ATB Tech is rebranding as it celebrates its 15 years anniversary. In a media chat, the CEO, Abiodun Atobatele discusses the journey the company has had over the past 15 years, why they are rebranding and other plans for the future.
Tell us how it all began.
We have come a long way since we started as a company back in 2007 with just a team of… one person. Driven by one goal - to help businesses with innovative IT solutions and integrations. Thanks to our indefatigable and innovative team, we have stayed consistent with that all these years. We are quite lucky to have them.
I started ATB Techsoft Solutions in 2007. It was more of a side-hustle for me at the time, until November 2009 when I resigned from my full-time job and teamed up with a friend to run what you will now know as ATB Tech.
That must have been tough. How did you do it?
Well, we partnered with renowned global Tech companies like Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, and Sophos. We came up with the slogan, 'strictly best practices'. This informed our approach and quality of service. More than anything else, this mentality has sustained us for the past 15 years.
It didn’t take long for awards and recognitions to start coming in. Within three years of operation, we were named Microsoft Country Partner of the year in Nigeria. This was a great feat to attain considering we competed with companies that had existed for 15 to 20 years at the time. By 2013, we had become the Microsoft Country Partner for East, West, and Central Africa. Though a small team at the time, we were already doing big things.
Sounds like a smooth sailing ship.
Haha, not entirely. Some years after we launched, we noticed Microsoft started building cloud solutions. This was a great and innovative idea. However, that meant that we the middlemen may gradually begin to lose our relevance. We knew it was an indication of the market direction, and as an innovative company, we saw the change that was coming and acted accordingly.
So, we started focusing more on building our own tech solutions based on the needs of our customers and the market as a whole. This was our turning point as a business, but it was also our most challenging period.
Remember that we were a team of engineers who only knew how to deliver and integrate Microsoft, Oracle, and Cisco solutions. Because we wanted to start building tech solutions, we needed to bring in software developers to help with this new aspect of the business. As the rookies that we were in this new space, that didn't exactly go as planned.
Oh wow, what happened?
Our first mistake was bringing in only one developer for the job. We honestly didn’t know better. Within six months, it was clear that we were not getting it right.
Next, we decided to acquire a software development company. We believed there was no way we could get this wrong considering they are already in the business of building software. Well, the marriage did last about three years but we eventually had to divorce because it was not as fruitful as we had envisaged.
But we knew what we wanted, and where we were headed! So, we kept going. We continued experimenting with different approaches until we eventually got it right in 2019. This was when we could say we smoothened all edges regarding designing, building, and managing software.
Nice. How many businesses have you served?
We started with just one client (who is still with us today by the way). But over the years, we have served over 2000 satisfied clients across different industries including oil & gas, banking, hospitality, power, government agencies and ministries, and so on.
How would you describe ATB Tech as a full-fledged Technology Company?
ATB Tech has evolved from a company that only sells information technology products and services; to a company that builds and delivers self-built tech products and services.
So far, we have built exciting products that are doing incredibly well in the market. We have the MyXalary app that is easing the work of HR professionals and company owners in Africa. We built NotchCX, a CRM software that is helping small and large businesses to build and sustain better relationships with their customers.We also have Finratus, a financial software for savings and lending management. We have others still in the pipeline.
This transition to a tech company is us refusing to put ourselves in a box. For instance, we could explore building a metering solution for the power sector; or creating a safety software for the fire service in the future.
So why are you rebranding?
We have successfully combined software development with our existing IT services. It is high time we rebranded to reflect our new focus as a Tech Company.
We felt our brand was due for a facelift. Speaking about logos, have you seen what Atb Techsoft’s first logo looked like?
Funny right? I made this myself when we first started. We've come a long way.
Interesting. What about your people, How have you grown?
We are a people-oriented company, and we’ve demonstrated this since our inception. We started as a team of two, but today, we are a team of over 80 people. We have a goal of reaching 100 staff before the end of the year.
We recognize the value of our employees, and we do our best to create a conducive working environment for them. Our head office has a gym corner, a mini-golf course, a colourful lounge, and other accessories to keep staff relaxed, fit, creative, and happy.
During the pandemic in 2020, we were among the first companies to begin remote work arrangements for our staff as we couldn’t risk exposing them to the virus. The lessons we learned from the pandemic helped us ease into hybrid work arrangements. Today, more than 70% of our staff resume physically at the office twice a week. This is the first step in our plan to go 100% remote by the end of 2022.
Also, we are an inclusive and equal-opportunity company that creates an environment for everyone to thrive irrespective of gender, religion, race, or belief. We will continue in this direction as we look forward.
What can the public expect from ATB Tech in the future?
You should expect a company that's driving change in employment and revenue generation for the country. Going forward, we will be focused on building products and services that are Pan African and Pan Global. In other words, we plan to build solutions that can be useful to people and companies across Africa, and beyond.
Fantastic. Any last words?
We are proud of our achievements and impact in the last 15 years, and we are excited about what the future holds. 15 years down, infinity to go!