By Titilayo Obasanya ACCA
Today, I shine my enterprise spotlight on Ommo Clark; the Owner of iBez- an indigenous software development company. Enjoy!
How did you get into Software Development?
I am an alumnus of London Guildhall University, UK with a degree in Business Admin, and Brunel University UK with a Masters in Information Systems. My first professional job was with a software house called Real Asset Management (R.A.M) in the UK that developed Accounting Software. It was a steep learning curve for me at R.A.M. I got involved in all aspects of software development from analysis to testing and post implementation support. It’s from here that I gained solid skills and practical hands-on experience in software development. I left Real Asset Management after a few years to work in the Mortgage Capital Division of Global Investment Bank, Lehman Brothers. I managed the E-Trading (Loan Origination) System and the Lending Systems. Again I got involved in all aspects of software development. I also received a lot of training in leadership, people management and project management. Lastly I joined another investment bank called Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander as IT Project Manager. On my return to Nigeria, I spent some time working in a software solutions company as Head of Project Delivery and Support and an international development company as Chief Operating Officer.
The global financial meltdown in 2008 was a good opportunity for me to return home from London to start my own business. By this time, I had gained a lot of experience in all aspects of software development and project management. I had also done a lot of training around Leadership and Business Start-up. Coming to Nigeria, I had a firm idea of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to operate but it didn’t quite work out that way – mainly because I didn’t understand the Nigerian business environment and how business is done here. I’ve had to take many steps back to move forward!!
iBez develops attractive, easy to use and functional web and software solutions tailored to the exact needs of businesses. Today iBez is growing very nicely. After many knocks, set-backs and re-learning, we now have a clear understanding of what we are doing, where we are going, how to operate in this environment and what is needed here. We’ve had the privilege of working with some big clients on very exciting projects. I am very optimistic about where we are heading and what the future holds. At the moment, locally developed software is not fully accepted in Nigeria and this is a big challenge for us. Nigerian businesses prefer to use foreign developed software but we want to change this and show through our solutions that we can build software of similar or better quality and suited to the unique Nigerian environment. We hope to contribute towards changing Nigerian businesses perceptions of locally developed software one business at a time, and keep the wealth within our country.
There are pockets of small, independent software solutions providers all around Africa but only a few companies have broken into the mainstream. So our fiercest competitors are foreign software vendors who have more resources at their disposal and are more readily accepted.
The Future of iBez
At the moment, we are working on growing our customer base within Nigeria and launching our internet based start-ups into the marketplace. These internet based start-ups solve many everyday challenges that Nigerians face, and have a huge social and developmental impact. The first is ‘Handy-Jacks’, which is an application to find vetted and trained artisans (tradespeople and technicians) on demand for repair and maintenance jobs. The second is ‘Lets-Share’, which is an application to find rooms to rent in a house and flat shares in Lagos; it also incorporates background checking for prospective landlords and tenants. The third is – ‘Black Lace and Garters’ which is an online lingerie store for everyday women, then ‘Lagos Rocks’ which is an online jewellery store.
Our web based ERP Office Manager, tailored for the needs of micro and small businesses to take the stress out of managing every aspect of office operations from Sales, Accounting, Employee Management, Payroll, Sales to CRM and Document Management will be released next quarter. Check our website- www.ibez.com.ng for more information.
Author: Titilayo Obasanya
ACCA – SME Business Consultant.