A replacement of Google-based technology at a local distributor of Global Research Data Analysis software, products and services has resulted in a vastly enhanced technical operation and empowered communications.
The service provider focuses on the distribution of consumer research data analysis software products and services for cross-tabbing databases including Analysis Software and Cube Viewer Analysis Software and Services, among others.
Google Docs and products formed the basis of the company’s core business environment. This posed a number of challenges to the overall operation of the business, including the high cost of the products and limited functionality and collaboration capabilities required to interact with their customers.
According to technical specialists at Dac Systems, a national specialist services provider focused on turnkey implementation of leading edge industry solutions, their client also experienced issues with inter-branch communication and video conferencing.
Dac Systems proposed the implementation of Microsoft Office 365 as a replacement solution to the Google product.
“The core implementation was focussed around Microsoft Exchange for email and calendaring, SharePoint was implemented and configured to provide a suitable platform to collaborate with customers and branches. SharePoint also acts as the repository for all documents in the organisation as well as the distribution environment for large data files to customers,” said Aldo van Tonder, Solutions Executive, Dac Systems.
“The biggest component of the solution was the implementation of Microsoft Lync. This enabled the customer to communicate quickly and easily to branches. It also meant that, if and when required, video conferences could be facilitated to discuss key topics that would have typically taken many times longer and was very much more costly,” van Tonder continued.
Executive management at the client confirmed that as a result of this investment in Dac Systems and Microsoft Office 365, costs had been streamlined and glitches with communication across the company had been successfully addressed.
The newly released version of the Microsoft web-based platform, SharePoint, shows the extent to which the solution has evolved and why it truly matters to business decision makers.
Established South African ICT solutions and support provider, Ukuvuma Solutions, believes the product’s profile as an enterprise-wide solution for document & content management, collaboration, workflow and process automation and business intelligence, amongst other functionalities, will impact the ICT strategies of all industries in 2013.
Executive management at Ukuvuma say SharePoint offers the ability to develop custom applications that run on- and utilise platform capabilities that enables one central platform from which the entire organisation can be managed.
In the past the solution was generally considered to be a document management technology, but this profile has now changed – particularly with the release of the 2010 and 2013 versions.
SharePoint 2013 offers a range of additional and improved functionality, including improved BI capabilities, support for ‘big data’, improved MySite and Collaboration tools as well as micro-blogging features. It also offers the ability to share files to people outside the environment via SkyDrive.
Whilst the solution has retained a number of features of the 2010 version, the latest version also includes branding, content management services, translation and workflow services, as well as eDiscovery and work management services.
Executive management believes that because of this broad range of new features, the solution is applicable and relevant to any sized business in any industry.
“SharePoint offers a wide variety of business solutions in one platform. This cuts down on development time in a big way and still allows you to have one managed platform for most of your business solutions,” says Jason Smit, Director, Microsoft Technologies at Ukuvuma Solutions.
Ukuvuma specialises in the deployment of customised business solutions built on the SharePoint platform. The company has a proven track record of experience, expertise and product knowledge to transfer the benefit of SharePoint to the market.
“We have the skills in house on both the out of the box SharePoint functionality, as well as ability to develop custom applications and integration solutions to secure Return on Investment,” adds Smit.
By Marnus Viljoen, Chief Technology Officer at FOXit
If one reflects on the progress made within the projects and portfolio management space, and the level of development and integration of solutions, it is clear that this area of ICT is set to play an increasingly important role in revenue generation and business growth.
Management within most businesses, across many industries and sectors, understand that business strategy will determine the ability for any business to compete in a tight market – and project management lies at the heart of effective business strategy.
Cost reduction, improved performance and increasing productivity are fundamentals to any credible strategy. These remain critical considerations as businesses look for more cost effective methods to streamline processes and procedures related to PPM. Saving and fiscal reform remains central objectives.
It is encouraging to note the increase in levels of awareness around project management and how best to apply this discipline in business to up performance.
One of the key factors going forward, for decision makers, is to apply resources to boost operations. To do this, there is likely to be more interest in establishing relationships with experienced service providers. These service providers will have to have the necessary skills and expertise to add value.
In the next twelve months there will be more emphasis on the relevance and inherent qualities of Microsoft-based technologies including EPM and SharePoint Management, Administration and Implementation.
Training will be imperative to the successful implementation and application of projects – irrespective of the size and focus of the business.
In 2013 the maturity of the industry will come to the fore as more businesses realise what constitutes a successful project and what are the factors that can cause failure.
There is every reason to believe that concepts such as agile project management will dominate the space next year.
Decision makers, in association with their consultants and service providers, will delve into the very fabric of successful project management planning and functionality. They will extract core advantages and benefits from systems to enhance operations and thereby increase their ability to compete.
If this scenario does begin to unfold, it is expected that the small-to-medium segment of the market will experience significant growth. It will emerge as a force to be reckoned with across the broader market.
Looking at the overall picture of enterprise project and portfolio management, incorporating technology and best practices, 2013 is going to be a definitive year for this space. Those who embark on strategic programs and enforce effective training and skills development will certainly benefit.
In 2009, husband and wife Mr. Gatumia Gatumia and Dr. Beatrice Wanyara Gatumia set up RECON-Digital as a Kenyan animation studio to tell African Animation stories to Africa and the World.
Recon-Digital traces its history to 2004, operating as RECON-KE and mostly serving the digital needs of ad agencies and their clients. They handled GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), UNICEF, NTV, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), the Coca Cola Company, Telkom-Orange Kenya, EverReady Kenya, Sara Lee, Coopers Kenya LTD, Kenyan-Heart National Foundation, AIM (Africa Inland Mission) among others.
Then from May 2009 they realised there was more they could do.
They decided to run their operations in a different way. Operating as RECON-Digital they broke new ground with two pilot animated short films, “The Greedy Lords of the Jungle” and “Domestic Disturbance”. Later their efforts paid after The Greedy Lords of the Jungle was screened at the 2009 Durban Film Festival. The future had began.
In March 2012, they introduced a 9 month Animation Apprenticeship, for aspiring animators. The 7 short films are the results of the apprentice that ended November 30th 2012.
RECON-Digital is now carving out a niche for itself to tell African stories for Africa and the World. With its Animation Apprenticeship Programme the firm wants to identify, train and retain talented individuals to change the face of Animation in Africa.
The founders believe that entertainment and animation have a huge growth potential in Africa and demand for more original African content is increasing.
TechMoran talked to the founders and here is what they are planning to do. Why animations?
We really enjoy good animation!
We would also like to see more positive animation featuring Africans in leading roles for the sake of families all over the world and in particular for the sake of young people of African descent. How is the state of animation in the country?
We believe that entertainment and indeed animation in particular have huge growth potential in Kenya and Africa, but we have a lot of catching up to do. We expect that as demand for more original African content increases, RECON-Digital will work to become a strong player in the Animation sector. Who are your clients?
