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Micro-course Alumni Shares the Evolution of his Startup Business Plan

Lessons from Global Scholars is an occasional update on the activities of CGE’s Global Scholars. Our goal is too keep you in touch with the current activities of your peers and to share how lessons learned through our Global Scholars programs are being applied. Contact us if you have recent experiences you would like to share. Stay connected with your colleagues through our LinkedIn Alumni Network

 

 

Name: Ayobami Oladejo

Age: 36

Country of Origin: Nigeria

Country of Current Residence: South Africa

Global Scholars Program: “Platform Management, Strategy, & Innovation.” CGE’s inaugural micro-course in April of 2016

Education: MBA, BSc Mathematics

Work Experience: Current CEO Adroyte. Past Ericsson, Vodacom, MTN, Airtel

Inspiration: Solving real African problems with technology as an enabler

 

Ayobami Oladejo was among the 52 participants from the “Platform Management, Strategy, & Innovation,” CGE’s inaugural micro-course in April of 2016. Since participating in the course, Ayo has resigned from his position at Ericsson, a multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company, to focus on his startup, http://adroyte.com. Adroyte builds innovative value added payment systems on mobile networks, utility, and financial services infrastructures and recently participated in Google’s Launchpad Start Program in South Africa. Ayobami lists CGE’s micro-course among the factors that led him to fully embrace his startup.

 

CGE sat down with Ayobami to discuss his new company and how he has applied lessons learned from the Global Scholars program to his new venture.

 

Q&A

 

Tell us about your background and how the idea for Adroyte.com came to be.

 

It is a dream that went on for a long time. We started building Adroyte when I was working full time in various organizations. I always wanted to solve problems and realized that one day, I’d have to focus on running a company that solves real African problems using technology. I started my career in Software Development, mostly web applications and then moved into the Telecoms industry in 2005. I was in a field of Telecoms that was just emerging and one that was at the forefront of blurring the line between IT and Telecoms. I was headhunted for a position in Swaziland in 2008 to help modernize the only mobile operator in the country. I then worked for Vodacom South Africa and eventually joined Ericsson in 2011. Through these times, I was developing software for use in various verticals but more specifically filling gaps in Telecoms in a personal capacity.

In October 2014; while attending a program in innovation at the Florida International University as part of my MBA at the University of Stellenbosch South Africa, I met a wonderful professor who listened to my story and told me that I should be doing more and that I have a chance to build a real company that would become an African pride. I finally resigned from Ericsson at the end of 2016 to focus on Adroyte as CEO. I also lecture part-time at the University of Stellenbosch Business School.

 

How does Adroyte.com meet an unmet need in South Africa?

 

Our focus is on Africa and indeed the developing world. In fact, our utility credit platform was first deployed in a network operator in India! We learned so much in both business processes and improving the technical aspects of the platform in India. At the moment, we are focusing on Africa and gaining some traction.

We modernize the way utilities vend their products from a distribution angle. On top of that, we provide intelligent analytics capabilities for them to make better decisions very fast. We also empower their big wholesalers with technology they didn’t have in the past.

 

On top of that, we provide platforms that convert the activities of customers of utility companies (mobile networks, electricity companies) into credit ratings for utility loans. We also provide credit facilities to small retailers of these utility products and this is a form of financial inclusion that enables them access capital to sell more. All these are data-driven powered by our in-house algorithms making use of several data points.

 

What were the most important lessons learned during the “Platform Management, Strategy, & Innovation” course?

 

CGE’s Platform Management, Strategy and Innovation course came at the right time. My previous work experience and education had helped a lot in shaping my career. But I have a principle of life-long learning and take opportunities to learn new things very seriously. The course expanded my thought process in platform thinking. I particularly found the network effect principle amazing and am grateful for being under the tutelage of Proffesor Geoffrey Parker. I eventually bought a hardback copy of the Platform Strategy book, Platform Revolution, which serves as my reference point when thinking of any platform issues. I intend to start a PhD soon and the course has really helped in narrowing my research endeavor.

 

How did the course help you accelerate your career goals?

 

I recall the course came at the point when I was debating the right time to leave my job. At the time, we were deploying some of our platforms and building new ones. It was also a time of refining our business model. The course helped me understand the different ways of entering new markets using platform strategies. After the course, I was more confident of our ability to use proven platform strategies and not just the traditional MBA and our technical expertise.

 

Tell us about the evolution of your business plan as an entrepreneur.

 

The definition of a startup that I love so much is by Steve Blank- a startup is a “temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.”

 

I believe that until that scalable business model is achieved, the evolution must be very agile. And even after getting the business model right and a market fit, the evolution must continue. Facebook has evolved from a social network to EVERYTHING. Amazon also started as a bookstore and now is the everything store.

 

I believe what companies should be using is a business model, which is part of the strategic exercise and not a business plan. We use the Lean Canvas by Ash Maurya, which can be obtained from leancanvas.com.

