be made maximally efficient with a TIBCO Spotfire investigative template that collects all information about the transaction’s history from any number of disparate sources. Investigators can complete their analyses on TIBCO Business Process Management (BPM), such that all decisions regarding each alert are auditable at any time. Furthermore, by placing Spotfire on top of BPM, we can identify bottlenecks in the investigation process and suggest how to address them. More importantly, as transactions get investigated and a conclusion is made regarding whether they were actually fraud or not, this information is used to monitor model health over time.

Ryan Francis is managing editor for Network World and CSO. CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |

IS MANUFACTURING READY FOR THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION? Technology is moving so fast that society could soon feel the repercussions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Here are some of the disruptive technologies that are set to radically transform manufacturing once again.


n the late 18th century, new manufacturing processes – largely driven by water and stream power – saw major growth in industries such as coal, iron and textiles, that led to profound economic and social change. This is today widely recognised as the First Industrial Revolution. By the final third of the 19th century, the Second Industrial Revolution had arrived and with it came new innovations in electricity, petroleum and steel that led to many important new products and inventions – the most famous of which was the automobile. The first two revolutions helped create a more affluent and urbanised society. The introduction of computers and automation has accelerated society further and we are currently living through the Third Industrial Revolution, when industry and society are becoming increasingly digital.

precedent – even in comparison to any of the previous industrial revolutions. Furthermore, he says, it is disrupting almost every industry in every country, transforming entire systems of production, management and governance. The latest Cisco Visual Networking Index offers a statistical sneak-peek into the notso-distant future. It estimates that by 2020 there will be 4.1 billion global internet users and more than 12 billion global machineto-machine (M2M) connections (up from 4.9 billion in 2015). While in the Middle East and Africa, M2M connections are set to grow from 200 million in 2015 to 536 million in 2020.

There is a growing argument that these technologies are evolving so fast that the world is already approaching the Fourth Industrial Revolution. According to Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman at the World Economic Forum, these types of innovation do not merely represent an extension of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather the arrival of a fourth one. He argues that the speed of current breakthroughs has no historical

The use cases for 3D printing are growing by the day. “Aside from some of the more obvious applications within the automotive and aerospace industries, we expect to see some innovative and potentially transformative 3D printing deployments among medical suppliers, electronics manufacturers, and tools and components manufacturers,” says Martin Kuban, a senior research analyst with IDC Manufacturing Insights. In fact, 3D printing technology seems to be constantly branching out into new and unchartered territory. Consider, for example, the potential of 3D food printing. Some experts believe food printers could help reduce waste through innovative use of hydrocolloids; substances that form gels with water. These could potentially be used to transform alternative ingredients such as proteins from algae or insects into new food products.

Manufacturing gets smart Smart manufacturing is on the horizon, arming manufacturers with data that they can use to increase efficiencies and drive new levels of productivity. Integral to this are disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, autonomous vehicles, big data and analytics, 3D printing, nanotechnology and biotechnology.

The technology has the capability to replace mass manufacturing with products customised for individual requirements.

The significant rise in connected devices is paving the way for more widespread and smarter automation in the manufacturing space, which is further accelerated by a new generation of cheaper and safer robots. Over the last century, we have made the transition from people manually building cars to robots assembling cars – and artificial intelligence will continue to be a game changer in an industry typically driven by cost reduction.

Designing the future in 3D If we examine some of the other breakthrough technologies that could form part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution then 3D printers would also be top of the pile.

The Middle East and Africa is expected to be some of the highest growth markets for 3D printing in the coming years. Spending on 3D printing in the Middle East and Africa market is set to reach $1.3 billion by 2019, according to research from International Data Corporation (IDC). Like the revolutions before it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution offers the potential to improve living standards and raise income levels globally. Its success hinges on the application of disruptive technologies across many industry sectors – but it seems manufacturing could lead the way. High-speed, reliable connectivity underpins digital innovation. To find out more about how our network and services are supporting African businesses, visit

AFRICAN. We can keep African manufacturing on target. We believe the more products made in Africa, the better it is for Africa. It’s why we’ve built the continent’s largest fibre infrastructure and provide an award-winning satellite network, ensuring manufacturing is as streamlined and efficient as it can possibly be. Because we are not just a telecoms company. We are your technology partner.

Building Africa’s digital future





he modern enterprise is data-driven. The capability to quickly access and act upon information has become a key competitive advantage. But business data is often siloed and fragmented. To gain a competitive edge from your information, you need a single view of your data.

To help organizations get there, MongoDB has developed a 10-step methodology for delivering a single view of data, based on hard-earned experience from customer engagements.

Most organizations today have a complicated process for managing their data, one that usually involves multiple data sources of variable structure, ingestion and transformation, loading into an operation database and supporting the business applications that need the data. Analytics, business intelligence (BI) and reporting tools require access to the data, which frequently requires a separate data warehouse or data lake. These layers all need to comply with security protocols, information governance standards and other operational requirements.

Customers often approach single-view projects with very ambitious plans, Keep said. It’s good to have a vision, but it’s generally a mistake to start by planning to pull every piece of customer data you have from every system you have into your single view.

Once you’ve identified the business problem you’re trying to solve, the next step is to understand the consumers of the single view of data that you’re going to create. To get the right requirements, you need to understand who they are, how they work and ultimately how you can make their jobs simpler.

“What we have found is trying to boil the ocean, trying to get every piece of data in the first phase of the project is a big ask,” he said. “What we’ve found to be most successful is to focus on a single business problem.”

“You have to block some time out with them,” Keep said. “Observe. How do they actually query the data? Is it a text search? A lookup by customer ID? You can’t overengineer this and you can’t get enough data.”

Perhaps you want to reduce the mean time to resolution (MTTR) for your call center. Narrowing the scope of your project to that specific goal will make it much simpler to identify the data that’s most pertinent to success.

For example, Keep said, MongoDB has helped insurance company MetLife get a single view up and running for its call center reps. Observation revealed that the company’s call center reps had to navigate across as many as 15 different screens to answer common customer questions.

Too often, the result of this complexity is that information becomes stranded in silos. Systems are built to handle the requirements of the moment, rather than carefully designed into the existing application state, or a service requires additional attributes to support new functionality. Information on a single business entity, like a customer, winds up in a dozen different and disconnected places. “We know data is all around us,” said Mat Keep, director of Product and Market Analysis at MongoDB, the company behind the open source, NoSQL document-oriented database of the same name. “It’s growing at 40 to 50 percent every year. Mobile, web, sensor data, social networks. Putting all that data into a single view in increasingly becoming a priority. It’s very complex, often in silos, rarely consistent and hard to make actionable. Companies have been trying to build a single view for a long, long time.” 24

Step 1: Define project scope and sponsorship

“You should really walk before you run,” Keep said. “Start with a specific business problem which has a defined set of data you can pull from and a defined set of goals so you can measure success.” This will also help you identify the key stakeholders who stand to benefit.

They won’t run the project day-to-day, but they can help get the necessary resources in place to ensure the project is successful.

Step 2: Identify data consumers

Step 3: Identify data producers The third step, often symbiotic with Step 2, is to identify the data sources that generate the data you need for your project. “This could potentially mean creating new data sources, but very often the data exists,” Keep said. “It’s a matter of knowing where it is and how to get it. It might mean modifying an existing application to catch a new attribute, or digitizing something that was previously manual.” Like step 2, this step will help you identify the correct requirements. CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |

HOW-TO Step 4: Appoint data stewards The previous steps of the methodology encompassed the discovery phase of your single-view project. They were all about creating a framework of requirements. With step 4, you enter the development phase by appointing the data stewards responsible for the data in the source systems. Your data stewards will be the key players in both the creation of your single-view project and its ongoing maintenance. “They often own the data sources discovered in steps 2 or 3,” Keep said. “They know what tables the data lives in, how it’s formatted, how it’s extracted. They know if there’s a clean way of getting data out without interrupting core data systems.”