We have worked in the past for various clients as shown in our showreel, though we are now focused on producing original entertainment products. What is your business model?
Create valuable animation Intellectual Property and then exploit it for profit in as many ways as we legally can. Any competition in town?
Yes! Producers of note are Homeboyz, Buni Media, Apes in Space and Fatboy Productions. How unique are you from them?
Our focus is to try to create high quality, unique, story driven entertainment products which depict Africans in leading roles. As to the real differences in product, perhaps the audiences will be the best judges of that. Any funding yet? How much?
Well we won KES 500,000 for best ICT and Best Overall Business plan in the Chase Bank, ILO, Enablis Businessplan Competition 2011. We have also borrowed money from family and friends.
In 2012 we welcomed new shareholders on board who acquired a minority stake in the business at a cost of KES 5 million.
Do you meet any challenges?
A shortage of skilled human resource and difficulty in accessing cash to fund the expensive development process are the biggest challenges we face at the moment. What are your 2013 plans?
We will be releasing 13 episodes of our eagerly anticipated “Domestic Disturbance” show while developing new animated shows. Do you have plans to expand?
Not only do we want to be Africa wide, we want to be Worldwide! What else have you done that is successful?
We have developed a casual game for web and mobile that will be announced very soon as a beta release.
Orange has launched a new subsidiary called Orange Horizons to seek out new business opportunities in countries it is not already present as a mass-market telecommunications provider to leverage its global reputation, raise revenue and improve customer loyalty.
According to Elie Girard, Senior Executive Vice President of Strategy and International Development, said: “Orange Horizons is a very exciting project that fits perfectly in the Group’s overall Conquests 2015 strategy. Due to traditional migratory flows or cultural and professional ties, there are many countries where Orange is already very well-known despite not having an operational presence. We think there is strong potential to create a new source of revenues in these countries by leveraging awareness of the brand to propose very simple mass-market offers.”
Orange says the projects include online stores selling telecoms-related equipment or airtime; the introduction of flexible travel solutions; or the launch of a virtual mobile operator (MVNO) activity.
South Africa has been the first on the list for an Orange Horizons banner and now has an e-commerce website, http://store.orange.com/za, launched to sell telecoms-related devices and accessories and a country website,www.orange.com/za, for online content specifically tailored for a South African audience including news feeds, sports news and audiovisual content. The launch of these services coincides with the start of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations, SOUTH AFRICA 2013 pan-African football tournament in which six countries in which Orange is already present will be playing. To increase interest and visibility, South African residents connecting to www.orange.com/za will be able to enter a contest to win tickets to several matches, including the final.
The Group also opened such in Italy (http://store.orange.com/it), where the brand already enjoys a strong reputation. These two existing online stores already offer state-of-the-art telecoms and electronic equipment, and will soon also offer a variety of telecoms services including airtime for Orange customers visiting from other countries.
The Group’s footprint currently covers around 10% of the world’s population, leaving 6.2 billion people who could potentially become customers through Orange Horizons activities! The Group plans to launch business ventures in several other countries in 2013 in Europe and Africa, and will also look at opportunities in South America in order to leverage existing content-related assets such as starMedia (a South American internet portal) for example.
A wide-range of business projects will be investigated depending on the specific potential within each country. These include:
– e-commerce sites, and potentially even physical stores, selling handsets, accessories and electronic equipment. This could be extended to assistance corners for Orange customers visiting from abroad;
– the launch of over-the-top country websites that aim to leverage existing assets such as the Group’s two pan-continental web-portals StarAfrica (Africa) and starMedia (South America), or content-providers such as Deezer and DailyMotion;
– the introduction of multi-country travel solutions – data offers using WiFi or VoIP – aimed in particular at professionals or tourists coming from countries in which Orange is already present;
– finally, the launch of a virtual mobile operator (MVNO) activity is also a possibility in certain countries.
the power of the Orange brand
Orange Horizons aims to provide a new source of revenue for the Group, while improving its global visibility and reputation outside its traditional footprint. Many of these projects will also help improve customer loyalty in countries in which Orange is already present. To achieve this, Orange Horizons aims to leverage the power of the Orange brand as well as the Group’s considerable assets as one of the world’s leading telecoms providers.
The Orange brand, which is ranked among the top 50 global brands in 2012 according to the annual Millward Brown “BrandZ” survey, is already widely known across the world. The brand is particularly well known for mobile, fixed and internet services in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and globally through the B2B services delivered by Orange Business Services. This reputation has been reinforced in recent years through major pan-continental sponsorship deals such as the Euro 2012 and the Orange Africa Cup of Nations football tournaments. Orange Horizons aims to harness the untapped market potential within these “Orange influence zones” and translate it into business opportunities.
In addition to the brand, the Group enjoys considerable assets that will enable it to launch specific business projects outside its footprint without any need for significant investments. These assets include the Group’s global buying power for telecoms devices and accessories; its expertise in setting up shops or online stores; as well as its R&D and marketing know-how. This will enable it to focus projects on specific zones of influence based on partnerships with content providers, sponsorship activities and the flow of Orange customers travelling between countries.
By Andrew Chester, Chief Information Security Officer at Ukuvuma Solutions
Information is the lifeblood of any organisation today. Moreover, the ability to analyse and apply information strategically is critical to the survival strategies of most industries and sectors. When one considers the extent to which information security has matured and what is now available to practically any company, clearly security within the commercial sense has evolved into a dynamic and highly interesting phase of development.
There are many signature phrases that help differentiate and define information security. Phrases like ‘Unified Threat Management’ (UTM) have represented the move toward more intelligent security services, or that which is based on the combination of physical and logical security controls.
Given that UTM was predominantly used for border, or perimeter, security within a networked environment, we are seeing a few ‘leaders’ and ‘visionaries’ within the security manufacturing field produce the next set of important technologies – these pieces of tech being namely next-generation devices with identity-integrated UTM.
Security and IT professionals can now start moving away from “old IP-based technology”, and move toward identity based technology which follows just that – the identity and behaviour of a service, or person and inspects that behaviour on a level which IP-based technology cannot comprehend at all.
It is a logical level, one which has the aim to surpass traditional methods of detection and security and move into an even more intelligent realm – the human realm. This is the largest threat to any cyber, or information security initiative.
One of the only hurdles in this new realm is that only a few manufacturers currently have the vision to produce this next generation technology, others are still only further developing the traditional technology of building bigger walls with more traditional IP and policy-based features, thus only building larger walls out of different materials and not the old brick and mortar any longer.
But to what extent is the market aware of the relevance and power of converged security solutions? The simple answer is there is not extensive awareness.
The actual answer is that it completely depends on several factors – does the company have an Information Security (InfoSec) department? If not, do they have an InfoSec partner? If the answer to both of those questions is no, then the answer to the original question is “definitely not” and the actual question changes to “how long is that company still going to survive today?”
If the company has an InfoSec professional, department and/or partner – what do they base their decisions on and how much research and development do the InfoSec professionals do.
