Working silently towards business sustenance in highly networked ecosystems
By Olusegun Fayose
The entrepreneurial zeal of Nigerians is growing at an impressive rate. So says Djembe Communication, a pan-African communication consultancy firm. According to a recent survey carried out by the firm in association with Forbes Insight, 85% of young Nigerians are pro enterprise. Meaning that the entrepreneurial drive of young Nigerians is one of the highest on the continent and at a level that if harnessed can lead to disruptions in the traditional way of doing business.
By implication, the result of this research is hinting that whether the country is ready or not, there is a huge conveyor belt of young entrepreneurs waiting in the wings to unleash their bourgeoisies’ inclination on the nation’s diverse business sectors. This should bode well for competition and for the overall growth and development of the economy of any country; in this case, Nigeria.
However, with growing competition and constant battle for market share comes the challenge of finding the right fit for business needs especially in creating the bespoke business backbone for sustenance in high volume sectors and technology driven companies. One of such sectors, which attracts huge investment underlay and which is a critical contributor to the GDP in Nigeria and by extension on the African continent is the telecommunications sector.
According to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, the regulatory body for the telecoms industry, the Gross Domestic Product contributed by the industry alone has hit the 10% mark by the year 2018. With total industry investment of $50million in 2001, the telecoms industry has grown to invest over $70billion in 2018. The investment in human and material resources has also witnessed an upward ascendancy over the last couple of years according to Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, NCC’s executive vice chairman/CEO.
Not surprisingly, a lot of business and services providers are joining the fray in the quest to provide the right business solutions in the telecommunication sector and improve the industry ROI.
One of such businesses is Vodacom Business Nigeria.
Vodacom Business Nigeria is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Vodacom Group, a leading provider of total communications solutions that delivers reliable and affordable connectivity, hosting, unified communications and business mobility services to Nigerian businesses.
For the past 27 years (since 1992) the Vodacom brand has become synonymous with Africa. The company has operated successfully on the continent providing, among others, top-notch business connectivity and telecommunications services to multi-national organisations in over 40 countries, while covering over 1,200 of the continent’s largest and leading corporations.
With innovative services, Vodacom has made the dream of fully converged networks a reality – a reality that has made it possible for many businesses to operate amorphously in ecosystems where integrated solutions interact seamlessly, efficiently and profitably.
The Birth of Vodacom Business Nigeria
In order to lead companies to their desired destination in terms of access to integrated business solutions and locate its services closer home to end-users, The Vodacom group launched Vodacom Business Nigeriain 2012 to offer clients a range of access mediums, secure networking solutions and hosted services which empower clients to enjoy the freedom and flexibility to inroad a broad cocktail of application services in a seamless and ubiquitous manner.
With unfettered real-time access to company intellectual property, Vodacom Business Nigeria has steadily enthroned a sustainable business climate where companies at the local, regional and national levels enjoy enterprise grade communication services everywhere and anytime. This strategic business edge is only possible through the Vodacom brand’s humongous asset and experiential repository – a combination that evokes awe and respect among stakeholders and business partners.
Many stakeholders have often wondered about the VBN’s cutting-edge business solutions and aggressive penetration of the Nigerian market in less than a decade since its launch. The motivation is not far-fetched. It is in the business philosophy and brand positioning as a total Communications Solutions provider. This positioning strategy distils into the company’s Vision 2020 dream of empowering a connected society in which barriers to world class digital solutions and access are removed to give way to the delivery of significant social values through education, healthcare, financial services and agriculture.
Little wonder therefore, that,buoyed by it business ethos, the company has made enviable inroads into the heart of the Nigerian business community, partnering with and amassing clients from segments as diverse as Oil & Gas, Banking and insurance, Manufacturing, Mining & Construction, Retail & Distribution Services, Tourism and Hospitality, among others.
One other important secret to note about the Vodacom brandis the company’s extensive business tentacles which draws its impetus from theimposing satellite network (including 50 transponders and 24 dedicated teleports) which stretches to the farthest corners of the continent. Plus, access to multiple subsea cable landing ports. This has made it possible, among others, for over 580 million people in over 45 countries to be connected by the company’s vast network. This investment war chest, an embodiment of the infrastructure and support services of the company, ensures that networked partners are always connected both locally and extensively.By dint of Vodacom’s pan-African “punching power” therefore, the financial outlay for clients is greatly reduced as the company can provide most of the needed back-end infrastructure buffer to keep client’s business running uninterrupted and profitably.