Step 5: Develop the single view model This critical step will govern everything that follows, but Keep notes it’s less daunting if you’ve successfully completed your initial upfront discovery. Identify the type of data, where it lives and how you need to query it. “Here we might look at exactly what data is mandatory and what’s optional,” Keep said. “For your application, email address, date of birth and credit card number might be mandatory. The social media account might be optional. Then figure out what data needs to be indexed. That’s going to speed up the queries that the consuming applications are going to want to run. This is where a database with a flexible data model really, really helps.”

Step 6: Data loading and standardization

systems so it meets the requirements you’ve defined,” he adds. “Then you’ll capture updates to your single view. You might do that in batch, but what we’re seeing more commonly now is they want a much fresher view. For that, [Apache] Kafka is very popular now. It provides a near real-time version of the data.”

Step 9: Modify the consuming systems

Step 7: Match, merge and reconcile

Step 10: Implement maintenance processes

Even though you standardized your data in the previous step, you’ll need to use algorithms to identify where records don’t line up based on source systems. For instance, a business travel application may draw on records that refer to ‘Mat Keep,’ ‘Mr. Keep’ and ‘Matthew Keep.’ Your single-view application needs to match, merge and reconcile those records. “This is really one of the toughest stages to do,” Keep said. “I have to tell it I’m one in the same person to get my points. That’s where matching and merging comes in.”

Step 8: Architecture design The architecture design step marks the beginning of the deployment phase of your single-view project. “This is how we’re physically going to deploy,” Keep said. “It’s about ensuring the underlying systems meet the performance goals and availability and security goals of the system.” In this step, you’ll implement proper security protection for personally identifiable information (PII) and make certain the system is resilient to failures and outages.

Look at the systems that consume the data and make sure the applications are pointing to the single view. In most cases, this means creating RESTful APIs from which applications can pull their data.

No business systems are static. They’re constantly changing as new processes are added or bugs are fixed. You might create the perfect data model, and it will remain so for five days until one of the source systems changes or breaks. That’s why a flexible data model is key to getting your single-view project right. The data model needs to keep pace with rapidly changing source systems. “Really, step 10 is a meta step,” Keep said. “To maintain the single view, you need to go back through the previous nine steps and continuously update the data model. Step 10 is really a loop around the previous processes. You need change management processes in place so the single view remains current. The data steward is really the guardian of the source system. As new application functionality is rolled out, they need to be working with the single-view team to tell them about changes. It should be on-demand; the single-view team has to be ready to accommodate changes as they’re made and the data stewards should be working closely with the development team.” Thor Olavsrud is a reporter for CIO

Once you have your single-view data model in place, you need to define how you want data represented within that single view. You need to design common field names for the attributes you’re capturing. Your various data sources might variously capture ‘DoB,’ ‘Date of Birth,’ and ‘Birthdate.’ You need to standardize those field names. “In stage six, what we actually do is make sure we’re transforming all the data from our source systems so it’s matching this standardization,” Keep said. “It starts with the initial data load.” “With the initial load, you’ve got an empty single-view database and you pull in all the data from your source | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA




Healthcare has remained relatively analog in most areas due in part to a lack of clear regulations related to relevant technology. In Kenya, though, health and ICT are slowly becoming more interconnected in the wake of the nation’s proving its techand health-sector leadership.

Timothy Otieno on Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital’s technologyadoption journey





enya is the only African country with a comprehensive eHealth strategy and the only country in the world with a multi-billion USD turnover of its famous M-PESA payments platform, which is linked to paying for healthcare services,” according to The Kenyan Healthcare Sector Opportunities for the Dutch Life Sciences & Health Sector, a study commissioned by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nairobi and published last year.

The report further states that Telemedicine, Health Management Information Systems, Hospital and Information Systems have continued to gain increased attention in the country, which has seen its health expenditures consistently increase. Another success in Kenya’s health sector is M-TIBA, a mobile health wallet developed by CarePay, PharmAccess and Safaricom, which allows users to send, save, receive and pay for healthcare services using their mobile phones. By April of this year, seven months after its launch, more than 500,000 people had registered on the platform, which is encouraging to experts who believe increasing use of technology will reduce costs while improving healthcare quality. To understand the role of technology in the sector, CIO East Africa interviewed the CIO and Head of Information Systems at Gertrude’s Hospital, Mr. Timothy Otieno. Taking us through how the CIO role has changed in the healthcare industry, Mr. Otieno pointed out that initially the CIO was the chief “techie,” in most cases merely the systems guru. “I remember the First CIO I met at Gertrude’s used to have her office as the server room and she used to operate all computers and her main role was to ensure everything is working well and most people never knew her or what she was doing. It was purely an operational role.” Over the years, though, he pointed out that the CIO’s role has changed significantly, from being a purely operational position mostly

...we are required by law to ensure that confidentiality and availability of the data upon request from the authorities is guaranteed. | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA

pushed to the basement to a more front-end, strategic and innovative job – while maintaining a focus on efficient operations. “At Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, the Information Service department has been seen as the innovation center of the hospital and it’s been responsible for changing the way we provide and deliver services to our patients. The CIO is also expected to provide insight to the business through analysing the vast amounts of data and presenting the same in a way that makes sense to the key decision-makers, allowing them to make data-driven decisions,” he said. In dealing with day-to-day responsibilities, Mr. Otieno’s priorities when he gets to work every morning are to ensure that all systems are healthy and the backups ran successfully. On Mondays he’s tasked with reviewing the previous week and progress on the hospital’s strategic goals/projects. He also reviews the previous day’s activities, progress of ongoing projects, prioritizes the day’s tasks and makes time to keep up-to-date on the ever-changing world of technology trends and developments. He handles quite a large scope of information so there’s a need to ensure that their systems are all in place; Gertrude’s is one of the few hospitals in Kenya that has fully gone paperless through their Kranium Integrated Hospital Management System (KIHMS). “The scope of such information is basically ‘all’ the information that is relevant to the institution and its patients. This includes information on clinical outcomes, patient biodata and personal information, medical records, billing records, employee data, payroll data, etc. For instance, the insurance companies will demand certain information while making a claim e.g. ICD10 Coding of the diagnosis to make a claim,” said Mr. Otieno. “At the same time, we are required by law to ensure that confidentiality and availability of the data upon request from the authorities is guaranteed. We also need to guarantee that employee data remains confidential and doesn’t leak to the employees themselves.” With all this data being in his department’s possession and data management in the industry being crucial, Mr. Otieno was quick to point out that security is a critical aspect of his responsibility. “At the end of the day I need to get our stakeholders to have confidence that we have taken the necessary steps to protect their information from unauthorized access and malicious




If you are a Kenyan citizen you know of the famous Grogon area in downtown Nairobi, famously known as “Girogoni,” which has a curious connection with Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital. The area got its name from Colonel Ewart Grogan, who owned the piece of land in the early 1900s. He is said to be the first man to make the Cape-to-Cairo journey, which he made to seek approval to marry Gertrude Edith. It was agreed that the journey would be a suitable test of his character and seriousness. His successful trip across Africa was crowned with the marriage he hoped for. The couple later settled in Nairobi in 1904. In 1943, Gertrude Grogan died; four years later, the donation of land by Colonel Grogan, in memory of his wife, saw the birth of Gertrude’s Garden Children’s Hospital, which turns 70 years this year with over 10 branches. Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital is a charitable trust, which is to say that all profits are used to run and improve the facility. It is run by a board of trustees who offer their services voluntarily to provide guidance for day-today hospital operations and are responsible for policy decisions. 27


