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Aqua Software Solutions: Faghmie Davids

Software solution provides clients with new ways to track time and attendance of staff

Juliet Pitman

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Faghmie Davids

There is no doubt that technology canchange the way companies manage their business, suppliers and staff so it’ssurprising that so many have been slow to take full advantage of it. Those whodo, immediately give themselves a competitive edge and it is theseforward-thinking companies that Faghmie Davids, founder of Aqua SoftwareSolutions, targets with an innovative software solution.Davids’ web-based system helps companies tomanage the time and attendance of employees. It makes use of a state-of-the-arthand-held clocking device that recognises the fingerprint of each employee, andkeeps a record of when they clocked in and out of the business premises. Thisinformation is fed, via the GSM network, to Aqua Software’s web-based system,which generates reports for the client on all aspects of staff attendance,including absenteeism, leave and overtime. The beauty of the Aqua system is theimmediate electronic availability of the data. It takes tracking of time andattendance into the digital age.

In spite of the obvious advantage of usingsuch a system, Davids, an electrical engineer who started Aqua SoftwareSolutions in 2001 and developed the web-based software, says his biggestchallenge has been educating potential clients about the benefits of making useof the full service offering he provides. “It is possible for people to buy asimilar system off the shelf but they then have to go to the effort and expenseof getting someone to set it up for them and then manage it on a day-to-daybasis. What we offer is a full service, installing the software for them andgenerating monthly reports from our web-based system,” he explains.In order to add even more value, Davidscame up with an innovative way to tailor the system to meet clients’ needs.Aqua’s approach is to do a full needs assessment and try to identify ways theycan tweak the software in order to make it more relevant and beneficial toindividual companies. Davids then reworks the software and delivers thesolution to the client. “The basic software system is already there so we canalter it to make sure that we are giving clients a solution and monthly reportthat will really help them to run their business more effectively,” heexplains.

As the business has grown, so Davids haslearned the importance of sales. “I can develop a brilliant system that canhelp business people but there’s no point in doing that if I can’t sell it tothem,” he says. He adds that more education-based sales will be required totruly grow the company’s client base, as many businesses are slow to invest ina new technology until they are sure it will reap business rewards. “We have toshow people that they are buying a service that allows them to stick to theircore business while we stick to ours which is to take care of the technologyside of things,” he explains.In addition, he points out the importanceof keeping existing companies happy. “Part of our growth strategy is to ensurethat the clients we have are happy, as many of them employ huge numbers ofpeople, of which we are only currently tracking a small portion. For example, acompany for whom Aqua currently tracks 1 000 employees actually has 13 000people in total on its books. There is obviously huge potential for growth withthese clients, so we need to make sure the system is working for them currentlybefore we expand into new areas with them,” he says. The reputation developedwith these clients has stood the company in good stead when it comes toprospecting for new clients and, slowly but surely, the business has grown. Thefirst system Aqua installed tracked 50 people – the company now tracks over 3000.

When Davids initially started off, heprovided clients only with the software, while hardware was suppliedseparately. However, this caused one of the company’s other major stumblingblocks. “We found that the hardware wouldn’t work as well as it should, and itwas incredibly frustrating not to have ownership of the full service,” heexplains. Undeterred, Davids set about sourcing hardware himself, so that Aquais now in a position to offer a truly holistic service to its clients.It is this tenacity in the face ofobstacles, and ability to think on his feet and react quickly, that has keptDavids one step ahead of his competitors. “I’m learning all the time,” headmits. With such an innovative product and a plan for future growth, there’s nodoubt that the ingredients for success are there.

Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.

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25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa

Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.

Nicole Crampton

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“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.

South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:

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27 Of The Richest People In South Africa

Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.

Nicole Crampton

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Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:

In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.

From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.

  1. Elisabeth Bradley
  2. Sharon Wapnick
  3. Bridgette Radebe
  4. Irene Charnley
  5. Wendy Ackerman
  6. Paul Harris
  7. Wendy Appelbaum
  8. Mark Shuttleworth
  9. Desmond Sacco
  10. Giovanni Ravazzotti
  11. Markus Jooste
  12. Gus Attridge
  13. Gerrit Thomas Ferreira
  14. Cyril Ramaphosa
  15. Adrian Gore
  16. Raymond Ackerman
  17. Michiel Le Roux
  18. Lauritz Dippenaar
  19. Jannie Mouton
  20. Stephen Saad
  21. Patrice Motsepe
  22. Allan Gray
  23. Koos Bekker
  24. Ivan Glasenberg
  25. Christoffel Wiese
  26. Johann Rupert
  27. Nicky Oppenheimer
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch

South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.

Nicole Crampton

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Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.

The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:

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