To most of us, depending on the number of digits on your age, Techno Brain is either a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) company or a technology training centre. Regardless of where you lie, we have interacted with the company or at least heard of it. Despite its many achievements, the company recently shot to the limelight after it was accredited as Africa’s first software testing centre for Microsoft, meaning that the next version of Windows to run on your PC could have been tested and approved by a team of Kenyan engineers.
Before the whole Microsoft thing happened, Techno Brain was thriving and had a bag-full of achievements to back that up. The company which initially started its operations as a training centre in Tanzania back in 1997 then later on expanded to Kenya the following year, powers its strides with the statement, “from Kenya to the world”.
“You see, today we are operating in 20-plus countries from Kenya. We are a true technology company that became a global company,” says Anand Mohan, Techno Brain’s Chief Operating Officer. According to him, the company has made significant strides thanks to their policies and philosophy. He mentions that some of the key factors that have contributed to the shining star that is Techno Brain today include encouraging intrapreneurship. “We have entrepreneurship in-built in the organization, where if employees come up with an idea, they become part-owners of its intellectual property,” he says.
This topped up with employee inclusion in various aspects of the company, including the design of their current office space and CSR projects like their, “Adopt a tree initiative” where the company through its employees plant a set number of trees yearly in every country that they have an office in. To put it in Anand’s words, “apart from revenue targets, we have tree planting targets.”
From Kenya to the world
As the global company that they pride themselves to be, their footprint extends to Ghana, where they have implemented the country’s tax collection platform and the same is being done in Malawi. Closer home, Techno Brain has implemented revenue management for Ethiopia, local governments in Uganda and three counties in Kenya – this is just a tip of the iceberg.
Although headquartered in Kenya, Techno Brain says that they localize themselves in every country they operate in, meaning they hire local talent. Through this model, the company has managed to create a global pool of experts from different backgrounds in various fields. The company also set up Research and Development Centers in Nairobi (Kenya), Hyderabad (India) and London (UK) to help foster innovation. “Understanding the place where you’ll operate is very critical and that is why we feel that we’ll continue to score over many other companies,” says Manoj Shanker, Techno Brain’s CEO.
“More complex technology work in Africa, using our African resources, that’s been the vision all along” – Manoj shanker
Manoj Shanker believes that the company’s achievements so far are thanks to resilience and being ready to adapt to an ever-changing environment. “We are constantly changing. If you don’t change, you also perish,” he says.
Africa’s First Software Testing Center
“Software development is in our DNA, that’s what we do. Testing is always an integral part of development and over the years, we have gained knowledge, experience and a deep understanding of testing,” notes the CEO as he acknowledges that the company’s know-how and prior relationship with Microsoft helped put Techno Brain on a pedestal above every other company as the perfect partner to set up a testing lab.
Currently, the lab is being used to test Windows and devices group, i.e., testing Windows 32 apps and Windows Store apps and their compatibility with various devices. Samuel Ongere, the lab’s supervisor says that Kenya is the baseline for Africa in this context. He explains that Kenya’s performance will determine whether the lab gets expanded and also if Microsoft starts localized testing, where the lab will be testing software solely built for the Africa continent.
“As we have all discussed, it’s a huge achievement not only for Techno Brain but also for Kenya and the continent and it goes on to prove that there are people in the continent who can do complex testing work,” adds Mr Manoj.
Stepping into the Future
Techno Brain believes that they will continue to be Africa’s leading digital technology company taking on the world. “As part of this journey, one after another, every time you have an achievement, you start to believe that what you dreamt is actually possible,” says the CEO.
The company is now angling at getting into the Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence game as they step into their future. Techno Brain has a long list of achievements and they’ve got a wall full of trophies – not only metaphorically but literally, to prove this. I stepped into their offices with the idea of finding out how the training centre I did my ICDL course at (yes, I did that, like most Kenyans just before we join university) got to be the pride of Africa (sorry KQ) and to say Techno Brain is more than just a BPO or training center is an understatement. As Mr Manoj puts it, “More complex technology work in Africa, using our African resources, that’s been the vision all along.”