NAFCOC is a voluntary association and business support organisation. It was established in 1964 to serve small to medium businesses in township and village economies. Its mandate is to promote the development of black business in South Africa, primarily the small business sector, and foster unity amongst black business organisations.
The Organisation is comprised of several sectoral chambers and has an established and growing membership base comprising people from various economic sectors and from a number of provinces. With the membership so extensive and widespread, there was a clear need for a centralised resource to serve as an information and services supply channel, one that could accommodate administrative functions to ensure details are updated and easily shared.
In addition, there was a requirement for the portal to be mobile enabled, so that it could be linked to devices and a mobile interface, and accessible from any location at any time.
Ukuvuma Solutions integrated several technologies to develop the NAFCOC Members Portal, including Microsoft.Net;
“The goal of the project was to create a membership database that would cover nine provinces, nine economic sectors and allow NAFCOC officials to draw reports containing specific criteria. The Portal should allow members to register, log in, communicate with fellow members from relevant sectors, and receive newsletters and correspondence from NAFCOC officials,” explains Jason Smit, Director of Microsoft Tehnologies at Ukuvuma Solutions.
The portal is a standard web based portal/web application that communicates to members and officials via email and SMS which is integrated into the portal and generates sophisticated reports based on various criteria.
Ukuvuma Solutions acknowledges that the mobile wireless solutions and business application space is growing quickly, driven by the business need to extend the management of processes beyond the desktop or laptop.
They believe service providers need to take security and offline accessibility into consideration when developing mobile applications. User experience tops the list of considerations.
“The portal adjusts the screen resolution and content based on the screen size of the user making mobile browsing and operation of the portal via a mobile device a breeze,” Smit continues.
The Project was critical to help NAFCOC assimilate and accurately manage information sourced from a traditionally paper-based system. There was little or no means of member interaction, which also complicated the situation as any interaction would require direct travel to and from branches.
The newly implemented portal allows registration of members via a web or mobile interface, and for members to receive communication and information based on their sectors.
“It also allows NAFCOC officials to communicate with their members through an SMS engine which is integrated into the Portal. Members can also communicate with each other through this facility,” Smit adds.
Khaya Buthelezi, Head of Communications at NAFCOC, expressed the organisation’
Liza du Plessis
Liza du Plessis