TIMOTHY OTIENO’S PATH TO LEADERSHIP Mr. Timothy Otieno, head of Information Systems at Gertrude’s, started his professional journey in IT some 14 years ago, way back in 2003, during his second year at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA).

damage, among other cyber-threats,” he said. To achieve this the Mr. Otieno explained the security program, which includes: conducting a semi-annual security-risk assessment, conducting frequent vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, creating a security culture and awareness in users and maintaining physical security such as access control to records and IT equipment. With telemedicine, m-health, e-health emerging as new trends shaping the healthcare sector, we sought to find out which of these new technologies Gertrude’s is using or evaluating. Mr. Otieno told us that the hospital, among the oldest in Kenya, is big on telemedicine, having set-up telemedicine centres in Sekenani Maasai Mara, Garissa, Mombasa Clinic, KU Hospital and Kibera. Reviewing innovations and partnerships, Mr. Otieno said that they had and continue to have great partnership with technology firms such as Orange Telekom and Cisco, with whom they had the initial telemedicine setups; Safaricom; Liquid Telecom; Technology Associates; Kranium Technologies, Akili Africa, Savanah Informatics and others. We also wondered if facility’s size is a big factor in the role of the healthcare CIO, in the same way it is for SMEs compared to larger enterprises. Mr. Otieno pointed out that the size of a hospital matters, too. “A ‘bigger’ hospital has lots of dynamics that one needs to think of. As much as a ‘smaller’ hospital basically does the same thing as a ‘big’ hospital, providing 28

healthcare to the patients, one thing you have to take into consideration at a larger place is the needs of a larger variety of people such as doctors of different specialties, external doctors, interaction with other service providers and integration with different machines,” he said. “There’s non-medical staff, inpatient services, sub specialties, as well. Demands are also directly proportional to the size of the institution. A clear example would be implementing a hospital management information system (HMIS) between the different-sized hospitals. A bigger hospital would have a much extensive scope as per the services provided, such as surgical services, specialized services, inpatient, consultant services, et cetera, as compared to a small facility that would simply need a simple patients’ record and billing solution.” So what does a healthcare CIO have in common with CIOs from other industries? “One thing we have in common is that we are responsible for the systems and technology in our organizations. We ensure everything is working and available for use.” He added that there is that constant need and struggle to make the right choice in adopting the tech trends amid

A ‘bigger’ hospital has lots of dynamics that one needs to think of.

By then he had already started designing and developing applications for small startups, along with customizing open-source CRMs and other applications in the evenings, after his internship duties at what was known as Gertrude’s Garden Children’s Hospital. He was handed his first contract at GGCH in 2005, as an IT Technician/Support and was responsible for the technical matters including user support. He moved up the ladder until he was in charge of ICT Projects and Systems. After eight years of steady growth, he moved to Kenchic Limited as the IT Manager in July 2013 before returning to the hospital one year later as the head of Information Services. the realities of cloud-based computing, systems security, threats of attacks, the risk of internal attacks, Big Data, analytics, disruptions by relatively new tech firms and more. “We also need to understand the business. Being that we are ‘techies,’ we have to step up from that perception among the other C-Level executives in the business and win their trust and a seat at the table,” he said. Mr. Otieno’s parting thought of advice to other CIOs? “Always be ready to test out new technologies and see how it can apply to enhance client interaction and process improvements to meet your strategies and deliver on your goals. Do not shy away from technology. In terms of security, bear in mind that the harder you work to secure your systems there is someone working even harder to break it. It’s time we started thinking like the hackers to secure our systems.” CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |



DANISH OYUGI ON DRIVING LENOVO’S BUSINESS IN KENYA Lenovo Group was largely unknown outside its native China until 2005, when it acquired IBM’s PC business. The cquisition moved Lenovo into the ranks of the world’s largest PC manufacturers. Since then, it has maintained a strong presence in the PC market and its phones have been recognized around the world as among the best in their price ranges.


n Kenya, Danish Oyugi is Lenovo’s Cluster Lead, East Africa and Country Manager Kenya. He joined the company, from Samsung, in 2015, when the company was establishing its presence in Kenya. His role, he explained is to drive strategy and business for Lenovo in Kenya and other five countries. “I also manage the team I work for to drive the business,” he said. Mr. Oyugi is also responsible for driving sales revenue as per the business plan for Devices and Solutions by taking end-to-end ownership of the entire channel in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda. He is also tasked with taking full accountability for the end-to-end sales for Devices and Solutions throughout the channel and distribution networks as well as managing relationships with key operators and distributors. When he joined Lenovo in 2015 as the Regional Business Head, Mobile Business Group - East Africa, he was tasked with driving telecom opportunities and relationships in the East Africa region and supporting the firm’s Pan-African pursuits through engaging with local distributors and telecom operators to build the firm’s smartphone and tablet business. Mr. Oyugi has also worked with other multinationals including Blackberry, Nokia and Unilever. “In terms of Industry experience, I have worked with a couple of multinationals in both the FMCG industry and IT industries. We

are talking of close to 14 years of experience between FMCG and the IT industries,” he said. Looking at the Lenovo business in Kenya, Mr. Oyugi said the business was divided into three sets: the Mobile Business Group, Personal Computer Group and the Datacenter Group. He is tasked with driving performance across the region in terms of Lenovo’s profitability in the three groups.

Lenovo and the smartphone market Lenovo, long known for its PCs, entered the smartphone market in 2012; two years later it was China’s largest smartphone seller. Also in 2014, Lenovo agreed to acquire Motorola Mobility from Google. The company has launched its devices in various markets, with different market targets. Earlier this year, Lenovo brought its Moto Z phone to Kenya.

A lot has changed in the market, in terms of the smartphone industry, especially in Kenya. | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA



We partner with Microsoft and Intel as well on the solutions. We are actually the first in the region to develop software solutions for Nakumatt and Jambo Pay, and we have bigger accounts on the datacenter side. Addressing why the company had decided to join Kenya’s crowded, fiercely competitive smartphone market, Mr. Oyugi explained that the world’s going mobile and the company needs to change with the world. “A lot has changed in the market, in terms of the smartphone industry, especially in Kenya. The smartphone penetration is still low and we have quite a long way to go. We are talking about a penetration rate of 15 percent so the opportunity is quite high for us,” he said. “If you look at the featurephone market, which is highly saturated at 90 percent, most players, especially the telcos, are now converting their featurephone players to smartphone users. So the opportunity for smartphone usage in Kenya is huge. If you look at the Lenovo Mobile Business Group, we came into this business and started the business in February 2015.”

its own 10-hour battery pack; the Hasselblad True Zoom, a 10x optical zoom camera; and the Insta-Share projector, which projects images and videos up to a 70-inch display. “Through these partnerships we are able to deliver on our (mobile business), therefore carving our niche in the smartphone market,” said Mr. Oyugi. Beyond the world of phones, the Datacenter business has been operating in Kenya since 2014. “We are actually driving our business with the x86 server in this region,” he added. Lenovo’s PC business has been quite profitable globally; in Kenya it has a 21.1-percent market share, a “very strong number-two in the market,” Mr. Oyugi said.

So can Lenovo succeed in the smartphone market in Kenya, which has so many phones to choose from?

The company is also making progress through its work with major partners, which have helped it establish and maintain significant revenue streams, he added.

“We are bringing experience to our consumers,” said Mr. Oyugi. “We are moving away from the normal hardware. In terms of building business, we are working with channel partners very closely. We also have a diverse team steering the effort for us.”

“We also have several cloud partners including Nutanix. We partner with Microsoft and Intel as well on the solutions. We are actually the first in the region to develop software solutions for Nakumatt and Jambo Pay, and we have bigger accounts on the datacenter side.”

