CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

6 September 2013

Kenya: Juhudi Kilimo's CEO Tackles Innovation in Farming

Disruptive technology has influenced CIOs to innovate further towards using the latter solutions to steer former problems or rather challenges. Nat Robinson, CEO Juhudi Kilimo, is one of them.

Despite the innovations being risky than usual business operations, Robinson had every reason to try something new for farmers. Working under Juhudi Kilimo, he spread consumer IT to a group of farmers who form a huge percentage of the micro finance institution.

Juhudi Kilimo won a Farmers Management System Award during this year's CIO 100 Global Awards held at Colorado, USA. The system is used to collect and collate potential clients (small-holder farmers) information securely who reside in deep rural Kenya. This increases outreach on leads so that the institution can provide farming interventions faster and accurately.

According to a survey by Gartner in 2012, the spread of cloud and consumer IT means in-house groups will need to change from traditional functions of purchasing and operating IT to something more directly related to how the company operates and makes money.

Juhudi Kilimo figured out how to make the farming system work on a cloud platform, at the same time had a breakthrough with it in information security policy and architecture. This aspects delivered real-time performance and leads/marketing dashboards on a mobile device.

Juhudi's farmers management system has tools for managers to track leads and monitor loan officers.

Previously all this was not possible since loan/credit officers were appraising themselves without any centralized accurate tool to objectively review routine performance. The system generate reports on percentages of sources of our leads hence help management to evaluate on what best methodology to employ for further rapid growth.

At the corporate level, IT plays a significant role not just as a support and service delivery function but also as a strategic partner to other functions. This way we are able to provide 'one-stop-solutions' considering all functions as part of the bigger picture. We are able to manage the big data centrally and on cloud where necessary. Juhudi Kilimo has a clear indicator of the trajectory growth for big data over the next few years considering the current state. Cloud solutions have continued to improve and optimize their services, particularly in providing a seamless and efficient solution for the end users and customers.

Peter Nalika

Peter generates technical content for CIO East Africa and the International Data Group News Service, he also contributes to PC World and Computer World. Peter is classically trained in computing and information management, and he is currently pursing an MBA program in Management Information Systems at the University of Nairobi, @peternalika

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