 

The lean canvas is a living document for us and we keep going back to check the metrics to see if we are on track or need to change something very fast. For example, we used the single-sided strategy to build a new product for our customers, which aided the existing product offer. We offered a credit platform to a customer but their existing platform was legacy and we could not integrate to it. We had to offer them a new system and we will now make money from the new system as well as have the ability to integrate the credit product. Without an open mind, we could have just moved on and not taken the new opportunity. We will be selling this new system to other organzations too.

 

This is one of the principles of lean thinking, else we keep doing the same thing and realize the market is not in need of what we have built and resources wasted.

I suggest everyone should read Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovitz.

 

What career and life advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

 

I will refer to Bud Caddell:

 

  1. What can you do well?
  2. What do you like doing?
  3. What can you be paid to do?

If you as an entrepreneur can answer the three questions and successfully have an intersection, then you are ready to build a business. It is also important to grow but not become a bureaucratic dinosaur. Yes, there must be checks and balances but it must not affect your agility and decision making abilities.

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, so it is important to have business partners with the same vision to help you get to the dream. It is also good to be flexible and open to learning from others. I believe in having a life and not compromising totally on family life and personal health. A good balance is very important.

 

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Put the Customer at the Center of the Digital Strategy

CGE’s “The Digital Supply Chain: Tips from the Insiders” is a special video series aimed to help companies and their leaders transform their supply chains for the future.  Released bimonthly for the first half of 2017, you will learn practical, actionable tips from top supply chain executives based on their experience and expertise.

 

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The Digital Supply Chain: Tips from the Insiders video series

CGE’s “The Digital Supply Chain: Tips from the Insiders” is a special video series aimed to help companies and their leaders transform their supply chains for the future.  Released bimonthly for the first half of 2017, you will learn practical, actionable tips from top supply chain executives based on their experience and expertise.  Get to know the experts by watching the introduction video or pick the videos that interest you from the list below and watch as many times as you want.  Check out the latest release below.

 

 

In this series you will learn from:

 

  • George Bailey, Digital Supply Chain Project Leader, The Center for Global Enterprise on how Digital Supply Chains Increase Revenues and Halve Costs
  • Craig Moss, COO, CREATe.org on Defining the Digital Supply Chain Platform
  • Chris Caine, President, The Center for Global Enterprise on The Digital Supply Chain Institute
  • Michael Maguire, VP Ariba Business Development, SAP on how to Put the Customer at the Center of the Digital Strategy
  • Anders Karlborg, Assistant CEO, ZTE on Providing Digital Supply Chain Solutions Essential to Market Success
  • Michael Corbo, Chief Supply Chain Officer, Colgate Palmolive on how New Technologies Enable Digital Supply Chain: 3-D Printing
  • Zahid Hai, Chief of Strategy, Worldwide Corporate Services, Sodexo on Business Integration and Breaking Silos
  • Michael Crowe, CIO, Colgate Palmolive on Top Executive Commitment to Enable Digital Supply Chain Success  
  • Mitch King, Supply Chain Director, DOW on Using Big Data to Understand and Respond to Customer Demand
  • Kyle Hamm, VP Global Supply Chain, Schneider Electric on how Cloud Computing Enables Digital Supply Chains for Small to Large Businesses
  • Suresh Senoy, EVP, Alyx Technologies on how Structured Data is the Oil that Makes Digital Supply Chain Possible
  • Victoria Dolan, Chief Transformation Officer & Corporate Controller, Colgate-Palmolive on how to Reimagine the Corporate Planning Process
  • Suddhir Redy, CIO, Aricent on The Sense and Response Digital Supply Chain Strategy
  • Phanindranath Kakarla, EVP Corporate Services Group, Edelweiss Finance on Digital Supply Chain in Financial Services
  • Sudheer Pamighantam, Global Head of Supply Chain and Logistics Practice, Tech Mahindra on how Digital Supply Chain Starts Where Traditional Supply Chain Stops

 

For additional information about CGE’s Digital Supply Chain initiative and the supply chain experts visit the Digital Supply Chain initiative webpage and download the recently released white paper, “Digital Supply Chains: A Frontside Flip” available in both English and Chinese.

 

 

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Alpha Team Helps Silicon Valley Startup Enter New Markets

On Wednesday, March 8 four Alpha Team members presented their final recommendations on behalf of the 21-member team to the senior leadership of Carbon, a Silicon-Valley based 3D printing startup that is revolutionizing additive manufacturing.

 

Over the course of eight weeks, the Alpha Team worked with three mentors to research new applications of Carbon’s technology in the spare parts market. The Alpha Team, which collectively represented nine countries across three continents and 15 languages, identified key target industries and companies active in the spare parts market in the U.S., Germany, UK, and Japan.

 

In the consumer market, Carbon recently announced an agreement with Adidas to create a 3D-printed sneaker for the German company. A limited number of the Futurecraft 4D” shoes will be available in the fall, with full production ramping up next year.

