Google has commended South African-based enterprise payments platform provider, Nomanini, for its role in modernising informal markets using Google products.
Google’s Cloud Platform team visited Nomanini earlier this year to learn more about how the company uses Google Cloud Platform to build and support the Nomanini platform, which enables transactions services such as mobile phone airtime, electricity and insurance in the cash-based informal retail sector.
Nomanini is driven by its mission to provide affordable access to payments for everyone, everywhere. The management of micro payments and distribution of prepaid vouchers in informal markets across Africa is expensive and presents logistical challenges.
“Our custom built, handheld prepaid vending terminal, which is tied to a cloud-based transactional platform, gives resellers a better margin and enables more people in remote areas to access basic services at a fair price,” says Vahid Monadjem, CEO of Nomanini.
Nomanini chose Cloud Platform for its reliability, availability and high performance. Having previously worked with Google App Engine, Monadjem was confident that Google Cloud Platform could deliver what Nomanini was looking for in a platform. “For us it was all about the availability. If at any time the system goes down, it will have a huge impact on our clients.”
The company uses many Cloud Platform components, with each point-of-sale terminal in the field connecting to an endpoint on App Engine, which uploads transaction data and sends pertinent data such as vouchers and sales times back to the terminals.
Google Cloud Datastore serves as a transactional database, running batch jobs to reconcile each day’s financial information. Nomanini also utilises Google Cloud BigQuery and Google Prediction API to analyse terminal data and send sales trends and predictions back to regional distributors. By using Cloud Platform, Nomanini obtains a high-performance platform without needing software engineers to spend time on administrative chores.
According to Monadjem, “We don’t have to worry about the infrastructure, because Google does that for us. App Engine also saves us the equivalent of one full-time position in a team of six. That gives us a 15 to 20 per cent productivity boost because now that person can work on new features for our product.”
Nomanini uses App Engine to deploy six to 10 continuous software updates each day, as well as a firmware update to devices across Africa about once a week, while Cloud Monitoring allows Nomanini to pinpoint technical issues. This strengthens customer relationships, as does the BigQuery-based market analysis the company shares with clients. “BigQuery gives us very rich reports that help our partners understand how much stock they need to have on hand and how to better deploy their field workers,” says Monadjem.
Nomanini plans to expand across many markets in the developing world. “Our target is to have one million merchants’ point of sale terminals active by 2020 and Google Cloud Platform can easily scale allowing us to realise this goal.”