The other thing the company is focused on globally is partnerships, he added, noting that with the Moto brand, Lenovo has partnered with companies like JBL for speakers and Hasselblad for a camera.

Major Milestones

“Our Moto brand, especially the MotoZ, can be expanded with what we call the Moto Mods. There are several Mods available,” he added.

“First would be localizing the business. I started as a one-man operation. Apart from that, our products, especially our phone brands, are doing quite well in the market two years down the line. In terms of partnerships, we have created partners with all major sector players, which is not easy,” said Mr. Oyugi.

Mods include the Incipio offGrid Power Pack which adds up to 20 hours of battery life; the JBL SoundBoost speaker, which improves sound output and has

He added that as a leader, one of his ultimate goals is that in a couple years, Lenovo will be among the top-three brands.


LENOVO’S LONG ROAD Did you that “Lenovo” comes from “Le-,” from the word “legend,” and “novo,” Latin for “new?” The Chinese name means “association” or “connected thinking.” In the company’s first two decades, its English name was “Legend;” 15 years ago, one of the founders decided to develop a new name as part of an international-expansion effort. In April 2003, the company announced that it would be known as Lenovo. Liu Chuanzhi founded the company in 1984 with 10 engineers in Beijing. Lenovo was set-up with 200,000 yuan, about Ksh 29,000,000; its first name was the Chinese Academy of Sciences Computer Technology Research Institute New Technology Development Company – rather a lot to fit on a package or product. The company’s first serious business effort was an attempt to import televisions, which failed. The group then rebuilt itself in less than a year by conducting quality checks on computers for new buyers. Lenovo also developed a circuit board that allowed IBM-compatible personal computers to process Chinese characters. This product was Lenovo’s first major success. Lenovo also tried unsuccessfully to market a digital watch. In 2005, Lenovo acquired IBM’s personal computer business including the ThinkPad laptop and tablet lines. The move accelerated access to foreign markets and improved the firm’s branding and technology. The first Lenovo branding and messaging included the company logo against a blue sky, along with, “Transcendence depends on how you think.” The current logo debuted in 2015, at Lenovo Tech World in Beijing, with the slogan “Innovation Never Stands Still.” CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |




or over a decade, data has been at or near the top of the enterprise agenda. A robust ecosystem has emerged around all aspects of data (collection, management, storage, exploitation and disposition). And yet in my discussions with Global 2000 executives, I find many are dissatisfied with their data investments and capabilities. This is not a technology problem. This is not a technique problem. This is a people problem. Those enamored of data often want to eliminate the human from the equation, but it can’t be done. And so, as climate science considers the impact of man on the environment, data science must wrestle with the inverse: the impact of data on man. You can fill a library with fine works of nonfiction focusing on the potential and perils of a rapidly informating world. “Informating” is a term coined by Shoshana Zuboff in her book In the Age of the Smart Machine (1988). It is the process that translates descriptions and measurements of activities, events and objects into data/information. “Datafication” is a synonym for “informating” – the trend associated with turning many aspects of modern life into machine-readable data and transforming this information into new forms of value. The question that has not received much attention in technology circles is how and via what time frame the masses, those who are not trained, credentialed or particularly facile in data management and use, will respond to the accumulation of massive data. Sociologists and anthropologists need to weigh in here. Some of the most interesting thinking about the impact of all this data is happening in | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA

ture. In Circles, David Eggers gives us a fictional portrayal of what a totally informated workplace might look like. It is not a pretty picture. I think this is a must-read for those who seek to understand the human side of the data revolution. Some scholars contend we are in the middle of a personal-data gold rush. It is not obvious that the beneficiary of this gold rush will be the source of the data gold – people. How many average Joes realize that if they are not paying for the service, they are the product? Data “accumulation is generally occurring with minimal consideration of us, the individuals at the heart of this process,” as H. Haddadi and his fellow researchers write. Marc Andreessen, venture capitalist and much-heeded voice for all things tech,


compresses the consensus that it is generally not practical to withdraw completely from all online activity into four words: “We have no choice.” Individuals have to be online. And when they go online, they generate data. Do they know how to manage and protect that data? Do they know the options available to them for becoming protected? I envision that in the USA at some time in the not so distant future, a federal agency will emerge –akin to Health and Human Services – devoted to protecting citizen data. Responsibility for data protection, what there is of it, is now fragmented across several U.S. federal agencies. Perhaps the new Citizen Data Protection Agency will resemble Homeland Security, a throwing together of various parts of the federal bureaucracy. In the early days of the data revolution, most of the commentary was very positive, focusing on how data would make the world better: how smart cars would materially reduce the number of traffic fatalities, how smart investing would increase rates of return, how smart medicine would customise treatment plans, how smart education would personalize lesson plans for each student, how smart shopping would create memorable customer experiences, etc. Currently the pendulum of public opinion appears to be swinging in the direction of concern. This may be because the promised benefits of data exchange (I give you data, you delight me with services or products specifically designed for me) and the futuristic visions of a better world have failed to materialize. Data is everywhere, both in the foreground (smartphones, tablets, wearables) and in the background (road traffic management, financial systems). I agree with those who believe that human-data interaction is important enough to become a discipline unto itself. In your organization, who is thinking hard about the collection, analysis and actions associated with the human side of the data revolution? Thornton May is a correspondent for Computerworld 31





evolution, which is currently in its fourth year, has been characterised through increased engagement between the county governments and the citizens. The best example of such engagement comes in the form of Kenya’s Huduma centers, where citizens of a specific sub-governments have access to government services and resources via one-stop shops within their respective counties. Following in the footsteps of governments and entrepreneurs around the world, one startup in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, has taken citizen participation to a new level by leveraging social media and mapping technology to create an app that links citizens directly to the government. One of the app’s co-founders, Accadius Sabwa, refers to it as a “citizen science app,” informing CIO East Africa, during an interview that the application is geared towards information-sharing between citizens and the government with the aim of enhancing timely, effective and efficient decision-making and public-service delivery. “The app on the one hand empowers citizens to precisely report to government the issues that inconvenience their day-to-day lives, while on the other hand, it empowers government to satisfactorily provide requisite interventions, solutions and services to its citizens,” said Sabwa. Per Sabwa, the app, which is called M-power, allows for citizens to make 32

submissions via two sub-apps, MapIT, which focuses on mapping disaster-related issues and ReportIT, which focuses on mapping incidents such as power outages, water outages, disease epidemics, infrastructural and utility malfunctions, crimes and accidents. “Once an incident is submitted, it notifies the relevant officials via email details, the location, photo, description, then posts on social media for follow-ups. Government and citizens follow-up and resolve,” said Sabwa. “When a citizen sees something they need to report, say a pothole, they simply go to the app on the smartphone and select the category, then the subcategory, take a picture then submit. This process records the location while submitting. Once the submission is successful, this info goes to the database while also posting the same to Twitter. This will post about the situation alongside a photo and the location on a map,” he added.

Apps of this nature have evolved over the last several years, in cities, states and countries around the world. One of the first of its kind, created by the City of Boston, in the USA, appeared in 2009, according to governing,com The city’s Citizens Connect “allowed for anyone with a smartphone to report problems and receive alerts from the city,” the site said. The app, a major success, was expanded to cover not just the city of Boston, in the state of Massachusetts, but all of the state. The national government of Australia offers dozens of apps for people to access information and communicate with government officials. The apps provide assistance with everything from taxation and medical care to tourism statistics and veterinary matters. The government of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, has made considerable efforts to include apps as part of its e-government program. It says of its DubaiNow app, “You can pay most of your bills and fees, plan and track your travel around Dubai, plan child vaccination, find out school ratings, track Empost shipments, find local prayer times and mosques, find a specialist doctor or clinic, track flight arrivals and departures, find a 24hr pharmacy and more.” Sabwa’s application is primarily being used in Kenya, mostly within Nairobi, but he has big plans; his vision is that his app will be adopted by county governments as a tool for reporting. Sabwa though, notes that one of the biggest challenges the app is facing is slow uptake by the governments. “The collaboration from the government is not yet forthcoming. Once this is achieved, we will fully take off,” he concluded. CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |





He explained that through its short life Sophie Bot has faced several challenges.

n doing so, they can miss out on learning facts, come to believe things that are not true and not educate one another on sexual health. One startup in Africa is attempting to use artificial intelligence robots to help demystify the sensitive topic that is the “sex talk.”

