December 14, 2021

What can we learn from Kenya's top tech businesses?

Original article by Francis Wainaina, SEACOM East Africa Senior Product Manager

There is no such thing as overnight success when it comes to digital transformation. Businesses that can leverage technological innovations often need a few years to perfect the formula, which can be a daunting prospect for those who are just starting out on their digital journey.

Fortunately, we are able to learn from the successes of some existing Kenyan companies that have established a firm footing in both emerging and international markets, by achieving their digital objectives. These leading businesses should be viewed as examples of how to navigate the modern tech space.

Strategic partnerships are essential

To use Safaricom as a first example, Kenya's largest telecommunications provider has certainly made a lasting impact on the Kenyan economy and the lives of citizens. The company has continued to seek new digital opportunities while putting the needs of its customers first, from communications and mobile payments to healthcare and many other online services.

Various factors have contributed to the company's success, but strategic relationships have played a significant role. The company invested millions into emerging tech companies, like Lynk and Sendy, to expand their mobile and e-commerce portfolio. By doing so, the company is protecting its future with a clear goal of expanding into new industries and tapping into opportunities in the digital services sector.

Other companies must learn from this and seek out partners that can assist them in entering new markets and evolving by incorporating a partner's complementary skills and capabilities into their business strategy.

Safaricom has not only expanded its digital offerings through strategic partnerships with Visa and Vodacom, but it has also demonstrated its commitment to Kenyan society by utilising its digital expertise and partnerships to drive social change. In 2020, Safaricom partnered with UNICEF to protect and educate Kenyan children, with Google to provide more smartphones to Kenyans, with EdTech Fellows to provide free educational access to Kenyan students learning from home, and with Generation Kenya to assist young people in finding jobs.

Safaricom has established itself as more than a major tech business by cultivating close relationships with communities through these effective programs; it's viewed as a brand that Kenyans can trust and rely on. Businesses should consider doing the same by collaborating with community programmes to garner similar stakeholder goodwill and give back to the Kenyan people. This mindset and approach to doing business is the only way forward for Kenya's economy to keep growing and evolving.

Investment in digital disruption

Digital disruption is defined as an effect caused by or exhibited through, digital capabilities, channels or assets that alter basic expectations and behaviors in a culture, market or industry.

Equity Bank was named the best bank in Africa at the Euromoney Awards in 2020 and it has worked hard to strengthen its digital capabilities. It has not only used process automation technologies to transition to a paperless workplace, but it has also digitised retail payments.

Using artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, the company has enhanced customer experiences and launched Finserve - a digital and mobile subsidiary, as a stand-alone commercial entity in 2018. The bank's continuous investment in digitisation and belief in disruptive technologies will almost certainly make it a fintech company with banking capabilities in the future.

It plans to keep investing in Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies like cloud and quantum computing, machine learning and AI. This dedication to digital disruption and the desire to explore the potential of innovative technologies are lessons that many established businesses should learn from.

Merge existing systems with new technology

The Britam Group discovered that its legacy systems were not built to share data, that their broker experience was too manual and time-consuming, and that no online integration with Britam partners existed. It created a digital experience platform to resolve these issues, which would serve as the foundation for its digital transformation.

The Britam Group now offers a wide range of financial products and services and has increased productivity and efficiency by utilising digital tools. The company was able to transition from its old portals and public websites to a new platform that unifies the company's products and services across several digital touchpoints. These integrated touchpoints not only provide seamless customer support but are also easy to use for staff and other stakeholders.

Its omnichannel digital experience platform connects numerous business operations and is scalable, allowing for future enhancements. This firmly positions it in the 'future-proof' category of a top tech company.

Getting started

When businesses at the start of their digital journey look at some of today's technological accomplishments, it may seem like a long road to the top but the most essential thing to remember is that there are numerous approaches to digital transformation. Individual companies must choose one that is most appropriate for them.

Partnering with an expert and reliable connectivity provider is always an excellent place to start. SEACOM Business provides multiple solutions for cloud migration and connectivity. Once a company takes the first step, the possibilities for digital transformation are endless. For more information or to get a quote for our various ICT solutions, email us at or leave us a message.

SEACOM owns Africa’s largest network of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, including fibre optic networks and subsea cables. We offer a wide range of industry-leading scalable ICT solutions for large companies that operate throughout the region.

SEACOM is privately owned - making it adaptable to the needs of the client. We are the preferred ICT and internet connectivity supplier for African enterprises. We can guarantee fast, reliable and secure internet and networking services at affordable prices.

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