The proliferation of smart mobile technology in the hands of almost a billion people in Africa is providing the commercial sector a new way of doing business.
The 2015 Ericsson Mobility Report reveals that by the first quarter of 2015 there were more than 910 million mobile subscriptions in Africa. Many of these mobile users were already using smart devises that gave them instant access to apps and information, in turn giving organisations new ways to interact with employees, suppliers and other stakeholders.
Benefits of mobilising enterprise resource planning
Keith Fenner, senior vice-president sales, Sage ERP Africa says mobile workers are able to access important information that can help them react to opportunities and problems more rapidly.
“We’re seeing many organizations mobilise their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Workers and managers are increasingly able to access ERP data on the road to serve customers, speed up decision-making, and save time.”
Fenner gives an example of how a salesperson can now easily check whether a product is in stock, capture customer’s details and initiate the order from a tablet or smartphone without leaving the customer’s premises.
Accounting solutions on the move
Sage Pastel Accounting General Manager, Daryl Blundell says mobile has also had an impact on SMEs’ accounting processes.
“Employees with mobile devices can be productive many more hours a week because they can work from anywhere in the world and can maximise what might otherwise have been wasted time waiting in airports and reception rooms,” he says.
According to Blundell, enterprise mobility can also help achieve a healthy work-life balance since employees do not need to be in the office to catch up with work.
Streamlining HR functions across mobile devices
“Companies can now offer employee self-service (ESS) across mobile devices to streamline HR processes and engage employees more effectively,” says Gerhard Hartman, head of Sage HR and Payroll’s International Division.
“With mobile ESS, companies can enable employees to file leave applications, doctor’s notes when they’re ill, and expense claims – all from their mobile devices,” he adds.
“They can look up their payslips, change their personal details, and more, all without needing to do paperwork or phone the HR department.”Read More
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) was by yesterday unable to give the numerical progress of the ongoing sim card registration exercise expected to end on March 1, a year after it was launched.
In a telephone interview with the Daily Monitor this week, Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC executive director, said the overall performance of the registration campaign will be provided at the end of the exercise, reasoning that what is most crucial right now is for individual subscribers to ensure that their lines are registered as per the deadlines or risk being switched off in March.
He said: “Registration will be closed at the end of the month after which telecoms will be required to block unregistered simcards. Those that have not registered should hurry up and do so because; we (UCC and telecoms) agreed to maintain the initial February 28 deadline.”
UCC’s failure to provide simcard registration numbers is not helped by telecom firms, many of which have stayed cagey on their numerical progress. Save for Orange telecom which says that about 80 per cent of its 1.1 million subscribers had registered by end of January 2013; the others are only relaying percentages without declaring their latest subscribers bases.
For example, MTN Uganda says that more than 70 per cent of its subscribers had registered by end of January, Warid reports about 67 per cent, and Airtel more than 68 per cent. However, the failure to have a clear impression of the total numbers of the already registered and unregistered subscribers is in essence affecting all telecommunication stakeholders as no one can evaluate the progress of the exercise and forge a clear way forward.
According to the ICT minister, Mr Ruhakana Rugunda, simcard registration was adopted to streamline the telecommunication sector and also protect both the country and its people from individuals who use mobile phones to plan and perpetuate crime.
But since the exercise was launched on March 1, 2012, telecom firms have highlighted absence of national IDs as the biggest challenge to registering their subscribers mainly in rural areas. This, they believed, has slowed what would have been a faster exercise.
Last week, a journalists’ body, Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ) filed an application to court seeking an injunction to stop UCC from blocking sim cards of unregistered subscribers on the stated deadline, on grounds that the whole exercise is illegal as there is no parliamentary approval.Read More
New player K2 telecom, has already gathered more than 80,000 subscribers before launching calls across all networks services, Mr. Saul Katumba Segawa, the telecom’s interim chief executive officer, has said.
In an interview with the Daily Monitor last week, Mr. Segawa said in just a month after K2 was officially launched, the telecom has already acquired a clientele base of up to 82,000 subscribers and is now finalizing inter-telecoms before its full-service package is availed across all networks.
“K2 is finalising the process of interconnect negotiation with the other telecom companies; a process that has lots of relationship dynamics to agree upon such as call tariffs. In just a few days, we will have this finalised and K2 will effectively have full service levels,” Mr Segawa wrote.
He added: “We are focusing on building the K2 family with the benefits of affordable call rates. Our clients are benefitting from affordable calls at Shs100 per minute.”
Despite claims that the telecom is collaborating with an international telecom, Mr Segawa noted that K2 is an indigenous company without any foreign capital investment.
Asked to clarify about K2 telecom’s subscribers, UCC executive director, Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, said he did not have any official statistics since the new entrant has not submitted them.Read More
A telecommunication player has advised his counterparts not to indulge in unjustified price wars again, arguing that they are harmful to the industry and unhealthy for the economy.
Speaking at a function to release its 2012 financial results in Kampala last week, MTN chief executive officer, Mr Mazen Maroue, said low call rates not only constrain telecom operators from making more investments but also lower their contribution to the economy through reduced tax revenues.
The telecoms industry entered a price war in 2010, stretching into 2011. According to the revenue collecting body, price wars in the telecommunication sector led to a shortfall of Shs24 billion due to the decline in average call rates.
Mr. Maroue said: “We have ensured that we have an efficient market and call rates that will contribute to the economy’s development.”