Safaricom Results in the Eyes of Software Developers in Kenya

Why would software developers in Kenya be interested in Safaricom’s financial results? Well, there are enough reasons to keep up with the performance of top companies. Investors anticipate such results for the dividend payout. Software developers see beyond the numbers.

One of the questions that arise every time Safaricom PLC announces its results is the low financial status of its clients. The company has maintained the largest share of the market since it was established 18 years ago. Other mobile services are still trying to catch up with the company’s strategies and increase their market share.

For software developers, the interest is in the products and their contribution to the company’s profits. Developers are also interested in the company’s technology and business strategy, given that many of them are entrepreneurs. Let us first look at the numbers that interest developers.

Safaricom financial year (2019) results at a glance

The telecommunication company gained 63.1b in revenues in the financial year ending 31 March 2019. One of the notable figures in the results is the contribution of Mpesa to the revenue. The platform now contributes 31.2% of the revenue.

Related: The Success Story of Mpesa in Kenya

Safaricom has been improving the Mpesa service. Today, the platform can handle about 1,200 transactions in a second. Think about this level of efficiency and processing capacity. Kenyans are still signing up for Mpesa services include new merchants.

In the reported financial year, the company registered 2.1m new customers. The total number of active Mpesa users is now 22.6m. Safaricom also introduced the Fuliza service that allows customers to overdraw their Mpesa account.

About 8.8m customers had already opted into the services within 3 months of its introduction. The transactions for the Fuliza service in the 3 months were estimated at 29 billion. Safaricom has also been building its global partnership.

Based on the results, more than 11,000 customers transact on the Mpesa-PayPal service per month. Mpesa customers are also using the service to purchase apps. The customers have purchased more than 5,200 app from Google PlayStore and paid via Mpesa.

The recently launched partnership with AliExpress is also taking shape. Money transfer via Western Union is possible to more than 500 agents and over 3 billion bank accounts around the world. Safaricom customers can transfer and receive money from any part of the globe.

Lessons for software developers

Reading the number is interesting, especially if you are a Safaricom customer or shareholder. However, we will go for the lessons and not the numbers for now. What can lessons can software developers in Kenya take home from these results?

1. The contribution of software developers

Safaricom’s largest service to its clients is voice calls. However, the Mpesa platform has grown to become one of its largest contributors to its revenues. In the reported financial year, the service contributed 31.2% of the revenues.

Mpesa is of interest to developer for several reasons. The service started as a software development project in school. Safaricom bought the idea and developed it to a popular means of mobile payments around the globe. How much more would developers achieve if their engaged their creativity right from college?

Software developers in Kenya can create similar solutions that can revolutionize business or any other field. The question is, are developers thinking beyond the current trends? Kenyan developers have the capacity to set new trends instead of copying global trends.

The increasing popularity of Mpesa is of interest to developers. The current demand in the market is for software development and Mpesa integration services in one package. As more clients sign up for Mpesa payments for local and global transactions, the demand for the integration services increases.

2. The rising demand for loans

Developers have introduced many loan apps in the Kenyan market. However, Kenyans are still looking for alternatives. In less than 3 months, more than 8 million Mpesa customers had already tried the Fuliza service.

The tough economic times are pushing mobile phone users to look for quick soft loans. The reality is that most loan app users are subscribed to more than one service. One is never enough because of the low limit at the beginning.

The market for loan apps is still ripe. With the right information on how the financial market works, new entrants will make money through loan apps. Another requirement is choosing the right developers.

Safaricom is already revolutionising the loan market with Fuliza. The company has also signed partnerships with financial institution to enable clients to access soft loans from their accounts. Hence, new entrants must think beyond the available services in the market.

We cannot emphasize the need for differentiating solutions enough. The tendency to copy ideas has moved to the software market as well. Differentiation sets a solution apart in the market, which translates to a higher number of active users.

3. Providing high-capacity solutions

Software developers in Kenya need to learn the art of introducing functional solutions from Safaricom. The Mpesa processes more than a thousand transactions in a second. The challenge here is for developers to create such efficient solutions to their clients.