Information Security professionals who do not conduct research & development today are still basing decisions on the “building bigger walls” analogy mentioned earlier.
However, if they do practice even a reasonable amount of R&D then they will realise that it is not entirely about the benefits of converged solutions, let alone the solutions themselves – it is more about what answers and proactive information the converged solutions provide to you.
The largest threat in InfoSec is the human being and we as InfoSec professionals need to be able to proactively obtain and manage information in order to stop threats or limit existing threats to the smallest degree possible.
Converged solutions allow you to intelligently analyse what is happening within your environment (I use the word environment because a closed network no longer exists), and proactively act on that information before it is too late.
Threat eliminating technologies follow the threat landscape trend and each manufacturer tries to envision what type of threat would be exploitable tomorrow and how are we going to prevent it.
Technological converged solutions, such as threat intelligence, next-generation UTMs and identity integrated technology, was born out of the advanced attacks and threat landscape we are subjected to today.
I would imagine that more manufacturers are going to be working on developing the next phase of threat intelligence and other next-gen technology, perhaps combining threat intelligence with a better type of ‘learning’ intelligent anomaly detection and prevention – thus moving away from the traditional filter and rule-based intrusion detection and prevention arena and into a self-adapting anomaly detection and self-sustaining prevention mechanisms which factors in traffic, data and service identity.
However, any organisation which simply implements technological solutions to guard them against InfoSec and Cyber threats will surely fail due to the adapting attackers which we will always face.
Ukuvuma Solutions is a South African based company focussed on ICT consulting and development services, spanning various industries and technology platforms. Established in 2004, the company services a broad spectrum of businesses, including those within the small-to-medium space as well as major enterprise/ blue chip clients.
The Ukuvuma brand is synonymous with leadership within ICT and reliability across global markets. It is associated with the rollout of innovative and sustainable business solutions that are designed to empower organisations to compete in a shifting global economy.
Its ICT service portfolio incorporates Solutions, Products (HP, IBM, Lenovo and Microsoft), consulting and Managed Services.
Eskimi, one of Nigeria’s largest social networking platforms and Etisalat Nigeria have teamed up to provide Etisalat subscribers and Eskimi fans quicker access to the social networking site through the speed dial option on the Etisalat-branded opera mini browser. Supported by Etisalat’s 3.75G data service, Eskimi Etisalat members will also receive added-value on Eskimi through virtual currency and VIP packages.
Speaking on the partnership, Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Wael Ammar said “We believe this partnership strengthens Etisalat’s position as a leading network provider of quality mobile data in Nigeria. By partnering with Eskimi as one of the largest social media platforms in Nigeria we continue to give our subscribers new and exciting platforms.”
To promote the partnership, Eskimi has launched a special campaign that is beneficial to Eskimi fans and Etisalat subscribers. Etisalat subscribers who are members of the social networking site and visit the portal more than two consecutive days will receive Eskimi coins, a VIP service package, which provides access to advanced features of the community for free. Non-Etisalat members on the other hand need to accumulate these coins – by paying for the coins using real currency (naira and kobo).
“As part of the partnership, Etisalat customers now also find Eskimi easier through the special speed dial functionality on the Etisalat branded opera mini browser. To access Eskimi, all they need to do is click on the Eskimi icon on Etisalat’s opera mini and they are automatically redirected to the site. We have received positive feedback from our members and are very happy partnering with Etisalat Nigeria”, Vytas Paukstys, CEO Eskimi said while announcing the partnership.
Eskimi has already delivered close to 1 million VIP packages to customers at a gross value of 70 million Naira. 153 million coins were delivered to customers as a courtesy of Etisalat.
Operators are facing fierce competition and ARPU drop. Data is increasingly important. Customers use multiple SIM cards and they choose which card to keep as primary for topping up. Based on experience from Europe, operators of whos SIM cards are used as primary data cards, have highest ARPU, they also get more revenue from interconnect.
Data usage creates personal attachments, social relationships and cannot be easily changed. Operators need to partner and co-brand with products having personal relationships with customers to increase revenue and loyalty.
Eskimi is a growing social media platform and mobile operator can increase revenue, brand equity, grow customer base and loyalty by partnering with Eskimi in multiple ways:
– Increase data usage on the network
– Increase top-up revenue
– Increase brand equity, make operator brand more personal by co-branding with Eskimi
– Use Eskimi as a customer acquisition platform
In less than 2 years Eskimi became one of the largest social media platforms in Africa and Nigeria reaching 10 million members worldwide and 5 million in Nigeria.
In just about 4 years of operations, Etisalat Nigeria has become a major industry player with a growing subscriber base of 15 million in a highly competitive market. Its portfolio of voice and data-centric products include – easybusiness, easy starter, easycliq, easyblaze, easynet and elite world; all tailor-made to meet the needs of its subscribers. For its outstanding performance, it has won several awards including ‘Brand of the Year’, ‘Best Telecom Customer Service’ Telecom Innovations Company of the Year, and ‘Most Innovative Corporate Social Responsibility Company’, among others. Etisalat Nigeria is one of the 17 operations of the Etisalat Group that spans across Africa, Middle East and Asia serving over 170 million subscribers; and it is committed to delivering innovative and quality services to its growing subscribers.
Orange yesterday signed a strategic partnership – on an exclusive basis – with Baidu, the Chinese internet company, to develop a co-branded internet browser for smartphone customers in Africa, the Middle East and Asia (AMEA). The partnership marks the first time Baidu has signed such an agreement with a global operator, and supports Orange and Baidu’s aim to make the mobile web available for all in emerging markets.
Mobile internet usage in Africa is increasing rapidly as Orange continues to deploy 3G networks and make more low-cost smartphones available, customers have been steadily moving from basic feature phones towards more low-cost Android smartphones. Orange, which has a mobile customer base in AMEA of nearly 80 million customers, has continued to see its smartphone user base in AMEA increasing, for example the demand for Android devices in Egypt has doubled in H2 2012.
The new Orange and Baidu browser offers a highly customisable but simple interface for customers in AMEA, enabling them to access web-based apps and internet services unique to Baidu and Orange, as well as services like Wikipedia, Facebook or Twitter, amongst others. Customers benefit from a new, feature rich user interface that provides one-click access to all of their preferred local and global services but also benefit from a browser that is much faster and more data efficient compared to other browsers, reducing the amount of data consumed by 30-90% depending on the types of services and files accessed.
Orange and Baidu have already developed an Arabic and English browser is launching for Mobinil customers today, and both companies are now working to launch French versions of the browser for countries across Orange’s African & Middle East footprint.
Marc Rennard, senior executive vice president for Orange activities across Africa and the Middle East, commented: “The appetite for mobile internet services is very strong in Africa, for example demand for Android devices in Egypt has doubled in the second half of this year. Price and access have been a barrier to entry, but partnering with innovative companies like Baidu provide unique solutions that give our customers affordable access to all the services they desire without compromising on features or ease-of-use. Building on the partnerships we’ve signed with major brands such as Wikipedia and Facebook in AMEA, we continue to innovate in Africa and honour our commitment to make the internet accessible to all customers across our footprint.”
