Founders Spotlight: Nono Bokete (Founder & Head of Data & Strategy, Data Sentinels)

For Nono, being a techie is about being passionate about using technology for positive impact and sustainable change, and always looking for ways to create new and exciting solutions.  As founder and head of data & strategy at Data Sentinels, a UK-based business consulting firm, her role allows her to put that into practise.

In this interview, she speaks more on how she found herself in the world of tech from business, more about Data Sentinels and the company's mission, what Botswana can learn from advance tech markets like the UK, and so much more, including what song describes her!

What is your ideal technologically advanced world in a movie?

I-Robot, hands down! I mean, who wouldn’t want to outsource all those mundane tasks to a robot? It’s like having a personal assistant that never complains or gets tired. Of course, I could do without the whole “take over the world” thing and the robots wanting to eradicate mankind. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

As someone who works in the technology industry, I’m always fascinated by how far we can push the boundaries of what’s possible. I believe that technology can truly revolutionise the way we live, work, and interact with the world around us. However, we also need to be aware of the ethical implications of these advancements and ensure that we’re using technology to improve lives, not replace them.

A lot of people are worried about the fast adoption of AI. What is your take?

Well, I can understand why some people might be worried about the fast adoption of AI. But I believe that progress is inevitable, and we should embrace it with caution and consideration. AI has the potential to revolutionise various industries, from improving healthcare to making transportation more efficient. The key is to ensure that we are using AI ethically and responsibly, with a focus on the greater good. Instead of fearing AI, we should work towards understanding it and its capabilities and leverage it to solve real-world problems. After all, isn’t it amazing that we are living in a time where such advanced technology exists? Let’s embrace the benefits of AI while also being mindful of the potential risks and challenges it may pose.

In a song, describe who you are?

I am every woman! By Chaka Khan.

As the song goes, “I’m every woman, it’s all in me,” which resonates with me because I wear many hats and embody various roles as a transformational leader. I am a problem solver, a listener, a motivator, a teacher, a learner, and so much more. I strive to be a well-rounded individual who can adapt to any situation and empower others to do the same.

Moreover, the line “I can cast a spell, with secrets you can’t tell” speaks to my ability to inspire and guide individuals in a way that is unique to them. As a leader, it is essential to recognise that every person has different needs, and it is our job to create an environment that allows them to flourish.

In summary, “I’m every woman” encapsulates my diverse skillset, adaptability, and commitment to empowering others.

Looking at your profile, you seem to wear many hats. Can you tell us a bit about the various roles you hold?

Yes, that’s right! I wear many hats and wouldn’t have it any other way. First and foremost, I’m a seasoned Transformational Leader with over a decade of experience in the Energy and Natural Resource sector. I’m privileged to engage in various speaking engagements, workshops, and facilitations for several large organisations. I’m incredibly passionate about creating a positive impact and driving sustainable change. I leverage my expertise in Data Analytics, Change Management, and Project Management daily on the job.

In addition, I’m the Head of Data & Strategy at Data Sentinels, a business consulting firm that I founded during the pandemic in 2020. At Data Sentinels, we provide data and technology consulting services that are crucial for driving data-driven decision-making processes.

I’m also the founder of, a free learning platform that focuses on LIT categories, leadership, implementation, and technology. I believe that if we want the African continent to reach its full potential, we have to invest in upskilling and making information more readily accessible to the youth. If you want to learn more about the Transformation Leader Movement, feel free to check out our webpage.

What inspired you to pursue a career in tech?

You know the saying, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Well, in my case, it was the tech industry that called to me. As soon as I graduated from the University of Manchester, I landed a job at Accenture, a technology consultancy firm based in London. It was there that I learned to appreciate the importance of technology, and with my background in data analytics, it was a natural progression to dive deeper into the tech industry.

But what really inspires me about the tech industry is its constant evolution and rapid pace of advancement. From artificial intelligence to machine learning to cloud computing, there’s always something new and exciting happening. And with the rise of new technologies that we can’t even imagine yet, the possibilities truly are endless.

As a professional in the tech industry, I stay up-to-date with the latest developments and innovations, but I also bring my own personality to the table. I’m passionate about using technology for positive impact and sustainable change, and I’m always looking for ways to create new and exciting solutions to problems. It’s an exciting time to be involved in tech, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of it all.

Tell us a bit more about Data Sentinels and what the company does?

Data Sentinels primarily focus on “all things data” consulting that helps organisations transform their data into valuable insights. Our primary goal is to assist clients in making informed decisions based on data-driven insights to achieve better business outcomes and maximum investment efficiency. However, as we have matured in the space, we find ourselves in a wider range of services, including technology strategy development and implementation.

Our solutions are custom-tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. In addition to our consulting services, we offer skill development training and coaching programs designed to help organisations build their data and technology capabilities. Our passion for delivering quality solutions to our clients,  coupled with our extensive experience in the industry, has positioned us as a preferred data consulting partner for many organisations.

Data Sentinels is currently based in the UK and the USA. Any plans to open operations in Botswana soon? 

Yebo, Yes! Data Sentinels is currently in the process of establishing operations in Botswana, as well as South Africa and Zambia. The next frontier is the African continent; even though doing business on the continent has its challenges, it is rewarding. So, watch this space!

Please compare and contrast the state of data-harnessing technologies in the UK and Botswana

The state of data-harnessing technologies in the UK is generally more advanced compared to Botswana. The UK has a well-established technology industry, with a strong focus on innovation, research, and development. It has a higher level of digitalisation, faster internet speeds, and a larger pool of skilled professionals, which enables UK businesses to leverage data more effectively. Additionally, the UK government has invested heavily in creating a supportive environment for technology innovation, and this has led to the growth of many tech startups and accelerators.

