Accountability is one of the biggest challenges facing SMEs, many of which easily lose stock, or money with no one to account for this. When IT specialist Robert Manyala founded the tech company Robisearch Limited in 2015, it is this challenge that he sought to help SMEs overcome.
From his high school days in Homabay, Manyala displayed an inherent passion for technology, knowing the kind of impact it can have on livelihoods. He would work tirelessly day and night to sharpen his computer skills, hoping to one day turn his vision into a reality.
His passion for technology extended into university where he chose to study Computer Science at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT). It is here that he began creating small systems such as websites for individuals as well as institutions.
He later began receiving orders for more complex software including point of sale systems, customer feedback software, property management systems, bulk SMS, bulk WhatsApp, biometric time attendance and Access Control software.
“With the urge for these innovations to be implemented, we had to form a company because we could not manage the systems as individuals. So we registered a business and moved into an office in Ngara,” said Mr. Manyala.
They began to develop software, including a point of sale system that enables entrepreneurs to know how much their businesses are making, how much are they spending on a daily basis and whether they are making profits, remotely.
“Many businesses don’t know how much they are making and they don’t know how to make decisions based on the data or analysis. Somebody who runs multiple businesses for instance could have a tough time in tracking their profits and business performance at a go,” said Mr. Manyala.
They also developed biometric systems to help schools, companies, and property owners conduct their affairs in a more accountable manner. They have developed a property management system for instance that helps landlords and property owners manage their properties from one central place. Someone who owns multiple rentals is thus able to know the vacancies, and status of payments instead of just relying on the word of agencies and caretakers. Tenants can also use the portal to raise pertinent issues. Agencies working with multiple landlords can also leverage on the tool to make work easier.
They also have a school management system that enables schools to account for students through a check in system. Any time a child is leaving school whether it is because of school fees or because they are going back home, parents are able to know the time the child has left school and when to expect them.
The firm has also developed a software application that enables organisations to efficiently manage client feedback. Customers can give feedback on what they like or what they want improved on via the platform. The platform then generates valuable and actionable insights that organisations can use to enhance customer experience.
“Customer feedback is critical for any organisation as this is what enables them to understand the needs and demands of their customers and respond accordingly,” noted Mr Manyala.
For their efforts, the firm has received several awards and recognitions, including on 24th November this year, when they received an award as Top Digitally Fit ERP and Software solutions provider for SMEs and on 30th June this year, when they received an award as the Pacesetters in software and Digital Solutions.
Manyala says the biggest challenge they face in promoting these solutions is competition from cheap but sub-standard products.
“You can try selling someone a product at Sh10, but a customer will tell you they can get the same product at Sh2, so for them as long as the name is the same, then they do not see why there should be a difference in value,” said Mr. Manyala.
The other challenge he says is the fast rate at which the technology keeps changing, where an innovation that seems popular today, tomorrow could be outdated, but with an agile and dynamic team that is constantly working to innovate, he says they have been able to give the customer what they need.