• Sunday, February 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Felix Rwang-Dung, using IT to expand market opportunities

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Biography

Felix is the Project Director/CEO of The HORD limited responsible for business development and execution of the vision which involves innovation, growth strategies, key relationship management and expanding on market opportunities. Prior to HORD, Felix was a manager with Deloitte & Touche London, U.K in the Technology Media and Telecommunications (TMT) sector of the Enterprise Risk Services division and was responsible for various client engagements with a global team by providing business and technology assurance services in many countries across the world. He pioneered in the establishment of Business Risk Management functions of MTN Nigeria and rose to senior fraud and revenue assurance management and before joining MTN Nigeria, his experience was in technology consulting, Information System auditing, security and control assessments of complex environments with EDP Audit & Associates in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a director with Learning Impact NG, leadership training and resource firm, City Golf Limited for golf development using High Definition (HD) golf simulators and Aquarium Architecture NG, for advanced and bespoke luxury aquarist culture. He is founder and trustee of the HORD initiative, a foundation focused on improving the plight of disenfranchised children across Africa. Felix is the first Northern Nigerian to become a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and is a graduate of Accounting from the University of Lagos. He is passionately driven by entrepreneurial initiatives for impact and contribution to society and is married to Yewande with 2 beautiful daughters: Ariella and Hadassah.

When and why did you set up Ask An Expert App?

We started this project early in 2014 as a result of a conversation I had with a friend who was a top executive in one of the telecom companies in Nigeria. This conversation highlighted the opportunities in the Value Added Service (VAS) space as the future of revenue generation for the telecom companies and where the business opportunities can be found. My initial research indicated that access to knowledge was a key need the general public was always looking for depicted in various ways from the VAS SMS subscriptions to the use of internet search using google etc. Looking into this more closely and thinking of ways this knowledge could be better packaged, made easily accessible, timely and enhance productivity for people resulted in the Ask an Expert project.

How does it work?

We have simply repackaged the way our daily conversations are currently conducted, i.e. people are always seeking for knowledge or wisdom in a more direct and convenient manner via mobile app or web portals. Ask an Expert app combines the features of current successful technologies like on-demand services, private messaging and an expert network, to create a convenient and productive communications channel for people to share experiences, expertise and knowledge on any topic or field. For the customers, it’s a value added service through mobile operators for access to a one-shop mobile market place directory of experts across various fields and specialities. It is real-time so people only see experts readily available and can engage at will via live chats (the most convenient way we converse today). People conveniently pay experts also through a payment gateway if experts are charging for their time. The live chats are by default, set for an initial 10 minutes only.

What are your projections for the App?

We appreciate this is entirely a new concept for engagement hence there will be a gradual market adoption from product launch in October 1st 2016. We have been entirely focused on preliminary market awareness and the technical quality of the solution for user experience to ensure we get it right from the start. With our recent official market awareness exhibition during Tech+ 2016 in Eko Hotel, we were more surprised on the total product acknowledgement and acceptance by the over 500 guest who visited our booth, of its usefulness in the market place and their readiness to adopt. We had anticipated to be more challenged on so many more fronts in defending our proposition but are very happy to learn we are onto a winning solution.

How are you building your Clientele?

We are using social media and other channels to help build on this. We have officially launched the Expert acquisition at Tech+ 2016 hence experts can now register to be part of this network on www.askanexpert.expert. We are growing a steady follower base on twitter @AskanExpert_app which we have predominantly used to target renowned and established experts. We identify tweets they make that support our overall proposition and retweet or repackage. This has helped to get the name Ask an Expert App more visible amongst the experts.

How beneficial is it to the populace?

We believe that millions of people out there require quality information to make critical and informed decisions daily to better their lives and most of the world’s most useful information already resides in the heads of others, who have passed that path before. Luckily for us, we are also now in what is called a “Sharing Economy”, especially successful for on-demand technologies in products, accommodation, taxis and now knowledge. Starting with the Nigerian narrative and the current challenges faced by millions, we believe at the very heart of it, people generally always need wisdom and understanding on various issues to be able to navigate through their daily lives in the quest to succeed in every area.

Where do you see this in few years to come?

We are determined to make it a global solution like any other successful technology however we plan to roll out first from Nigeria then across Africa. The plan is to also enable engagement across borders where you can just choose a country and select an expert (individual or organisation) to make desired enquiries. We are currently discussing strategies with a team for the Indian market also.
Foreseen challenges

The current major challenges and possibly in the immediate future as we launch and try to scale up, will still be funding and getting the right expert network support, which can easily make the product better positioned to succeed e.g. endorsements, acknowledgements and adoption especially organisations to use for customer service desk engagement.

Checks and balances

I have a risk management background by profession and was the first indigenous subscriber fraud manager for a major telco. I also had an Enterprise Risk Management experience from one of the big 4 consulting firms in London, U.K as well as core technology assurance and controls capabilities. This question has been the most asked from the general public of which we are very grateful, as we have taken several technical measures and incorporated various controls onto the platform to ensure our team gets only the right experts registered.

 
KEMI AJUMOBI