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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

The books of CWG in first quarter




Introduction:
FOR some reasons, the beginning of this year 2015 has been a very busy one for the management and staff of Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) plc, At first, CWG was pronounced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as Payment Terminal Service Provider (PTSP) license and soon after, it was a time for commendation for the multi-national Information and Communication Technology (ICT) company.

PTSP License, facilitating more service offering:
DigitalSENSE Business News reports thatthe leading Pan-African ICT Company secured the Payment Terminal Service Provider (PTSP) license from the Central Bank of Nigeria, to facilitate CWG offering of services in the areas of Payment Terminal Service Provider (PTSP) to Point-of-Sale terminals (PoS) across the country.

This came in the heels of stopoverby a delegation of the apex bank to CWG in the last quarter of 2014 to assess the company’s keenness and certify that the company has fulfilled all conditions necessary, therefore qualified to be licensed as a Payment Terminal Service Provider in the country. 

As stated by CBN Director of Banking and Payment Systems Department, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, in a letter addressed to Computer Warehouse Group, CWG “has successfully passed through the various stages of evaluation.” These include an inspection of the company’s facility and processes, an allowance of a test period, during which the company’s products were carefully examined for quality and standard. 

Also, the letter indicated that CWG is “hereby licensed to perform the activities Payment Terminal Service Provider (PTSP) for Point-of-Sale terminals (POS) in Nigeria,” which came with lots of excitement as the year kicked off in earnest for the CWG team.

A testimonial for CWG:
The PTSP license, DigitalSENSE Business News gathered certifies that a company has the infrastructure to competently deploy, maintain and provide support for POS terminals in Nigeria. According to the CBN, “A PTSP shall offer services to acquirers covering all aspects relating to terminal management support, including but not limited to purchase and replacement of spare parts, provision of connectivity, training, repairs, and development of value added services, amongst other things.”

Excited founder and Chief Executive Officer, CWG, Mr. Austin Okere, noted that the license is a testimony to the capability CWG Plc to competently deploy functional PoS terminals to the market at a time when CBN is vigorously pursuing the ideal of making the Nigerian business clime a cashless model. 

He pointed out that although the number of POS terminals increased to about 125,000 as at June last year and the value of PoS transactions increased to about N138 billion during the same period, statistics from the apex bank also indicate that about 46 per cent of adult Nigerians have no access to financial services. 

For Okere, the track record of CWG in the financial services sector as indicated in the deployment of its Finacle core banking application to foremost banks in Nigeria, technical platforms for First monie and Diamond Yello account, are pointers to the capacity to be instrumental to the actualization of a truly cashless economy.

Why CWG 2.0 made a debut:
The Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Mr. James Agada, said that CWG’s quest to deploy POS terminals is an integral part of her new business module christened CWG 2.0. The deployment of which he said, include POS terminals, business package for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), just as he projected there should be 17million terminals if there are over 17 million existing SMEs in the country, which would aid the growth of smaller businesses and consolidate the cashless economy initiative of the government.

Mr. Agada pointed out that these terminals will be tailored to suite the specific peculiarities of SMEs and could work anywhere. 

“It will also allow merchants do more since it has multiple payment option. This means that a merchant can receive payments for bills, sell Jamb pins, airtime and importantly, keep inventory of sales using the same POS terminal. This will be our quota to enabling inclusive growth in the economy,” Agada said.

The day NBC boss visited CWG:
Then, a few days later, the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Mr. Emeka Mba has commended the Computer Warehouse Group Plc (CWG) led by Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Austin Okere, over its teleport facility, reports DigitalSENSE Business News.

He used the opportunity of the visit to commend CWG, its management, saying the visit afforded his team to inspect CWG’s satellite facility that will serve as the support base for the soon to be launched SES digital TV platform.

He also applauded CWG’s vision for introducing a free to air Direct-To-Home (DTH) Television to the Nigerian broadcasting populace. 