“Building technology like Sophie requires us to solve a question that’s still open in computer science, natural-language processing, where we train Sophie to be able to extract meaning from questions and map the answer from our training-data set of questions and answers,” Amukasa continued.

Apps to provide information have been around for some years now, throughout the world, though adding artificial intelligence is a much newer development and it’s at the heart of the local effort.

“Also, bots are new on messaging apps and even though we deploy on cloud infrastructure, scaling is problematic on messenger for developers the world over.”

Artificial-intelligence robots or bots, are developed to run automated tasks; the bot in this case is called Sophie Bot, which informs its users about all matters relating to sex and sexual health. “Sophie Bot is an artificial-intelligence persona built to answer your questions on sexual health. It is much like Siri or Cortana, but trained to only answer questions on sexual health. Using Sophie is as simple as downloading the Sophie bot app, saying hi and asking your questions on sexual health. You can also use her over Facebook’s messenger telegram and Twitter by searching @misssophiebot and asking your question,” Irving Amukasa, co-founder and CEO of Sophie Bot, said during an interview with CIO East Africa. “It’s really awkward talking about sex, in this society even taboo. This means a lot of people in need of credible information on sexual health don’t access it, leading to bad decisions on sexual health. This is evidenced by the high prevalence of HIV and AIDS, STIs, teen pregnancies and emergency pill abuse.” Those concerns have led a variety of government organisations and entrepreneurs to develop apps, text-based communication and other IT-based solutions so people can get potentially sensitive facts and information they need. | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA

It hasn’t been all doom and gloom for the young developers, as per Amukasa; Sophie Bot has more than 2,000 users from all over the world and plans for expansion are in the works. There is considerable room for growth, he believes.

App-based information is available from Indonesia to the United States, in some cases from universities that seek to ensure students can comfortably access correct, accurate information. Experts around the world have said for decades that there is an enormous amount of misinformation that’s too-often spread from one person to the next because people can feel uncomfortable to discuss the matters with those who know the facts. Sophie Bot was developed by a group of six students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The team consists of two business developers and four developers, including Amukasa.

“Seventy percent of our visitors are from Kenya with the U.S. second with 16 percent of our user base,” he said. “Expansion will include supporting French for francophone countries, especially African countries. The bigger vision is to zoom out and pivot to health in general. We have already have received questions in Korean, Russian and even Chinese so language Is an opportunity for us. “The true value for Sophie does not lie with our users, but to organisations and businesses dealing in health and sexual health. We offer to deploy Sophie on the social and online platforms they’re on to answer their clients’ questions about their businesses and also about sexual health. One such business has 3,000 questions each day and they must hire staff for 12 hours each day to handle such questions. Sophie Bot automates responses.” 33




INDUSTRY TRAILBLAZER AND INTERNET-GOVERNANCE PIONEER Sophia Bekele has observed that women “are the engine that powers the society. Think about any phenomenal revolutionary idea that has changed the world and you will find a woman right in there.”


imple as it may sound, her words are full of truth, from Ada Lovelace, the lady who pioneered computer programming, to Grace Hopper, who pioneered the coding language, and a host of others, women played critical roles in shaping the world of technology that we enjoy today. Like the women innovators who came before her, Ms. Bekele’s contribution in the ICT Industry has been significant. She is well known in the global ICT and internet working environments for her efforts to bridge the global digital divide through technology transfer and education. She is considered as trailblazer for her efforts in the world of internet governance terrain, where she has accomplished impactful work on internet policy and governance. While she is also known for her successful career in the IT and Internet world, her most recent work focused on introducing and championing the .Africa domain name for Africa. That became quite a journey in governance and an African story. In 2014, she was named among the “two leading ladies in Africa’s ICT sector” by Bloomberg TV, which recognized the “most fearless, competitive and visionary African women of our time.” Later that year was named by the UK’s NewAfrican magazine as one of the “50 Trailblazers.” The Reported Daily, a prominent publication in Ethiopia also recognized her as one of “10 Women that Matter,” noting she is among the women who’ve “made their mark on society.” Her proudest moment was recognition from a global language group in 2010 as a “Champion” of their very complicated cause, which entailed navigating through a highly techni-

When I started, it was pretty new for women, but I went on it like any other responsibility, like I still do now, ignoring the gender stereotype 34

cal and political path in launching an Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) policy at ICANN, when she was an advisory to policy regarding domain names. With this in place, small businesses can register their own language at the URL level of the internet and reap the benefit under their own control rather under than western-owned registries, where some of the most successful new domains have launched. So where did all this start? Born and raised in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, Ms. Bekele later left for the USA for her higher education. Ms. Bekele told CIO East Africa in an interview, that she studied Computer Information Systems for her undergrad and attained an MBA in the Management of Information Systems. “I was then immediately recruited by a financial-industry giant, Bank of America, to train and perform in a unique field of IT, Auditing and Security, a highly ethical and disciplined field that deals with controls, safeguarding and governance of information systems assets,” she said. She spoke of a long, steady career in the field, moving around in various financial-industry CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |

WOMEN IN TECH circles and consulting firms, until she took off to become independent, which started her entrepreneurship journey. She set up various startups to pursue opportunities with assisting Africa address its digital divide while working with U.S. clients that needed services ranging from corporate governance, venture capital, corporate communications and developing business models to taking early-stage companies to market. Most of her startups were created to assist in technology transfers and bridging the digital divide at the time when Africa has an early need for building IT infrastructure. “My companies did well in the share of the market, handled important projects where we implemented large-scale fiber optic-based ICT infrastructure networking projects for high-profile regional clients in governments and businesses in Ethiopia. We also introduced the first Domain Name Systems (DNS) market in the country. As the industry consolidated, I kept up my interests and moved into emerging technologies using new startups,” she said. Ms. Bekele attributes her success in the industry to three major things; having a growth mindset; flexibility; and bouncing back from setbacks. So, how did she end up in the IT industry, which is dominated by male counterparts? Ms. Bekele said that her educational background, training and employment experiences determined her career. “It is actually an exciting and ever-changing industry with many challenges and new things to learn, particularly in the financial industry, where technology was always at a cutting edge, so I was passionate about my work. When I started, it was pretty new for women, but I went on it like any other responsibility, like I still do now, ignoring the gender stereotype,” she said. As the founder and director of DotConnectAfrica, Ms. Bekele walked us through how she got that project started. “Initially I was inspired to set up DotConnectAfrica, as its name aims to | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA

Most recently twentyfive women selected from over three hundred applicants benefit directly by receiving training on mobile apps and technology. nect Africa through a single pan-African domain name, which I initiated and brought to Africa, and at the same time use it to create an education platform for using the internet to benefit Africa,” she said. “Since then, we have proposed various initiatives under DCA, but what has taken off most successfully is the popular and the first Pan-African women-in-tech program, namely Miss.Africa.” Miss.Africa started as an initiative targeted at young women in Africa to increase their involvement in early technology use and adoption with a view to improving their digital self-awareness and empowerment, and self-esteem, Ms. Bekele said. “We achieved this initially through inhouse training and mentorship,” she added. “We have now moved on to organize a pan-African seed fund where we offer grants to support women and girls in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields to launch or expand their own initiatives that will increase their digital opportunities in IT related training, jobs and leadership roles. Most recently twenty-five women selected from over three hundred applicants benefit directly by receiving training on mobile apps and technology. And we look forward to more graduating this round of 2017,” she said. Under DCA, Ms. Bekele explained that they provide other digital programs including targeted online industry channel and video-dissemination services and other on-demand technical services to the general public. As a leader, Ms. Bekele pointed out that she drew most of her inspiration from her father, whose shoulders she proudly stands on.