Phone users have no time to wait for minutes for a page to load. If an app is slow or unreliable in delivering a service, users look for the next best alternative. Such moves are bad news to appreneurs.

If you want to get referrals from your clients, create outstanding solutions. Push every solution to the best performance level possible. Give the right advice to your clients to improve the performance and speed of their solutions.

Software engineering is not a walk in the park. It takes months to create an outstanding solution. However, developers can improve their speed of delivering their services. In addition, developers can learn some business development strategies from Safaricom such as product diversification.

Final thoughts

Software developers in Kenya have a lot to learn from one of the leading companies in Kenya. Safaricom has set the pace in the telecommunication industry. Modern technology including software engineering technology has contributed to its outstanding results over the years. The consistency in offering reliable services in a turbulent economy is a challenge to all entrepreneurs including developers.

Top 10 Mobile App Categories As Analysed By Android App Designers in Kenya

We recently offered a guide on how to come up with a great app idea. While our core business is developing apps among other solutions, we want you to get your teeth in this industry. You do not need any experience or background in IT or software engineering. You just need the right information from Android app designers in Kenya and other sources.

With millions of apps out there, it sounds okay to assume that the market is flooded. Well, that is not the case. For example, you may look at social media and think Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have it all. But, if you look closely, new social platforms are still coming up.

People are always looking something new, something exciting and different. The question is, do you have it? As we suggest the categories of apps that you can develop, think about the difference that your solution will bring.

Just as it is with physical products, software needs differentiation. Where are the gaps in the category? What are app users looking for but cannot get from the existing apps? Think about these questions as we go through the list of suggested apps.

1. Loan apps

Financial technology has taken Kenya by storm. There is a new loan app anywhere you look. Banks are constantly advertising their mobile banking services and easy loans. That tells you that Kenyans are still looking for quick soft loans.

Get the necessary information on this type of business to get started. Training may be necessary if you do not have a background in finance. Alternatively, gather a team of like-minded people with the necessary skills and knowledge.

2. Taxi Apps

Do you think you can beat Uber and Taxify? Our thoughts: Yes, you can! If you have ever tried to book a ride via these apps during the rush hour, then you know it can be a nightmare. Many Kenyans shun taxi services because of the cost and process of haggling for a cheap ride.

New taxi apps have come up to meet the demand for affordable taxi rides. However, there is room for growth. One secret in this business is balancing the needs of drivers and clients.

Your thoughts should not be limited to taxis. Can you provide any other alternative to the chaotic matatu industry? How about a solution for safe solution carpooling?

3. Dating apps

Here is another favourite category that every aspiring apprenuer should consider. Love makes the world go round and Kenyans are looking for it. People try online dating secretly with the hope that it might lead to something serious. Give them that opportunity. Talk to Android app designers in Kenya and get started.

As you consider these apps, beware that users of dating apps are not entirely loyal. Users often download two or more apps to increase their chances. You just need to give them reasons to open your app every day. If you can offer them quick but close matches, you are right on that path.

4. Betting apps

The betting craze is still on in Kenya. You can make some money while it lasts. The thing with gambling is that it can be addictive. When a person plays for a while without winning on one platform, they look for alternatives.

Your alternative should give them better chances of winning and quick payouts. Make the betting process or user experience seamless. It is advisable to design a website as well. Some people prefer to play on websites but check their apps for instant updates.

5. Social apps

Where social apps are mentioned, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Whatsapp come to mind. However, there is more to this category that the popular social platforms. The idea of social apps is to bring together people with common interests and keep them talking.

Here is an example. Think about people who enjoy comics, or “bookworms” looking for an online book club. Many app owners are making money by bringing meme lovers or creators together. You too can think creatively and identify untapped social groups.

6. E-commerce apps

You do not need to have a running business to develop an e-commerce app. You can bring buyers and sellers on one platform. If you have a running business, you should be discussing the idea with top Android app designers in Kenya.

