Enabling a paperless africa

Papersofts’ Hugo Pacheco was at this year’s East Africa Com and sat down with ComSeries to talk about data capture and the new mobile app, which is proving hugely popular with mobile operators for their customer onboarding processes.


Africa is often characterized as a continent reliant on paper processes. Digital transformation initiatives bring the possibility of closing the gap between customers/employees and corporations, creating a seamless business anywhere, anytime. Papersoft has been transforming data capture by making enterprise processes easier, faster, and compliant, and by helping re-imagining African business models. These opportunities are leveraged due to a specific context, making the mobile technology leap ideal:

  • Distances: Countries have a vast area and businesses are typically distributed to remote areas using field agents or partnerships.
  • Infrastructure Alternatives: Operator/Network coverage is the only proper choice for business communication.
  • Enterprise IT: There is no huge legacy to run, and IT is still leading innovation.
  • Demography: Young society open to new experiences.

At Papersoft, we have been nurturing paperless SIM card registration and Mobile Money industry through their customer onboarding processes, ensuring governance, compliance and safe capture of personal client data. We are currently processing +600,000 contracts per month in Mozambique and Republic Democratic of Congo.

Here is the transcript of the interview “Enabling a paperless Africa – Nurturing Mobile Money and re-imagining African business models”

My name is Hugo Pacheco, and I work for Papersoft. I am the Head of Presales and Solution team: we gather requirements and pains from clients and convert them into solutions.

Papersoft provides document management solutions, how did the company first come to be established?

We started in 1999 with a document management approach: deep storage and back scanning of documents. Then we started to integrate information from documents into other systems. We got out of the back-office stage and are now rather at the point of entry. Scanning started to become a part of the processing. We extract data, we deliver data into the processing systems. But we also have the retention, which is the basis of all established document management systems: you need to keep the documents for a particular amount of time. In the last three years, we have developed a mobile app. Agents and remote workers have now the processes on their hand, and they can kick off these processes as soon as they need and interact directly with their customers.

What do you consider Papersoft’s overriding ethos?

Our primary goal is to capture information easier. As you may be aware, 90% of all information has been created in the last two years. This information is actually document-based information and is trapped in files, emails, and social media feeds. There is a need to capture this information. We have a layer of software that allow us to capture all the information and put it in the right place (such as ERPs, CRMs or any other enterprise system).

How does Papersoft streamline business processes?

It depends on the maturity of the business. We help customers build a digital journey for their processes. Sometimes they can quickly jump into something like mobile capture, but sometimes they need to organize the piles of paper. But in both cases, we build this step-by-step journey for them and we will help them build the KPIs that they want to tackle better.

What are the key benefits of Papersoft’s solutions, especially for the African telecoms sector?

We decentralize the process, which can be done via a website or mobile app – you are given the opportunity to rethink your business model and the way you capture content. You do not have to wait for someone to come into your shop to do a transaction. You can have sales agents to go door-to-door, or you can have the client download the app and finish the process by himself. This is a huge benefit in terms of time, but it allows you to rethink how you do things. Once you start working this way, you won’t want to go back. Another big benefit is because we come from a document management approach and we know how to properly classify contents. Client data must be managed separately from enterprise data. Due to regulatory compliance or information governance, you apply different retention periods. We offer a full package.

How does Papersoft nurture mobile money operations in Africa?

We started at the beginning of this year with SIM card registration for customer onboarding. We register clients in a compliant way and we help remote workers deliver this compliant point of sales directly to the client, without waiting for the paper to reach the back office. This can help you grow and upsell to any other type of product, leveraging mobile money. The compliance that you need is done from the beginning. With this tool, you only have to ensure compliance once and upsell on your chain of value.

How is a business’s data kept safe with Papersoft?

We have two separate ways to look at this. The first one is when we are capturing content. Our mobile app allows to encrypt the data on the mobile device, and it has a direct link to where the documents have to go. Channels are also encrypted. In Mozambique, all the telcos jointly decided to have this into their agent’s system because not only allows them to leverage salespeople, but they can also cross-sell brands and products. This was a challenge for us and we had to make sure that someone selling multi-brand, didn’t end up with another company’s personal information. We encrypted based on the configured processes. We can have a multivendor approach inside our mobile capture app. One can be Vodacom and the other mCell and they have completely separated pipelines and encryption methods.

The second one is related to storage. This is very important as we come from a document management approach. We classify captured information as personal or enterprise data. We are certified according to ISO/IEC 27001 (information security), and according to OTAN (private and secret data). Our solutions are designed based on what kind of content we are capturing, and then we apply the right retention schedules.

What’s next for Papersoft in East Africa?

We have big plans. As I mentioned, we started in January and we already have 7,000 users of our mobile app. In Mozambique and DRC, we have around 600,000 contracts being done per month. We are rolling out more processes, so this number will go up. Our aim is to reach more countries, like Kenya and Tanzania, because they experience similar pains. Some countries are at the start of their journey, but others are ready due to compliance policies and due to the need of KPIs for sales.


– Check your organization’s Mobile Money solutions, processes, regulatory compliance, operational control, and field sales team efficiency.
– If you think your business could benefit from choosing a fully automated, paper-free and local compliant client/vendor/agent registration approach, get in touch with us.
– If you are already efficiently working with Mobile Money, what have been the main pains and gains? Share with us in the comments.
– Read our post How can customer onboarding leverage Mobile Money solutions? and subscribe to our blog to receive valuable insights about document management and paper-free processes.
– Download the eBook “Mobile Money: How customer onboarding can help you maximize service delivery to millions of unbanked” and get answers to the main issues regarding Mobile Money: Identify and Know-Your-Customer while guaranteeing top level compliance with existing regulations.

Mobile Money: How customer onboarding can help you maximize service delivery to millions of unbanked