Africa is offering excellent opportunities for investment. Not just for overseas investors, but for local South African-based companies who are ideally positioned to leverage proximity and experience in the African landscape.
This expansion comes with a certain degree of risk. Companies may be reluctant to channel large amounts of capital to build infrastructures in untested markets. However, the provision of good quality services is often reliant on the availability of these infrastructures.
Financial Services tend to be homogenous in terms of products, making the ability to differentiate through better service delivery, enhanced customer interaction or more flexible offerings is a huge advantage. But ensuring one can carry the same level and standard of service into a new, unpredictable market can be a real cause for concern for a business dependant on its service delivery.
One way to mitigate these risks is to align with a partner who already has exposure in African markets and understands the factors firsthand.
Local credit management specialists, Ké Concepts have been offering premier lending suites and micro-finance solutions up into Africa for years. Having assisted numerous clients establish themselves in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Tanzania, Ké Concepts solutions are mature and fully Africanised, having already run the full gauntlet of challenges presented in this volatile yet rewarding landscape.
“Over the last few years, we have gone to great lengths to adapt our products and our flagship CreditEase product in particular, to optimise functionality in Africa,” says Ké Concepts Managing Director Miles Hern. “Modifications such as off-line capabilities, which help work around erratic bandwidth, and multi-lingual releases and support, are just some of the ways we are working around barriers to entry.’
One of the key success factors is the licensing model used. “Over and above being software developers, Ké Concepts is also a recognised ASP (application service provider). This enables us to provide our software as a service, via the web on an attractive pay-per-use model. Offering great value to companies looking to expand into other territories, as we carry the burden of the infrastructure and its maintenance,” says Hern. By eliminating the need to set up one’s own infrastructures, it drives down the cost of entering new markets, reducing financial risk.
Since there is no lengthy procurement and build phase, time to market is cut significantly. “Clients can literally have one of our solutions up and running in just about any location with an internet connection within a few weeks,” says Hern.
Easy scalability solutions makes ramping up an extremely simple affair – one merely adds (or reduces) capacity as required. This offers much desired business agility and the ability to react quickly to changes in the market.
The service is hosted on Ké’s own state-of-the-art platform, located in Johannesburg providing clients with stable, reliable and predictably high service standards to their new market.
To round out their end-to-end offering, support and maintenance is also provided remotely reducing support turnaround times. In remote locations where skills may not be readily available, this is critical in ensuring maximum uptime and service levels.
“Ké Concepts takes pride in their ability to offer quality consulting and development services to our clients, irrespective of whether they are operating here or in other African countries, “ concludes Hern. “More than anything a proven track record and high reference ability is the truest testament to our ability to help clients realise their full potential.”