While selling products online is attractive, not every business needs an app. In addition, you need a safe and reliable payment method like Mpesa. Give customers value for their money by offering quality products, fair prices, and timely deliveries.

7. Tools

Web and mobile solutions should solve a problem or meet a pressing need. Tools match this description perfectly. The best place to start is to look at your current unmet needs. Can you find a solution for them? Can the solutions be mobile apps?

The category is quite broad from financial management or budgeting tools to maps, music players, photo editors, notepads, and editing tools. Pick one subcategory and find any gaps in meeting the user’s needs.

8. Music and Entertainment

We live in a generation that is either staring on the television screen or their mobile devices. When television programs prove boring, people turn to their phones for entertainment. Think about the time people spend in traffic bored.

An app that offers affordable entertainment will keep their minds occupied. The trick here is to offer something interesting for all users. If you choose to develop a music app, you must include all genres. It helps to include both local and international tracks on the platform.

9. Video players and editors

Video players follow audio or music players closely. Videos have gained popularity in the recent past. Fortunately for app builders, the old video players have limited functions. Your video player should have better features and functions.

Think of both video players and creators. As video content trends, many app users are looking for easy ways to shoot, edit, and share videos. Hence, your subcategories in this field are not limited to music videos.

10. Lifestyle apps

Mobile apps generally improve the quality of our lifestyle. However, the apps that fit in this category focus on a specific aspect. It is always easier to start with solutions in your niche. For instance, those in the beauty industry can use apps to share beauty tips.

Health and fitness are now a huge part of our lives. You can develop an app that combines the two aspects and offer actionable help. Alternatively, you can focus on food choices and offer recipes, diet tips or even meal plans. The list of possible lifestyle apps is long.

Final thoughts

When you browse your app store and check the listings for each category, you will find tens, hundreds, or even thousands of other apps. Beating the competition may seem impossible at first but it is possible. There is a gap or need that none of your competitors has identified or met fully. Extensive research will help you identify this gap and get a new idea. Get the best iOS or Android app designers in Kenya to actualise your idea and you will be on your way to great success.

Pros and Cons of Hiring IT Consultants in Kenya for a Startup

You confronted your fears, took a risk, and implemented your business idea. Your startup seems to be doing well with the client database growing by day or week. Why should you consider the services of IT consultants in Kenya? Is it better to hire a permanent IT professional and hand over all IT-related tasks?

Founders struggle with the decision of hiring consultants for various reasons. Accessing funds to start and grow a new business is perhaps the greatest challenge for business owners. Hence, founders do not prioritize consultancy services for start-ups. Some assume that such services are reserved for large companies.

Another misconception that hinders many entrepreneurs from hiring consultants is the notion that the services are expensive. As we will discover later in this article, hiring a consultant sometimes saves costs. Some founders are just unaware of the potential benefits of engaging consultants at the early stages of their business

If you are still unsure about this decision, let us look at the pro and cons of hiring consultants.

Pros of Hiring ICT Consultants in Kenya

Expertise and Experience

The top reason for hiring consultants is to get expert advice or services. Consultants have years of experience a field that you and/or your IT staff members have limited experience. You benefit from this experience and make the right decisions at the formative stages of your business. Many small businesses start without an IT department. Engaging a consultant gives you access to the same technical expertise that large companies enjoy.

Objective and neutral advice

Sometimes IT consultants come in to solve issues in your business such as a security breach. You may also hire consultants to audit your internal system including its performance and efficiency. The IT staff may have the expertise for such an audit but give feedback that protects their jobs. Consultants give authentic and objective feedback on ICT issues and recommend practical solutions. Consultants enable business owners to face inefficiencies in their business that they would prefer to ignore.

Related: How IT Consultants in Kenya Are Helping Clients Stay Ahead Of Digital Transformation

Fixed upfront costs

Hiring a staff member is different from hiring a consultant. You may incur a high initial cost with a consultant for the expertise and experience. However, consultants give you the full cost of their services upfront. Once you meet the cost, you will enjoy agile technical solutions in your business without recurring costs. Compare the upfront cost with the cost of hiring such an expert with a monthly salary, benefits, and paid annual leave.

