This profile demonstrates the importance of understanding the market requirements in a changing high-growth business environment. The business model and offerings need to be reinvented as the market changes.
Computer Warehouse Group
HQ: Lagos, Nigeria
Industry: Information and communications technology
Founder & CEO: Austin Okere
Ownership: Public Limited Company
Revenues (USD, year): 97 million (2014)
Computer Warehouse Group Plc (NSE: CWG Plc) is a leading provider of information and communications technology (ICT) solutions across West, Central and Eastern Africa, with over two decades of providing quality solutions and reliable services to companies. CWG Plc supports over 80% of the businesses in the financial industry and over 50% of the telecoms industry in Nigeria. The company also offers affordable cloud services for small and medium enterprises (SME) to improve business processes, reduce operational costs and maximize profit.
Our vision is to be Africa’s number one technology platform provider by 2020 by extending the frontiers of services to 27 countries in two years and an anticipated revenue of $400 million. Currently, CWG Plc has a physical presence in Ghana, Uganda, Cameroon, and a virtual presence in 17 other African countries.
CWG Plc has been a recipient of various awards: ICT Solutions Provider Of The Year, Financial Sector Technology Solutions Provider Of The Year, Distinguished SME Partner Award, and many others.
Reinventing the Company for Next Round of Hypergrowth
Given the challenges faced by global ICT players with increasing competition and declining margins on traditional hardware and communication business, CWG is repositioning itself by shifting from its reseller business to the provision of ICT solutions via cloud services on a subscription basis.
This strategy shift, in our opinion, is more sustainable than the traditional business of reselling OEM’s products, given the nature of the markets we operate in. For instance, Nigeria currently has over 34 million SMEs which cannot afford their own ICT solutions, but who can afford solutions tailored to meet their peculiar needs on a monthly subscription fee of about $10.
This strategy maximizes social-impact investment within the African market, aligns to the future direction of technology consumption and helps to create jobs by empowering entrepreneurs. This defines the new business model of CWG Plc referred to as CWG 2.0. This essentially comprises cloud-based solutions, available on a subscription basis, to meet the technology requirements of government- to- citizens, or peer-to-peer businesses models across diverse market segments.
The initiative stems from our belief that the African SME market has huge potential and is yet to be fully tapped. If SMEs can be empowered to maximize this potential, they can expand their capacities, create more jobs and grow the economy.
CWG 2.0 products include Openshopen, an e-commerce platform designed to enable SMEs sell their products online by owning a virtual online store on www.openshopen.ng. Another is SMERP, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution developed to help SMEs manage their business operations. CWG’s FinEdge is a platform designed to power the operational processes of micro-finance institutions and also engender financial inclusion by powering mobile banking solutions. Another product, Vericash, is an innovative mobile wallet aggregation platform that enables a new ecosystem for collaborative mobile financial services and financial inclusion in emerging markets.
We have also designed two other solutions that will significantly impact socio-economic development of the Nigerian market. They are: CWG-IGR Solution, an internal generation revenue platform that will enable state governments assess their actual revenue, improve their revenue base and monitor the collection process; and CWG Electricity Anti-Theft solution, designed to help electricity distribution companies determine leakages, reduce theft and increase profitability.
CWG also has a pan-African strategy aimed at encouraging partnership of ICT companies across Sub-Saharan Africa to provide efficient service delivery to clients, reduce the client’s operational cost, thus increasing partners’ revenue-generation capabilities thorough economies of scale and more optimal deployment of technical resources.
Given the premium we place on customer satisfaction and quality of service delivery, CWG runs a world-class Customer Experience Centre to address escalations, provide support for customer feedback and emergency calls. We also have the CWG Academy; a full-equipped training facility for IT professionals to meet the skills’ gap within the industry.
Crucial to our survival and growth is our resolve to deliver ICT solutions that will add value, meet and exceed our customers’ expectations. We have sustained this resolve relying on a motivated workforce and a system of tested processes.
Peer CEO Advice
- The maxim used to be that “big fish will eat small fish”; today the paradigm has shifted to “fast fish will eat slow fish”.
- Businesses operating in a highly disruptive sector and dynamic market such as ours are faced with a constant need to reinvent themselves. Only companies which are willing to innovate and evolve will survive.
- Consequently, companies must be able to identify their peak period based on erstwhile business models, after which their growth begins to stagnate. At this point, without innovation, taking advantage of new knowledge and technology advancement, businesses are prone to decline and ultimately cease to exist.
- In the new subscription business model, scale is key, hence the need to resource for hypergrowth.