“He was a very prominent and respected businessman who moved mountains with the limited resources his country, Ethiopia, offered. He was a serial entrepreneur who built many successful businesses,” she said. She also said that Empress Taytu Betul of the Ethiopian Empire and wife of Emperor Menelek II of Ethiopia, who founded Addis Ababa, was another source of inspiration. “She was a brilliant strategist with comprehensive education and started the first girl’s education program. She knew the imbalances as well as the capabilities of women in a manner of self-reflection.” Challenges? Yes just like her male counterparts. Ms. Bekele pointed out the main challenge as a woman CEO is running an organization to an optimum with the vision and mission set out and the resources allocated. “Second, the challenge of being a woman in tech is obviously to overcome some of the gender-bias where the male fraternity tend to lean towards the club mentality even as a means of getting over you. But I think it has become societally unacceptable now more than ever to not have the gender balance. And companies are realizing the danger of ignoring the unique talent women bring to the table, to their bottom line,” she said. She pointed out, though, that by and large it’s well known that women represent the larger consumer group so the issue at stake is more than just equal opportunity, but survival of the fittest companies. In addition to her IT-related accomplishments, Ms. Bekele has written about women’s issues and development issues. Most of her recent writing has been associated with expressing her views on internet-governance matters and the related public issues. She pointed out that ICT is the lynchpin of innovation and economic value, which is to say that roles are being shaped daily by changes in technology, so women should appreciate it, get into the groove of knowing its value and use it well. 35




ather than fight this trend, businesses can develop strategies that will not just save money, increase business agility and collaboration but also solve problems faster and improve productivity while not compromising security.

abounds in the marketplace, understanding how a business is performing, planning for the future and making decisions about products, pricing, competition, markets, investments or budgets all need to be looked into. It is something that some enterprises need to invest in to scale up.

While the wider digital ecosystem needs to be built in such a way that it is possible to detect and prevent cyber security attacks, it is crucial that businesses also weigh the impact of adopting enterprise tools that allow for collaboration, inherent to digitisation and common systems across the organization – devices notwithstanding.

Business Intelligence has proven to help companies improve operations; make faster, better-informed decisions; and achieve significantly higher growth. Research further has it that companies providing employees with fast access to data and easy-to-use analytical solutions deliver up to 26% superior revenue growth. Big Data takes this insight to the next level, focusing on predictive analysis, forecasting events and behaviours, and allowing businesses to conduct what-if analyses to predict the effects of potential changes in strategies. Moreover, as devices connected to the Internet allow businesses to collect information along the supply chain, the combination of Big Data analytics with the Internet of Things will produce huge opportunities for companies in all industries.

The 2017 Global State of Information Security Survey by PWC shows that today’s businesses are not only creating products but delivering complementary opportunities for customer engagement and growth. As more products and services (business or consumer related) become connected to the internet, more information is being generated, shared and stored; there has never been a greater need or time to proactively address interconnection needs.

The face of tomorrow’s business Further, a survey conducted by CDW reveals that 89 percent of business employees use personal mobile devices for work and 67 percent said their companies would lose competitive ground without those devices. Clearly there’s a case for the mobile workplace and the value brought on by mobile applications that can speed business processes and decision-making, accelerate sales and improve customer engagement. When you look at businesses today, ever wonder what they will look like in the near future? While talk of Business Intelligence, Big Data and the Internet of Things


The evolving value of data to business As these technology evolutions shape new business management solutions, where users can no longer be isolated in administrative functions, user access to data is critical to any business looking to stay ahead. Sage X3 is the next generation of Sage business management solutions, taking away the complexity and cost to manage typical enterprise ERP software as it delivers a faster, simpler and flexible way to manage your entire business today and into the future. This solution, targeted at enterprises, offers a web user experience based on a range of new technology components recognized as best in class, industry leading and forward-looking for multi-brows-

er and mobile usage, speed search, web service development and document management. User-centric, collaborative, participative and social, Sage X3 harnesses new technologies to help drive process efficiency, improve productivity, increase customer satisfaction and support better decision making. The collection of real-time information on all aspects of the business from; manufacturing, distribution, services and customer relations which form the backbone of any business means that by investing in a well-integrated business management system, enterprises are able to mine intelligence and apply the data to inform business strategies while adapting to changing market conditions. As Cloud increasingly becomes the preferred deployment option for business applications beyond simplifying access to data across devices and locations. Cloud solutions are also more cost effective and scalable; providing enterprises with a highly redundant and secured architecture, software integrations, security, application updates and upgrades where businesses can tap into the full potential of new applications necessary for today’s digital market place. Designed for the Cloud first, Sage X3 also recognizes the need to support pragmatic evolutions and changes in today’s IT strategies, allowing for deployment in a variety of environments: as a service, in a Sage-managed infrastructure; a customer’s own infrastructure on-premises; or in a private Cloud environment. The next generation of business management solutions is about managing complex processes in a simpler way, one that’s different from the traditional complexity of managing typical enterprise ERP software. The focus is on speed, simplicity and flexibility for the future business. That’s why Sage X3 is fast, simple & flexible. CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |


DESIGNED FOR AFRICA HIKVISION SPECIAL iVMS-5200 VSaaS SOFTWARE Since 2015, Hikvision has invested resources to ensure its software is effective for the African market. After one year of gathering information regarding software requirements for the continent, the needed enhancements were added into Hikvision global software iVMS5200 and the special software was released for Africa.


ikvision, with its iVMS-5200 VSaaS software, is committed to changing the traditional security mode, from the simple human defense into the human defense plus technical prevention management mode. iVMS-5200 VSaaS software provides a variety of system-management tools to improve safety monitoring and prevention efficiency, and circumvent accidents. Hikvision’s software provides: • Multi-site centralized management and a cross-city, cross-region, one-station, remote-visualized management solution; • Video surveillance and alarm detector working together for early detection of dangerous situations and remote viewing; • Independent alarm-event graph interface, which focuses on timely early warnings; • Abundant alarm processing mechanisms, such as alarm-trigger pop-up windows,

email alerts and event processing and distribution to ensure that the alarm can be traced; • The perfect combination of image and voice to warn criminals and call the person in charge; • Alarm-processing plan management, including standard plans to handle alarms; • Reports created by the alarm type, the alarm state, the processing person and so on, along with report analysis, to help the manager assemble the appropriate security personnel. Hikvision’s iVMS-5200 VSaaS software has been applied in more than 20 Africa countries and more than 500 projects, works through more than 10,000 camera channels, handles thousands of alarm processes per day and it has delivered thousands of warnings to customers. At the same time, iVMS-5200 VSaaS software has been favored by other regions of the world; the VSaaS software, which is from the African market, is sweeping the globe. And there’s more to come, company officials say. “In 2017, we will be more focused on the demands of African market, more focused on security service business, and keep upgrading the VSaaS software security visualized management capabilities. In Hangzhou R&D center, we prepare the R&D team for the monitoring industry in Africa to provide software services. Any idea, any demand, it could be possible in Hikvision.” | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA



LG’S NEW FRIDGE GOES GREEN TO HELP SAVE ENERGY LG recently launched its new large-capacity side-by-side refrigerator with ‘Door-in-Door’ feature in the Kenyan market. The fridge will help households go green in a bid to save on your energy bill and reduce your carbon footprint.


