Dr. Oluyomi Alarape, the Managing Director and CEO, Wragby Business Solutions and Technologies Limited, in this interview with TechEconomy.ng speaks to the business of technology, its impact and how Wragby as the first and only Azure Managed Service Provider (MSP) in Sub-Saharan Africa has continued to add value to businesses in Nigeria and Africa in general.
Wragby’s Vision and Mission
We started by conceiving a very big vision of making the world a better place; to lead through technology. That is it, and in achieving that vision we’ve chosen technology, as our own means and platform of reaching the world, contributing to the betterment of humanity.
So, we took in that to drive our mission by consistently and continually exceeding our customer expectations and our particular expectation, and the differentiation for us at Wragby comes in the following ways:
First, we looked at how we deliver innovative, cost effective and agile solutions for our customers that consistently exceed their expectations. You see, we are here for our customers and we’ve chosen the way that you recognize the brand is innovation.
Dr Oluyomi Alarape’s Biography:
Adept at identifying opportunities, defining challenges, and developing innovative business strategies, Dr Oluyomi Alarape stands tall as a respected industry leader and business manager pioneering Cloud-first, Mobile-first business transformation through strategic insight to SME-Startups, Enterprise transformation through Cloud Services, Mobile Solutions and Data Insight. With his vast knowledge and experience, Dr Oluyomi has served in the Wragby management team for over 7 years and currently as the Managing Director/CEO.
With a quest for knowledge and passion to drive business transformation, he has continually nurtured and led the company to achieve major milestones, develop key products to solve industry issues, attain various competencies & pedigree of firsts, build strategic business partnerships, acquire and retain key customers across various verticals and most especially pioneering the 2021 Quintuple vision aimed towards a 5-fold success story.
Dr Oluyomi has a strong reputation in strategic thinking while going above and beyond, with past success stories from various organization’s he has served. Prior to him joining the Wragby management team, Dr Alarape had successfully led a large international telecommunications Information Systems and Security startup in the Middle East (MTN) where he thrived immensely in global business management, he also served as the Business Group Director for Cloud & Enterprise for Microsoft across 57 countries in Middle East and Africa, where he led Microsoft cloud business penetration and growth in Africa with over 150% year on year growth for almost a decade.
His Hobbies include reading, researching and watching documentaries. His life’s goal is to keep learning and impact others positively. He is a graduate of Electrical Engineering, with an MBA and Doctorate Degree in Business Administration (DBA) at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Dr Oluyomi has accomplished over 50 business and technical courses with over 17 honors & Awards.
Why is that critical?
Any member of Wragby; when they engage our customers, this is what we live and breathe. It underlines our core values and our leadership principles, because in Wragby we just believe in leveraging technology for individual, business and economic growth, and in doing that we make money.
Money is important for business to run, but we know that when we create leaders; technology leaders, people that grow up; we take them from school, a number of them young, we effect change. We all know the state of our education in the country, but nonetheless we have very rigorous plans and programs for interns. So, we do a number of internships and in very strategic partnership with organisations like Microsoft. We focus also on empowering the women in tech.
Today if you look at the blend of women to men at Wragby, we have 50-50. It was an intentional step we took since 2016 and we consistently work at it. Today, we are split. I’m sure from your visit coming in here you’ve seen so many ladies around you know doing stuff just to testify to what we do and why we embrace that. So in going about this, we do look at these people when we bring them into Wragby to be leaders.
So our core values are ingrained in what we call T.H.R.I.C.E. This represents our core values, and also our leadership principle. The T stands for Teamwork. We build that into everybody that comes or walks through the doors of our organization. And we believe that in doing this not only for Wragby as a business, but for our nation. When we are able to work as a team, we can move mountains; most of the problems we are facing today are because we have not been able to develop competent leaders as a nation. A number of them when they leave here, they become ambassadors for Wragby, and for themselves and for the country.
I can tell you that since the past years, especially last year, we lost a lot of our staff, to the UK, to Canada, you know, the list is there. I mean, it’s not news, we lost quite a number. In fact, because we do train, very specialized areas like Microsoft Dynamics, X++, and so much other programming that you do not see commonly. Some of our programmers, when they come here, they have to spend like another two years, I mean, to be modest about a year, to even start contributing anything in the dynamic space.
Dynamics is like Microsoft ERP, but it requires very specialized experience, because you are looking at specialized solutions in areas like finance and operations, and all these things that have to be developed. And it’s not what you just pick out there. So after you do this, and you train them, they become hot cakes. So, teamwork is very critical for us.
The second one is H and it stands for Honesty. By ingraining this into our ethics it matters for us to be known when we say this is and that; you keep to your word.
