Deji Kadri, chief executive of ZeeSoft, has a passionate believe in the empowerment and development of local IT talent.
With more than a decade experience spanning various areas of IT, Kadri has transformed ZeeSoft into the last word in software solutions.
He spoke to hilary okeke
Businesses and Web, Mobile, Intranet and Extranet Solutions
Basically, businesses are always looking for more convenient ways of delivering at the barest minimum cost. In the case of hawking, you move from door to door and there are limited numbers of people you can reach. Looking at the fact that Nigeria has more than 60 million mobile users, which is more than the population of some countries, and the fact that we have over 12 million internet users; leveraging on integrated solutions would help businesses reach a larger market. Look at the way banking has been transformed using the mobile phone to send SMS alerts on account status. Before now, you have to go to the banking hall to get such information. That is part of what we are talking about.
Foreign Versus Local Software
Most Nigerians do not just favour foreign software – they favour anything foreign. Our dependency on foreign products is ridiculous. What we need to do as local software developers and manufacturers, is to prove our mettle and show that we can really do these things even better and cheaper. India is a good example; they have done it and succeeded. They used to be like Nigeria but are globally recognized today. There government indicated interest in that area and it is a success story today. The whole world now outsources software to India and theirs have dominated the Nigerian banking sector. We need to compete with them and prove our mettle so that we can grow, by bringing out our solutions and making sure they are running.
Nigeria and e-Government Solution
Internet penetration in Nigeria is not like in most of the advanced countries but to a large extent, e-Government could work. Even in America, internet penetration is not 100per cent. e-Government is very helpful because if there are government services that are available electronically, most corporate bodies will gain from that; most people online will gain from that – certain demography of people will gain. Services via e-channels usually reduce the burden on an organization to deliver efficiently. It reduces the burden on government to serve those it cannot serve electronically. Even if e-government is not accessible to everybody, it would make government accessible to everybody – if government is supposed to serve 100 people manually and now just have to serve 60 and the remaining 40 electronically, it would be convenient for government to render services since the burden on it has been reduced.
Ensuring Websites Stay Active at Peak Periods
It is a matter of infrastructure. You know the number of people who are going to use your portal, and you should build your infrastructure to serve those peak periods. You do not do that to serve averagely. If you expect a hundred hits a day during peak periods and five hits a day off peak, you prepare the infrastructure for one hundred hits. If you see any site that is packing up or going down because of maximum hits, you should know that it is just planning issue, which needs to be addressed with the right infrastructure. Think of a fast food joint – you know that on a normal day, ten people walk in every minute but at peak periods, a hundred people walk in every minute, you should then have a standby staff to be able to cushion the pressure. Same thing happens in the electronic world. A good infrastructure should be built into the cost of the project. I would rather provide a high quality service than a cheap low quality one, if you ask me.
Gains of Online Vehicle Insurance Initiative
Well, it is a private initiative but both sides would gain since the owners of the site would get additional revenue and the additional honour that would be bestowed upon them as a company that has started to use information technology to deliver services. Then for the users, it is the convenience. You know this is a statutory requirement which must be met. But we know that we all have busy days and to go to your insurance company and wait in their office is really tedious. But now from the convenience of your office, you can do your registrations. There are an estimated 28 million ATM cards available; 12 million internet users and 7 million vehicles in Nigeria. Put all these figures close together and you have a super solution. People who have not been able to adopt this strategy should embrace it. There is a lot to be gained from it and it can be done here today. One thing I have noticed is that when we deliver some of these solutions to clients or make proposals, they become surprised and ask if this can be done in Nigeria. At least, it has been proven that it can be done; it is working and running now, which is a good thing.
Unpopularity of Disaster Recovery in Nigeria
Well, some people do it but it is not popular like you said. People have not begun to understand that data is much more important than the hardware which holds it. You could buy a good hard disk for about N8, 000; if it crashes and you need to recover the data, you could be charged up to N40, 000. That shows you that the data is much more important than the hard disk. It is like having a house and what you have in it is usually more dear to you than the house itself. It is something we hope companies would embrace because it simply means that if something happens to your data – a disaster, accident or whatever – business can still go on; you can still have access to data. Imagine a bank or the Nigerian Stock Exchange losing all transaction data, it would be very ugly because you would not know who owns what. So, data is very important and people should make sure that it is adequately backed up or replicated. I think the reason why people are not enthusiastic about backing up their data is lack of sensitization about the whole thing. Some companies have not even realized the value of IT. There are lots of big companies here that do not have an IT manager that partakes in management meetings. So, you cannot even push such ideas. When you talk to most of them, they realize what they nust do but do not have the power of budget. But notably the banks, you find that there is an executive director of technology, there is a CIO who participates in top level meetings and has his own budget and is in the position to authorize multi million Naira IT purchases.
Dearth of Human cCapacity in the IT Industry
When I hold carrier talks with young people, one feedback I usually get is that they find it difficult securing jobs; that jobs are scarce in Nigeria. But friends that are into consulting and recruitment tell me that they find it difficult to fill IT positions. So, jobs might be scarce but there is still shortage of good IT skills. Many people claim to be IT professionals but when you interview them, they cannot defend what is on their resume. But once you are good and can defend your resume, job is sure. We are employers of IT labour and we are aware of this. Large companies like MTN and the banks hold job fairs in the UK to fill these positions. I advice that youths should go into IT – it is so worldwide. Well, if we see this as a major problem, organizations should look inwards and encourage people who wish to change careers. Secondly, there are lots of unemployed non-IT graduates, and big organizations can afford to take the plunge, employ the brilliant ones among them as graduate-trainees and train them on IT. There are lots of IT training facilities all around, if they do not want to do it here in the country, they can do it abroad; they can also bring people who have the expertise from outside and within Nigeria to train their staff. If they are willing to commit to human capacity building, they should train their people to have the necessary IT expertise.
