By Ibrahim Olukotun
Lagos. November, 29, 2012: Datasphir, an ICT consultancy firm has launched its new products EDU ERP, a free enterprise resource planning system for higher education institutions and EDUPAY, a unique payment card for higher institutions students.
Stakeholders from educational and ICT sectors were present at the launch held Wednesday in Lagos of the products specifically tailored towards solving data management and payment problems of higher institutions.
The software has been improved upon over the last seven years after it was first developed and used at University of Jos in 2005 and subsequently, Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto and a private university, Veritas University, Abuja, Datasphir says.
They will provide higher institutions in Nigeria a secure and robust platform for management of staff and students’ data.
Edu ERP is a complete online management system for higher education used by staff and students. Some of its features include student/ course registration, examination processing, results notification, transcript generation and other automated features like hostels allocation.
The software also comes with an administration interface that allows an institution’s management to set parameters such as staff use, student use, fees and late charges, opening and closing dates for registration among many others.
EduPAY card, a two-in-one card that serves as both students ID card and Payment card .branded with institutions’ logo and contains student name, student picture faculty, department and matriculation number while the reverse side of the card has student payment card details chip.
Charles Uwadia, a professor at University of Lagos and Director Centre for Technology and Systems at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) told attendees at the event that as an expert, he observed that institutions have problems managing and processing data.
Uwadia, who is also the ex-President of Nigeria Computer Society says that institutions are increasingly leveraging on ICT in solving data management problems but institutions are looking for cost effective ICT solutions like EDUERP.
“No doubt, tertiary institutions are leveraging on ICT in driving processes but because of limited funds these institutions both government and private owned are looking for affordable systems for management of data which I strongly believe that EDUERP will address”, he adds.
Addressing the gathering on the importance of the software and why the developers of the software have made it open source software rather than a proprietary source (paid software), Owen Iyoha, Director, Datasphir argues that the firm intention is to make it available to institutions in order to enhance their management information systems and for other software developers to improve on what Datasphir team has done.
He also adds that it is also expected to serve as a template for young software developers and experienced developers that intend to develop similar solutions.
“Though, we are not used to this (Open source software) in this part of the world. We (Nigeria) have always been consuming what others have done in other climes without contributing. We are blazing the trail by showing to the world that we have expertise here to produce world-class software that others can use and improve upon,” Iyoha says.
Making case for effectiveness of free and open source software, Tim Akinbo, a software expert argues that his firm is smiling to the bank on the account of open source software.
He adds that his firm depends on the software to drive processes and operations.
“My company is a very profitable company and would not have excelled if not for open source soft”, he says.
Yinka Oyerinde, Head Corporate Information System, University of Jos, who was part of the internal team that Datasphir team trained while working on the EDUERP model for the university appreciates the improvements that has gone into the software over the years.
Oyerinde commends the expertise of Datasphir in equipping the UniJos internal in terms of capacity training in handling the processes and the system instead of relying on consultants.
Kayode Odeyemi, a software engineer and one of the developers of EDUERP thanked Datasphir for the opportunity granted him to work on such a huge project and also pledged to always improve on the standard of the software.
He also urged upcoming software developers to crave for more skills by working with experienced developers to deepen their skills rather than insisting on what they can get now without a thorough mentoring and tutelage.