Meet Kumulsoft, Papua New Guinea’s home grown software developer

Welcome,

Two years ago, Port Moresby-based technology company, Kumulsoft, branched out into writing tailored software products for local companies and government departments. Now they have six major clients on the books, as well as a number of law firms. Partner Marsh Narewec explains their success to Business Advantage PNG.

Kumulsoft's CEO, Marsh Narewec.

Kumulsoft’s Marsh Narewec

‘Our original plan, which began in 2007, was to develop a fixed assets [computer] program—which allows companies and government departments, institutions and agencies to keep track of their fixed assets,’ says Marsh Narewec.

Narewec was a programmer with Bank South Pacific at the time. His close family friend, Paul Muingnepe, was a Fixed Assets Officer with the University of PNG.  The initial plan was to exploit an unserviced niche in the market.

Monitoring assets

Muingnepe saw the need for a database system that would assist him to perform his role effectively at UPNG to prevent fraud, abuse and misuse of fixed assets that were being purchased using government funds.

He got Narewec interested and Narewec started developing the software.

They formed their own company in 2009, quit their jobs and began Kumulsoft in 2010.

‘We started by renting an office space at Five Mile in Port Moresby,’ says Narewec.

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‘Then we moved to the Steamships compound in Hohola, and this is where we operate now.’

Unfortunately, the partners were not able to secure enough clients to continue the development of the fixed assets management software at the time.

‘We tried a bank for help but we were not able to convince them, so we got stuck into doing other software development projects and providing other IT services,’ says Narewec.

New direction

They began offering email and website hosting services as well as customised software and databases to their clients, which include PNG Power Limited and Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd in Honiara.

‘We also want to produce a simple Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for local SMEs that would assist them to run their business effectively and make it easy for them to fulfil their statutory obligations’

Then, in 2014, after attending an Australian Business Volunteers program, the pair realised that living project-to-project was getting them nowhere. So they revived the fixed assets management systems concept and began developing a legal practice billing system called Success.

‘Our fixed asset management system is currently being used by PNG Customs, the University of Goroka, the East New Britain Provincial Administration and Western Highlands Health Authority,’ says Narewec.

‘Our legal practice billing system is currently being used by seven law firms, including Twivey Lawyers, Bradshaw Lawyers, and Greg Manda Lawyers.’

The company has a staff of five concentrating on providing IT services. Kumulsoft outsources some of its coding project work to freelancers in PNG and overseas.

Future plans

‘I would not say that we are successful—yet—but we have managed to survive in the business against all odds, for almost six years now,’ notes Narewec.

‘One of our aims over the next three years is to sign up the provincial governments, state institutions, district development authorities, national departments and agencies to use our fixed assets management system.

Kumulsoft's COO, Paul Muingnepe

Kumulsoft’s Paul Muingnepe.

‘We believe this software will help them take control of their recurrent asset expenditure and manage their physical assets in the full asset management life cycle—from acquisition, to allocation and disposal—in an effective, transparent and accountable manner.

‘We also want to produce a simple Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for local SMEs that would assist them to run their business effectively and make it easy for them to fulfil their statutory obligations with the Internal Revenue Commission. This will include modules such as payroll and accounting.’

The power of data

Narewec says nearly all SMEs and government departments in PNG know that database systems can be used to effectively manage their information. It can lead to vastly improved decision-making processes.

‘Some local SMEs are not using very vital modern day internet-based business solutions like email, websites and accounting software, because of the cost of the internet.’

The biggest challenge for these SMEs and departments, he says, is to actually get to use their database systems and see results in the management of their organisations.

Here, training is important. Having local, in-country support for their system is also paramount, he says.

IT for business

Narewec praises PNG’s corporate sector and some government departments for embracing ICT effectively. He singles out the PNG Investment Promotion Authority as a good example of an organisation using IT to help businesses start up in PNG.

One drawback for local SMEs, however, is the cost of the internet, he says (PNG tops the list of Pacific countries in internet costs).

‘Some local SMEs are not using very vital modern day internet-based business solutions like email, websites and accounting software, because of the cost of the internet.’