peaking during the launch, LG’s managing director in charge of East and Central Africa business, Janghoon Chung, said that the new addition to the company’s consumer-centric home appliance’s portfolio is designed with features that increase efficiency and save energy. In Kenya there are various problems facing the energy sector, some of which include: inadequate power supply capacity, over-dependence on hydro-power, shortage of transformers and overstressed distribution network and long delays in development of power infrastructure. According to, these are some of the problems the Ministry of Energy is looking to deal with due to ongoing expansion projects and the alignment of the sector with Vision 2030 and the Constitution. With such problems facing the industry, Kenyan citizens can assist the government by employing practices that save energy, which will also benefit them with a lower energy bills and much smaller carbon footprints. Some of the more orthodox innovations that people in Kenya use in trying to save electricity includesthe installation of solar panels in a bid to harness the sun’s power; one of the benefits of living here is that the sun’s often shinning. Another innovation is the energy-saving bulb, which has become a common household utility in many a Kenyan home. LG has now taken a step in the right direction, in trying to assist in the reduction of its customer’s carbon footprint through the launch of this fridge, which comes with new and innovative technologies. This new refrigerator is designed to offer convenience to our customers. Its impeccable design and unapparelled high energy efficiency makes it the best model in the Kenyan market thus far,” said Chung. “We are further making advancement in cutting-edge, innovative and intuitive technology across our wide spectrum of electronics, an attribute that has worked to place LG in a very favorable position as a market leader.” The new refrigerator is fitted with an inverter linear compressor that ensures maximum


energy savings, LG’s space-saving frame and slim insulation technology to increase storage capacity, LG’s Nature FRESH system that works to keep foods fresher for longer periods. LG Fresh Balancer that maintains optimal humidity and temperature levels for specific food items, such as fruits and vegetables as well as Pure N Fresh that actively circulates purified air evenly throughout the refrigerator. The new Door-In-Door fridge model also has a space that stops up to 41 percent of cold air escaping each time the fridge is opened. It also has redesigned and increased Door-inDoor™ Compartment providing wider view of the contents stored inside. Other compelling features include improved water and ice dispensing system and exterior design with an option of premium metal finish or a black stainless steel that is both fingerprint and scratch resistant. The new set that boasts more than 668 liters of storage capacity is a premium tier refrigerator and more superior than the company’s previously designed side-by-side models. The ‘Door-in-Door, mega-capacity refrigerator has shelves built into the first set of doors, which then open around a second set of doors, of the main fridge compartment. The refrigerator will be available in all leading supermarkets and LG shops country-wide. CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |





his leaves us with a perfect image of interconnected links in a chain, but in the actual sense, no supply chain is not that perfect; there are a lot of intricacies that are not visible from the image we can imagine.

The value an organization derives from its supply chain has traditionally been determined by how well it manages those links and connections. Most experts argue that the better the product, the faster its production and the cheaper its cost, but without efficient supply-chain management a product lifecycle is really not complete. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and supply chain management (SCM) have long been incorporated and interdependent, but the Internet of Things allows organizations to enhance those solutions by connecting people, processes, data and physical items via devices and sensors. This deeper intelligence can come to life in many different ways when it comes to supply chain data and intelligence – from automating the manufacturing process to improved visibility within the warehouse. There are services that feature a suite of tools and services to easily add the power of IoT to the supply chain. Services include traceability solutions and dependable, rugged devices that gather real-time data about shipments and send it to the cloud, where it is made available to companies through a web portal. The service can includes real-time event alerts, reports and analytics providing logistics companies with data on routes, detention times, deviations from routes or protocols, shipment condition, and ETA. | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA

There’s the power to analyse real-time data in the context of historical data, providing the information required to optimise the delivery approach to distributors. Companies can give their customers the ability to access the web portal for real-time tracking information, including ETA.

Combining real-time sensor data with environmental data provides better intelligence to supply-chain stakeholders, which helps them make efficient decisions that drive productivity. This moves the processes from reactive to proactive by offering information before things happen.

A pay-as-you-go model can makes shipment monitoring an affordable solution for logistics companies looking to improve service quality and customer satisfaction.

For example, getting information about a traffic jam before the trip starts has much higher value than getting that alert while stuck in traffic.

One area that will play a prominent role in the supply chain, as it’s impacted by IoT, is in-transit visibility. Logistics has many players, and moving parts, which creates the need for an agile, informed supply network regarding product whereabouts and other information. One key to in-transit visibility is the use of cloud-based GPS- and GSM-powered IoT devices, which provide identity, location and other information. These elements make up the backbone of IoT as it relates to the supply chain. By tapping the gathered data, detailed visibility is provided all the way from the manufacturer to the retailer. This data allows supply chain professionals to automate shipping and delivery by knowing arrival times. They can also monitor important details like temperature control and status. Technology can bring together all this together. IoT gadgets placed in shipment pallets transfer data into the cloud; devices identify the pallet and share its position using GPS coordinates, along with other data like weather conditions, traffic conditions, and driver-specific data such as driving patterns and average speed.

By allowing interoperability of systems, technologies and devices effectively, IoT powered technologies can help supply chain professionals with matters such as reduction of asset losses; saving on fuel expenses by optimizing routes based on traffic; monitoring conditions of food while it’s delivered – according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about one third of food perishes in transit every year; and monitoring warehouse inventories to reduce stock shortages, to name just a few opportunities. While IoT is still in the family of emerging technology, supply chain management professionals should tune into the conversation now to consider its potential. Deeper intelligence into supply and demand will not only benefit manufacturers, distributors and retailers, but also consumers, whose demands can be better met. IoT for the supply chain and transportation industries is part of today’s larger-picture digital business landscape, a landscape where connected devices help companies work smarter, plan better, and conduct more-intelligent decision-making processes. 39



ONCE A BUZZWORD, “OMNICHANNEL” IS NOW AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE MINDS OF MARKETERS’ WHO ARE LOOKING TO IMPROVE USER COMMUNICATION AND ENGAGEMENT. DESPITE OMNICHANNEL GAINING TRACTION FOR A WHILE, AND ITS BENEFITS BEING WELL-PROVEN AMONG THOSE THAT SEEK TO ORCHESTRATE USER JOURNEYS ACROSS PLATFORMS AND DEVICES, IT’S TYPICALLY NOT BEEN EASY TO IMPLEMENT FOR BUSINESSES. The omni-landscape According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, companies with strong omnichannel strategies retain an average of 89 percent of their customers and see an average 9.5 percent year-on-year increase in annual revenue. Approached correctly, omnichannel offers increased brand visibility, more routes for interaction with new and existing customers and much-improved customer satisfaction. Consumer demand has been the major driving force behind the growth of omnichannel. In the age of the smartphone, where users have access to a wealth of devices, the birth of the want-it-now consumer has left companies trying to adapt to a generation of users that expect easy interaction across multiple channels – based on what’s easiest for them. This could be anything from SMS, an OTT application, or something else entirely. This expectation means that, to stay ahead of the competition, it’s now essential for brands to put a platform in place that delivers seamless communication and interactions in the way users want, when they want, and how they want.

An omni-challenge While there is a clear advantage to taking an omnichannel approach, actually introducing this concept isn’t without its own challenges. A common struggle for businesses starts with initial implementation using their own existing IT infrastructure, which requires significant time and resources to get right. On top of this, stitching together separate solutions beyond SMS and email – be it push 40

notifications, chat apps, or even voice – is neither practical nor cost-effective. Once a roll out of omnichannel does occur, other issues arise including; how do you achieve transparency between each tool and how do you achieve easy reporting and analysis on each channel? If a business is solely focusing its efforts on the actual set up of a system and are unable to see the full picture, they run the risk of ignoring, and thereby potentially losing, the most important factor of all – the customer.

