Q&A: AppsTech CEO Rebecca Enonchong on Enterprise Apps, Global & Mobile Tech
The mobile and telecom industry is flourishing in Africa. New technology is allowing Africa to achieve new heights. Through simple changes and new innovations, companies, small business owners and everyday people have positively impacted things such as communication, business and job growth.
CEO and founder of Apps Tech, Rebecca Enonchong is no stranger to this realm. Apps Tech provides enterprise application solutions to customers and at the beginning of the millennium, the company was already developing and providing mobile apps. Apps Tech specializes in oracle technology, providing software and data solutions to developers, architects and clients. AFKInsider caught up with Enonchong to discuss her beginnings and where the telecom industry is heading in Africa.
AFK Insider: Technology isn’t a field many women go into, what interested you to pursue this path?
Enonchong: I have always been drawn to technology. But becoming a “techie” was almost an accident. I worked in finance and eventually with financial systems. Many of the finance professionals were not interested in IT. I was fascinated by it. I therefore became the go-to person in finance for all IT related issues. I studied various technologies on my own and then took a few classes. I realized that technology was my home.
AFK Insider: How did you get to where you are? What does it take?
Enonchong: I got to where I am first through the grace of God. Of course, I worked extremely hard and continue to do so. As most entrepreneurs, I have been able to overcome many obstacles, always with a smile and with the optimism that entrepreneurs live off of.
AFK Insider: Are there any books that helped you on your journey to starting your own company?
Enonchong: I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey at least a dozen times. I also read a lot of spiritual books. This helped me to put my daily struggles into perspective.
AFK Insider: What motivates you?
Enonchong: I mentor a lot of young start-up entrepreneurs. I love their energy, their creativity and this gives me hope. But as most entrepreneurs, I am motivated by the conviction that tomorrow will be better than today and that I can contribute in a positive way to my environment.
AFK Insider: What do you tell those who want to be business owners, entrepreneurs?
Enonchong: I usually tell them to focus. Sometimes they have lots of great ideas. It is best to focus on one that will be successful and build from that, rather than try to do everything at once. I also tell them to think globally. With technology, your market no longer has geographical limitations. Even if your customers are local, build your product from day one to be global.
AFK Insider: Describe your first job
Enonchong: I sold newspaper subscriptions door to door for the Washington Post. I was 15 and it was not an easy job. Long hours in the rain, in torrid heat but I loved it. I was paid only for the subscriptions I sold so through that job I learned some essential lessons that stay with me to this day. For example, when a door is slammed in your face, just move on to the next door, and never show this potential customer the disappointment you just experienced. Treat each potential customer like they are the only customer you will have.
AFK Insider: What services does AppsTech provide to its clients?
Enonchong: AppsTech provides enterprise application solutions to customers worldwide, primarily based on Oracle technology.
AFK Insider: How does AppsTech stay on the brink of innovation in such a rapidly growing industry?
Enonchong: We commit a great deal of time to making sure our staff is continuously getting trained. We monitor the training through testing. All of our employees must pass a minimum number of exams to demonstrate that they have mastered the new technologies. We also have a laboratory environment – AppsTechLabs — so that we can prototype new technologies, “play” with them well before they are available to the general public.
Many people don’t realize that AppsTech was developing mobile applications in 2001. We also adopted cloud applications in 2000 (they were called ASPs then). Many of the technologies that are popular today, AppsTech has been using and developing for over 10 years. When you have been on the cusp of innovation for so long, it becomes ingrained in your company’s DNA.
AFK Insider: In an interview with CNN you mentioned the “tremendous growth” in the technology field. Why do you think with the availability of the internet, Facebook and mobile apps have been so successful?
Enonchong: In Africa, the growth in technology has been led by mobile. Simply no one anticipated the explosion that resulted. Through mobile, Africans became more comfortable with the idea of technology, the use of technology and the need for technology. Facebook provided the type of engaging content that attracted more people to the internet. And email of course, especially Yahoo in Africa, has been a great catalyst.
AFK Insider: Where do you see technology in Africa developing in the next five or ten years?
Enonchong: I think that we will see mobile continue to be important. We will also see a lot of growth in enterprise apps. For now, businesses in Africa have not yet joined the revolution. When they do, we will see another huge growth spurt, similar to what we see in the consumer space.
AFK Insider: What are some tips or advice one should know if they are pursuing a career in the tech field?
Enonchong: Follow your passion, it will fuel all the hard work that is required to be successful regardless of what career choice you make in life.
AFK Insider: What are some new projects, service, partnerships your company is working on?
Enonchong: AppsTech has been able to productize what would generally be considered IT services. We have a product called AppsTech Global Support (AGS) that provides first and second level support services for Oracle technologies through a subscription model. We have been providing AGS to companies around the world for over 13 years. We are in the process of launching AGS in Africa, starting in Central Africa. We have five customers right now and hope to sign 50 more within the next six months.