Hu Yong, general manager of Baidu’s International Business Unit, said: “Baidu’s success has been built on developing technologies, products and services appropriate for China, the world’s largest emerging market. We’re now bringing that experience to bear in other markets now enjoying rapid growth. Working with Orange in the Middle East and Africa, Baidu hopes to contribute meaningfully to the region’s growth by making the mobile internet easier than ever to use.”
Baidu, Inc. is the leading Chinese language Internet search provider. As a technology-based media company, Baidu aims to provide the best and most equitable way for people to find what they’re looking for online. In addition to serving individual Internet search users, Baidu provides an effective platform for businesses to reach potential customers. Baidu’s ADSs trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “BIDU”. Currently, ten ADSs represent one Class A ordinary share.
We’ve had a handful of projects fail over the last year and a half. Upon reflection on these projects, I have come up with a number of potential reasons that could be behind the failure – from the sales cycle through to project close-out (excluding Monitoring & Control):
My # 1 Reason: Incorrectly Sold
There are so many over eager sales guys out there. They promise a potential client the world to get the deal in. What is wrong with this? Months down the line – the service provider is still stuck with the same project because the ‘yes man’/ sales guy told them the system can perform a whole series of functions, but these were never quoted for.
Solution: In my opinion a technical person needs to attend sales meetings with the sales representative in order to ensure that nothing is over-promised.
# 2: The wrong solution was sold
This one is unfortunately also due to the ‘yes man’ (or sales executive). It is not necessarily my second reason for failure, but more a case of what can go wrong before a project even materialises. . The client asked for X. The sales man manipulated the client’s high-level requirements to a solution that is not suitable. What happens here? Developers and consultants need to slap a poorly designed system together.
# 3: Bad Estimation during the Sales Cycle
Now I know you’d think that estimation should happen during the Project Planning Phase of the project, but the first part happens during the sales cycle in the Services Industry. It is easy to sell the client a boxed solution – you can easily determine the amount of effort it will take to complete the job.
Custom development – now there’s a beast of a different nature. How long is a piece of string? The developers that need to assist the sales representative are normally too busy on projects that were incorrectly sold and cannot focus properly on providing estimates that needs to go into the sales proposal. So, even before it becomes a project, it is doomed for failure.
#4: Project Commissioning Gone Wrong
So the project was sold either correctly and incorrectly, but no handover was done from the Sales Guy to the Project Team during the Project Initiation Phase.
Solution: The Sales Guy needs to schedule a sales handover meeting with the Project Team to bring them up to speed on what was sold. After the meeting is conducted, the Sales Guy needs to go with the Project Manager/Team to the client for the kick-off meeting. During this kick-off meeting, the sales solution needs to be discussed with the client and high-level deliverables (if not added to the sales proposal) needs to be defined.
#5: Poor Planning
I know Project Managers are usually to blame here – but are they really? Should planning not be a collective effort by the Project Team?
#6: Scope Creep
There are two possible reasons here: Either the scope of the project was not clearly established during initiation and planning or the project manager failed to manage scope change requests effectively. You get those projects that run smoothly due to the articulation of the requirements by the client and then you can sometimes get the out of control ones.
Scope changes, even though sometimes painful, are not necessarily a bad thing for the services industry as it means more money coming in to the company.
Solution: now this is just logical (to me at least) – as long as scope changes are properly documented and signed-off by the client, then managed and executed – everything should go well. In my opinion (and I’ve mentioned it in previous blogs), project teams need to be properly trained on both the project and development methodology used in the company.
You might ask why a normal team member needs to be trained on the Project Management Framework and the answer is this: If your team does not know what the scope of the project is (especially young, fresh out of varsity guys) and they do not know how scope creep it will affect the project, the PM has got his work cut out for him. More importantly – the team needs to know what has been defined as out of scope in the Project Management Plan/Scope Document.
# 7: Project Staff Turnover
If a project team member resigns knowledge is removed from the project. This will put the project at risk as the new team member may need to revisit/investigate requirements, designs as well as past decisions made. Even if a team member doesn’t leave the company, but is allocated to a new project, this poses risk. Another risk here is placing an employee for too long at a client site, as the client might end up poaching your staff.
Solution: Have planned rotation of employees in place for contract placements. Ensure that project decisions are well documented and readily available. Ensure all client communications are stored on the project site/document repository.
#8: Team Bullies
This isn’t about someone physically or emotionally bullying someone else. This has more to do with self-images and titles getting in the way of work happening. The employee attitude of “I’m too important to be doing menial tasks” could have a huge impact on project deliverables, not to mention the influence of this individual over junior team members.
Nirvana: highly evolved individuals/project teams should have no problem reporting to someone (the PM) that is not on their salary bracket/level in the company. If the team members are committed to the end goal and know that a project is only a temporary endeavour, it is a good starting point. Most importantly, in my opinion, there should be no place for egos on a project.
I’m not talking here about communication to the client. I’m also not talking about the communications plan. The Project Manager can only communicate progress to the client if there is adequate communication within the project team. If the team does not play well together or prefer to work in silos, problems could easily emerge. .
Solution: Ideally, a profile matrix should be drawn up of all company employees and personalities that complement each other should be matched up on project teams. It might sound a bit ridiculous and far-fetched, but it will alleviate a lot of stress for the Project Manager and HOD’s.
Walking Away from a Project Gone Bad
Calling a halt to a project that is underway is not a stress-free thing to do, but do you really want to continue working on a project that will not be bringing in any money? It is extremely important to maintain neutral and stay clear from the disillusionment related to sunken project costs that may overcome you. Before the project can be cancelled it is important to meet with internal project sponsor (when working in the consulting industry) and review the costs-benefit analysis of the project and additional opportunity costs that will be lost should the project continue.
I know there are many more reasons why projects fail, but these are some of the key ones I’ve had to deal with recently.
FOXit (Pty) LTD. is a South African established International provider of solutions, service and support focused on Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) in business.
2013 will see a greater update of new mobile devices, particularly those powered by Microsoft Windows 8 Operating System. This is one of several key trends that will impact the domestic ICT space this year.
So claims Aldo van Tonder, Solutions Executive at Dac Systems, a national specialist services provider focused on turnkey implementation of leading edge industry solutions.
According to van Tonder this game-changing trend will be fuelled by the fact that this trusted OS will make access to Enterprise information and systems more accessible and make the workforce more mobile.
“Mobility also does not mean less functionality. Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 RT provide respectively all the key elements required to use when mobile. The uptake of these devices and operating system will change the way people think about their workforce,” he explains.
Perception and perspective are critical components of ICT strategies put in place by decision makers this year. Leadership at Dac Systems says it is important to remember that in determining the status of the domestic technology market in comparison with those abroad, one has to review the whole picture.