Well, it is the people within ZeeSoft. They are enthusiastic, brilliant, and they love what they do. Without our people, we are nothing. It is not just technology; it is the people; and of course, power has been a major challenge. This is a call on the federal government to do something and address the power situation because Lagos is the commercial hub of black Africa and power failure is highly detrimental to business here.
NCC Threatens Illegal Users of GSM Boosters with Arrest, Prosecution
Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) has warned telecom consumers to desist from using illegal GSM boosters.
The commission also said that anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
GSM boosters are devices that transmit and receive telecommunications signals and can therefore interfere with other radio frequency equipment.
Ikechukwu Adinde, director, public affairs, NCC, said in a notice published on NCC website, that only licensed network operators are allowed to use GSM boosters.
The booster, also known as amplifier or repeater is made up of three main elements – exterior antenna, amplifier, and interior antenna.
They form a wireless system to boost cellular reception
“Members of the public should note that, willful interference with any wireless telegraphy is an offence under Section 16 of the Telegraphy Act, 2004,”it said
The agency said it will not condone any flagrant breach of this law.
It has also enforced measures to prosecute offenders.
Accordingly, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place and anyone caught using a GSM booster without obtaining approval of a duly licensed network operator will face arrest and prosecution.
“Any member of the public with useful information regarding the illegal use of GSM Boosters should contact the Commission on 09-4617000/7351 or send an email to [email protected],” the notice said.
“Individuals desirous of using GSM Boosters should note that they can only do so in conjunction with licensed network operators,” it added.
Tizeti announced that it selected Nokia’s Fastmile Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to enable usprovide superior internet services to over 1 Million subscribers in Port Harcourt, Edo and Ogun in Nigeria.
Tizeti will deploy Nokia’s AirScale Base Station TDD-LTE and FastmileFixed Wireless Access (FWA) gatewaysto deliver premium internet and Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to Residential, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The solution will also enable Tizeti’sto deliver a more robust, high-speedinternet service to subscribers and the flexibility to seamlessly evolve to 5G Fixed Wireless Access when needed.
Nokia’s FWA solution enables Tizeti to fast-track broadband access and provide a best-in-class broadband experience to its subscribers.
Nokia’sAirScale Base Stations ensure high-quality connectivity and coverage and enablesTizeti to evolve the network in line with customer demand.
Nokia’sFastmilegateways connect wirelessly to the existing network to createa fastbroadband connection and enhanced Wi-Fi experience in the home.
The Nokia Network Services Platform will help Tizeti to simplify operations and quickly respond to changing market demands.
Kendall Ananyi, Tizeti, said:“We are committed to providing the best-in-class network experience to our subscribers. We are confident that Nokia’s proven technology and expertise will help us differentiate our services based on quality. This a crucial project for us as it introduces LTE in our networks and allows us to bring new and innovative services to our subscribers.”
Eniola Balogun, Nokia, said:“We are thrilled to work with Tizeti on the initiative to upgrade their network to bring the latest products and services to its subscribers. Nokia Fastmile will help Tizeti to cost-effectively enhance the customer experience.
The project will also enable them to delight their subscribers by providing more reliable data services.
On the other hand, Tizeti will benefit by adding new revenue streams.”
Risk Assets Push Higher on Vaccine Hopes; Eyes on the Fed
By Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at FXTM,
After two consecutive weeks of back-to-back declines, global stocks kicked off Monday with solid gains amid a surge in M&A activity and positive signs towards vaccine developments. Currency markets were little changed ahead of a busy week of monetary policy announcements, while Oil and Gold ticked slightly higher.
The two big deals announced over the weekend were Softbank’s plan to sell chipmaker ARM to Nvidia for more than $40 billion and Gilead Sciences to acquire Immunomedics for a price tag of $21 billion. Meanwhile, on the vaccine front, AstraZeneca resumed its phase-3 trial on Covid-19 after being suspended last week following a neurological illness developed in one participant, and Pfizer announced that its vaccine could be distributed before year-end if found safe and effective.
Central Banks will take centre stage this week with the Federal Reserve, Bank of England and Bank of Japan all due to announce policy decisions. Out of the three meetings, the Fed is likely to be the most watched following its historic shift towards average inflation targeting. The big question remains how will the FOMC put this policy into action?
From what we know now, the Fed is set up to keep interest rates near zero for a long time, possibly for several years. Given the new framework, any spike in inflation won’t translate into immediate rate hikes as the Fed wants to compensate for the lost years when they have failed to hit the target. The dot plot will be the key guide for investors and traders alike. If inflation projections remain at 2% or below for the foreseeable future, this will solidify market expectations for a low rate environment for many years to come. That said, Jay Powell would still have to explain in more detail how the new framework will be translated into policy action.
In June’s economic projections, the Fed anticipated unemployment would be at 9.3% by year-end, but, in August, unemployment was well below that forecast at 8.4%. Many other economic data surprised to the upside during the June – August period in a clear sign that most economists were overly pessimistic towards the strength of the recovery. However, there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty given the latest surge in Covid-19 cases worldwide and the US, especially as we get closer into the winter season. A second wave will undoubtedly put the recovery at risk in the final quarter of the year and it will be interesting to see the Fed’s view on that issue.
As for the market selloff over the past two weeks, the Fed isn’t likely to show any signs of concern. In fact, policymakers should be satisfied with the pullback as the risk of a bubble in several assets has been growing due to the Fed’s extremely accommodative policies. Unless we see another 10 -15% drop, do not expect the Fed to intervene.
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