New omnichannel model on the block Many businesses came to believe it’s vital to have a centralised platform, one that is able to join up all popular communications platforms and provide flexible communication through a single integrated hub. One way of achieving this is through the communications-platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) model, which is designed to overcome challenges businesses face when looking to roll out omnichannel and offers an array of benefits to businesses. Being able to monitor, analyse and report on customer engagement is as important having a functioning and professional omnichannel messaging platform in place. If you don’t know, when, where and how individual customers prefer to be engaged, you risk missing out on potential avenues for marketing and other business functions such as promotional messages or push notifications. Nowadays, new messaging services are regularly launched in line with the con-

tinual change in consumer demand. The CPaaS model can provide quick support for new platforms that are introduced – allowing highly efficient roll out of new solutions into a system, helping to meet consumer demand. Furthermore, one of the other major challenges associated with managing multiple communication platforms is trying to deal with the potentially huge volume of customer messages. These can run into tens of millions on a daily basis for major brands and international businesses. Only the well-established platforms, with a reputation for handling large amounts of traffic that already have the infrastructure, messaging framework and an extensive network in place, can ensure messages will be delivered all over the globe.

Omnichannel and beyond Many brands and businesses are quick to talk about the benefits of adopting an omnichannel marketing approach, but all the communication channels can pose a double-edged sword; businesses can struggle to deploy a platform that is up to consumer expectations. As a result, the need for an integrated messaging platform, that manages all popular communication tools, including implementation, maintenance and management, has never been greater. By adopting the CPaaS model for their omnichannel needs, companies can truly make this a reality and drive their consumer engagement to new heights. James Gachie is an enterprise technology specialist for Infobip Kenya CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |





irtual teams that need to jointly deliver projects are spread throughout the world, often addressing global needs of customers. Imagine a team offering legal services to Uber, which operates in many countries, leading to a myriad of requirements for each. Another scenario could be a Chinese construction firm with projects in several countries in Africa. These dynamic conditions in the workspace bring the need to collaborate within and without geographical borders and technology is here to help. Technology is enabling real-time communication, information sharing, interaction, shared workspaces and so on. Generally, collaboration technologies can be categorised as synchronous and asynchronous. “Synchronous” means that its real-time, such as online meetings, video conferencing, web conferencing instant messaging and teleconferencing. “Asynchronous” refers to activities that are time-shifted and not done at the same time, activities such as shared workspaces, shared files, online hosted content and so on. There are vendors that offer both synchronous and asynchronous technologies in the market, some for free and some at a cost. For synchronous, technology firms such as Cisco, Microsoft, Google, Ekiga, Huawei, Polycom and many others provide video conferencing, instant messaging and teleconferencing solutions based on need and budget. For asynchronous, | MAY 2017 | CIO EAST AFRICA

Google Docs, Microsoft Share point, EMC Documentum eRoom, Lotus Notes, Wikis and other resources are available. There are several factors that affect the adoption of collaboration technologies in an organization. Employees and their managers need to be open-minded and have a culture of trust. Smart devices have accelerated the adoption of collaboration technologies and flexible working environments are now common. Without trust, this cannot happen. Most organizations that enjoy the benefits of collaboration have a decentralised business model. Otherwise, if all employees are in the same geographical location, the benefits may not be clear and obvious. An organisation needs to have culture of innovation, as well; innovative employees thrive in this space and enjoy brainstorming sessions with colleagues in other parts of the world. In an organisation that is performance-driven, collaboration is easily adopted. You need the help of others to succeed in your tasks and shared workspaces enhance teamwork and prompt delivery.

Where possible, integration of the collaboration tools in the business processes would accelerate adoption.

There are some disadvantages of the collaboration technologies. The main one is work-life balance. Due to employees’ multiple contact points, there is no distinct separation of work life from personal life. The same smart devices used for work-specific collaboration are the same ones used for personal matters. With flexible working environments, employees work from anywhere at any time. This leaves some employees working through to midnight at home with an aim of delivering more within a day. This has led to unhealthy tendencies such as depression, gaining weight, irritability, strained personal relationships, etc. Even as employers seek higher output from their employees, it can only be achieved if they are healthy. Proper scoping of the needs of the organization before selecting the collaboration tools is essential as it ensures the right dimensioning of its use and mitigate the health risks. Moreover, involvement of the employees, the users, will ease the change-management process. Where possible, integration of the collaboration tools in the business processes would accelerate adoption. For instance, instant messaging and video-calling tools can be integrated to the customer relations management systems to facilitate expert support from colleagues located in remote areas. With the decreasing costs of these collaboration tools and the increasing range of options, we are bound to see growth in their use. 41




T I have a problem with my fellow citizens. We all know where we trying to get to, but no one really knows where we are.

here is an obsession with issues of cloud yet 90 percent of our datacentre owners are clueless about their total cost of ownership, TCO, for all that hardware and software that sIts on-premise. It was a breath of fresh air when Catherine the CIO for Sidian Bank revealed that she had recently signed off with a hardware vendor to provide her with an on-premise infrastructure as a service, IAAS, solution. I am sure the only way she was able to sell this to the board was because she is female. Before the “malenists” start throwing rocks, let me explain myself; it is possible that women are inherently better placed to nurture something and then let it go off knowing that its attachment is intact even though the umbilical “code” has been severed. I have a strong feeling that the slow adaptation of cloud in most companies is because of the following issues: techies running the departments, men at the helm, annual maintenance contracts and a relevance based on physical-asset control. Maybe as we see more women take up the role of CIO we shall see a growth in the uptake for the various types of cloud services. For the men, it all begins with taking stock of what you have and then documenting what it takes to keep it all running, leaving out nothing. Once you have an idea of what it costs to own and operate those boxes and their associated software and staff, it will become easier to let go as you will appreciate the fact that out of site doesn’t have to be out of mind or loss of control. The most critical issue is to move from input-based reasoning to output-based reasoning, something that the so called un-innovative government has embraced fully with leasing of vehicles and pay-per-use solutions. But from the outburst across the aisles of parliament, one would think that this was a treasonable action. Fortunately, the private sector does not have to report to a house of elected officials with a sliding mandate; instead you report to a board that will be willing to listen to any


suggestion that has a positive impact on the bottom line. Why a nation of roofers? This is because we have no sense of where we currently are, which means that any decision to move towards our set destination is likely to fail. sadly we have been surviving on miracles that we have started believing are due to our brilliant skills. There has been a fear that Kenya will suffer from famine this year due to a failed crop, yet this would have been mitigated if we kept records; the famine was imminent the minute half of the farmers did not plant. We have become experts at transferring money to the most remote locations of the country, but we are unable to collect basic information from the same location such as rainfall statistics and planting patterns. Now, since the world believes we are experts at money logistics, we assume that we have become a knowledge economy, but we’re building the roof without a sense of the foundation. Listen to Vimal, CEO of Bidco Oil, saying that he can deliver money to a farmer in any corner of the country, but sadly it is a nightmare to get the produce back to his plant. We do not have an issue with banking the unbanked; we have actually become an overbanked nation such that banks are now selling products that help you get less banked. What we suffer from is the lack of an efficient logistics system yet over 40 percent of us walk around with a GPS beacon in our hands. We have the requisite infrastructure to handle harvest consolidation and even movement, but no logistics to move it around or even keep simple records of what is where. We built the house from the top, sorting out how to pay for it before thinking of how to get the product. It is time someone used all this connectivity penetration we keep receiving awards for to do something better than providing highspeed access to questionable content from thousands of miles away and instead address the fundamental issues of feeding the nation. CIO EAST AFRICA | MAY 2017 |

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