Sustainability and Business Model


His­tor­i­cal­ly, Visu­al Soft­ware has pri­mar­i­ly been a soft­ware com­pa­ny. They pro­vide oth­er ser­vices, how­ev­er, to ensure that our customer’s imple­men­ta­tions are suc­cess­ful. In the past, this has includ­ed man­aged ser­vices and is now includ­ing the build­ing of a solar pow­er solu­tion for rur­al locations.

Sus­tain­abil­i­ty, not only in the equip­ment, but the way it is imple­ment­ed is of para­mount impor­tance to us. In an effort to accom­plish this, we begin train­ing nation­als to help imple­ment and pro­vide sup­port for the sys­tems at the begin­ning of the imple­men­ta­tion process and con­tin­ue train­ing until local staff can per­form all day-to-day activ­i­ties and pro­vide basic help desk assis­tance to users. At the point when local staff become capa­ble of per­form­ing these duties, we will drop off to advi­so­ry and sec­ond-lev­el help desk roles.

The fol­low­ing time­line illus­trates a typ­i­cal sequence of events for a nation­wide sus­tain­able implementation:

Identify Pilot Sites and Fundraising

In prepa­ra­tion for the first phase of the project, we will iden­ti­fy a small num­ber of loca­tions that will par­tic­i­pate in the Phase 1 pilots. We will also do the fundrais­ing to secure cap­i­tal to meet our expens­es for these pilots.

Phase 1 Pilots

This phase con­sists of a small num­ber of loca­tions are inde­pen­dent­ly imple­ment­ed. The pur­pose of these is to allow time for nation­al cus­tomiza­tion and to make sure the imple­men­ta­tion fits with the envi­ron­ment and cul­ture of the country.

Agreement Signed

While the Phase 1 Pilots are run­ning (or after­wards), we will sign an agree­ment with the host coun­try indi­cat­ing that if the Phase 2 Pilots are suc­cess­ful, the coun­try will take nec­es­sary steps to move toward a Phase 3 Implementation.

Phase 2 Pilots

Once Phase 1 is com­plete, we com­plete a con­tract with the imple­men­ta­tion coun­try that agrees if the phase 2 pilots are suc­cess­ful, they will intro­duce what­ev­er is nec­es­sary to com­mence Phase 3 (the remain­der of the coun­try). The Phase 2 pilots will be fund­ed through our orga­ni­za­tion and the loca­tions will be dis­trib­uted through­out the coun­try, giv­ing each mem­ber of Par­lia­ment a local imple­men­ta­tion that he or she can become famil­iar with, help­ing muster sup­port for the deci­sions and votes that will follow.

Implementation Agreement Signed

While the Phase 2 Pilots are run­ning (or after­wards), we will sign an agree­ment with the host coun­try detail­ing the roll­out plan for the remain­der of the country.

Phase 3 Funding

After an agree­ment is signed, we will work with the coun­try to acquire fund­ing for the full imple­men­ta­tion either by grant or debt, access­ing orga­ni­za­tions such as USAID, OPIC, Pros­per Africa as well as oth­er orga­ni­za­tions from oth­er countries.

Create Local Company or Establish Relationship with Local Partner

At the begin­ning of Phase 3, we will either estab­lish a rela­tion­ship with a local tech­nol­o­gy provider (pre­ferred) or estab­lish a new com­pa­ny in the coun­try receiv­ing the imple­men­ta­tions, tasked with car­ry­ing out the Phase 3 implementations.

Bring Students to US

At the begin­ning of the mul­ti-year imple­men­ta­tion, we would ask the coun­try to send 5 stu­dents to the US to study tech­nol­o­gy and busi­ness. This would be part of the project funding.

After their sec­ond year in the US, they would be per­mit­ted to work 20 hours per week on their stu­dent visa. The would work as interns to Visu­al Soft­ware in sup­port of their own country’s implementation.

Phase 3 Implementation

As the longest part of a com­plete project, all schools (or med­ical cen­ters) cov­ered by the Imple­men­ta­tion Agree­ment would be implemented.

Turn Over Implementation to Trained Students

Near the end of the imple­men­ta­tion, when the stu­dents have fin­ished their study and intern­ship, they would return to their coun­try to take over oper­a­tion and own­er­ship of the coun­try estab­lished at the begin­ning of the project. Visu­al Soft­ware would drop back to an advi­so­ry and sec­ond-tier cus­tomer ser­vice role.

Visual Software, Inc.