However, Botswana is making strides in catching up with the UK in terms of data-harnessing technologies. The government has recognised the importance of technology in driving economic growth and has taken steps to encourage the growth of the sector. There are several initiatives aimed at supporting tech startups, such as providing funding and creating incubation centres. Additionally, there is a growing interest in data science and analytics in Botswana, with more companies beginning to invest in these areas.

If I were Botswana, I would focus on developing large-scale data centres to accommodate our growing need for data storage. By keeping the data within the country’s borders, we can enhance security and reduce our reliance on offshore providers. While this may be a challenging endeavour, I am confident that a visionary entrepreneur is already exploring ways to make it a reality.

What can we learn from the UK in order to help our businesses here be able to use data to create a competitive advantage for themselves?

Essentially, Botswana can learn from the UK by;

  • Investing in digital infrastructure: Having a strong digital infrastructure is essential for businesses to be able to leverage data effectively. This includes investing in high-speed internet, cloud computing, and other digital tools.
  • Emphasising the importance of data literacy: Businesses should focus on building a culture of data literacy, where all employees understand the value of data and how to use it to make informed decisions.
  • Developing a data strategy: Businesses should develop a clear data strategy that outlines how they will collect, store, and analyse data. This strategy should be aligned with the overall business strategy and should be regularly updated.
  • Fostering a culture of innovation: Innovation is key to success in the technology industry. Businesses should encourage their employees to be innovative and to think creatively about how they can use data to create value.
  • Collaborating with academia and industry: Collaboration between academia, industry, and government can lead to new innovations and opportunities. Businesses should seek to collaborate with universities and other businesses to develop new technologies and solutions.

To small businesses and startups, what would you say is the value of having a cohesive data strategy in place, and what do they stand to lose by not having such a strategy in place?

First, we could dive into what a data strategy is. A data strategy is an outlined methodology instructing how a company will collect, store, analyse, and use data to achieve its goals and objectives. Through the use of a data strategy, a company can create value from data, improve decision-making, enhance performance, and gain a competitive advantage. Ideally, it should be aligned with the company’s business strategy and reflect its vision and mission.

Having a cohesive data strategy in place is vital for any business of any size, and it is always best to start at the beginning. For small businesses and startups that want to gain a competitive edge in the market, a data strategy can help with:

  • Cutting costs by identifying inefficient processes and workflows and optimising them with data-driven insights.
  • Improving customer service by understanding customer needs, preferences, and behaviour and providing personalised solutions.
  • Identifying and solving problems using data to diagnose root causes, test hypotheses, and evaluate outcomes.
  • Increasing revenue by discovering new opportunities, creating new products or services, and enhancing marketing and sales effectiveness.

On the other hand, not having a data strategy can result in significant losses for small businesses and startups. Some of the risks include:

  • Wasting time and resources on collecting and managing data that is not relevant, accurate, or complete.
  • Missing out on valuable insights that could improve decision-making and performance.
  • Losing customers to competitors who offer better data-driven solutions.
  • Failing to comply with data regulations and standards could lead to legal penalties or reputational damage.

Therefore, small businesses and startups should invest in developing and implementing a data strategy that aligns with their business strategy and helps them create value from data.

What has been the proudest moment of your journey with Data Sentinels so far?

Oh, that’s an easy one. It has to be the moment I received the very first payment from our very first client. It was a significant milestone for us as a company because it showed that we were adding real value to our clients and that our hard work and dedication were paying off. It was a proud moment that I will always cherish. But it was also a reminder that we needed to keep up the momentum and continue scaling our operations. We still have a long way to go, but it’s moments like these that keep us motivated and focused on delivering the best possible service to our clients.

What’s something you know now that you wish you had known earlier in your career?

 Do not underestimate self-confidence, humility and maturity, wars have been started with less.

If any, what is the best advice you have received in your career?

Be a humble student of life. As technology and industries continue to change rapidly, it’s important to be flexible and adaptable to new ideas and innovations. I believe being a lifelong learner and embracing new perspectives can help you stay ahead of the curve and continuously improve your skills and knowledge. Therefore, I always seek new opportunities to learn new skills and expand my knowledge, both for myself and for my team.

Where do you see Data Sentinels in the next 5-10 years?

In the next 5-10 years, I see Data Sentinels as a global leader in data and technology consulting, with a reputation for innovation, excellence, and customer-centric solutions. We will continue to expand our services across different industries, regions, and sectors while maintaining our commitment to sustainability, ethics, and social responsibility. We will invest in cutting-edge technologies, top talent, and strategic partnerships to provide our clients with the best-in-class solutions. Our ultimate goal is to make a positive impact on society by helping businesses harness the power of data to drive growth, create value, and improve lives.

What advice would you give to people looking to pursue entrepreneurship in tech?

My advice to anyone looking to pursue entrepreneurship in tech is to stay curious, keep learning, and embrace failure as a learning opportunity. Building a successful business requires resilience, adaptability, and a growth mindset. You need to be willing to take risks, experiment, and iterate quickly. Surround yourself with people who share your vision, values, and passion, and who can complement your strengths and weaknesses. Learn from your mistakes, seek feedback, and continuously improve your skills and knowledge. And most importantly, stay focused on your purpose, your values, and your mission. The tech industry is constantly evolving, but if you stay true to yourself and your vision, you can create something truly remarkable.

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