“In terms of the adoption of technologies, we are not behind developed markets,” van Tonder continues. “We have found that many customers waited ages for “service pack 1” and the like before taking the plunge into new technology. With vendors like Microsoft getting users involved quicker in the release cycles of their software, this ‘waiting’ has been eliminated.”
“The flip side of the coin is that in terms of the adoption of new devices, the local market still trails global counterparts,” Dac Systems’ Executive suggests.
“We see loads of people standing queue internationally to get the latest and greatest devices but unfortunately South Africa is still way behind in global releases. We typically only receive the latest devices months after international releases and this prohibits us sometimes,” he adds.
Van Tonder agrees with analysts who have predicted the increase in relevance and impact of unified communications, BYOD, consumerisation of IT and social media this year.
He suggests that whilst there is certain value to be derived by businesses through the careful and regulated application of social networking and social media, many decision makers abstain from making this resource available or utilizing it in business.
He also believes 2013 will be the year that more services and companies are differentiated by their ability to incorporate social media, leveraging on the power of technology to increase productivity and enhance operations.
As far as market consolidation is concerned, van Tonder believes there will be some activity, but it will take some time because of the slow adoption ratio.
“We anticipate a very busy, challenging and engaging year ahead,” he added.
Dac Systems is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with over 17 years’ experience in the full turnkey implementation of leading edge industry solutions to help solve common business problems and processes.
Through its offices located in Johannesburg and Centurion and a global partner network, Dac Systems leverages off the expertise of its in-house business analysts, consultants, systems architects and developers.
Dac Systems supplies Information & Communication Technology solutions in the Productivity, Governance and Enterprise layers and industry solutions for Professional Services, Manufacturing and Always-On-Learning amongst others.
Their solutions are designed to ensure a cost effective way for clients to integrate information and strengthen their operations either through on-premises or cloud-based implementations
Technical advice on next-generation solutions that impact the business environment is guaranteed through the company’s rich pool of experts – including professionals with degrees, Microsoft-accredited certifications and industry experts.
The company also features a strong social development and corporate social investment (CSI) element, with a track record of meaningful contribution to several projects and partnerships including The Nkomazi Trust and the company’s annual Team Building which is used to build a house for disadvantaged individuals in the rural community of Shongwe.
Dac Systems is founded on a solution philosophy which incorporates several key aspects: delivery is key, a solution for real people, harmony & convergence.
It is the combination of these principles that has helped the company to carve out a solid, leadership position within a competitive marketplace.
Exset B.V pioneers of TV ecosystems for emerging markets, today announced two key international appointments in a move that reflects their 2013 expansion plans especially for its Digital Monetisation System (DMS).
This move also shows its vital ability to reduce the digital divide in emerging markets and empower populations via the TV screen.
One of their new appointments, Hema Suri will be the new Director of Business Development for Strategic Markets, for Africa and the CIS countries. Suri was previously at BBC Worldwide Channels as Regional Manager for North India, including Pakistan and Nepal. Based in Dubai, Suri has a Masters in Mass Communication from the University of Leicester (UK) and a Specialisation in International Business from IMM Calcutta.
Rahul Agarwal has joined Exset as a Product Manager for set-top boxes (STB) and is focusing on both Asian and African markets. He brings with him vast experience of working with some of the major broadcast giants including BSkyB and Channel 4 in the UK. He has headed major STB projects and is working to deliver the best technical solution cost-effectively for emerging markets. Agarwal is based in the UK office.
Alex Borland, CEO, Exset, said, “We are pleased to welcome both of these key talents to Exset as the company continues to expand its business in emerging markets. Their experience is invaluable, helping Exset’s customers to take advantage of digitisation and to be able to monetise pay-TV networks where previously impossible.
Gary Ellis, Exset CTO, added, “The skillsets that these two possess will assist Exset in driving our cutting edge technologies into the pay-TV domain, allowing operators to secure and monetise their networks and also to make them future proof.”
DMS – an award-winning solution – bridges the gap between technology and value-added services. It allows digital television platforms to be created that can then be monetised where previously impossible. The result allows populations to help from new information and entertainment services, while partnering with governments to achieve digital switchover and bringing social transformation.
Exset is a broadcast technology and solutions company founded in 2011. It is based in The Netherlands with offices in the UK, Estonia and India. Exset provides complete solutions to the television industry focusing on emerging markets where localisation, social and economic factors require a fresh approach to traditional technology supply. Exset works collaboratively to provide a unique service, understanding developing markets and working with TV operators in to monetise platform deployments.
Exset is also a leading global supplier of conditional access technologies.
In a move seen to simplify airtime purchase and increase its user base, Orange Kenya has partnered with PesaPal, an e-commerce payment platform to enable subscribers buy online.
The partnership allows Orange over 2,106,250 subscribers to use mobile money, debit and credit cards to purchase airtime online away from the old scratch cards, Orange is the first in this to allow its users to buy airtime using other telecom firm’s mobile money services and introduction of credit cards.
According to Orange CEO Mickael Ghossein: “Our data customers that may have subscribed to other networks due to their voice offerings will now have the flexibility of purchasing data bundles directly from their mobile money accounts.”
He added that it is fact that the mobile telecoms market in the country is characterised by multi-SIM users, due to various pricing and quality in the network’s different services like voice and data.
This is just the beginning. According to Ghossein several other Orange offers and products will use the PesaPal payment system.
Founded in Kenya, PesaPal allows merchants sell online after integrating their payment platform on their eCommerce platforms. PesaPal allows buyers to use either mobile money or debit and credit cards.
According to the founder and CEO, Agosta Liko PesaPal is bringing a convenient and simplified way to for Orange subscribers to top up their airtime.
South Africa based Accsys, a member of the Business Connexion Group (BCX), has won the TT100 Award for Excellence in Sustainable Performance for the third year running.
The company is an established national supplier of people management software and hardware solutions within the HR, payroll and time & attendance space.
In late November, the newly appointed Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom, presented Accsys management with the award on behalf of organisers of the annual TT100 competition. This award is sponsored by the JSE, who along with Professor Roy Marcus, head of Da Vinci, were part of the presentation delegation.
The TT100 Business Awards Programme was launched in 1991 by the Da Vinci Institute, who continue to own the process and involves the joint participation of the government, industry partners such as Eskom, IDC and the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange). Major sponsors include the Sunday Times.
The Programme was established to identify and reward local companies that stand out for their excellence in the management of technology, people, systems, research and sustainability. Professor Marcus talks of the “story behind the story” and about identifying role models who, in spite of trying times, have driven their organization to greater heights.”
Awards are bestowed upon candidates following an intensive adjudication process that involves interviews and the collection of relevant data on companies.
In 2012 Accsys, a long-time affiliate and participant of the Programme, was a finalist in three categories, namely: Award for Excellence in the Management of People, Award for Excellence in the Management of Technology and Award for Excellence in the Management of Systems.