Comments

  1. Donald Poli says

    Congratulations to you both. Though it is just the start but i know you guys will get there. Cheers👍

  2. Before I met Marsh, I only thought companies like Oracle and Microsoft did these sort of things. The company was known as PACSOFT then I think.

    Keep up the good work guys.

  3. Belinda Suarim says

    Congratulations both of you had done the great effort to provide these quality IT service to businesses within Port Moresby so as our nation. Information is the source of money and it needs to be transmitted electronically fast and easy. As an individual, I really appreciate your help towards our nation

  4. Mathew Yakai says

    Gents, think BIG and move on. Everything is simply possible.

  5. Danny Langa says

    We call say things are changing, having in mind, technology breakthroughs. However, PNG, as a member of the global community was watching. We have never at one chance contributing meaningfully to the changes that are taking the global community by storm. None at all. This invention is a huge breakthrough! As a Papua New Guinean I feel gratefully astonished and gain ample confidence in the wake of such a breakthrough from my own country man that we will have a share of our own doing in the ensuing changes that are yet to be seen.

  6. I salute these two gentlemen. In tough times and realiaties of banking in PNG, you both have done well. True, we PNGans can create, innovate and sell. A sign of independent, and a respected sovereign state in the global village. We not only use, consume and buy! We need the support of those mandated to support.

  7. Poni Korua says

    This inspiring story also brings out the dark reality of the Commercial Banks lack of support and much needed help to all our business minded people out there. I am sure Kumulsoft is not the only one turned away. This happens everyday, even if you present a viable proposition. We will have a lot of success stories if only the Banks can take some risk in supporting start up businesses..

  8. Rachael KORORO says

    Congratulations to Kumulsoft for climbing up one step in the ICT business. PNG Government by now should support local content rather engaging overseas ICT consultants. I am proud of your achievements, Kumulsoft.

  9. Paraka Pena says

    This is very encouraging. Times are tough but both of you are determined men and I know with faith in God and hard work, things will work out. Keep working at it…you dreams will come to fruition, some day, soon. God bless

  10. Well done,
    Shows PNG has talent. We are not dumbs. we have ideas and we have knowledge and we can innovate too. The government needs to provide more effective environment for us to prosper.
    Corporate organizations to seek local talents and not run abroad every time there is a need for a software to fulfill business goals, they need to be encouraged to invest locally then bringing in retired working forces from abroad who come here and ask for too many documentations which only shows their incompetence’s in the job.

  11. Good inspirational story on Kumulsoft.
    Can the relevant authority look into the high of Internet usage in this country. truly ridiculous.

  12. Bruce Java says

    An excellent effort by aspiring Papua New Guineans. The Governments Small Medium Enterprise Corporation to support such local firms who will in turn support other local SMEs to ensure the SME Policy becomes a reality

  13. Kumulsoft’s story is very inspiring. I wish them every success.

  14. Xavier Winnia says

    True boys, I confer with you both. Looking inwardly in the only key not only to maximise our potential, but in the long run, it is indicative of PNG’s maturity and true sovereignty and independence. Dependency is plaque and an incentive for persistent control by foreigners; it implies that PNG’s growth anchor on foreigners who tell what to eat and not to. Gentlemen, your views are equally valid.

  15. Andrew Umbe says

    Hi Daniel,

    I truly support your comments. PNG Government should by now realize the potential of Papua New Guineans in all sectors of the economy and fully support them. The government only needs to bring in people who can do a job that Papua New Guinean’s can’t do.

    It is very embarrassing to see very knowledgeable and skilled Papua New Guinean’s left out on the streets trying their very best t to survive without getting any real support from the government.. The government SME support grant that are parked in some of our commercial banks are only for few selected people. WE NEED JUSTICE OUT HERE!

  16. Daniel Kereka says

    This is one of the purely nationally owned IT companies which needs support from the Government and the private sector in PNG. Government departments, Provincial Governments, Statutory Authorities and SOEs are kindly asked to give the business so that our money circulates within our economy.

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