Company Reports - The Copy Cat  


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The Copy Cat

The Copy Cat delivers unduplicated success

Anne-Frances Hutchinson

A blend of grand ambition and top-shelf service is the winning combination for East Africa's IT solutions leader
The Copy Cat delivers unduplicated success


The Copy Cat Ltd opened in 1984 as an office automation company with a single location in Nairobi, Kenya. Today, The Copy Cat is a burgeoning IT solutions provider and systems integrator employing 850 people in five countries and partnering with some of technology’s biggest innovators. Operating main offices in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Rwanda, the firm is the largest of its kind in East Africa, and has set its sights on the rest of the continent.

From its inception The Copy Cat has leveraged superior service to offer complete solutions for its customers. That focus on excellence has manifested in a quarter-century of steady growth, and has positioned the firm as the top IT solutions group in East Africa. The award-winning organisation has been consistently recognised by tech market leaders such as Oracle(Sun), Diebold, Hewlett Packard and EMC. Most recently, the company became a Cisco Gold partner with two ATPs in Telepresence and Identity Service Engine.


According to Jude Obitre, The Copy Cat’s General Manager in Uganda, “Working with global partners like HP gives us a very high standard to meet. We have to make sure people, products and processes are all aligned as one.” Reaching those critical benchmarks requires a non-stop devotion to training, which Obitre points to as one of their core strengths.

“The industry that we’re in changes so fast. You cannot be in the IT space without much of it being invested in training,” he confirms, musing that IT firms skimp on education to their own peril. “One, you become irrelevant, two, you can’t enter a country if you’re not growing, and three, the competition will take your business. We have very ambitious programs that cover ourselves and our clients.”


Many of The Copy Cat’s key vendors require certification on a three to five year cycle. “You either certify or you die,” he muses. “We are mandated to have training and certification; it is a must.”

Besides meeting the commitments set by its partners, within the company itself it measures a host of metrics. “We’re very interested in coverage. And internally we use the balanced scorecard methodology, where we measure our customer satisfaction as part of our appraisal. It’s a very central point,” Obitre confirms.

Not only is Copy Cat a darling on the vendor side, but it also serves a long list of important clients in the banking, education, government, retail and corporate sectors. Each sector requires highly specialised solutions, including enterprise data management, security products, application management solutions, hardware maintenance and beyond. Barclays, Equity Bank, Kenya Airways, Nation Media Group and the Kenyan Ministry of Finance,Uganda Industrial Research Institute, Uganda Petroleum Institute, Banque de Kigali, KCB are just a few of The Copy Cat’s many devotees. A commitment to customer retention made in the early days continues to fuel the company’s current growth. “We work together to achieve our customers’ objectives,” the GM notes. “Our main driving force is our customers. They are central to everything that we do.”

Copy Cat’s supply chain is managed from Kenya, using an Oracle e-business suite, which, according to Obitre, supports all the significant business processes for the company. “The suite covers all our business modules, finance and accounting, purchasing and performance improvement modules. It’s like a body that the organisation runs on,” he says. “Also this is intertwined with some of our vendors. If we are ordering items from Cisco it’s a web-based process so it interlocks back into our system.”


In recent years the company has invested millions of dollars in expansion plans and infrastructure, which included moving to a new corporate HQ in Nairobi. In the past five years, The Copy Cat has invested US$2.5 million in their Uganda facility, and $10 million in Tanzania. “We invest in technology; all of our voice systems are running on Cisco. We also invest in our people,” he notes.

The investment dollars will keep coming. By the end of 2012, The Copy Cat plans to open an office in Rwanda, and is presently exploring growth opportunities in Burundi. “The owners’ vision of the company 10 years from now is that we should not just be an East African company. We should be an African company,” Obitre declares.

With 2012 revenues hovering around $65 million, management have predicts The Copy Cat’s take will approximate $100 million this year. “We have world-class people and the highest of working partners,” he stresses, pointing to gold partnership with Hewlett Packard and APC, a registered partnership with Microsoft and a host of regional awards for achievement. “As a group we come from such a humble background. And our plans are quite ambitious, but we can do it.”

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