The market says that there is a skills gap as we slowly try to transition to a knowledge first economy that places a premium on technical skills to serve the data driven marketplace. There is no one currently with their finger on the pulse on the exact need since no hard data has been collected on the same.

The government on the other side of the spectrum has committed Ksh. 2.5 billion towards the construction of at least sixty technical institutes and has been running the flagship Uwezo Fund targeted at youth, women and persons with disability capitalized at Ksh. 6 billion and about 5.35 billion approved for disbursement for the current financial year.

Lots of activity can be observed but on closer analysis, feels more knee jerk than calculated, which requires a take two if to ensure we are not lost on the visions of utopia that we forget to scratch the actual itch and end up disenfranchised. Continue Reading…

Masterplans have been the order of the day with literally all key ministries articulating their road to utopia where the citizen is served efficiently and cost-effectively, corruption is neutered and a host of other benefits that read well in an election manifesto. Excellent documents in themselves, these masterplans lack the granularity that should guide the day to day in terms of the resources, infrastructure and frameworks needed at ground zero where the true implementation and adoption begins.The magnitude of what is lost in the big picture view might only come to the fore in another two years just as the election bug bites us again and we start to compare what really is and what should have been. Continue Reading…

In July 2014, the government put out an advert calling for volunteers to what has been positioned as an exciting one year programme for those aged between twenty two and thirty years, with an additional requirement that one be a recent university graduate. The exact nature, structure and opportunity was not clearly articulated which led to a conversation with some industry peers on the possible permutations that the project may take. I was of the personal opinion that the angle taken may not be the best from sustainability and immediate needs perspective to which I was challenged to give a better solution; whose concept I share today for your digest.

I have argued in the past that government is well placed to drive up the uptake of technology if only deployed to scratch its itch; deliver survives to the citizen and meet other objectives such as job creation. Continue Reading…

It is said that software is eating the world and the data is available to back it with all sorts of acronyms such as SaaS and PaaS coming to the fore and defining the global shift to the proverbial cloud. This migration has also birthed new companies that are looking to deliver business efficiencies riding off these emergent technologies. However, the move from legacy systems by older enterprises and the adoption of new technology by freshly minted businesses faces one major stumbling block; that of business continuity. Admittedly any business will move cautiously to take up business critical services offered by a growing number of startups more strongly so on commissioned projects. Tales have been told of developers who go missing or startups that burn out and go belly up leaving clients distraught and back to zero nursing losses in time, capital and even market share – where the technology was to deliver one form or other of competitive advantage.

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Startup101I have had the opportunity to watch and participate as the technology ecosystem in Kenya and Africa at large finds its feet and interacted with the driven people invested in different ways to build this out. The personification of this progress is the different hubs, labs and accelerators all working towards finding the secret sauce towards a sustainable innovation pipeline that will ensure the output of entrepreneurial ventures or birth of products and services that have a sizable impact whether in the social front or from a pure profit perspective. Continue Reading…

Three days to the much anticipated Saba Saba date (7th July 2014) millions of mobile consumers received a message from the Inter Religious Council of Kenya approved by the Communications Authority. The lash back on social media was expected but in my opinion misdirected as most of the “feedback” was laced with emotion due to the historical and current sensitivities surrounding the date. It does however offer the opportunity to dissect best practice when it comes to the mobile channel with education to consumers, businesses and even government as an imperative. Life is indeed mobile, with the device having become part of our daily lives. For any intrusion into this life to be tolerated; it must be anticipated and approved making consumer onboarding the most important element of any mobile strategy. Continue Reading…

The beginning of July was to mark yet another milestone, arguably a world first with the switch-over of Kenya’s mass transit systems into cashless mode. But with the public nonchalant about the whole affair points out a disturbing trend that highlights weaknesses in our local technology transfer and adoption process.

The banking sector saw the Kenya Bankers’ Association set a migration deadline of March 2014, thereafter moved to May 2014, to the more secure chip and pin technology for credit and debit cards used in the market in a bid to stem fraud.

On the broadcast front, the move from analog to digital has also suffered its fair share of setbacks. The Court of Appeal in December 2013 stopped the process for 45 days pending determination of a dispute on February 2014 with a September 2014 timeline given thereafter. Not accounting for the court battles between the regulator and broadcasting houses, it has been evident that the larger population, though aware of the process have not warmed up as expected.   Continue Reading…

Small and Medium sized enterprises the world over are backbone of the economy yet many times have the odds stacked against them on many fronts. Big enterprises often have a technology arsenal at their disposal whether playing in agriculture, manufacturing and even services. In this arsenal you will find Enterprise Resource Planning platforms, Customer Relationship Management portals among others, unique to the industry. The total cost of ownership has been very prohibitive in the past with vendors such as Oracle, Sales Force and SAP creaming the market on deployment and annual license fees. Continue Reading…

I have been mulling over what would be the best organizational structure to help us realize the digital divided that we have been singing about since the announcement of the landing of the various fibre optic cables. The reason is, I find us focusing on the big picture that we forget implementation is best done granular with a buildup guided by the big picture, not forgetting the critical buy-in by the invested parties for real progress to be made. Continue Reading…

An addressable market of over 30 million is sure to attract the attention of many entrepreneurs, and indeed it has. The mobile value added service industry in Kenya generates billions in gross revenue annually, making bank for mobile operators, licensed providers and third parties who leverage connectivity infrastructure offered by the providers.

The nature of the business model is revenue share, meaning on any given transaction revenues are split either two or three ways with a bulk of the revenue for many services going the operator’s way based on the cascading volume model adopted.   Continue Reading…