Security

Are you worried about data security? Every business, whether small or large, has to plan for cyber security issues. The crimes have become sophisticated over time. Customers lose their confidence easily in a service provider after a security breach. Even with a well-equipped IT department, hiring external experts in data security is advisable. IT consultants in Kenya do not only follow secure procedures but also recommend the best security systems.  

Increased productivity in IT staff

One reason why you may be experiencing slow growth could be that your IT team is underperforming. Choosing the right performance metrics for such a team is difficult if you have limited knowledge and experience in IT. Most entrepreneurs fall into this category. IT consultants will easily determine if you have redundant human resources and recommend changes.

Happy employees

Imagine a working environment with the latest digital technologies and fast systems.  How much time will employees save when working in such an environment? The working environment is directly correlated with the satisfaction of employees. Analyse the technical issues that your staff members complain about regularly. If your IT professional or department has not solved them yet, it is time to call a consultant.

Cons of Hiring IT Consultants in Kenya

We told you that IT consultants give objective or neutral advice and Muva is not different. Hiring a consultant has a downside too.

Availability

The availability of IT consultants depends on the company or individuals that your firm hires. Some are available for 24/7 but most work within normal working hours. Hence, should your systems need quick attention during off-working hours, you will have a challenge accessing quick help. In addition, consultants allocate specific hours to each client and will not be in your premises all day for consultations. Be careful with the choice of an IT consultant to get reliable services.

Also Read: The Top 8 Essentials Of Choosing The Best IT Consultants In Kenya

Lack of continuity

Once a project or contract ends, the engagement of the consultants ends as well. Some consultants offer help after a contract such as maintenance services but the period is limited. While you may want continuous expert services for your business but such an engagement with consultants is costly. The best approach is to hire consultants for a specific project and ensure that your team can run the systems after the consultants leave.

Knowledge loss

The moment a consultant packs and leaves your premises, knowledge leaves as well. You may not realise the loss until you encounter a challenge with the new technology. Internal IT experts do not have the same level of expertise. Otherwise, you would not have hired the consultants in the first place. Encourage your employees to learn as much as possible during their interactions with consultants. The right consultants are always willing to transfer knowledge to other IT professionals.

Budget constraints

The cost of hiring an IT consultant is low in the long term. However, the services of ICT consultants in Kenya may be beyond your company’s budget. Cost constraints limit many small businesses from upgrading to the latest technologies. Compromising the quality of IT services is not the solution. Identify the best consultants and then negotiate for a flexible payment plan.

Final remarks

Saving the best for last does not work in business. Invest as much as you can when building the foundation of your startup. The approach will you save high costs that other entrepreneurs incur when trying to deal with a crisis. Hiring IT consultants in Kenya is one way of ensuring that you get the technical bit right. Consider hiring other types of consultants as well if necessary. Success is inevitable with expert advice on the major aspects of your business.

Everything You Need To Know About Mobile App Analytics

Creating a mobile app is not enough! You need mobile app analytics. Many app owners think that as long as they come up with an outstanding idea, everything will be great. The reality hits after the launch when they do not get as many downloads as they expect.

If you are in this journey of creating a new app or considering it, you must have realistic expectations. You also need to track the performance of your app consistently. Mobile app analytics enable you to make quick decisions about your product.

Analytics tell you if your target users agree with your thought that the new app is useful or great. Before you invest more money in updates or even launch another app, track the performance of your app. Compare data at different times and seasons. What kind of data do you need?

Key performance indicators for a mobile app

Understanding the need for mobile app analytics is a good starting point. Your next step is to identify the type of data that you should be looking at every day. The performance indicators will also help you choose the right tools to use for analytics. The key indicators include:

1. Number of downloads

The basic metric tells you if your target market is interested in your mobile app. With the right marketing tactics, the number of downloads should be high after a launch. Mobile phone users are always excited to try a new product if it meets a pressing need. However, the app downloads after the excitement of the launch is over paint a better picture.

