Moses Okundi is a husband and father of two. Born in Kenya, he attended the University of Manchester between 2000 and 2003, receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Control Engineering. Almost immediately after receiving his degree, he jumped feet first into the world of telecommunications and technology.
“About a week after I graduated, I found myself applying for a role in the Safaricom network operations centre (NOC), and started working as a shift technician shortly after that,” he recalls. “Working in the NOC was a great experience. I got visibility and hands on experience into all the technologies that make up a telco, which was a great place to start.”
Over the subsequent years, Okundi developed a keen interest in technology and value-added services, an area of vital importance at the time in Kenya when mobile telephony, “was still new for a lot of customers.”
In August of 2011, Okundi ended up overseeing Safaricom’s value-added services section within the Technology division, delivering continuous improvement and implementing new products and services for the 17mn-plus customers who then subscribed to the company’s network.
“And then came mobile money,” he remembers. M-PESA, Safaricom’s mobile phone-based money transfer service was launched in 2007 but really began hitting its stride a few years later. During that time, Okundi was responsible for delivering customer support for M-PESA through digital channels. “I was responsible for the messaging platform that facilitates M-PESA transactions,” he says.
“I moved fully into IT in 2015, where I worked as the Head of Information Systems Operations looking after the whole of Safaricom's IT. It was a really good time with the adoption of cloud strategies and agile ways of working,” Okundi adds.
Shortly afterwards, Okundi found himself faced with an opportunity to take on a short term assignment at Vodafone Ghana, spending a month in the Summer of 2018 working as the company’s digital systems lead, setting up a digital accelerator and running a hackathon to develop the company’s first customer service chat bot.
“It was a very different market to the one I was used to at Safaricom and, for that reason, a very exciting experience,” he recalls. “Having that little experience in Ghana definitely convinced me that the country was somewhere I could go and continue my journey one day, and here I am.”
In the year that followed Okundi returned to Safaricom, taking the role of Converged Services Operations Head, where he introduced agile ways of working to the operations team. A key progress area was the establishment of the RPA & Process Automation squad that continues to bring efficiencies through automation today.
Just over a year later, Okundi made the move to Ghana, coming aboard as the company’s CIO in October of 2019. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit shortly afterwards, Okundi and his team were critical, not only to ensuring that Vodafone Ghana was capable of responding to the crisis by making a smooth transition to remote work and keeping its employees safe, but also helping the company’s end customers adopt digital ways of achieving their needs. “We zero-rated critical government and education-related URLs, and executed a rapid capacity expansion to support campaigns to drive our customers towards adopting cashless and paperless means of transacting,” he says.
He has since put his experience and skillset to good use, incorporating new tools and technologies, as well as agile process transformations, into Vodafone Ghana’s operating model. He approaches challenges whilst taking into account the pillars, ‘people’, ‘process/es’ and ‘tools’.
“I really take pride in my involvement in some of the technologies that have helped empower people in society. I take pride in my involvement in mobile money across Ghana and Kenya,” he reflects. “In 2021 I want to accelerate our cloud readiness. I want to help people in the organisation to grow and embrace new technologies, driving digital knowledge across our workforce. I love technology, and empowering people through leadership and technology. It's my purpose.”
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