With a focus on delivering the Connective Intelligence™ value proposition, Business Connexion are bringing cloud computing to Zambia
Writer Emily Jarvis
Project Manager Donovan Smith
The diverse and vibrant Zambian 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 Zambia has the capability to successfully implement substantial projects while maintaining close relationships built on mutual value-creation. "The Zambian office has delivered projects including data centres, wireless networks, cabling infrastructures and more," explains Damiano Tembo, CEO of Business Connexion Zambia. 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."
"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 places 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," Tembo states.
When asked what makes the company unique, Tembo 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.
Business in Zambia has been relatively small but steady and Tembo was keen to pin down the reason for this: "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 in their various locations. "The best example of this is that we now have 140 staff in Nigeria, whereas, two years ago we only had 28," cites Tembo. This four-fold increase is a result of the new services Business Connexion have implemented.
"We are expecting a boom in cloud computing"
Challenges that Tembo discussed with us include a lack of infrastructure around power generation and continuity: "Zambia's key issues resemble those of other low income countries. 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, Tembo 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 National Broadband Plan will have on increasing broadband penetration in Zambia, which would of course have a significant impact. "We are expecting a significant boom in cloud computing. With this technology being a relatively new concept in Zambia, some level of apprehension will prevail, but this will quickly dissipate as the concept is better understood," says Tembo.
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 Zambian 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, Tembo 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."