Teryl Schroenn, CEO of Accsys, said it is special to receive this award and that sustainability is the work of many.
“A big thank you to all who share in the Accsys journey every day. It is a combination of great people, products, team work, ideas and commitment that takes us forward strategically,” says Schroenn.
Accsys is an award winning supplier of payroll, HR, time & attendance and access control solutions that are designed to optimise the management of people and processes in business. Accsys is an acknowledged market leader with customers in 13 countries.
Part of the Business Connexion Group of technology companies, Accsys’ success as an industry leader in the provision of HR solutions is built on a solid base of product excellence, customer satisfaction and total support.
The Accsys offering combines modern software solutions with high standards of service and an emphasis on training and skills upliftment. Accsys prides itself on keeping a balance between consultants with strong academic qualifications and those with extensive industry knowledge. The solutions have been developed in South Africa since 1981 and are geared towards enhancing local and African conditions.
InMobi, the leader in mobile-first technology platforms, and the largest independent mobile advertising network, today announced the acquisition of Overlay Media, experts in context aware computing.
According to Naveen Tewari, Founder and CEO InMobi: “We are excited to add amazing talent to InMobi. This acquisition, along with Metaflow Solutions and MMTG Labs, will help us to continue to be at the forefront of delivering highly engaging content to consumers globally.”
British based Overlay Media has a team of data scientists who build the Context Engine technology for personalised content to mobile users. It is one of the mobile data analytics based technologies developer. Its flagship product, the Context Engine, enables intelligent on-device behaviour, wiser use of battery power and increased personalisation.
According to Dr. Ian Anderson, CEO at Overlay Media: “At Overlay Media, our goal has been to develop technology that enables mobile devices to provide a highly personal and immersive user experience. We are excited to join InMobi to further their position as a market leader in mobile advertising.”
The Overlay Media team will be based from the InMobi London EMEA HQ.
InMobi which recently closed its African offices, is an innovative mobile technology firm enabling brands, developers, and publishers to engage global consumers using mobile-first technology platforms that leverage advances in big-data, user behaviour, and cloud-based architectures to simplify advertising.
According to the firm, agencies and advertisers also leverage its platforms to create HTML5 rich media ads and engage 578M consumers across 165 countries. Developers and premium publishers use InMobi platforms to acquire and monetise their mobile apps and their mobile websites across the globe. With offices in multiple continents, InMobi provides global reach with local service and support across the globe. The firm is backed by SoftBank, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures.
iROKO Partners, the world’s largest online distributor of Nigerian movies and music, has began 2013 with a new office in Johannesburg, South Africa in move to reach out to the country’s content providers, media agencies and advertisers.
According to Genevieve Dumorne, iROKO Partners Johannesburg office head: “We’ve come to South Africa to work closely with the continent’s leading media agencies, advertisers and content providers.”
Dumorne added that their expansion to the country is due to its mature entertainment and tech scene, in her words, it is also dynamic and exciting .
She said, ” We’ll be looking to see not only what we can learn from it, but also what we can contribute to it with iROKOtv and iROKING – two of the continent’s leading online entertainment distribution platforms.”
The office, located in Maboneng precinct, will house a team of up to 5 and will be a regional hub for iROKO Partners with specific focus on the development of new business partnerships, working closer with key South African media agencies and the sourcing of new content for its popular movie and music platforms, iROKOtv and iROKING.
In 2012, iROKO Partners’ music platform, iROKING, announced its first partnership with a South African-based company with the launch of a mobile music site for GoMetro, the mobi site for commuter rail agency, Metrorail.
The VC-backed tech and entertainment company, launched in Nigeria in 2010, has offices in Lagos, London and New York and is now looking to increase its presence in Africa, starting with Johannesburg. In just two years, the company has built a global audience of over six million unique users from 178 different countries across its movie and music platforms. The company delivers, on average, 207,000,000 minutes of content every month across all of the iROKO Partners platforms.
iROKO Partners is the world’s largest distributor of Nigerian entertainment. Since December 2010, the company has built a global audience of over six million unique users from 178 different countries across its movie and music platforms.
Between iROKOtv, an on-demand film streaming service for Nollywood movies, and iROKING, a music streaming service, iROKO Partners has the largest legally assembled library on planet earth, giving viewers access to thousands of movies, tunes and music videos at the click of a mouse. The company works with Nigerian movie and music producers & artists to bring this content into the digital arena, showcasing the very best of the country’s incredible creative content to the African Diaspora on beautifully designed, easy-to-use websites and mobile apps.
The Tunisian Government has sold a 15 percent stake in Tunisiana Telecom to Qatar Telecom for US$360 million reducing its stake to just 10 percent as the firm moves towards an IPO in the near future.
Tunisiana which is 75 percent owned by Wataniya, with a 92.1% Qtel ownership will now give Qtel and its’ subsidiaries a 90 percent shareholding on Tunisiana.
Pleased by the deal, the Chairman of Qtel Group H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani said: “We are pleased to have been offered the opportunity to further increase our shareholding in Tunisiana, an outstanding company which we believe will continue to deliver long-term value for our shareholders. We also look forward to continuing our partnership with the Tunisian authorities as Tunisiana enters into a new phase of its development with the continuing expansion of 3G services and the launch of fixed line services in 2013.”
Established in 1987, Qatar Telecom (Qtel) is one of the most diverse integrated operators in the Middle East region with mobile phone, fixed line phone, cable TV, entertainment and technology services to both domestic customers and businesses.
The Qtel Group has operations in 17 markets serving over 74 million customers across the Middle East, North Africa, the Asian subcontinent and South East Asia.
On December 8, we reported that Orange Kenya’s Unlimited Internet is a fraud. Here is why.
1.Telkom Kenya CEO, in his statement to Cofek admitted December 19 that indeed the “Unlimited” internet was limited on price, duration and user numbers. Safaricom did that and are out of trouble.
2.The Terms and conditions are not on indicated billboards on the word limited like Harmful is on every cigarette packet.
3. There should be something like -Unlimited* on all the companies promotion materials beginning with this massive billboard around Westgate Shopping Mall’s public car park.
4. The CEO says, “The unlimited internet offer allows a customer to use the internet service for the agreed duration of time paid for,” but the guys we talked to had purchased the monthly unlimited offer more close to three times a month paying cash each time. The slow connection which the firm gives as bonus after a client consumes their 20GB never was until another such article run in the standard.
5. The CEO says, “The internet bundles are of a limited nature and the customer will purchase a specific internet bundle that is limited in volume (amount of data to be downloaded).” This according to many Kenyans as well means LIMITED and should be indicated or explained on purchase like a doctor would prescription drugs 3 x 1.
6. “The unlimited internet offers are at a fixed price for a fixed duration of time.” This is supposed to mean when a client pays for a monthly unlimited she or he stays connected for a whole month which was not happening to our respondents.
