Michael Njoku is the Chief Consultant and CEO of MCEE Business Solutions Limited with head office in Abuja, Nigeria. He is an entrepreneur passionate about providing disruptive IT solutions to help organizations collect and effectively use information to improve effectiveness in operations. Shortly after graduating from the American University of Nigeria, he designed and developed enterprise software that manages all the operations of the University and this software is still in use till date. At MCEE, Michael provides a platform for career development and mentorship for a younger IT generation in his understudy. Amongst many, his clientele includes the United Nations, Diamond Bank, and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation
He is also the Co-founder and Managing Director of Root N Raw Limited. Root N Raw is the organizer of the biggest music, art and culture festival in Abuja, Tamerri Festival. He is a lover of the arts keen on providing a platform for expression for young Nigerian creatives telling the Nigerian story in the non-mainstream arts through Root N Raw. He also aims to provide connectedness amongst Nigeria’s divisive cultural groups through Tamerri festival which creates a beautiful and harmonious inter-weave of Nigeria’s diverse cultural groups.
Michael owns businesses in the manufacturing and fashion industries. He consults for numerous international agencies.
The young talented IT expert is very passionate about the development of his country. Michael is doing everything possible to reduce brain drain in Nigeria through many platforms he has provided for his fellow youths. He shares his experience in an exclusive interview with Sunday Oyinloye, Publisher of Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable.
What does your company stands for?
What we do basically is to simplify the business processes and provide more efficiency. A lot of people think deploying software is like come in, deploy, and go, but what we do is to take a step further. We go into a company and try to simplify their processes, when the processes are efficient enough, then we automate those processes. So, we provide software, it is called Enterprise Resource Planning software which integrates different departments; we have accounting solution, human resources, inventory management, sales, purchase and so on. The whole aim of this is to have integrated software that manages everything they do. With this, you have all your information in one place which makes you to be more efficient. We also do business consulting for clients, graphic designs; we do business survey, and also provide bridge services to companies that are trying to come into Nigeria. We help them understand the market and also provide other IT solutions.
What was the motivation?
I read Information Systems at the America University of Nigeria with concentration on Security Assurance. For my final project in the university, I designed the software to manage the university’s processes. They had one before, but they were paying too much money for it. Then I said let me try and see what I can design for the university and that was it. After I designed it, I was made to stay back at the university for two years to implement the software. The software is what the university uses till date, from their purchase, admission, to academic management, everything. They are my first client .After that, I started my own company to do it for companies, institutions and organizations.
How secure are the software you are developing?
They are very secure because of my background in Security Assurance. That was my area of concentration when I read Information Systems. I am vast in security protocols and how to secure systems. Also, the systems that we build on equally make our software secure. We are in partnership with a Belgian company called Odoo, a platform that is acceptable worldwide that is also secured. Therefore, you are assured of another level of security from the company.
Many elderly people are in business, they want to make their business to be more efficient, but have little knowledge of IT, do you cater for entrepreneurs in that category?
The good thing is that we design very user-friendly software. We don’t want what we do to be complicated. As long as you can browse, you have a phone and can use your email, then, you can use the software. When you start using a system like that, it saves you a lot of things. It helps you because if all your operations are on one platform, if your system is controlled, wherever you are in the world, you can monitor your business. You can tell how much sales you make that day, you can tell who is coming to your company. That gives you an aspect of security. Whether you are in the office or not, you can basically monitor what is going on there. You can approve requests; you can send mails, everything on one platform, we just simplify everything for you. After we deploy, even though it is a very simple system to use, we still do training session for all that will use it. We also support our client for a month or two, monitoring how they use it as they work in their establishments.
The world is at the mercy of hackers, again, that bothers on security, are you saying that your software cannot be hacked?
There is no software that is hundred percent hack-free, they hacked Facebook recently, they hacked instagram. No matter how much security you provide, there is a slim chance for hackers. However what we do to mitigate that is, we have put a lot of things in place for maximum security which makes it very difficult for anyone to hack. Even in extreme case that such happens, we can track what was done. If you bypass our security, anything you change, we can track it through the security checks we put in place which are in fragments, so if you are able to hack this area, it is stored somewhere else. We put the best security and also track everything that happens in the software.
Like every Nigerian, you must be aware of the security challenges facing your country; in what ways do you think technology could be used to address these challenges?
In advanced countries, technology is at the forefront of their security, from cameras, to motion detectors and tracking traffic on the internet. I know Nigeria has not gotten to a level where all the technologies used in advanced countries could be deployed, but it is important we deploy some software that could enhance our security. It is important to have monitoring system, CCT cameras to check what is going on the streets, people who have been identified as potential threat to the society can also be tracked. I believe we need to do a lot more in terms of implementing IT to actually monitor the state of things. Drones could be used to monitor a place before you send the military.
If you are given that responsibility, can you handle it successfully?
Definitely, I can. I have the knowledge, and I have a team that can handle that also. If resources are deployed to get the materials that we need, we can do it.
A lot of Nigerian youths travel abroad for the proverbial greener pasture nowadays, what is your advice for youths in your country?
I think it’s important to know that we are the ones that can build our country. Most people expect government to do everything for them. Yes, that is why they are there, but I want to say that charity begins at home. If everyone can change his or her immediate environment our country will be a better place. A lot of time, you see people saying Nigeria is not working and they go abroad with their skills. That will not help our country; rather the skills should be applied here. Nigerians are one of the most resourceful and innovative people around the world. Anywhere you go across the globe, you will find Nigerians doing great things. But those skills are needed here. You should start to make an impact in your own small firm. You start from somewhere, use your skills to start something in Nigeria. If the youths of this nation are determined, we can make the needed change in our country. The youths are the strongest gift that we have.
If a foreign company or government asks you to come and work in their country because of your skills, would you go?
Yes, if they want me to handle a project and return, but I don’t see myself going to work permanently in another country. Nigeria will always be my base. I can always go for short term projects and return. I am the only one in my family that is in Nigeria but I am ok with that. I am supposed to be in the US, but I have decided to stay back to give my best for my country. Nigeria is the best place to be if you have the skills, understands the system and know what you are doing. I am open to projects outside the country but it has to be short term projects that I can execute and come back to Nigeria.
What are you telling Nigerian and international business community about your company?
I will tell them that in every company, IT is at the core of everything. The services that we offer help them to perform better. We can put all their processes in one place. We come in, simplify their processes and then automate those processes. You can track when things are moving and when they are not. It saves you costs if you have the right software that processes information that you need to process. Our services are available to every company, whether, small, medium or big. If we come in, we will simplify their system and make the company more efficient. We have run for about seven years now, and I have a very competent team to take any IT or management consulting issue. We have deployed software in many organizations, banking industry, manufacturing sector down to government agencies, so we have the knowledge. We have been able to effect positive changes and added value to what they do and also make their business to be more efficient. Whatever IT solution needed by a company we are ready to come in and handle it for them.
What are your thoughts about the environment, I understand you help make companies go green, how best can the environment be protected?
The going green initiative is gaining more acceptability. People should not be cutting down trees. Here in Nigeria, people print a lot, they print reports and other things .Things that could ordinarily be done on the computer. Most people have smart phones these days. You can send documents on your smart phone or computer. We need to reduce what we print in order to protect our environment. With our systems, you can do all you want to do paperless, you don’t need to print anything. When you do that you reduce the rate at which trees are cut down.
MCEE Business Solutions
Plot 1129 Cadastral Zone B03,
Mabushi District, Abuja, Nigeria.
Mobile: +234 (0) 703 923 9885