The impact of mobile devices in Tanzanian businesses

Posted on August 22, 2014 09:23 am

Businesses in Tanzania need to grasp the potential, and the constraints of mobile devices. Most of them are yet to embrace the mobile technology in their day to day operations according to a recent study. While a mobile provides the efficiency of location based solutions, the size of the devices available in Tanzanian market are not suited to long, busy web pages that make browsing inconvenient. It is important that selling mobile phones in the country to cater for enterprises need and learn that there are huge differences in what one can do with a tablet, a phone and a desktop. This starts by identifying the current state of the application and its suitability to the mobile device. A study conducted a year ago revealed that most web applications in Tanzania and wider East African region are ‘mobile hostile’ meaning they are not user friendly when viewed in a three to four inch screen of mobile devices. Therefore, when developing the mobile apps, businesses need to adapt the application to make it more tolerant of the mobile device.

A step further would be to weave in a responsive design that makes the app mobile friendly either providing a different application flow or even providing different types of information to the mobile user. For Tanzanian businesses embarking on the mobile channel, me think it should be about providing a complete end to end user experience. This user experience depends upon a stable back end. Indeed, for businesses in the country, the integration and secure access to backend systems is the most critical aspect. In the past, I’ve been involved in such undertakings, the most idea approach for businesses in Tanzania will be to build Web application programming interfaces in the backend and ensure there’s connectivity that is consistent and superior. Having an open backend that can leverage the power of new technology trends such as Cloud and even the Internet of Things would be critical as the platform of choice for enterprises across the board.The mobile penetration in the retail merchant channel in Tanzania is growing fast and nearly three in 8 merchants accepts mobile payments as of June 2014, an increase of 60% compared to same period ending June 2013.

Without a doubt, security is the key aspect of an integral mobile experience not merely for the end user but the merchants in urban areas like Moshi, Tanga, Dar Es Salaam, Arusha, Mbeya, Tabora, Dodoma and even in Lindi to mention but a few. Tanzanian businesses have also impressively recognised the significance of comprehensive security architecture and have created formidable, stable and secure mobile ecosystems that simplifies compliance and truly exploits the new opportunities that mobile, Cloud and social access have introduced in a country that gave this world one of the most selfless political leader in 20th century Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, the founding father of the United Republic of Tanzania.  After all, there’s no looking back with mobile in Tanzania as it has changed the way ‘Bongoland’ communicate forever and it can change the way business is conducted for future generations in the home of Mount Kilimanjaro. The way forward is for businesses in Tanzania is to embrace the mobile revolution responsibly then deliver engaging user experiences on secure platforms, for any application, on any device and around any data and the estimated 48 million Tanzanians will be happy.

Contador Harrison