7.”To be able to ensure that an acceptable level of quality is maintained for all our customers on such a wireless services, despite the offer being for unlimited internet service, it is necessary for there to be in place a “Fair Usage Policy” to be able to ensure reliable and quality services to all our customers.” Clients never knew of the friendly user policy before the media reports.
8. “In all our communications (including fliers) relating to the unlimited internet offer, we have indicated that there are applicable terms and conditions.’ This looks honorable and gives a second thought why the billboards have no (*) on their UNLIMITED.
9. “These terms and conditions are available on our website accessible through http://www.orange.co.ke. For ease of reference we attach a copy of the said terms where you will see the terms of the Fair Usage Policy at clause 3.5.” Cigarettes put the warning label on each stick and so should this dongles or modems.
10.”While we concede that there is need for continuous customer awareness on the Fair Usage Policy.” This is honorable of the firm and media and everyone should help consumers know what they are buying.
11.”we confirm that as a result of the said policy, customers may experience a reduction in internet speed should they exceed certain thresholds in usage but at no time are such customers disconnected from use. Normal speeds resume once a new offer is purchased.”Our respondents were totally cut off.
12.”It is good to point out that there may be issues that arise where a customer experiences a problem related to the particular service that it not related in any way to the unlimited internet service or indeed to any other service we offer. In these instances, we provide the necessary solutions to our customers once we receive their queries. Telkom Kenya has at all times endeavoured to respond to all customer queries and complaints in a timely manner and we continue to improve our processes in this regard. We request you to encourage all our customers with related queries to get in touch with our Customer Care department via the 100 number on an Orange line or through 020-2221000 via other networks, to seek clarification on the specific issues they have touching on this matter.” The customer care guys give clients reference numbers, promise to call them back after the issue is resolved and even ask for alternative phone numbers but never do so. Instead of lying they should tell clients: please call us back after a certain period.
13. “We note in your communication you indicate that you have carried out extensive research into our unlimited internet offer. We would appreciate if you could share the results of your research with us and would propose that we have a meeting to discuss the issues surrounding the unlimited internet offer to allow us reach a consensus on the topic.” This meeting would be awesome!
46. (1) Consumers have the right—
(a) to goods and services of reasonable quality;
(b) to the information necessary for them to gain full benefit
from goods and services;
(c) to the protection of their health, safety, and economic
(d) to compensation for loss or injury arising from defects in
goods or services.
(2) Parliament shall enact legislation to provide for consumer
protection and for fair, honest and decent advertising.
(3) This Article applies to goods and services offered by public
entities or private persons.
Below is an earlier article about the service.
Orange Telecom Kenya is ripping off clients on its monthly unlimited offer which only runs for 18 days and limited to 20GB
TechMoran learnt, raising concern on the firm’s integrity and causing fear of likely fraud on Orange Kenya’s voice, data, mobile money and its other services.
Speaking to TechMoran, a Senior Editor in a top media group and an Orange Monthly Unlimited user said, “Instead of thirty days unlimited as it has advertised all over the country, Orange Telecom Kenya’s monthly unlimited package runs for just 18 days and is limited to 20GB, and I only use it after work.”
She added,” I wouldn’t have any issue with the firm if it plainly told me its monthly unlimited package is limited, but this is corporate fraud.”
According to Kennedy and Belinda, Orange Kenya staff speaking to her: “The Orange friendly user policy limits the monthly unlimited package to 20GB and our clients have to pay another Ksh 2990 to renew the service or are cut off”.
Our source confirmed that by saying,” I was cut off after 18 days last month and paid Ksh 2990 as I had urgent work to do, a few weeks ago, I was cut off again. It’s when I realized the firm didn’t bother to explain to me that their unlimited was limited. So I have paid three times in a space of less than two months.”
However as a sign of good faith, Kennedy added that at times the firm gives its clients a slow internet connection until the one month period expires. He told her under its friendly user policy, Orange Kenya limits the monthly unlimited to 20GB.
Still wondering how friendly the user policy was, she told TechMoran why its Mickael Ghossien’s and Orange Telecom’s mandate to tell clients the truth than erecting colorful billboards and posters across the country of a service that doesn’t exist.
She said,”Orange Kenya doesn’t offer any monthly unlimited internet, who allows it then to advertise a lie?”
She added, “Who will protect the Kenyan consumer? Should EABL sell a 300ml Tusker beer as a 500ml one? Or should Coca Cola come up with a different brand for Kenyans and sell its signature Coke elsewhere? Should KFC sell not so good chicken here whereas elsewhere it maintains a uniform recipe? Or are we so naïve, stupid and second class to be fucked up like this on billboards and press with non-existent unlimited internet packages?”
“Nowhere in the world would a firm play such a trick publicly without indicating that conditions apply! I have used Orange France and Mickael Ghossien’s parent firm doesn’t play the same trick in France?
“Or was he misled by his French-English translators?”
Further calls to the firm went unanswered as she tried to get hold of the CEO.
Firms across the world ought to advertise what they offer, Orange Telecom Kenya and Orange France the parent firm and their shareholders should stick to that.
A consumer rights activist and also Orange Unlimited internet user who asked for anonymity said, “Orange Kenya should tell us the truth on purchase. They insist they offer unlimited internet, look at that billboard over there (he said pointing to a billboard on Peponi Road, in Westlands). The firm should pull down those unlimited internet billboards and posters and indicate clearly what it has on its Menu. Orange Kenya needs to put on that billboard that conditions apply. “
He added,” Should we trust such companies to provide us mobile money transfer or voice services, who knows our conversations might be used for something else? Anyway this is corporate fraud which Kenyans might take as racism. There is no reason to take consumers for granted, they toil to make their money, they are fucked up by rogue Matatu crews, fear police and city council wardens more than thugs and are still fleeced their hard earned cash by nicely framed billboard ads and still there are no MP’s championing for consumer rights.”
Regardless of the internal issues the firm is going through, which TechMoran insiders are uncovering, it’s doesn’t need rocket science to be honest.
Just recently thousands of fake mobile phones were switched off leaving many by the country’s communications regulatory authority CCK raising questions on who allowed the vendors to bring in the handsets in the first place.
The author of this story uses Orange’s Monthly Unlimited internet and handed in her story on a flash disk. She will be unavailable until she renews her monthly unlimited internet from Orange Kenya which she only uses after work (6pm to 10pm).
Here are some of Orange’s values;
We are direct and easy to understand. We keep things simple. We focus only on
We are open. We say what we do and we do what we say. We are happy to share.
iROKING, Africa’s number one music site has joined forces with one of the continent’s leading mobile social networks, Eskimi, to bring the very best African artists, directly to users’ mobiles. The new site, music.eskimi.com is for the exclusive use of Eskimi’s millions of users, more than 5 million of which are in Nigeria. Registered Eskimi users can download tracks from iROKING’s catalogue of 35,000+ tracks from over 400 of West Africa’s top recording artists, directly onto their mobile via music.eskimi.com.
iROKING is West Africa’s number one music distribution platform, with over 35,0000 tracks from 400+ artists. The company also manages the YouTube channels of over 80 artists, delivering 15 million video views on average a month, with over 130,000,000 views across its pages.