 

At the Alpha Team presentation were Carbon co-founder and CEO, Joseph DeSimone, and Carbon Vice Presidents Philip DeSimone and Paul DiLaura. Other members of the Alpha Team also attended via a video conference. After the presentation, the Alpha Team members answered questions about their research and received a tour of Carbon’s headquarters and a demonstration of Carbon’s CLIP technology.

 

Alpha Teams are an offering of the Center for Global Enterprise’s Global Scholars program. Past Alpha Teams sponsors include the NFL and The London Taxi Company. You can learn more about Alpha Teams and other programs available through the Global Scholars program here.

 

 

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CGE Joins Think Tanks from Around the World to Recognize Importance of Global Trade and Innovation

Waves of populist discontent have called into question the merits of the prevailing economic order. Yet the case for trade remains as strong as ever—so long as it is conducted on genuinely fair and market-based terms and so long as countries implement effective policies to spur domestic competitiveness and assist their citizens in adjusting to technological change and international competition.

 

It would be a mistake to move away from globalization and deeper economic integration. This is why, the CGE, along with members of the Global Trade and Innovation Policy Alliance (GTIPA) – an international network of think tanks dedicated to liberalizing trade, spurring innovation, and curbing mercantilism – unite to call on policymakers around the world to take three steps in support of the global trading system. The multinational group’s assertions are outlined in this joint declaration.

 

“Given the highly visible proclamations coming from many individuals in government or seeking to enter government that economic openness is a bad thing, it is important for there to be a balanced and constructive point of view based facts” said Christopher Caine, President, the CGE. “That is why CGE chose to align itself with think tanks from around the world to express itself at this time.”

 

The world is at a pivotal moment and it is critical that a public commitment to multilateral trade and innovation remain the prevailing view for all countries seeking a better future. CGE encourages companies and individuals to deepen their awareness of what it means to be a global enterprise, global leader, and global citizen so that an environment for a better future can be created. The following think tanks from nine countries around the world joined in this cause:

 

The Center for Global Enterprise (USA)
Center for Social and Economic Research (Poland)
Competere (Italy)
Free Market Foundation (South Africa)
Fundacion Idea (Mexico)
Geneva Network (United Kingdom)
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (USA)
The Lisbon Council (EU)
Shanghai Science and Technology Policy Institute (China)
Tic Tac de la CCIT (Colombia)

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The Global Enterprise: Where to Now?

A decade after the publication of his seminal 2006 Foreign Affairs article, Mr. Palmisano reexamines the global business landscape and the challenges facing corporate managers in his new article, “The Global Enterprise: Where to Now?” Powerful forces are pulling in opposite directions: Governments are retrenching from economic and political openness, while technology is bringing people together in everything from commerce to entertainment to scientific endeavors.

 

 

Special thanks to the Global Scholars universities that participated and helped make this webinar possible:

 

  • University of Stellenbosch Business School, South Africa
  • IESE Business School, Spain
  • ESSEC Business School, France
  • University of Surrey Business School, UK
  • Boston University Questrom School of Business
  • Indian School of Business, India

 

For more information Read the Foreign Affairs article(s) by Mr. Palmisano:

 

 

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Mr. Palmisano visits Alma Mater for Talk on The Future of the Global Enterprise

On Wednesday, February 1 CGE Chairman Sam Palmisano visited his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University in a student event organized by Athletics and Recreation Director Alanna Shanahan. Mr. Palmisano spoke about the realities of the future global enterprise, and how business leaders can best prepare to succeed in shifting environments. During his visit, Mr. Palmisano first held a roundtable discussion with a small group of students with a range of different academic interests. During the conversation, Mr. Palmisano answered questions from students who had read his recently published piece on the current state of globalization and its implications for managers leading global enterprises. The Global Enterprise: Where to Now? was published in Foreign Affairs Magazine and represented a 10 year anniversary sequel of his seminal piece on the globally integrated enterprise which first appeared in Foreign Affairs Magazine in 2006.

 

Later that evening, Mr. Palmisano spoke to a larger group of student athletes and non-athletes about leadership. Drawing on anecdotes from his time at Johns Hopkins where he majored in history, he shared his path to receiving his first job offer from IBM. He emphasized the importance of a good attitude, sense of humor, hard work and thriving in collaborative work environemnts. The students were eager to learn more about how they can best be prepared to enter the job market in times of uncertainty. Mr. Palmisano recommended that students interested in job security focus on data science and cybersecurtiy – two skill sets that are sure to play a prominent role in the global economy.

 

 

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Cybersecurity In The Digital Supply Chain: Managing Third-Party Risk Through Verified Trust

In an article for SAP’s Digitalist Magazine, DSCI Director Craig Moss addresses the topic of: Cybersecurity in the Supply Chain, the role of standards and frameworks, the need to ‘trust, but verify’ digital supply chain partners, and insights on ways to secure the digital supply chain. Read full article here

 

 

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How To Win With the Right People In Your Digital Supply Chain

Some of the most critical and difficult factors in the DSC transformation include technology, demand management and risk – but the single most critical and difficult factor for most companies is their people and transformation is not a shrink-wrapped solution.  Read more from the Forbes SAPVoice blog

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