2. Active users

How many active users do you have every day, week, and month? Downloading an app from the app store is not good enough. You need users to interact with your app almost every day or several days a week. The analytics tool that you choose should give you real-time reports of the number of active users.

3. Retention rate

The expectation of every app owner is that users will find an app enough useful enough to use in the long-term. Mobile app analytics will tell you if you are achieving this dream. Check the number of uninstalls and the duration between installing and uninstalling. Low retention rates do not necessarily mean your app is not useful. You just need to change your retention strategy.

Related article: 5 Proven Strategies for Mobile Application User Retention

4. Conversion

The most likely reason why you created the app is to make money. Whether you are selling a product or service directly, charging a subscription or earning from ads, conversion rates are critical. Check the trend of revenues, ad clicks, downloads or whichever metric applies to your app.

You can determine if you need to review your prices, products, or marketing agencies based on the conversion rates. The rate will also help you predict and improve future earnings from the app.

5. Open rates

Here is another metric that will give you a clear picture of user engagement. How many times do active users open your app in a day or week? How can you increase the open rates? The data will help you design marketing tactics such as subtle notifications to remind users about the app.

6. User sessions

How long do users take on the app? Which functions or pages do they visit the most? You cannot do without such numbers. Otherwise, you will not know the updates required on the app apart from increasing its responsiveness and performance.

7. Referrals

App developers will always advise you to include the social media sharing function on your app. If users are impressed with the app, they will share it on their social media platform. The app should automatically prompt users to share or refer others to use the app. Tracking the number of shares or referrals including the comments will tell you what users think about your solution.

The best mobile app analytics tools

We have listed the best indicators to follow when analysing the performance of your apps. You can use the list to determine the best analytics tools to use for your app. There is no harm in choosing more than one tool. The good thing about these tools is that they give more than the metrics we shared.

1. Google Analytics

You can use this free tool for both iOS and Android apps. The tool shows in-apps activities including session duration, location of users, revenues, number of users, and number of sessions among other events. You may need a little time to read and understand the analytics but the tool is great for all types of apps.

2. App Analytics (Apple Analytics)

The tool is great but limited to the iOS platform. It gives you useful information on how to make your app attract more users and improve its position in the app store. Some of the metrics you can get with this tool include user sessions, app crashes, sources of downloads and impressions, sales, and active devices.

3. Appsflyer

The tool is tailor-made for marketing analytics. It is compatible with both iOS and Android platforms. The developers have partnered with Google, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. The tool is recommended for app attribution and fraud detection.

4. Amplitude

The tool helps you analyse how users interact with the app. You can tell which features or functions bring users back to the app. The tool designs and sends smart alerts to potential loyal users using machine learning technology. Consider this tool if you are interested in improving your user retention and conversion rates.

5. Crashlytics

The tool works in both Android and iOS platforms. Crashlytics is probably the best tool you will come across for crash solutions. The tool gives comprehensive reports including the trends and factors contributing to app crashes. You will also get a report of unresolved

6. Mixpanel

The analytics tool gives automatic insights using machine learning including user loyalty, engagement, and retention. You can also predict conversion and user behavior with the tool. Mixpanel has inbuilt tools that improve user engagement such as in-app push notifications, messages, and emails.

7. Kumulos

The tool stands out among other tools because of its wide range of functions. Some of the services you can get on the platform include performance reports, funnel analysis, campaign analysis, engagement analysis, and bug tracking. You can also generate cohort analysis, clicks, and visual analytics among other reports.

Conclusion

You will come across tens of mobile app analytics tools in the market with different features. It is advisable to get one or two tools with a wide range of reports that you can generate. Follow the data consistently for weeks or months before making any major changes on the app. 