According to Adi Nduka-Agwu, Head of Business Development for iROKO Partners, Eskimi’s huge online social network of people who chat about and share absolutely everything, from gossip, news and music are the best for iROKING to reach.
She said: “We can provide Eskimi users with free and legal downloads from the continent’s biggest stars, via a dedicated mobi site that works in perfect harmony with what they’re already accessing on the Eskimi platform”.
The new mobi site, designed exclusively for Eskimi by iROKING, is an awesome and totally seamless experience for subscribers, who will be able to play their favourite Afrobeats songs and share to their Eskimi friends. Eskimi users can also chat with their friends whilst downloading tunes from iROKING superstars such as PSquare, Iyanya, Flavour and Bracket, thanks to an integrated header that shows new messages and alerts.
Vytas Paukstys, CEO ofEskimi was glad the two firms partnered.
He said: “We are extremely happy to add another entertainment category for our customers. Eskimi users already spend an hour per day in Eskimi and this partnership with iROKING will increase this even more. This new category of mobile music will also open new sponsorship opportunities for Nigerian brands”.
ESKIMI is one of the largest social media platforms in Africa with more than 10 million customers. Nigeria is the largest market with more than 50% of all Eskimi users. Eskimi serves more than 1 billion impressions per month and enjoys average one hour user spend time per day. Eskimi is also known to deliver unique brand engagement marketing. According to Opera mini report, Eskimi is a No.2 mobile destination in Nigeria overtaking Yahoo and Google. According to 2012 Google trends, Eskimi was TOP10 trending topics at Google Trends overtaking Facebook.
Eskimi’s partnership with iROKING is so timely.
In August 2012, iROKING announced that the music platform had registered 100,000 users and October 2012 saw the launch of a mobile site for iROKING, where registered users can listen to and download any of the 35,000 tracks on the site from their Feature phones.
iROKING is Africa’s number one music streaming service. Launched in 2010, www.iroking.com has over 35,000 songs from over 400 of West Africa’s biggest recording artists, including international superstars such as Bez, 2Face and 2Shotz. iROKING is successfully reorganising Nigerian music distribution via iROKING.com, YouTube, iTUNES and Amazon. Since its inception, the iROKING team has grown the business to over 80 managed YouTube channels delivering 15 million video views on average a month and over 130,000,000 views across its artists’ pages.
MTN Group has appointed Pieter Verkade as its new MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer. Verkade is the current CEO of MTN Cyprus and will take over from Christian de Faria effective February 2013. Faria retires Janaury 2013 after serving the firm for six years.
According to MTN Group President and CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa, Verkade’s appointment is an affirmation and a show of confidence that MTN has a pool of talent.
Dabengwa said:“The fact that we are able to fill this strategic position with one of our own speaks volumes of the richness of MTN’s leadership pipeline, and the strides we are making to create an environment that recognises performance excellence. Pieter is a hard-working and well-accomplished executive who gets the job done.”
Pieter will take over strategic direction of the innovation, products and services strategy, as well as marketing across the Group.
“His appointment comes at a critical point for MTN, as our operating environment is changing quite rapidly. We have entered a phase where network operators have to compete on more than just products and services. We believe that Pieter possesses the right combination of experience and expertise to drive MTN’s strategic agenda to deliver relevant and competitive value propositions to our customers across segments,” says Dabengwa.
Pieter’s telecoms experience spans developed and emerging markets in Europe and Africa. Prior to becoming the CEO of MTN Cyprus, the Mediterranean country’s second largest mobile operator, Pieter was the Executive for Commercial Strategy and Mobile Money. In this role, he oversaw the growth and deployment of MTN Mobile Money in 15 MTN markets. MTN’s mobile money portfolio has now grown to 8.2 million customers since launch in Uganda four years ago.
As Chief Marketing Officer for MTN SA for a two-year period from 2008, Verkade contributed to the strengthening of MTN’s competitive position in the fast maturing mobile market. The Group continues to leverage his wealth of experience in the telecoms sector in which he has operated at C-Suite level since 2000 in a variety of roles. These include Chief Commercial Officer for Orange NV (Netherlands), Vice President Commercial for Orange Plc (London), Chief Financial Officer for KPN/Orange (Belgium) and Senior Vice President for Telenor (Norway).
Dabengwa paid tribute to De Faria for his sterling contribution to MTN’s growth over the years. Christian joined MTN as VP for the West and Central Africa (WECA) region in 2006 from Indonesia’s PT Excelcomindo Pratama mobile operator, of which he was CEO.
He said De Faria worked tirelessly to successfully position MTN as the leading telecoms player in the WECA region comprising some of MTN’s largest markets like Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon. Later appointed as Senior VP for Commercial and Innovation, he played a pivotal role in MTN’s major transformation initiatives, including supply chain management, products and services as well as marketing and customer management.
He steered the Group’s commercial and innovation activities during the period of convergence, and forged key strategic partnerships with non-traditional telecom players to strengthen MTN’s competitive position in the digital space.
“On behalf of the MTN Group and all our employees, I would like to thank Christian for his sterling contribution to MTN’s growth. His energy, enthusiasm and passion for the MTN people, our customers and communities will be missed by all,” said Dabengwa.
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN.” As of 30 September 2012, MTN recorded 182.7 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.
Twitter last evening announced hitting the 200 million active user mark monthly amidst its disintegration with Facebook owned Instagram.
The company announced,”There are now more than 200M monthly active @twitter users. You are the pulse of the planet. We’re grateful for your ongoing support!”
Othman Laraki,VP growth & international at Twitter said,“Can’t be prouder of what the growth & intl teams have achieved & thrilled to witness next chapter of history written (by and on @twitter).”
He added,” @twitter When we set up Growth @twitter, we came up with what seemed like an insane human-scale target of over 200M. Now, here we are.”
In March the firm celebrated its six years of existence and celebrated its humble beginning when Jack Dorsey co-founded it in March 2006.
According to the firm, there never seemed ways to express oneself in 140 characters as now it is.
Twitter in March had over 140 million active users with 340 million Tweets a day. “That’s more than 1 billion every 3 days,” the firm said.
Twitter still thanks you the user as a vital link in their growth, the firm said,” Without you, of course, there wouldn’t be a Twitter. We mark our sixth birthday with you in mind, and celebrate your myriad ways of engaging, enjoying, and emoting on our platform. As Jack noted when he posted his sketch of the service he envisioned, “I’m happy this idea has taken root; I hope it thrives.” Thanks to you, it is.”
But the firm is not stopping on the 200 million active users.
According to Amy Sapper, Sales Operation at Twitter, the firm wants to have the world covered with twitter users.
She said,”So proud to work for a company on its way to reach every person on the planet. 200 million active @twitter users and counting!