How the virtual assistants can boost businesses in Rwanda

The advent of the computer era has had great influence on our lives, especially the way we do things. As a result, the workplace has been greatly revolutionalised and now organisations can outsource some non-core tasks to the so called virtual assistants.

The advent of the computer era has had great influence on our lives, especially the way we do things. As a result, the workplace has been greatly revolutionalised and now organisations can outsource some non-core tasks to the so called virtual assistants.

Virtual assistants are highly-skilled, independent professionals who remotely provide administrative, technical and other business support services, but are located away from the employers’ work station, according to Paula Kyabaggu Mukama, human resource consultant.

All this has been possible because of high speed Internet connectivity as the assistants can work, communicate and transfer files electronically in real time.

The virtual assistants are handy for individuals or firms that do not want to hire full-time staff or those that outsource specific tasks.

Kyabaggu says using virtual assistants is a cost effective model. “You don’t need to spend money on providing office space, you are also free from worrying about their monthly supplies, as well as maintenance of all the equipment they use in performing their jobs. This is less stress for you,” she argues.

Jovani Ntabogaba, a consultant at the ICT Chamber, says the model is lucrative and embraceable because the employer only pays for the work done and is not liable to employee’s related insurance or tax.

Among the duties that can be delegated to virtual assistants include bookkeeping and accounting, data entry, online research, as well as web and graphic design.

Ntabgoba adds that the model suits Rwanda well. “With our robust Internet connection across the entire country, which will soon be boosted by 4G network connection, Rwandan businesses need to embrace it to reduce costs,” he says.

Kigali-based economist and social entrepreneur, Jon Stever, who has seen the model employed elsewhere, says it could work well in Rwanda.

“I think there are opportunities for outsourcing companies to provide their services to firms in the country. For example, I am in the process of contracting an accountancy firm to handle my accounts rather than hiring a full-time accountant I have to train. There are a lot of areas companies can benefit by outsourcing services locally.”

Stever adds that the model is transparent since clients have options while hiring. “At times people can underperform because they know their clients are short of options. But with this model, as soon as the outsourcing company falls below expectations, the hiring company can easily hire a different firm.”

Though the model seems cost effective and applicable, employers may question its effectiveness when it comes to who controls the virtual assistants.

Aphrodise Mutangana, the FOYO Group managing director, says though it is a great initiative, it has setbacks.

“There is less supervision and control over the assistants. It is not easy hiring people you have never met.  Handing out sensitive information like accounts and revenue information to non-employees can also be tricky,” he argues.

Mutangana says the model is better suited for firms seeking skills that are not readily available in the country, adding that it is more ideal for private companies.

Dr. Butera Bazimya, the research and development co-ordinator at Mount Kenya University, notes that even as we embrace technology and innovation, certain interactions cannot be replaced.

“In the human sphere of interaction, there are certain aspects that cannot be changed. We can use virtual assistants and technology, but cannot it replace human interactions in the workplace.”

Dr. Bazimya says when applying the model, several factors should be considered. Do you have control or influence over the assistants? How much do you depend on them?

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News