‘I owe a lot to Safaricom, I have experienced a lot of growth in my career and professionalism, good health cover and loan facilities which have allowed homeownership and many other great opportunities not to forget the social capital investment.’ – Anastacia
October 23rd, 2020 will mark exactly 20 years since Safaricom came into the Kenyan market. Since its inception, we have seen Safaricom become a leader in the telecommunication field and also one of the most successful companies in the region. Safaricom has been transforming the lives of Kenyans through innovative products & services and investing in the communities across the country.
To celebrate this major milestone, Safaricom is highlighting the stories of some of its longest serving staff. The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Going Beyond’.
Anastacia Ngahu has been with Safaricom for 13years as an IT specialist. She says that her love for technology began when she was in high school and that at Safaricom, she got the chance to do something that she really loves. We spoke to Anastacia about her journey before Safaricom, how she joined the company and how much the company has grown since she became a part of the team.
Tell us about what you do.
My Name is Anastacia Ngahu. I am the Senior Manager of the IT Service Centre.
What does your work entail and which departments do you work with?
My work within the Digital Information Technology Department is to ensure the IT requirements of Safaricom staff, which can be hardware or software related, are met, and to ensure that the end-user desktop supporting infrastructure are well-sourced, kitted and maintained to ensure that our staff have a world-class computing experience to enable them to offer exceptional service and experience to Safaricom customers.
Tell us about your story before Safaricom, where did you go to school, what were your aspirations?
I went to Nakuru High School where my love for technology was nurtured as it was a technical school teaching technical subjects for O-level, thereafter I joined JKUAT for my course in Electronics Engineering and after graduation, I worked with Kenya Co-operative Creameries as an engineering supervisor where I was fondly referred to as the computer lady. I serviced the main computer used for weighing the milk on delivery alongside maintenance of electronic controls within the company. Thereafter I did a course in Management information systems which paved way for my career into the IT world that would later lead me to Safaricom after working with International Computer Ltd (ICL).
How did you come to join Safaricom?
I joined Safaricom in March 2003 as a contractor for a company PacTeL Ltd which had been contracted to provide electronic airtime distribution for Safaricom. We were charged with distributing the voucher printing terminals to Safaricom dealers, Installing the airtime distribution software in their servers and ensuring the dial-up to Safaricom servers and downloads to the dealer servers for the exact money they had deposited into the Safaricom system was successful. Thereafter in 2006 an opportunity arose within the IT department for recruitment of an IT Helpdesk Analyst whereby I applied and was employed for the role in September of the same year.
How much has the company changed since the first day you came on board?
Safaricom Offices and Call Centre were then based in Safaricom Care Centre (next to Sarit Centre). I have seen the Company grow to occupy more than 4 locations in Nairobi alone, and many regional headquarters as well, not forgetting the Jambo Call Centre on Mombasa Road, The Thika Call Centre and Eldoret Call Centre. I had the privilege of sourcing and kitting the desktop infrastructure for all these locations, including the Retail centres, which have grown from six to now over 50 across the country.
Over the years, the Care desks, warehouse stores, as well as the regional offices have come to be to ensure Safaricom presence across the country. Systems have come and gone, and the journey has just been amazing to behold, from the M-PESA system inception to now a globally recognized Kenyan trademark to sophisticated solutions like cloud solutions and mobile applications, we have seen upgrades after upgrades working with world-class applications like Oracle, Remedy and Cisco all ensuring we remain relevant with changing times.
Safaricom is the most successful company in East and Central Africa, did you ever expect it to be as big as it is now?
When I joined Safaricom I knew it was a big company in Kenya, but my mind was limited to the heights it would grow to…so grateful to have been part of this journey.
What major milestones in the company have you contributed to?
The milestones have been many, supporting the Safaricom workforce from a limited number of approx. 600 staff to the now over 6000 and ensuring that we stay up to date in technology is a great achievement.
The Eldoret Call Centre was a flagship project where we embraced virtualization for the desktop environment. Moving to cloud solutions like Microsoft 0365 was a major transition and this has enabled the staff to work from home during this trying Covid year. I have made many technological solutions changes along the way and received recognition within the company for the same.
As a seasoned employee, what challenges have you faced in the course of your service?
Challenges are fuel for innovation and change. The technology needs of employees must be met while ensuring that we remain a profitable company therefore I have had to make decisions that had to bring monetary value to the company. Just like a family has many needs so does the Safaricom family, but not all needs can be met and as a leader, it gets challenging to justify a NO and ensure that my customer still feels supported. The same would apply to the partners that we work with.
Besides employment, what other opportunities have you received from your time at the company?
I owe a lot to Safaricom, other opportunities have been growth in career where Safaricom has facilitated trainings which have grown me professionally, good health cover and loan facilities which have allowed home ownership and many other great opportunities not to forget the social capital investment.
What role has Safaricom played in empowering women?
It has played an enormous role! Safaricom has made it its objective to empower women within Safaricom by striving towards a 50/50 gender rule which has been achieved at different levels. Outside Safaricom, the role is felt through achievements of Safaricom sponsored groups like Women in Technology (WIT), Women in Business (WIB) and many others.
What makes Safaricom stand out from other companies?
Its focus on:
Transforming the lives of customers
Innovative products and services like M-PESA and Lipa Mdogo Mdogo
Quality and breadth of network
Care for her Staff
Strategy, Strategy, Strategy
What will be the legacy left behind by Safaricom?
The role model company that placed a developing country on the global spotlight.
Find out more about how Safaricom is working to make sure more women become leaders within the company and the steps it is taking in this article Interview: Rita Okuthe Talks About Her Journey To The Top And Safaricom’s Investment In Women’s Leadership