More than 10 years ago, when Taha Jiwaji, a young Tanzanian technologist, was developing digital mobile solutions, few individuals and organisations would understand its importance.
Some organisations, he was visiting to explain the service, would not pay much attention. Though digital technology had started to transform the economy in 2008, few companies would realise the potential of mobile technologies in enabling Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the East African nation.
SMEs in Tanzania in 2008, like elsewhere in Africa at the time, had limited options to communicate or advertise to their customers, let alone use technology tools to grow their business.
On his frequent visits back home from the USA when he was studying Electrical & Computer Engineering, Taha saw these growth constraints repeatedly and quickly realized that an SMS messaging concept he piloted at his college, Lafayette could be the perfect tool to aid SMEs like his parents who had a computer shop.
The adoption of mobile phones in 2008 in Tanzania was just taking off across Africa at the time, Taha Jiwaji, a founder and CEO of Beem, says.
In a bid to maximise the potential of digital mobile technology, Jiwaji through his company Bongo Live, started offering SMS services to companies including advertising which helped many to reach their target audiences on time, reducing communication barriers with their customers.
Amid all odds, Jiwaji managed to build a 10 year-old company Bongo Live which has recently changed its name to Beem. The company is currently working with local and other African companies in provision of communication and payment technologies which help solve some of the pressing communication issues in the continent for SMEs such as interacting with customers off the grid through SMS and USSD.
To leap more benefits from digital technology in growing individual and national economies, Jiwaji advises organisations to seriously invest in data usage in business operations.
Jiwaji says across the globe organisations are investing on systems and data every day to boost their growth and support productivity.
“Data has to be fundamental to all businesses and processes. Businesses have to be data driven. Data drives communication, marketing, sales and many other activities. Consumers are moving online, businesses need to follow them,” Jiwaji said.
He said the everyday traditional sales channels such as direct walk-ins to shops are going away and businesses have to find the best way to adopt digital channels to communicate and get new customers, collect payments and distribute their goods or services.
“Businesses also need to embrace and invest in digital tools in their daily work to improve productivity and streamline operations. E.g a good CRM, Collaboration Tools like Microsoft Teams, Google Suite, Slack just to name a few” Jiwaji says.
He says pro-active investment on digital tools helps organisations reduce potential risks which are likely to face their businesses.
“With corona, people are realizing this. Businesses should have started preparing for this 2-3 years ago. But it is never too late,” he adds.
Beem has been providing mobile technology solutions to local companies and others in the continent over a decade including large commercial banks.
Some of the clients who have worked with Beem says the organisation’s ability in investing in emerging communication technologies has helped them increase productivity and improve customer satisfaction.
“We have repeatedly been impressed by Beem's service and their ability to go above and beyond. Beem has remained committed to helping us communicate and transact better with our clients across the world,” Magne Fretheim, a Chief Technology Officer of SPENN, a leading financial inclusion-focused mobile banking app, said.
Ralph Ligallama, Manager Digital Channel Systems, CRDB Bank says Beem's services have enabled them to communicate with our customers across the globe instantly, reliably and with great support for some years.
“The Beem team is knowledgeable, honest and friendly. I would not hesitate in recommending them to other clients,” he says.
With nearly a decade of empowering their clients to deliver amazing mobile experiences to their customers, they were no longer only a Tanzanian or even East African company. With their global footprint and mobile network connectivity in over 20 countries, they needed an identity that would be expansive as their growth.
The company chose the name Beem for its associations with light. For luminance, Beem facilitates access to millions across the African continent with their robust integrations and coverage.
Jiwaji says their aim is to make sure Tanzanians and Africans in general benefit from the best homegrown digital tools and mobile services to tap all economic opportunities available right now.