ICTInterview

We Want Inlaks to be rated alongside Microsoft, IBM and HP – Femi Adeoti, CEO, Inlaks, Africa Operations

Femi Adeoti, CEO of Inlaks spoke about the company and his aspirations for the future. Excerpt:

When did Inlaks turn into ICT and infrastructure solutions provider?

Inlaks has always been an innovative organization. More than 31 years ago when Inlaks started, it started as a computer consuming goods, and we had printing papers, hard drive, floppy drives. But over time, the company developed into a company that does core banking solution, data centre infrastructure, cloud computing, ATM machines.

We maintain more than 6000 ATMs for our customers. We have many companies that are using our core banking solutions in more than eight countries in Africa. About six central banks are using our core banking solutions. So, we are involved in innovation, which is our innovative culture. It is one of the things that have been keeping us going.

About 7 years ago, we decided to rebrand because most of the times when people hear Inlaks Computers, they think about buying computer. We don’t sell all those things. So we have realised that that name doesn’t really portray what we do. People think we are a company that sells computer hardware. That was why we remove the word “computer” from our name.

At Inlaks, we keep innovating and that’s one of the major reasons why we are still dominating the industry. The concept of ‘’Own Tomorrow’’ means that whatever it is  we are going to become tomorrow starts from the preparation of what we do now, so that tomorrow doesn’t catch us unaware.

What does it entails to be an innovation service provider?

We call ourselves an IPEAC organisation. The letter ‘I’ is for Innovation, letter ‘P’ is for Professionalism, letter ‘E’ is for Excellence. We want to keep delivering excellent service to our customers. While letter ‘A’ stands for Adaptability, we are not rigid; we are adaptable. This is one of the reasons why we are still going.

Most of our employees are experienced. We also have young people who are dynamic and are ready to learn from the experienced employees. So we are all professionals that deliver professionalism. Brand awareness is good, but to us it’s not enough. We want to go from brand awareness to brand preference. We want to be the number one company people talk about in the industry.  We also want brand insistence. We want people to be insisting on our brand so that people will only think about Inlaks.

We are ISO certified. In fact, we have four ISO certifications. We have decided that we just don’t want to be a local company. We want to be a benchmark in the ICT industry. Our aim is to build our identity here in Nigeria and export it to other parts of Africa. We are presently in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Gambia. The same thing we are doing here is what they are doing in those countries. We just add local flex, that’s all we do.

Currently, we have a strategy where we have segmented our businesses into two sections. We have Inlaks 1.0 and Inlaks 2.0. If you check most of the major organisations in Nigeria, their data centre was built by Inlaks. They are massive infrastructure. Because of this, many international companies are calling us to come and build for them.

We are currently building a data centre for a bank in Cameroon. Also we are doing core banking infrastructure for a bank in Ethiopia and these are massive infrastructure that we are building. In the business where we play, there are not too many companies that operate in the space. The companies that are into core banking in the country are not up to four. We do ATMs. The companies doing this are about maximum of five. We also do cloud computing. We don’t do all this common solution. Our solutions are unique.

Why do you think Inlaks should be the preferred company above competitors?

This has to do with our core values. One of the major components of our core values is customer focus. We go the extra mile for our customers. We always ensure that they are not disappointed. We value quality. We would not sacrifice quality for profit. We believe that if you do your job well, referrers will come.

How can the menace of cybercrime be contained?

Cybercrime is a global crime. It’s a major challenge. The cyber security business is a multi-billion dollars business. At Inlaks we undertake lots of research and development to ensure that we are assisting our customers to stay on top. There are some things you need to put together to ensure you are protected.

What are the new solutions we should expect from Inlaks?

Presently, we are planning to launch two to three solutions in the area of software development, incubator, payment solutions, renewable energy, AI, IoT. We are at the cutting edge of technology. ICT will be one of the major forex earners for Nigeria just as it is for India. There are many things we have not even started because we are going to give so much to the society.

How did you turn things around to become the leading brand in the ICT industry?

Our goal at Inlaks is not to compete; our goal is to keep getting better. We believe that if we keep improving, we will keep getting better and our customers will be happy. We have won many awards in the industry because the industry has come to realise that we are adding value.  And we will continue to be relevant. What we keep asking ourselves is what the customers want to improve their business and ensure maximum return on their investment.

What makes Femi Adeoti an award winning ICT professional?

I really thank God for the grace. At Inlaks we want our work to speak for us. We want people to value what we do on the basis of the output. We have taken Inlaks on a journey for the past seven years. It’s a programme. I am grateful for having a great team behind me who are very hard working.  We have a strategic session where we brainstorm and we think about how to improve and keep giving the best to our customers and never disappoint them.

We also benchmark. We want to be mentioned alongside Microsoft, IBM and HP. Sometimes we visit their offices to know what they are doing and in what way is it possible to be like them, what are the new things we must start adding and do better than them. We don’t want to be average. We want to compete anywhere in the world. When we are competing, we compete with global companies, and we always win.

I have a very good team working with me. Inlaks is a mix of the old and the new, the old speaks about experience; we have young people who are always ready. It’s not just about me but also about the team and the customers because without the customers we won’t be here. One thing about business is to make customers happy.

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