15 Ways to Become a Professional Programmer in Kenya

Programming is one of the lucrative jobs in Kenya. Nearly 38 million Kenyans own mobile phones and the highest percentage of this population access internet on their phones. The statistics push organizations to build their online presence through customized websites and applications. Consequently, the demand for professional programmers increases every year. If you are thinking of building a career in this field, you are thinking in the right direction. Here are some of the ways of becoming a professional Kenyan programmer.

Learn the basics of programming

If you have not studied programming, the first step is to learn the basics including programming languages such as HTML and CSS. Learn different types of programming, and programming technologies or tools as well. You can register for crash courses in a local college or take online lessons. Most online tutors offer video lessons to help beginners understand the concepts fast.

Browse websites and applications

Familiarize yourself with different types of websites including social, personal, data mining, corporate, and informational websites among others. View the design and structure of each website. View the design and functionality of different desktop and mobile applications as well.

Take a graphics design course

Clients expect a complete website or application from a professional programmer. Learning graphics design enhances your competitiveness as a programmer. Learn how to use graphics software.

Learn internet protocols

Your clients will access your websites and applications online. Professional programmers require knowledge in internet protocols and structures including HTTP, POP3, and SMTP among others. Learn how web browsing software and servers work. The knowledge will help you build functional websites and assist your clients when websites develop technical issues.


Practice with simple websites and applications

After learning the basics of programming, internet protocols, and graphics, start creating your own websites. Put the knowledge into practice. You will understand most of the concepts perfectly when you apply them to a real website.

Learn client scripting language

The most popular client-side scripting language is JavaScript. The language is compatible with most browsers. Familiarize with this and other scripting languages.

Take advanced courses in programming language

Do not settle for the basic programming languages. Once you master the basics and apply them on your website, take advanced lessons. Remember your goal is to become a professional Kenyan programmer. Basic knowledge qualifies you for entry jobs and projects. Apply the advanced concepts on your website or pilot applications to test your understanding.

Learn the concepts of visual programming

Visual programming concepts apply to desktop applications. You need this knowledge to create functional applications. Familiarize yourself with desktop applications or software and learn their functions. Start with event-driven programming since visual programming in most cases relies on events.

Create pilot software or applications

Similar to web programming, you will understand the concepts of applications programming when you apply them to real applications. Create pilot software and apply the visual programming concepts you have learned. Start with simple projects and move to advanced software when you have mastered all the concepts.

Explore game programming

You do not have to follow the same trend as other programmers. You can differentiate yourself by learning game programming. In addition to accessing websites and applications, mobile phone users spend hours every day playing games on their devices. You may need to take extra language and graphics lessons to become a professional game programmer. However, game programming uses most of the concepts of desktop applications programming.

Advance to core programming

As you advance your knowledge and understanding of programming concepts and languages, you can explore core programming. Core or package programmers create code units for other programmers. For this advanced level, you may need to enroll in a software engineering program to learn the relevant programming languages.

Study systems programming

If you want to stand out as a professional Kenya programmers, learn systems programming. You will learn the science of programming instead of applying its concepts in real projects. You can train other programmers to apply the concepts instead of working directly with clients.

Learn from other programmers

Continuous learning is important because new concepts and tools emerge every other day. The previous steps involve learning on your own and directly from your tutor. You will learn much more and probably understand programming better when you interact with other programmers. Join discussions groups and forums to connect with other professionals. You can learn from experienced programmers by reading their materials such as books, magazines, journal entries, and blogs.

Also Read: HitPesa –Advertise, Connect and Grow Your Business! App Review

Build your portfolio

Create a personal portfolio with all the websites and applications you have developed in the learning process. The portfolio should include all the courses you have completed as well. If you are unsure about your pilot projects, create one professional website and application. Apply all the advanced concepts you have learned. You can ask professional programmers to assess the website and application before sending them to potential employers.

Apply for programming jobs

Look for opportunities to apply your knowledge and earn from it. Send your portfolio to the best software companies in the country. Do not shy away from internships especially if you have basic knowledge in programming. Such opportunities introduce you to the real world of programming. You will learn how to work in a team of programmers and deliver satisfactory products to clients.