25 February 2013

Africa: Microsoft Pays More Attention to Salone

A team from the leading world information technology giant, Microsoft, has during an interactive session with some small and medium enterprises in Sierra Leone promised to continue improving and enhancing business and help maximise profit by encouraging partners to access genuine software products.

The Microsoft-PCL International 'customer connect event' was held on Tuesday at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown with over 30 small and medium enterprises and other stakeholders in attendance. One of the team members of Microsoft West Africa, Ada Iwugu - who also doubles as the medium and small enterprises leader - said Microsoft West Africa comprises five countries including Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia. She noted that Microsoft does not work in isolation and that they provide software solutions for customers and reduce risk in business through their established partners.

"This is a new era in the market place. We are ready to work with partners to reduce the risk in business and help to maximise profit for our customers. We are here to lower help cost and business risk and offer software solutions to those in need," she affirmed. Madam Iwugu further noted that no business can effectively operate without information technology and that they are poised to empower the sector so as to maximise profit for customers.

She reiterated the importance of computer in doing business without face-to-face interaction but that they need a lot more control measures through the provision of a technology that would differentiate an individual's business.

"Our aim is to maximize the availability of IT for business people," noted Madam Iwugu. "We are here to provide a complete set of software solutions to take you to the future. We want to work with you from the inception of your business to the climax."

Chief Executive Officer of PCL International, Oluwale Pratt, said the company is a substantive partner of Microsoft and that their vision is to take the risk out of IT in Sierra Leone, noting that they are the genuine source of all Microsoft license. He noted that they don't only sell software, but also deliver all software solutions in Sierra Leone.

"We are the most competent solutions provider you can find in Sierra Leone. You can have access to the best training and resources through our partnership with Microsoft," he said, adding that one can access preferable pricing of software through their partnership with Microsoft. Their presence, he said, is of huge economic benefit to Sierra Leone as the money invested stays here.

"We have to engage customers and support their businesses from 'cradle to grave'. We can work with you and help you grow your businesses," he affirmed.

Tawanda Jonathan Mushawedu from Zimbabwe - who manages Microsoft partner account in Sierra Leone - spoke on the consumerization of IT, noting that any business having above five machines needs the intervention of Microsoft for solutions.He said one of their successful strategies in doing business is that they listen to customers and provide them with the necessary assistance.

The East African Microsoft guru said their aim is to ensure that IT units in all offices be taken as strategic unit and viewed as an asset but not liability.He said the Microsoft agenda is to move IT from the opex to the capex.

"IT department should have a seat at the management level of all businesses," he called while emphasising the need for customers to purchase genuine Microsoft products so as to add credibility and increase customers' confidence.He further said that their software solutions are right on the spot as they listen to customers to know where the IT pain lies.

"We are getting the power to our customers by working with the right partners. This is an opportunity to partner with Microsoft to make your business relevant," Mushawedu said. "We are poised to take you to your vision. We always want to invest in an individual value and provide the control you need as a company."

He cautioned that buying Microsoft products in an individual country would save cost as prices vary from country to country with Western countries being the most expensive. New Microsoft products including Windows 8, Office 2013, and Windows Server 2013 were highlighted by him, noting that technology is dynamic and that they are poised to move with the trend.

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