Working with MMindzs
As part of the MySkills4Afrika program I will be working with the MMindzs group from Jan 19th to Jan 23rd 2015. I would like to thank Ivan Lumala CTO Microsoft — 4Afrika for connecting me with MMindzs.
This post describes the experiences of my first two days with them. MMindzs is working on a solution to provide visibility over distribution activity which is key to matching production to market demand, improving sales performance and growing market share.
Their solution includes:
- The world’s first mobile money ready accounting system MYAccounts
- Mobile payments throughout the chain (Distributors to Outlets to SMEs)
- USSD apps for feature phone
- Power BI for Office 365 for analytics
- A bundle of customized smart phone apps (e.g., for one of their customers ‘Uganda Breweries Limited’ they have three customized apps including a Point of Sale app, a survey app and a distribution inventory app)
They have partnered with Airtel Africa as an official merchant aggregator across Africa for mobile payments.
I spent a lot of time with MMindzs’s CEO Francis Otim and Product/Program Manager Peter Muzoora who helped me ramp up on their entire product offerings, their customer base, FMCG operations and how they use Power BI for analytics. We spent time talking about their strategy, upcoming partnerships and vision for 2015.
Peter gave me access to explore the MYAccounts web app and the mobile apps that were built for Uganda BL. After using the apps, Peter and I discussed ways to improve the usability and engagement of the various apps.
Great Lakes Regional Distributors is the pilot distributor from UBL to try the Point of Sale mobile app built by MMindzs. The distributor has to maintain a daily sales report to track sales for every salesperson, customer information and units sold. All of the tracking is done manually today. The salespeople get together end of day and manually fill the forms and the accountant enters this data into Excel.
Peter set up a session in the wee early hours of Tuesday morning to train the salespeople from Great Lakes distributor on effectively using the Point of Sale app. There were 15 very eager sales personnel waiting to learn how to use the app that would go on to replace their manually prepared daily sales report. Some of them were fast learners and once they understood how to use the app, they jumped in to help their fellow colleagues.
It was a great opportunity for me to observe and understand what was intuitive, what was usable, things that could be improved and various scenarios. After the session we came back to the workspace. I had documented 16 improvements for the Point of Sale mobile app based on the training session and the feedback and feature requests received from the trainees during then. I discussed the improvements with Francis and Peter to figure out the best way to incorporate the improvements. Some of them required changes in the database or server and were non-trivial.
Rutungu Distributors Limited is another distributor from UBL that is helping pilot the MYAccounts. Francis, Peter and I visited Gilbert, the accountant, using the web app. We got some good suggestions from Gilbert on how to improve the web app. It is refreshing to see Francis and Peter engaging with their customers to ensure an awesome pilot for them.
So far it has been a great learning experience. Everyone at MMindzs is smart, friendly and helpful. Looking forward to rest of the week where I will work with their data and integrate it with Power BI, review their apps some more and visit a few more customers.