Improving efficiency and stimulating growth – Business information systems for Cameroon

When Honoré Tiako Ndjenkam first came to Germany in 1998 at the age of 19, he was certain that one day he would return to Cameroon. 18 years later, shortly before his first daughter was about to start school, he did just that as a specialist in IT and business intelligence.

Honoré Tiako Ndjenkam

‘In Germany, my fellow students and my friends were always amazed that I never went after the best-paid jobs. That was because I wanted to work for myself one day. So instead, I looked for jobs where I could learn as much as possible in a short time.’

Business information systems – a gap in the market in Cameroon

Honoré Tiako Njenkam obtained a degree in business information technology from Braunschweig University of Technology. He initially worked for a company and then spent several years as a freelance IT and business intelligence advisor in Germany and Switzerland. Two years before returning to Cameroon, he set up his own consulting firm, ISNOV, which helps businesses to improve their processes using modern IT systems. With the help of two employees in Cameroon and regular visits to the country, he eventually landed his first clients. ‘Companies benefit enormously from taking good advice and introducing innovative IT systems. It makes them more efficient and transparent, and that means they are easier to manage. It provides more scope for increasing revenue and for expansion,’ says Tiako Ndjenkam. The business model is catching on – and word is getting around. He now has 12 customers.

ISNOV helps businesses to improve their processes using modern IT systems.

Founder Honoré Tiako Njenkam in a consultation

The business: ISNOV

  • Established in 2013
  • Six employees (as at mid-2017)
  • Based in Yaoundé
  • Supported by GIZ/CIM
  • Start-up capital: EUR 25,000

The business idea

ISNOV stands for ‘Innovation through information systems’. The company helps other businesses to optimise their processes and management practices by introducing modern IT systems such as enterprise resource planning, which allows businesses to plan their resources more efficiently, and business intelligence, where statistical data is systematically compiled, analysed and presented using IT processes. Honoré Tiako Ndjenkam thinks that businesses in Cameroon have a lot of catching up to do in these fields. He believes that many of them lose time and money because of inefficient processes and a lack of statistical information, and therefore cannot compete at the international level.

The biggest challenge – finding the right employees

ISNOV could grow even faster than it is currently doing, but it’s hard to find the right employees at an affordable price. ‘I put a lot of time into training up my staff,’ Tiako Ndjenkam admits. ‘It takes between six and twelve months to get them up to speed and make them aware of the importance of issues such as quality, meeting deadlines, good communication and dedication. Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates this, and some leave and try their luck elsewhere. Staff turnover rates are generally very high in Cameroon.’

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