“The idea of a free to air satellite TV platform is novel to the TV experience of average Nigerians. Its coverage capacity will be instrumental in our quest to take quality broadcasting to every corner of the nation. More so, it will allow indigenous stations compete competently and affordably with regional and global ones, in terms of picture and content quality,” he said.

Mr. Mba assured CWG management that NBC will provide the necessary support required to make certain this project is a success.

A warm welcome:
Welcoming the NBC delegation with a presentation, the Head, Presales at CWG, Mr. Gbenga Odegbami, gave an overview of CWG’s history of innovation and service excellence. He pointed out that CWG offers integrated ICT solutions that add value to the operations of diverse clientele, using highly skilled and well-motivated workforce.

“At inception, CWG was basically an Information Technology (IT) infrastructure sales firm. The group has since evolved into a pan-African ICT powerhouse, with focus on enabling businesses through strategic partnerships with world-class organizations and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs),” he said. 

CWG, he said, recently innovated her business model to be based on Subscription and Cloud Computing under an umbrella aptly tagged CWG2.0. Odegbami explained, the business concept, of CWG 2.0 is a cloud based subscription business model birthed and driven by the quest to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) grow and make notable social impact. 

This, he said, includes Openshopen, an e-commerce platform that allows shop owners open their own virtual stores online; and SMERP, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution built to assist business owners manage their Accounting and Financial Record Keeping.

Strategic collaboration:
“Our strategic collaboration with SES Astra, a foremost global satellite company to bring the first Direct to Home digital TV is an integral part of our CWG 2.0 vision. The partnership entails SES providing space segment, using their ASTRA 2F satellite, at 28.2 degrees East, while CWG will manage the teleport services required to project the signals to viewers, using high operational standards”, he added.

Addressing NBC delegation earlier, Mr. Austin Okere, thumbed up NBC for its efforts in ensuring that the nation beats the ITU June 17 deadline for migration to digital TV broadcasting. “The CWG/SES platform, beyond being a business idea, is our social impact investment contribution to ensure that none of the 27 million households in Nigeria are left out in the digital TV switchover,” he said.

Initially, Mr. Okere said, visual content will be made available to millions of households at no cost, through a Free to Air (FTA) medium. Stressing that secondly, CWG is offering a platform that will enable broadcasters deliver their content to a broader audience cost-effectively. 

“Most importantly, our platform offers the nation the opportunity of meeting the core requirements needed to beat the ITU transition to digital broadcasting deadline,” he assured.

Conclusion:
With the above, it is expected that CWG year in 2015 will be a beehive of activities across its operations, which has been predicted to rub off on Nigeria.

DigitalSENSE Business News recalls that CWG was operations in September, 1992 as Computer Warehouse Limited with only Four (4) staff members to undertake hardware projects.  Five (5) years later, DCC Networks, the communications arm of the group was established to provide VSAT, Metropolitan, Wide Area and Local area networks to corporate organisations. In 1999, based on the existing demands in the area of software solutions, system and training, Expert Edge Software was acquired.

In pursuit of its Pan-African Vision, Computer Warehouse Group has established its regional offices in west, East and central Africa. CWG Ghana limited (2003), CWG Uganda Limited (2010) and CWG Cameroon Limited (2012) to handle the business interest of these regions.

On the 6th of March, 2012, CWG merged with its three (3) subsidiaries; CWL Systems , ExpertEdge Software and DCC Networks, thereby leaving CWG as the only surviving entity within the group and the subsidiaries becoming divisions. 

Additionally, in February, 2013, CWG ceased to be a Private Limited Company and became a Public Company, hence, on November 15, 2013, CWG Plc listed its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, which saw to the boosting of the market capitalization of the NSE by about N14 billion naira, making CWG Plc the highest capitalized security in the ICT sector, as it matches to actualize its vision of being Africa’s Number one IT platform service provider by 2020.

+Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) +Philip Obioha @Austin.okere@cwg-plc.com, @David.Afolayan@cwg-plc.com
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