With a focus on delivering the Connective Intelligence™ value proposition, Business Connexion are bringing cloud computing to Nigeria
Writer Emily Jarvis
Project manager Donovan Smith
The diverse and vibrant Nigerian economy presents a range of opportunities for the delivery of world-class Information and Communication Technology solutions. One such company that benefits from this is Business Connexion, who have successfully delivered industry-leading solutions to the financial services, academic, telecommunications, SMB, public sector as well as oil and gas sectors for over five years.
Focused on delivering the Connective Intelligence™ value proposition, the company has over 7000 members of staff, who pride themselves on flexibility, teamwork and cross-skilling. Connective Intelligence™ is about connecting the world's most advanced information and communication technology (ICT) products, services and solutions, and merging them with the skills and experience of some of the world's best-qualified individuals, to provide simple, affordable solutions to Africa and the world.
With this approach, Business Connexion Nigeria has the capability to successfully implement substantial projects while maintaining close relationships built on mutual value creation. "To date, the Nigeria office has delivered projects including data centres, wireless networks, cabling infrastructures and more," explains Ian McAlpine, Managing Director of Business Connexion Nigeria. The company holds partnerships with major vendors including Cisco, Avaya, Microsoft, IBM, HP, Systimax and NetApp, underpinning Business Connexion's presence with access to expertise and resources for the design, delivery and support of elegant solutions to complex business problems. "Our team represents solid service delivery and is armed with new age technologies. It was only a year ago that we launched our cloud services in Nigeria, and what a year it has been as it has yielded impressive results."
"To enrich communities by making the impossible possible, through technology"
With excellent service delivery in mind, Business Connexion are able to offer unique propositions to the market including cloud computing, which is one of the services that place the company in a leading position. "We pride ourselves on our service delivery, dependability and performance and we are renowned for our provision of high quality, high performance solutions," McAlpine states.
When asked what makes the company unique, McAlpine explained how having business-related engagements with their customers has helped them stand out: "We are not a technology company that sells technology for technology's sake. We have strategic engagements with customers where we discuss business value; we make sure that we meet the needs and wants of our clients." With one of the biggest SAP competencies in the continent - over 250 SAP practitioners – Business Connexion are well-positioned in the technology industry.
The Nigerian arm of the business saw a 68 per cent growth in top line revenue in the last financial year and McAlpine was keen to pin down the reason for this great success: "With healthy profits, we have seen a steady growth. In the last two years, we have been focussed on changing our strategy, such as bringing in these cloud solutions and buying a new company with Managed Print Service capabilities exclusively through Canon, establishing the services component of our business, and placing further focus on our sales team." Establishing this link with Canon has allowed Business Connexion to provide managed services for printing, in turn, allowing them to increase their local business. "We now have 140 staff in Nigeria, whereas, two years ago we only had 28," cites McAlpine. This four-fold increase is a result of the new services Business Connexion have implemented.
"There is always some volatility in this market"
With the Central Bank of Nigeria governor being suspended earlier this month, there is some political volatility that could have affected the Nigerian economy. Consequently, there have been strategic initiatives that are being driven by the Central Bank that could feel the strain of this development. Challenges that McAlpine discussed with us include a lack of infrastructure around power generation and continuity: "Privatising the electricity power supply has been a big challenge, so has broadband penetration. People are certainly looking for strong political leadership to drive a lot of the initiatives [from an economic perspective] into fruition." This being said, McAlpine also highlighted that there seem to be plans being formulated quite rapidly to address the aforementioned issues.
"I think people are attracted to this market because of the size of the populous. However, I think the challenge lies in how you realise the benefit out of this. This means you have got to be focussed on what the needs of the market are to identify a sweet spot in the market." Business Connexion are eagerly waiting to see what impact the new broadband plan will have on increasing broadband penetration in Nigeria, which would of course have a significant impact. "We are expecting a significant boom in cloud computing. With this technology being a brand new concept in Nigeria, some level of apprehension will prevail, but this will quickly dissipate as the concept is better understood," says McAlpine.
When it comes to staff and training, Business Connexion recognise that it is not simply about obtaining people with the skills and training needed to fulfil a job description, it is equally as important to employ people who are the right culture fit for the Nigerian culture. "People tend to be quite protective of their skills in order to obtain the best jobs to enhance their career. Whilst we understand this, we invest quite heavily in training our staff. Cloud computing is a new concept in Africa, and indeed on a global level, so we need to train people in these new areas anyway; in turn, we up-skill the industry."
"It's all about concept and applicability"
As a multinational company, Business Connexion are able to operate on a global level. With a key focus on up-skilling their staff by creating an environment that is conducive for creativity and productivity, McAlpine is convinced that his team will continue to innovate and subsequently prosper in the technology sector: "Our focus is beyond just the provision of technology, but providing value to, and growth of communities and skills.