How often do you see companies and organisations investing in IT and technology solutions but not actually ensuring they are aligned to overall business strategies? As a result, maximum efficiencies and highly functional systems never realize their full potential. IT specialist, Ngwana Matloa, co-founder of ABOT Technology, is on a mission to change that.
LoA chatted to Ngwana Matloa this week to find out more….
What does your company do?
ABOT Technology gives peace of mind to medium-sized, parastatals and corporates by helping them align their IT Strategy to their business strategy.
"ABOT Technology was started because we want to change the status quo that Africans, especially black South African companies, CAN develop and commercialize their software to be used at an enterprise level and globally."
What inspired you to start your company?
ABOT Technology was started because we want to change the status quo that Africans, especially black South African companies, CAN develop and commercialise their software to be used at an enterprise level and globally.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
We are committed to delivering quality solutions/services to our clients to ensure sustainable long term relationships by helping them make better decisions, using technology; in order for them to service their clients effectively.
We provide the following primary services:
- Software Design & Development (Enterprise Applications & Mobile Apps)
- Business/Systems Process Optimization
- User Experience Design
We have 2 products:
- Express Plus – Content Delivery Platform -This platform aims to provide marketing departments or agencies with the ability to automate & centralize their marketing activities.
- Enterprise Development Community Tool - This digital platform aims to provide a centralized repository for mentors, mentees and programme managers to collaborate and access resources of an enterprise development programme.
"When we started the company, one of the aims was, and still is, to change the notion that black owned IT companies are only consumers or implementers of international products."
Tell us a little about your team
ABOT Technology is co-founded by two lovers of tech: Ngwana Matloa & Phaswa Mokone. Ngwana loves the people aspect of tech and seeing how technology transforms an environment & alleviates problems, while Phaswa thrives in developing software that works the way people do; i.e. developing for humanity. Both, Ngwana & Phaswa started their careers as software engineers. While Phaswa stayed on enjoying creating components & frameworks (he is the Technology Strategist), Ngwana found her passion in the Business Analysis & Project Management roles. She is the Business-Tech Strategist.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
My journey into entrepreneurship has been sparked by 3 people: my late father who was a realtor, my late maternal grandma who was a dressmaker, and my brother who is an interior designer, with a focus in structural designs. When I was in primary school I sold sweets, chocolate, ice-lollies, at home. When I was in primary and high school, I was involved in the fundraising committees. This transferred to when I was much older where I joined the fundraising committee of my church. The most important thing I loved from my dad was the time that he had. Although he was working on weekends too, whether it was at home or at sites, I enjoyed that he bought me toys even when it was mid-month. As much as it seems that my dad had a lot of free time, I only understood how actually hard entrepreneurs work when my brother started his interior design business. I used to wonder why he was up at 5am when he could be sleeping until 10am. I thought I would go into the creative industry because I love beads and beadwork. I wanted to become a sports physiotherapist but I as I was busy with my IT studies; I saw that IT would have a lot more opportunities than sports physiotherapy. Thus in my 2nd last year at university, I knew that I wanted to have my own business by the age of 27. It was in 2006, when I met up with a friend and former university classmate, Phaswa Mokone, that he asked me if I wanted to join forces and here we are in 2017 working on expanding the company.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
When we started the company, one of the aims was, and still is, to change the notion that black owned IT companies are only consumers/implementers of international products. We want ABOT Technology to be a product and services company, to develop our own software that will be consumed in the same way that businesses are using Microsoft or SAP products. We are achieving this goal, as we are in the process of completing our flagship product, Express Plus, which is a content delivery platform that provides an automated environment for marketing teams to implement their marketing activities; such as newsletters, website, blogs, surveys, forums, eCommerce. We are looking at breaking into the retail, higher education, transportation, enterprise/supplier development and banking sectors using various forms of technology such as mobile applications, data analytics, Virtual Reality, SaaS, PaaS and DaaS. We will have our own products and supporting services for these industries. Our team will also be growing to help ABOT Technology meet its goals. In 2019-2020, we will be exploring opportunities in the SADC region.
"We are looking at breaking into the retail, higher education, transportation, enterprise/supplier development and banking sectors using various forms of technology such as mobile applications, data analytics, Virtual Reality, SaaS, PaaS and DaaS."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
My team! Also that I am in charge of my success and/or lack thereof. I’ve learnt a lot more in a few years than what I would have learnt as an employee. I love seeing a happy client, and also seeing that we are living our dream and getting closer to other goals.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
- Pray daily.
- Work on yourself and on shutting out the noise; each and every day.
- Network. Network. Network and USE the connections effectively.
- Have a partner and one that can help you have fun, along the journey.
- Understand the FINANCIALS. Financial literacy is key.
- There’s no need to stab others in the back. Our journeys are different; even if you are in the same industry as millions of other women.
- Feel the fear and DO IT anyway.
- Fail forward and fast.
- Get a mentor/coach and having 1 to help with a department of the business, is not a bad idea. Maybe create a board of advisors.
- It may be hard to define your USP, but keep at it. Ask for help from family, friends and clients.
Contact or follow ABOT Technology
Why LoA loves it….
Africa needs more women entrepreneurs building high growth potential companies that can take on traditionally male dominated industry sectors, or those sectors that are reliant on imported goods and services. So it is great to see a proudly South African company emerging in the highly competitive IT sector, co-founded by a woman tech specialist, Ngwana Matloa, and looking to create high impact solutions and services for its clients. Ngwana is definitely a name to watch in the world of techpreneurship in the coming months and years. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa