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The rise of a successful entrepreneur

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of visionary entrepreneur Jyoti Mukherjee, CEO of Software Technologies Limited (STL). Mukherjee’s career and life path in technology started in 1991 when she and her husband, Sanjiv Mukherjee, started STL. Over the duration of three decades, Mukherjee slowly, steadily, built an award winning business. She steered STL into the future, making it as one of Kenya’s Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies. The competition is a partnership between KPMG and the Daily Nation. STL proceeded to stay on top for a decade. This Top Mid-Sized businesses survey looks at SMEs with an annual turnover falling between Ksh70 million, and Ksh1 billion.

Award-winning top CEO

Jyoti Mukherjee was an accomplished entrepreneur who was respectfully named Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year, a Timeless Woman of Wonder, the Top Businesswoman in ICT, and a Top CEO many times over. Without a doubt she has a substantial number of mentees. Her work in the tech industry also earned her a host of other global acknowledgements. Small wonder she made it to the ICT Hall Of Fame, an award whose recognition was by our very own Ministry of ICT.

New millennium leader

An Indian who made Kenya her home, Mukherjee was more than her much-deserved awards. She grew the business to unimaginable heights. Since 1991 when she launched it, STL has expanded across 3 continents. From West Africa where they designed their first French e-board software, the rest of East Africa and Zambia, all the way to the Middle East. She led STL into the next decade, nay, next millennium, with eHorizon Mkataba, a software that services businesses big and small. It gives them agency over their legal existence and legal processes. It does this by creating a platform that allows them to do all that appertains to contracts. It also serves the probably unintended side effect of teaching and educating all who interact with it on Kenyan contract law.

Creative use of tech

Over time, she found her way inside boardrooms and board member’s minds with her e-governance tool, eHorizon eBoard. This serves the purpose of governing, tracking and centralising communication for board members. It created a virtual boardroom where board members could do business without disrupting their daily work lives. Beyond that, she streamlined the legislation process with e-parliament. This does the work of helping parliamentarians keep track of what would otherwise have been haphazard records.

Jyoti Mukherjee did what technology was made to do; connect people. This she did by building bridges and making their lives easier. It is a safe bet that Mukherjee’s technology touched countless lives beyond the 150 corporations that enjoyed the product of her genius. In addition to that, these likely include all the people who saved time which they then enjoyed with their loved ones, allowing them to care for their families.

Family first

Jyoti Mukherjee was herself a woman who put her family first, an attribute she was known for. It is her son, Chets Mukherjee, who co-runs the company, STL, with Jyoti Mukherjee. Where others saw a need and likely disharmony, she drew inspiration from it. She saw possibilities and solutions where complex problems existed. She brought everyone and everything together into a tight, tidy, organised, easily accessible circle with an elegance and beauty only made evident in one with such symmetry of thought. A problem-solver at her core, she was herself an original. A maverick who stepped into the future before her peers had a chance to put on their shoes, let alone tie their laces.

A beautiful legacy

Her legacy will be best remembered far and wide over her Institute of Software Technology, uplifting the industry by training talent. Here she taught young minds, absorbing the top 5 into her organisation, and sharing them with the industry top players. Numbering hundreds, these students will be a generous part of her legacy. She was not just the Top ICT Businesswoman in Africa (2007). Hers is the kind of life fully lived. Jyoti Mukherjee touched her team of employees, growing from a handful of just 5 to become a powerhouse in East Africa, straight to a global enterprise straddling 3 continents; Africa, the Middle East and UAE.

Similarly, her legacy also lives on. Even though she is gone, thanks to EAPEF (a $63 billion American private equity fund), her business is set to grow bigger and stronger. Their investment allows STL to further spread its wings across Africa not just for its patented technology that has seen them rise to the top, but also owing to its certified training institute.

For a woman who believed in her father’s ideology of “high thinking, simple living,” her description of success is befittingly based on these 6 things. “Planning, focus, self-belief, a positive attitude, love for those around us, and a strong work ethic.” If there ever was something Jyoti Mukherjee would be glad to see live on, it would be this philosophy as her legacy. She leaves behind a grieving tech community that she certainly transformed. Eventually, in her own unique way, she shaped the tech landscape not just in Kenya or East Africa, but also, the world.

Article by Carol Odero,  published in CIO EAST AFRICA, the leading magazine for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in East Africa, published by Kommunication Ultimate Limited (KUL) in conjunction with the International Data Group (IDG), a world-renowned publisher of legendary brands.

Bain is one of the world’s top management consulting firms. The organization works with leaders across industries and geographies to solve industry-defining challenges in Strategy, Marketing, Organization, Operations, Digital Transformation, Sustainability and M&A. Founded in 1973, Bain has 6,000 employees in 58 offices worldwide. Bain has worked with over 4,900 companies, including more than two-thirds of the Global 500, Private Equity funds representing 75% of global equity capital, leading non-profits and innovative start-ups. Bain’s public clients have outperformed the S&P four to one.

Great boards help companies outperform their peers, delivering value to stakeholders, sustainably, and without compromising compliance or risk. Companies that achieve this are the bedrock of inclusive economic growth. In today’s environment the expectation for companies and the Boards that govern them is high. Ensuring compliance beyond reproach is critical, but it is not enough. Outperforming requires focus and clarity around strategy and culture as well as an ability to adapt and be agile in turbulent times. Based on extensive research, and the insights of prominent global Directors with over 240 years of cumulative experience, Bain & Company has developed an all-encompassing approach to effective governance called ‘The Great Board’.

Software Technologies co-hosted a conversation on the foundations of this approach and to discuss perspectives on what Great Boards do differently to outperform peers and succeed in challenging environments. The conversation brought together members from leading companies across sectors in Kenya for a discussion that went beyond compliance to focus on strategy setting and execution at the board level. The topics discussed were:

  • The changing role of boards in business
  • The board’s role in creating and driving a winning strategy and sustained value creation
  • Cultural traits of high performing boards, why conformity / lack of conflict does not equal agreement and how to create a virtuous cycle of trust and candour

 Leaders from the public and private sectors shared with the audience how ingraining good governance at planning makes vision a reality.

 

The Institute of Directors (Kenya), in collaboration with Software Technologies Limited and other partners had their 3rd Corporate Governance Conference hosted at the Inter Continental Hotel in Nairobi.

The Theme of the Conference was Sustainable Governance for Africa. The Conference explored Africa’s potential and the role of good governance for a Sustainable Continent. Leaders from the public and private sectors shared with the audience how they think ingraining good governance at planning and throughout implementation, makes vision a reality. Topics such as Politics and corporate governance, Achieving real results in the fight against corruption; the roles and responsibilities of a dynamic private sector, Building an ethical organizational culture as a driver for corporate sustainability and Building sustainable corporate Governance systems in Africa; the African Challenge were covered

Objectives of the Conference

  1. To “unpack” the East Africa region in terms of potential, opportunities, numbers etc and their implications to socio economic transformation.
  2. To highlight the importance of good environmental, social and corporate governance in the socio-economic transformation of Africa.
  3. To highlight the importance and value of good governance in the private and public sector.
  4. A platform for policymakers, corporates, public institutions from across the East African Community to encourage and practice.

Outcomes of the Conference

The Conference explored East Africa’s potential and the role of good governance in unleashing this potential. Leaders in Africa’s public and private sectors will share with the audience how they think good governance brings visions to reality, from planning to implementation.

I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for the minds and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hunger is on the rise again globally and undernutrition continues to affect millions of children. Public investment in agriculture globally is declining, small scale food producers and family farmers require much greater support and increased investment in infrastructure and technology for sustainable agriculture is urgently needed.

On 10th February 2019, the Government declared a national drought emergency, with 23 of 47 counties affected. The number of food-insecure people more than doubled – from 1.3 million to 2.7 million. Some 357,285 children and pregnant and lactating mothers are acutely malnourished.

Kenya’s Red Cross told TRT World: “Most of the areas affected by the current drought were also affected by the previous droughts that recurred in the arid and semi-arid lands ASAL areas over the last few years. The 2016/17/18 drought-affected up to 3.5 million people in the 23 ASAL counties and resulted in severe disruption of livelihoods by affected communities. The drought contributed to the underlying vulnerability of communities especially in the ASAL counties which negatively impacted the capacity of populations to cope with recurring disasters.’’

Software Technologies upholds and takes seriously the 2nd UN Sustainable Development Goal; Zero Hunger. We have taken a step to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by donating to the Kenya Red Cross Society. This is one of the steps we are taking to positively and effectively impact people in the community.

The National Assembly in March digitised its operations to complete the switch by the two Houses after Senate adopted an electronic platform last November.

The pair is now using an e-governance platform by local technology firm, Software Technologies Limited (STL), in a bid to cut on paperwork and improve working speed.

Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) says adoption of the paperless platform has streamlined operations, increased speed and efficiencies as legislators can now get all documents on their iPads.

“It has increased the level of transparency, ease of accessing documents like bills, motions and order papers and generally, it is now easier to get information that would ordinarily take hours to sift through the millions of papers,” a source at PSC who did not want to be quoted said.

Legislators across both Houses can now view the Hansard, order papers, bills and the legislative calendar within a second through the STL-developed platform. Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai had in April said that digitisation of the order paper alone will save the government at least Sh15 million annually in printing and photocopy costs.

“The amount we save is likely to go up once we fully integrate the system and use it in uploading all the information in the chamber,” Mr Sialai said.

The implementation incorporated a “Train the Trainer” concept. The training involved three phases with the first targeted at the ICT departments at both Houses.

The second was for House officials such as clerks, serjeant-at-arms and all staff who keep daily track of the vital information.

With 350 iPads for the National Assembly and 71 for the Senate, the government’s legislative arm embraced a move that is set to increase accountability.

“We have a server cluster in the PSC mirrored to a highly secured private cloud to maximise availability and security,” Chets Mukherjee the Operations Director at STL said.

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