In this interview, Enyika Iheanyichukwu, the Project Manager of Norak Technologies Limited speaks on the Nigerian IT sector, the challenges of software development firms and the need for government to create an enabling environment for start-ups to thrive. Anthony Nwosu captured all this in an exclusive interview.
Can we know the unique ICT solutions that NORAK technologies offer?
Well we can be called an IT firm that is very indigenous, we have developed competencies in Software Development, Web Application Development Mobile App Development and ICT Consultancy. Over the years we have tried as much as possible to deliver top notch services in line with global best practices. In a nutshell, we are a digital transformation consultancy and software development company that combines the power of technology and training to empower and reposition organizations to run seamlessly and profitably. Norak has been designing, developing and deploying innovative solutions to organizations at all levels; which today has made us emerge as a reliable partner for world-class brands.
As a digital transformation consultancy and software development company, can we say that the Nigerian tech ecosystem has grown?
Though there is increasing number of developers in Nigeria by the year however, the impact has not been felt in major aspects of the economy, like the finance, security and medical sector. There has been some tremendous effort especially in Finance, there is still so much that has to be done to meet the eminent need of these sectors and many others. We can get these things leapfrogged by boosting our education sector by emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and also encouraging the young one to start viewing science as a good thing.
You are a software development firm, can you say that you develop this software in house, how do you source for skills?
Yes, we developed all our solutions 100% in-house. We have a highly competent development team. We also conduct trainings where we groom young developers to becoming professionals in software development of which number of them join our development team. We have deployed in many organisations and they are impressed. In capacity building, we try as much as possible to make those that engage us to be abreast with the best practise in the international space. IT is an ever evolving thing and we try as much as possible to make them to be abreast with the trends and happenings. Norak has been designing, developing and deploying innovative solutions to organizations at all levels; which today has made us emerge as one of the leading technology service solution providers.
Nigerian firms find it a bit hard to trust the indigenous software; can we know how you are able to surmount this challenge?
We build our Software looking at our local market and user experience; nevertheless, our unique advantage is that we develop solutions in line with the industry best practices and global standards. We also understand that Nigerians are trying to come to terms with indigenous IT solutions and we try as much as possible to make our software robust. Over the years, we are changing this narrative and the encouragement has been there because we are getting positive feedbacks.
We have deployed in many ORGANIZATIONS and they are impressed. In capacity building, we try as much as possible to make those that engage us to be abreast with the best practise in the international space. IT is an ever evolving thing and we try as much as possible to make them to be abreast with the trends and happenings. Norak has been designing, developing and deploying innovative solutions to organizations at all levels; which today has made us emerge as one of the leading technology service solution providers.
Training is one of your core areas, which area of ICT do you build capacity? Can we know?
The major area we build capacity is Software Development. Due to scarcity of well-groomed Software developers in Nigeria and looking at our mission to become Africa’s software power house following international standard, we intend to train and equip well-groomed developers to work with us as well as fill the human resource gap in the Nigerian Software development industry. Norak Technologies Ltd is a business solutions provider that combines the power of technology and training to empower and reposition organizations to run seamlessly and profitably.
Everything is going mobile, can we know about your mobile application?
All our applications are mobile compatible, ranging from Clients website to our business management software. We also build custom made Mobile and POS Application for businesses. For any IT firm that is futuristic must take into cognizance the mobility space. That is the future. .
Your ERP software that you unveiled earlier part of this year should be your flagship; can we know how well it has been accepted in the market?
As software power house, within the years, we have been developing and deploying innovative software to different sectors. Our flagship solution, a School Management software called ACADASUITE that was launched in 2015. ACADASUITE is school management solution which allows School to save time, cost and human resource to manage and develop schools. So far we have deployed ACADASUITE to a lot of Schools across the country and the acceptance level has been very high. ACADASUITE have many unique features like Result Management, Parent-Teacher communication, Account Management, Inventory System, Bookshop, Hotel Management which have separated from other School Management Software like Account Management, Inventory System, bookshop, etc.
This is the second half of the year, so to say. What are we to expect from you in terms of indigenous software development?
At the moment we are in the process launching a highly robust business management solution and based on the feedback of our pilot clients, we are confident it will be widely accepted in the Nigerian market and beyond. The software is an ERP software for small, medium and large scale businesses; a cost effective and easy to use business management software that helps you to organize sales, improve productivity, and ensure maximum growth for your business. It will be cloud-based system with well integrated features that is easy to use, hence, have no worries about data retrieval, disjointed systems or technicality in usage. With Our ERP Software, you get all the tools needed to run your business seamlessly like CRM for optimized customer relationships, Accounting system with Bank reconciliation, Calendar manager, project management to task management, After sales services, communication, enhanced document management, Inventory, Quick invoice generation and reporting, Human Resource Management, To-do list, payroll management, Biometric time attendance integration, Bulk SMS and email marketing which is designed to help your business grow.
Most ERP software are a bit pricey, this has scared away most SMEs from deploying them. How can you bridge this gap with your solution?
All our solutions are built to accommodate different level of enterprises according to their operational scale. Another special feature is that the installation can be custom based. Meaning the features that are installed are based on the specific requirement or/and size of the company. As I said, we put the client in consideration and build a bespoke solution for them.
Electronic learning solution is also one area that you have shown competency. Can we know the unique attributes of your eLearning software?
At the moment, we do not have an eLearning solution. We have a robust School management software (ACADASUITE) that focuses on the critical functions of running a school effectively and manages processes and operations, Students Information Management, Result Processing, Inventory, and Finance and so on. ACADASUITE connect Parent, Student, Teacher and School Administrator into a single platform for easy information sharing. It is customizable for a variety of educational institutions including Secondary Schools, Primary Schools and Tertiary/Higher Education.
What are the critical challenges that you face as a business owner?
Access to Market, this is one critical challenge and this boils down to orientation and structure. As we said before, Nigerians are coming to terms with the capacity of indigenous software development firms. We have a lot of foreign ones that are cheaper and might not be better but because they are cheaper and this has a way of affecting our market share. We also look at government policies and the local content law in the IT space. If this can be strengthened, we can make a lot of headway, but as it stands now, we are trying to gain access to market. It trickles presently.
Do you feel that the government is doing enough to support local ICT firms like yours?
The Government is doing their best, but they need to pay more attention to young entrepreneurs and create enabling environment for businesses. The enabling environment is access to credit, credit a cushion such as policies that would allow these start-ups to grow and compete and also giving tax incentives.
What is your take on Nigerian start up ecosystem; do you feel that the opportunities are here?
There is enough opportunity. However, the inadequacy in infrastructure, broadband internet, and reliable power supply are the major challenges. Notwithstanding, I believe there are still possibilities that can be explored despite these seeming challenges.
What advice do you have for would be business owners in the country, especially the youths?
My advice for young business owner is to be resilient and never give up. The market is huge and one of the biggest in the continent, so there is no point losing hope or giving up. Though, it can be pretty hard initially but giving it your best shot is the best option.
We have a robust School management software (ACADASUITE) that focuses on the critical functions of running a school effectively and manages processes and operations, Students Information Management, Result Processing, Inventory, and Finance and so on. ACADASUITE connect Parent, Student, Teacher and School Administrator into a single platform for easy information sharing.