Interview with Godwin Martey, CEO Websoft Solutions, Accra
- February 15, 2017
”Bringing IT into BUSINESS”
Can you tell us about Websoft Ghana?
Websoft Solutions is an IT Company that has been in operation for a decade, with a simple; building software solutions that solve the typical business problems especially faced by most African businesses. We develop bespoke software, whether it is web, mobile, desktop or cloud. We also design high-end, premium websites for banks and other top organizations who want something original and classy beyond your common basic web templates one sees around the web, many times our web projects end up having some sort of portals and software applications built and integrated into it. At Websoft Solutions, our focus is the customer, most of our solutions are directly addressing the need of the customer, for instance, we have built an ERP that consists of HR, Payroll, CRM, Accounting, E-learning and more; it is called BreezeERP (www.breezeerp.com). It is absolutely tailored for SMEs, i.e whether you are just a start up with 3 team members or you have grown into a medium sized organization with about a thousand employees, our products work perfectly for you, and they are developed after an extensive research with all the necessary stakeholders involved in the value chain leading to the delivery of a world-class customer-centric solution. We are a very friendly organization with highly motivated staff and we work like a family, everyone is empathetic and helpful to one another.
What motivated you to start this company and for how long have you been in existence?
I was broke! I came from a very humble background, there was no silver spoon, no wooden spoon, nothing, just bare hands. Life was extremely tough. I conceived the idea of starting my own I.T Company in 2007 when I had been too hungry, because at the time, I was working for free for tertiary institution as a volunteer (Where I was later officially employed after about 6 months of working for free, where I later resigned as a Head of Section). However, I began to think very hard on how I could change my world. I had a deep-seated belief that although we all set out to make a difference in the world, but the first step was for me to achieve the less-lofty goal of changing my own World. As it got better, the vision enlarged, I began to see greater possibilities, I realized that the World needed our manifestation in such a larger way; and that true and lasting Success is in helping the world become better than I met it. Solving human need, using technology to improve lives and business process. It became more imperative to make a generational impact that leaves an indelible print in the sands of time.
How do you see the IT business in Ghana?
I think it is getting better by the day. What it looked like in the year 2007 when I started, isn’t what it looks like today. There is a higher rate of acceptance, awareness, literacy and learning curve is getting better, adoption rate keeps growing better. Maybe this is also because of the massive penetration of internet access and mobile phones. I still believe the untapped potential enormous! There’s so much yet undone, we have more problems in Ghana and indeed Africa at large that requires the use of smart technology solutions to solve. The IT Business in Ghana can only get better, especially if we begin to see more Government policies geared towards the provision of a conducive environment and necessary infrastructure that will foster speedy growth and development. Bringing IT into BUSINESS Godwin Martey, CEO Websoft Solutions, Accra 46
Would you say the Ghanaian business now understand the importance of IT in helping their businesses?
The answer is somewhere in between a yes and a no. The Ghanaian is a complex being. I think this question is similar to the previous one, except that in this case we are looking at the “understanding” of the Ghanaian business. I think the elites who run business are beginning to appreciate the power of technology and how it can drastically change the game you are playing in your sphere of business. But the not-too-literate business owners, still prefer their rigorous, manual, traditional old way of doing things – they haven’t caught the paradigm shift happening all around them. You will be surprised that a Proprietor of a school will tell you he has a website and when you ask him that what is the address, he gives you a yahoo email address; that is what he thinks a website is.
What has been the impact of your company in solving most IT problems in corporate organizations?
The impact is great, ranging from Banks to smaller organizations, we continue to get awesome feedbacks on how our various software solution is helping organization work faster, perform better and improve their bottom lines. Definitely, if organizations are not seeing value and their problems are not being effectively addressed, we wouldn’t have had a continuous and steady growth of our business too, we get referrals every now and then. If for instance, an organization has been processing payroll manually all year round, and we offer them a simple payroll software that makes payroll processing a breeze, that’s a lot of relief for the organization. Many organizations do not have a self-service portal where their employees can log in and see their monthly pay slips, so they can understand their salary breakdown, earnings and deductions, etc. Many organizations still process leave manually, an employee have to type a leave request, print it out and send it to their line manager or HR for approval, this is so outdated! With our products, (BreezeHR and BreezePayroll), an employee can simply sit by his desk and apply for leave on the system electronically, the line manager/supervisor will see the request on the system and choose to decline with reasons or approve it, the employee attaches handover notes, the request moves to the HR’s tray for perusal and approval, after which if approved, the employee receives a notification that his leave is approved and may proceed. All this is paperless, saves productive time, and reduces the organization’s cost of printing, buying ink, paper, printer wear and tear, and quite interestingly, such paperless system also goes a long way to save our environment from being destroyed. The impact of our solutions in organization is huge as we continue to get feedbacks that puts smiles on our faces.
In the next five years where do you want to see Websoft Solutions Ghana?
In the next 5 years, I see Websoft Solutions build a City or Campus made up of hundreds of developers, systems analysts, software engineers, researchers, etc. building different solutions for Africa and the World. We want to use technology to move Africa to the forefront of modernization and even export the technology too. It will be a tech campus that has all the necessary equipment, human capital, facilities, hostels, etc. where people all over the world can travel and visit to come and share ideas, help build solutions and then we find Governments of Nations who will buy the solutions at a very reasonable cost to transform their nation, the moneys derived from these products will go into charity and rewarding the teams who work on those particular products that have been bought! The idea is simple; to change Africa and impact the World.
How have your company been able to protect its customers from cyberattacks?
That’s not so difficult to do these days, although it is a fact that no system in the world has 100% fail-proof, there are security standards that we follow, we also educate clients on what to do and what not to do in order to be safe from cyberattacks. For instance we always educate customers that if you receive an email and you suspect the sender’s address, do not download the attachment. We also help them manage a strong firewall around their systems, we ensure there is valid licensed antivirus security on their machines, and we offer them free education and consultancy every now and then on the recent trends of cyberattacks and how to avoid them.
What do you expect the new government to do in the IT sector, while moving forward?
The new Government should identify young IT Entrepreneurs like us, and empower us by creating a more conducive business environment for us. They should provide more effective infrastructure, taxes on IT equipment, mobile phones, tablets, etc. should be drastically reviewed downwards. Government should do more local content, most of the outsourced IT jobs to other countries and given foreign companies to execute which can be built by great minds right here in Ghana. If we want to build a strong economy, then we must empower our own.
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