As East Africa becomes increasingly attractive as an ICT hub, international technology companies are moving in to share in the bloom.
Misys, the global application software and services company has signed a strategic partnership with Seven Seas Technologies to support sales and marketing campaigns and speed implementation and delivery of services to customers in East African.
The partnership comes in the wake of major developments in the ICT sector in Kenya with an increase in mobile phone and Internet penetration, and increased awareness and access to software products.
Seven Seas Technologies (SST) will provide localised features, integration support, project management and implementation services around Misys solutions, with a focus on Universal Banking, in the region.
It is expected that the combined strength of the two companies will lead to faster implementations, a broader set of resources available for customers backed up by a skilled team of professional services people with local domain knowledge and expertise.
Speaking in Nairobi after signing the new partnership, Mr Mike Macharia, CEO of Seven Seas technologies said the exponential growth of the banking industry in Kenya had come with its unique challenges and that banks had to apply cutting-edge technology and software solutions to remain relevant.
"At SST have recognized the opportunity for transformational IT to play a major role in marking out the leaders from the also-runs in the financial services industry, and we have put together a strong and comprehensive service offering which will support financial institutions to be more efficient," Macharia said.
"This new partnership will extend SST’s service and product portfolio to enable the company to provide solutions to cover other important areas such as electronic channels, call centers, business intelligence, and application process integration."
"As we see the market for financial services solutions expand in East Africa, we are delighted to sign this strategic partnership with one of the leading services companies in the region," Erin Smith, the Managing Director for Misys Africa said.
"We look forward to going to market jointly and being able to add value to our clients’ businesses through this extended team of experts alongside us," said Smith.
Kenya has is the nerve centre of innovative mobile money transfer service MPesa, run by Safaricom, and is revolutionalising her Internet infrastructure following a shift from over reliance on satellite to fibre optic connectivity.
Kenyan universities have been challenged to close the gap existing between Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills developed in the institiutions and the specific skills and competencies demanded by the industry.
Employers are hesitating in absorbing ICT graduates who are deemed as lacking in the requisite skills to match the rapid changes in technology being experienced globally.
“Given the rapid advancement and changes in technology solutions, students have often not been exposed to specializations demanded by the Industry. The result is that they are finding it increasingly difficult to be hired after leaving university,” said Ms Betty Macharia, programme manager, Knowledge For Life, which is part of Seven Seas Technologies.
Seven Seas Technologies, a locally owned and regionally operating information technology solutions provider, urged universities and other institutions of higher learning to partner with industry to confer students with the requisite IT skills and specialization being demanded at the workplace.
According to Macharia, employers are spending a lot of time and money retraining IT graduates to bridge the skills imparted in college and the requirements needed at the work place.
Ms Macharia said despite the large number of students enrolling in IT courses and an equally big number joining the workforce every year, competition for skilled and talented employees continues to rise.
The problem has been compounded by International expansion and competition, which is creating an entirely new set of workforce challenges, which our graduates are not competent to handle.
Ms Macharia was giving a public lecture to participants at the Kenyatta University Career week symposium.
Sponsored by among others Kenyatta University, Safaricom and Procter and Gamble.The weeklong symposium, titled “Paradigm Shift from job seeking to job creation” brings together over 100 players from the private sector and high school students to debate on skills required by industry.
Among the rapid technological changes happening in Kenya include shift form analogue to digital broadcasting, transition from satellite to fibre optic fibre connectivity and the adoption of e-commerce technologies.
Ms Macharia said that Seven Seas Technologies, under the Knowledge For Life project, had partnered with the University of Nairobi, Strathmore University, Kenyatta University and JKUAT to offer free training to students to equip them with the necessary skills demanded by industry.
She said the Knowledge for Life program was aimed a bridging the talent gap that the Kenyan market is facing by ensuring availability of skill and talent.
The Knowledge for Life programme also offers free advice on technology industry courses, certification in different vendor solutions, opening for employment in recognized corporate companies and guaranteed partnership.