The next one R represents Respect. We respectfully challenge ourselves; from the most junior to the most senior member of the team in the organization. Respect is key. Therefore, we normally put it this way, ‘everyone has a voice’; no matter who you are and I think it’s not common, especially some people when they join us at first, they were like they can see the difference. As we respectfully challenge ourselves, we build this inclusiveness and also this leadership mission that we do strive for.
I is very key for us; it stands for Innovation as it reflected on a number of the things we discussed today. For instance, we started in 2014 and innovated our way to become the first Microsoft Gold Cloud Partner in West Africa. We focused on that because we believe that cloud plays a critical role to empower our local businesses, especially in Africa, starting from Nigeria where most businesses, be they startups, are unable to really achieve their dreams.
Because of the cost of infrastructure, they can’t even dream about where to get the funding, not to even say whether that will be successful after you haven’t invested. But what we do is, as Wragby we started creating platforms for small businesses, corporate businesses and enterprises to be able to test out their ideas.
We made it possible for businesses to be able to use the platform and just pay for what you use. With that, they don’t need to invest in infrastructure to start trying to use technology to achieve what they want to do. So that’s a lot of innovation.
The list is endless; from SMEs to corporate accounts, to even big financial services. Disaster recovery is guaranteed; there’s continuity for their businesses. We have been able to provide that for them.
Taking that forward, I’ll go to C which stands for Commitment that goes with accountability, as it is extremely important to achieve our vision.
We all have to be reliably accountable across the rank to what we commit to as a business. The last E stands for Empowerment. So, we do empower everyone to realize their potential. And by extension, we take that also to our customers, in using what we do, as said earlier, to make the world a better place through technology.
Now, I’ll take you to our leadership principles.
And when I talk about our leadership principle, why is this very important? At Wragby everyone that passes through the door, wherever they find themselves, should be role models and leaders. And I believe that if there’s anything we need in our country today, we need to raise leaders who are good role models.
These leadership principles, on a daily basis, guide our internal alignments, customer engagement; you know, ideation, in agreement with our partners, and everything we do touching on all products we do take forward. They’re the same thing as T.H.R.I.C.E, but not the same meaning.
In our traits for leadership, T stands implies we Think big. Everybody here must think big. And I will share with you one or two leadership examples. I’ll start as a customer from 2016. For us, Wragby became the first Microsoft partner that attained not just cloud platform, Gold competency in cloud platform we were the first in the region. We took it further, in 2017 to emerge the first ever in Sub-Saharan Africa to be on the worldwide stage. So Wragby became the first partner in this whole region, to be recognized as a worldwide finalist for Microsoft Enterprise Mobility and Security Expertise.
And, I tell you, we are very small but playing in that space tells a lot about our resilience as a people. Let me pause to say that this is a wakeup call, especially in the times we are in as a nation; we have FX issues. We’re talking about when the entirely generated revenue as a nation does not get expended on importation. In terms of policies at the national level, I believe the government is trying, but we need to do more.
If we want to develop young minds like Mark Zuckerberg, who built Facebook, right from his class, and go through a process to the extent we see today; Facebook is worth billions of dollars. I am particularly happy with what is going on in the FinTech space where the likes of Paystack, Flutterwave, and other unicorns are disrupting the market for good. But this is still like scratching the surface. Government has to create an enabling environment for more to happen. And I will be specific in this context of what I’m saying because I don’t want to be misquoted at all.
When we have governments that are patronizing more of the products that are made here, then we are ready to boost the economy. I know there’s a local content policy. But how much of the local content is really localized? I’m not saying we will block global businesses; we need the partnership and the synergy. But this is a major call we have to make today. As I speak with you a product that we call Bizmanager, is a world class enterprise resource planning solution for organizations, right from the small businesses to the corporate enterprise accounts.
They can take the Bizmanager to manage their accounting, or their sales processes, their inventory, their end to end business transactions/recordings, to providing and producing their financial statements, to the Human Resources as an ERP. And I’ll tell you a story around this because this is very important.
During the COVID-19, one of our customers (name withheld) in the pharmaceutical space focused on distributing test kits and test results. I know how tough it was, during that period. This organization was able to use our ERP much.
The ERP enabled the process to be seamless; right from the marketing, sales to finance. They were able to dispatch quickly, track and meet the requirements across the country. Now they’re taking the service to Ghana and other countries.
This falls under our vision of making life better. Many lives were saved, because people were able to know their status on time.
Now, still on ‘Think big’, we developed another product that we believe will soon become a reference point, but the one I first shared with you is so close to my heart, because I mean, we’re just getting out of COVID…
To be continued…