In Conversation: Thapelo Bayford (Head Of Development and Digitization, IT-IQ Botswana)


Thapelo's childhood experiences as the neighborhood IT go-to guy shaped his love for problem-solving and tech. Now, as the Head of Development and Digitization at IT-IQ, he applies this passion to his job which involves coming up with innovative ways of fixing issues and making customers' lives easier. In this interview, he takes us through his formative years in the field of tech, what his job entails and his view of digitization in Botswana, among many other topics!

In your own words, please tell us who Thapelo Bayford is

That’s an interesting question as I have many hats I wear in my professional and personal life. I would say the best way to describe myself would be a difference-maker. I am that young, motivated Motswana that always looks to ask questions and find out why things are the way they are and how I can be a part of making them better. I love technology and I am an avid gamer. I am honest and loyal which is why I have no shame in saying I proudly support Manchester United and the Los Angeles Lakers as my main sports teams. 

Briefly take us through your journey to being Head of Development & Digitization at IT-IQ

I think my journey really started when I got my first Playstation from there I was hooked. I grew up in Tlokweng as the neighborhood IT guy. I would help with computer issues and bricked a few computers along the way through trial and error. That’s where my love of tech as a tool for problem-solving came from. This experience changed my career trajectory as I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps into law as a way of helping people. What the experience taught me is that I can help people through technology as well. I went on to study at UB where I graduated top of my class with a Degree in Computer Science. During my studies, I had an internship with Huawei Botswana. This gave me a great steppingstone to technology. I spent 4 years with Huawei then moved to a logistics startup, Zebra Hub of Excellence where I had my first taste of executive management. Now at IT-IQ Botswana, I am leading this Development & Digitization team which in itself is a startup within the organization.

Please tell us what your job entails

My job, in the simplest terms, is fixing, optimizing, and solving business processes and business pain points. My varied experience and background allow me to come up with innovative ways to fix issues and make my customers' lives easier. My days are spent engaging with our large partner and vendor base of world-class industry leaders to find solutions or experiences that could be applied to our local industry. My end goal is always to aid in increasing the efficiency of how your business operates and facilitate informed decision-making. This goes anywhere from creating digital processes for paper-based processes, integrating platforms that speak to each other, doing data analysis or business analysis, also providing innovative systems to solve businesses' pain points.

What would you say is the most exciting part of your job?

Confronting new problems and learning about other business issues and troubles which I found to become quite similar in all industries. I find that the harder the challenge, the more enthusiastic I am at tackling it. I love being able to aid my customers and show how technology can aid any business to grow. It’s a privilege to be at the forefront of technology and at IT IQ Botswana we believe we need to share this knowledge with the community

As Head of Digitization at IT-IQ, how are you and your team leveraging digital technologies to advance the business’ mandate?

Our current aim is to move away from paper-based solutions as much as possible and push our customers to more effective and efficient systems where they can catalog and record all information to aid in decision-making that happens in an organization to make them more profitable.

Despite the buzz about 4IR, digitalization, etc, unfortunately, technology adoption in Botswana seems to be still low and slow compared to other trailblazing African countries. What impact has this fact had on your mandate to offer business digitization service?

Our mandate to offer business digitization is perfectly aligned with the country’s vision to be a Knowledge-based economy and is in lockstep with where businesses are globally.

Botswana's tech adoption is not as slow as we would like to think. Our social media penetration is at 1.10 million users and our mobile stats are about a 3.8million users. So it's not that we are behind, we just need to be focused and make investments in the right space. The biggest challenge that we face is often we miss the step of effectively communicating how technology can aid Batswana in their day-to-day. So while the tech may be there, Batswana do not see the advantage of using it. We aim to change that mindset and we are up to this challenge to show our customers and the business sector how they can adopt digitization with ease. We hosted a free webinar last year and are planning on another session in the next quarter

How have you been working to ensure that this impact does not demean your ability to still get clients for business digitization?

While change is difficult and the adoption of technology takes time, our approach is simple and authentic. We focus on the customer and take them through a story of how digitization can positively affect their business. We offer them a Proof of Concept approach that allows them to cautiously test the waters with minimal risk and cost. My approach with each customer is one of authenticity and integrity which is synonymous with myself and the IT-IQ brand.

Digital technologies are always rapidly changing with new technologies being introduced constantly. How are you ensuring that you keep pace in order to implement solutions which are up-to-date and market-relevant?

Well, that's easy because if you love technology, it’s very easy to keep up. I am an active member in multiple tech communities and forums and by being part of an organization that partners with global leaders we have a lot of content delivered to us. I utilize all the channels available to me to keep me up to date on the field of technology I am most interested in. Right now my learning goal is to achieve 3 Architect level certifications from Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. When you love something and keep to the right circles of knowledge, it's easy to stay connected and relevant.

What’s something you know now that you wish you knew earlier in your professional career?

You don’t need to know everything; you just need to know people who know more than you.

What would you say is the best advice you have received in your career?

Read the point above!

Is there anything you would like to share with our readers regarding any exciting tech products or ventures IT-IQ is launching in the near future?

We are about to launch a very exciting video web series for Digitization to showcase how simple process automation can help your business.

What advice can you give to businesses that are still slow to move into the digitization lane by adopting digitization services like the ones offered by IT-IQ?

Let’s catch up over coffee. (I love my coffee by the way). Digitization is not a costly endeavor, but a necessary one.

Lastly, please share with our readers where you can be reached if they are interested in getting in touch.

Contact through our website,, social media platforms, Whatsapp on +267 73000505 OR call +267 3181684.

NB: Interview has been slightly edited for clarity
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