We are extremely excited to announce that we have been shortlisted for the 2016 Responsible Business Award in the International Disaster Relief category! Our work with the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) and the UNDP in developing and implementing an automated worker registration and payroll distribution system for over 27,000 Ebola Response Workers during the Ebola epidemic in 2014 has been recognised as one of the few initiatives in the world that had a profound positive impact on the local economy.

Driven by the UK based charity Business in the Community (BITC), HRH The Prince of Wales’ Responsible Business Network, the 2016 Responsible Business Awards celebrate inspiring examples of businesses that are making a significant difference by taking action to improve their local communities, create more inclusive workplaces and tackle environmental challenges.

Business in the Community received 297 entries for the Responsible Business Awards, shortlisted 103 and re-accredited a further 82 entries for demonstrating continual impact in their responsible business programme.

Commenting on this monumental achievement, Salton Arthur Massally, our Chief Technology Officer, had this to say:

“It is a great honour for us to be one of the few companies in the world shortlisted for the prestigious Responsible Business Awards. The award is a testament to the relentless work that my young team and I had put into developing and deploying a nation wide biometric verification and payment distribution system to address the issue of hazard pay. Digitising hazard pay is amongst the most challenging tasks that we’ve had to do. Fuelled by caffeine and love of the country, our team often had to work for 48 hours at a stretch on numerous occasions. It is very encouraging to note that we have been recognised for spearheading one of the fastest deployment of a digital payment processing and biometric verification system in the world.

We are firm believers in the power of ICT and the role it can play in scaling solutions to critical development challenges in West Africa. This project, along with our series of free computer literacy courses, market exchange platforms and work in the health, financial inclusion and  the agriculture sectors of Sierra Leone are continual demonstration of not only our believe in ICT for development, but they also showcase the active steps being taken by the board,  the directors and  the team at iDT Labs to ensure that we play a role in enabling socio-economic development in the communities we operate in.

Although we are extremely excited at being shortlisted for the award, we would like everybody to remember that the true heroes of the Ebola Response were the doctors, nurses and volunteers on the ground who selflessly risked their lives to ensure that the health infrastructure did not implode and the virus was contained.”

For more information on the awards and on iDT Labs’ shortlisted entry, visit http://www.bitc.org.uk/our-resources/case-studies/idt-labs-automated-worker-registration-and-payroll-database-ebola .

A large Sierra Leonean local bank sought the supply of a HRIS to manage its mounting human resources. Before taking up this drive, manual methods was used in managing their employees and payroll. As the bank grew, it had branches with employees spreading in almost 30 locations across Sierra Leone. Like business portfolios, diversity existed in job nature, people issues and locations. It was a challenge for the HR department to accommodate such; thus efficiency was deflating on a daily basis.

When the top management agreed in this regard, a foreign firm was consulted that was charged with the mandate of deploying and maintaining their HRIS. The consulting firm was chosen because of gullible international acclaimed positive track record and goodwill in the markets. The software was launched within months after the work order was issued.

Just like “a new married” the system was very effective when it was initially implemented. As time progressed, several technical and business change issues emerged. They encountered bugs and other issues that at times rendered the system non-operational for days. A bank defined by regular change in HR policies, there was almost always the need for such changes be reflected in the system functionalities. After days, sometimes weeks of system shutdown, the international firm sent in an international expert to provide support. These experts found it difficult to understand local circumstances spending longer time than expected to alleviate the met situation.

On the cost side, the bank was losing millions to sustain the travelling and living expenses of these experts. In the process of system shut down, the bank was forced to revert to previous manual methods of managing staff which was never catered for as a resulted of the presumed assurance.

The situation worsened to the point that management reversed to consulting a local firm that brought to the table a local perspective, just in time maintenance, 24/7 support and more importantly a drastic reduction of incurred costs. This locally based company has deployed a HR Cloud Software to make available quality, in time and cost effective software at the door step of local businesses.

Writer: Abass Shaw, Research and Development Lead, iDT Labs