This case lends itself to discussion of several issues faced by founders and their evolving companies: the need for entrepreneurs to have a “governing structure” for their actions; the importance of changing direction as the market and technology evolve; an ability to forecast and respond to the financial requirements of growth; finding and developing a skilled workforce.
In 1995, Austin Okere formed Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) Plc. as an umbrella organization to provide coordinating functions and shared services for its three divisions: CWL Systems, DCC Networks, and ExpertEdge Software. DCC Networks began operations in August 1991 as a provider of VSAT, Metropolitan, Metropolitan Area Network (Micro Wave Radio) and Local Area Networks (Structure Cabling) to corporations. In September 1991, CWL Systems was incorporated to undertake hardware projects. ExpertEdge software was acquired and later incorporated in October 1993. During its first decade, CWG lacked a solid strategy; its expansion was driven by opportunity and customer demand, and it often needed to change direction. By early 2012, after several difficult years, some executive committee members were suggesting that CWG be sold. Okere disagreed; as captain, he must stay on his ship until it could be steadied. At the end of 2012, CWG made the move from being a provider of IT (selling hardware, software, and network access directly to customers) to that of a major enabler of IT, supplying mobile operators with infrastructure and software that they could sell directly to their customers. This model had two advantages: (1) it was not as capital intensive as reselling computers, servers, and ATMs, or maintaining satellite uplinks; and (2) ICT as a service, offered through the cloud, was much more scalable geographically. For all its growth pangs, CWG remained a model for indigenous ICT firms in Nigeria.
Director/Writer: Franco Sacchi Cinematography: Franco Sacchi Editing: Franco Sacchi Field Producer: Eke Umei Additional Cinematography: Sunday Nwokoi