Demand and Evolution
“Mobility is the key, and it is what’s driving this particular industry”; Steven Sutherland, Divisional Executive of Adapt IT | Telecoms South Africa, discusses the company’s solutions within the ever-changing telecommunications space
Writer: Marcus Kääpä | Project Manager: Lewis Bush
Every day is a new day in the telecoms industry - it’s always evolving, always exciting.”
The words of Steven Sutherland, Divisional Executive of Adapt IT | Telecoms South Africa, sums up the vibrancy of the country’s current technology sector.
Sutherland stands as one of the divisional executives of the company at the forefront of South African telecommunications. The South African entity is the home-based head office for the broader Adapt IT Holdings Limited group; an organisation that provides leading specialised software and digitally led business solutions that assist clients across targeted industries to achieve more by improving their customer experience, core business operations, business administration, enterprise resource planning and public service delivery.
“Adapt IT Holdings is a vertical specialised software development group,” Sutherland says. “The company is made up of a number of divisions, each focusing and specialising on a clearly identified market segment of which telecoms is only one, with education, hospitality, financial services, and manufacturing making up some of the others and hence the group being referred to as being ‘vertically specialised’.”
The telecoms division is one of Adapt IT Holdings’ principle divisions, which creates advanced telecommunications software solutions that understand, enhance and anticipate business needs across multiple sectors. The division provides advanced telecommunications technology solutions that can be adapted and utilised across an array of sectors spanning the likes of mobile network operators (MNO), mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), internet service providers (ISP), to governments, authorities and law enforcement, with the aim of enhancing competitiveness, increasing efficiency, and driving business growth.
“Telecommunications is a fairly broad field,” Sutherland reflects. “Our specialty and focus islargely within the ‘mobile network operator’ space, with around 80 percent of our activity being concentrated into this area. Although we principally operate B2B, we also expand to B2C where we provide network operators technical solutions which they in turn offer and use to support their end-user customers.
“In light of this, we have structured our telecoms solution suite to mimic the vertically aligned operational areas found within a mobile network operator so that when they look to us, and the various solutions and services we offer, the operators are met by an almost mirrored environment, showing amongst other things that we understand and can meet their requirements.”
“On the one side we offer KYC (know-your-customer) or authentication through our full function customer experience, self-service or a self-care platform, and supporting this platform are our numerous “NextGen VAS” offerings which are tightly integrated into the core network via our services middleware, supporting such functionality as USSD, SMSC, Bulk Messaging, SMS Firewall, to mention a few.
“We monitor, manage and report on all of these critical systems through our all-encompassing telecoms grade “advanced analytics” platform that allows the network operators to view their business through a “single pane of glass”,” Sutherland tells us. “In this way they can access analytical information, and things like revenue assurance, churn prediction, ARPU, ASPU and do trend prediction, clearly and easily. Our 20 years of experience in the field of telecoms analytics supports critical business decisions based on data that is both accurate and complete.”
In his position as Divisional Executive, Sutherland ensures that Adapt IT | Telecoms focuses on these key elements that are critical to network operators, helping them manage their systems for the betterment of the companies and their end-user customer experience.
From what started as a division with a single product during its establishment in late 2016, Adapt IT | Telecoms has grown and evolved from a specialist in customer experience, to a provider of multiple solutions for varying companies and operators that sets itself apart within the telecommunications space.
“Shortly after the beginning, we noticed that the focus and needs of mobile network operators change on a daily basis and are also driven by demand,” Sutherland explains. “This is where Adapt IT | Telecoms comes in as a standout services and solutions provider - we tap into and focus on the needs of these operators at the applicable time, answer their demands, and we don’t lose sight of them if their needs shift between alternative areas in the space.”
On top of this agility, Adapt IT | Telecoms addresses the gradual nature of evolving telecommunication software solutions throughout Africa.
“Within the African telecoms environment, there are varying levels of forward migration,” Sutherland elaborates. “In many areas of the world everyone is moving forward at a similar pace, for example from 3G to 4G and 4G to 5G. During this process network operators move ahead and shed technology to make way for advances, leaving older systems behind.
“However, in many areas across Africa, when there is a transition, older technology and systems become more affordable and remains popular.”
And because of this, Adapt IT | Telecoms ensures that it builds its solutions with this gradual migration in mind, and makes sure that it not only caters to the leading edge of technology, but also the lagging edge; so that it can provide software solutions for the many.
This encompassing agility, acknowledgement of a gradual continental shift in technological advancement, and focus on the needs of its customer base can be seen in the nature of AdaptIT | Telecoms’ relationships with its clientele.
For the company, no one customer is temporary. Adapt IT | Telecoms prides itself on entering agreements with customers that span years of product evolution through ongoing innovation and constant development all consistently supported and ensuring that each client is looked after as we take this journey together.
“Partnerships, roadmaps, and journeys; it is a legacy of collaboration that we promote above all,” Sutherland assures us. “We have relationships with our customers for many years, anything from six, seven, or 10 years and beyond, so for us a project never has a start or finish - a project is the beginning of a long journey that we walk with our customers.
“This doesn’t only take into account our customers based in Africa. Adapt IT, although based in and proudly South African, has held a 20-year relationship with Australian telecommunications company Telstra, and so we are working all over the globe in multiple different markets of varying regions.”
For Sutherland and the division, these are positive, productive and long-term valuable relationships that allow the company to do what it does best - provide and maintain the consistent delivery of the most advanced telecommunications software solutions to enhance business needs.
Investing for the Future
Just as Adapt IT | Telecoms consistently provides the latest solutions for its customers, it is of critical importance that the company itself keeps up with the most advanced technology and software in the telecommunications space.
Within the digital sphere, cloud-based solutions have been a mainstream and necessary element of individual and organisational operations for many years. Sutherland elaborates on its importance for Adapt IT | Telecoms and the company’s engagement with its customers.
“It’s all about accessibility. For our software to benefit our clients, whether they are the mobile network operators or by association their customers, this aspect is key,” he explains further. “The more accessible our software platforms are, the more customers we can serve, and cloud-basing their technology is definitely the way to do that. It also allows us to maintain a single cloud-based platform that assists and supports multiple customers as opposed to helping them separately, thus providing economies of scale which further assist with the consistent downward cost pressure being faced in this market segment.
“One of the challenges within the mobile network operator space is that their end-user customers are continually demanding more and wanting to pay less - simply put; they are always looking for cost efficiencies.”
Adapt IT | Telecoms assists the network operators in driving down costs through the use ofsuch cloud-based technology through streamlining processes and maintaining a single cloud-based platform rather than multiple disconnected platforms. This allows the operators to assist multiple customers more easily and therefore increase efficiency, quality service and revenue.
Alongside the vital need to utilise the latest and best software and methods internally and externally, Adapt IT | Telecoms is very much aware that company growth requires its own means of facilitation.
“Sometimes the biggest challenge for a business is its ability to scale,” Sutherland explains to us. “Most companies focus on having the “sharpest pencil”, that is to say the best software, and the greatest technology with the most features, but not as much focus is placed on scalability and support which is vital to such growth.
This scalability is key for the company at present and in the years ahead. Providing advanced telecommunications software solutions to clients across Africa, it is worth keeping an eye on Adapt IT | Telecoms and its continuing efforts spearheading the forefront of the continent’s telecommunications space.