So, what makes VBN’s services significantly different from competition?
Vodacom Business Nigeria’s Solutions services:
Described as the basis of all business communications, VBNs connectivity package covers services such as email, web access, networking and video conferencing. It also includes data transfers & backups, plus bandwidth-intensive and specialised applications. Under its unique connectivity offering, VBN provides connectivity solutions such as broadband solutions, network solutions, managed services and professional services. All these packages are provided to the delight of its ever-expanding clientele.
2. Unified Communications:
This service exists principally to help clients shore-up their productivity and stay competitive. This service allows businesses to experience the powerful convergence of a multitude of communication tools such as voice, data, email, video, instant messaging, mobility and presence. These benefits areoffered via services such as enterprise voice solution (business connect and business express), video collaboration solution (video connect) and skype for business, to mention but a few.
3. Hosting Services:
Through its hosting services, VBN works with potential clients to understand and identify IT requirements with a view to provide access to business management tools and resources that help to improve business performance.
This encompasses the deployment of software as a service, Saas, (for Microsoft Office 365), infrastructure as a service, iaaS, (which involves virtual hosting, dedicated hosting & Microsoft Azure) and cloud security(divided into security solution and cloud backup). Security solution covers perimeter security, anti-spam, anti-virus, content filtering and VPN; while cloud back-up covers desktop and service back up.
4. Business Mobility:
In a business world that is in a state of perpetual flux, business mobility solutions helps clients to rise to the changing dynamics of their business clime without the business limiting challenges of downtime and other costly disruptions. The VBN business mobility solutions package adapts the most appropriate solutions to suit the needs of teeming clients. The broad package covers mobile voice and data which include mobile voice, mobile data and CUE, and Internet of Things which is sub-divided into financial services and public services. Financial services caters to mobile back-up and payment solutions while public service covers connected agriculture, e-school and M-health.
There is a popular aphorism that many are called but few are chosen. For VBN, this is not the case. Many companies have enjoyed the rare opportunity to experience the VBN’s magic. Many still have opted to stay connect with the company. The roll call is as intimidating as it is diverse.
Vodacom Business Nigeria: The treasure throve of testimonials:
The popular axiom thatfailure is an orphan while success is a polygamist holds true for Vodacom Business Nigeria as indicated by the retinue of awards the company has garnered over the years. The accolades speak volume of the company’s business ethics, work/organisational culture, professionalism and consistency in service delivery as captured below:
· NTIT Awards 2018 – Managed Services Provider of the year
· NTIT Awards 2018 – Telecom Business of the year
· NTIT Awards 2018 – Enterprise Solutions Provider of the year
· NTIT Awards 2018 – Internet of Things Provider of the year
· BoICT Awards 2018 – Enterprise Broadband Services Provider of the year
· BoICT Awards 2018 – Enterprise Solutions Provider of the year
· BoICT Awards 2018 – Internet of Things focused business of the year
· NTIT Awards 2017 – Internet of Things Focused Company
· NTIT Awards 2017 – Telecom Business of the Year
· NTIT Awards 2017 – Enterprise Solutions Provider of the Year
· BoICT Awards 2017 – IoT Focused Company of the Year
· BoICT Awards 2017 – Enterprise Solutions Provider of the Year
· BoICT Awards 2016 – Enterprise Solutions Provider of the Year
· BoICT Awards 2016 – Cloud Service Provider of the Year
· BoICT Awards 2015 – ICT Infrastructure Provider of the Year (Data Centre)
· BoICT Awards 2015 – Cloud Service Provider of the Year
· BoICT Awards 2014 – Cloud Service Provider of the Year
· BoICT Awards 2014 – Enterprise Solutions Provider of the Year
· ATPN Merit Award 2014 – Best African Broadband Enterprise Company of the Year
· CAIA Awards 2014 – Enterprise Solutions of the Year (SaaS)
· BoICT Awards 2013 – Enterprise Solutions Provider of the Year
· SatCom Stars Awards 2010 – First Class Customer Service
· Capacity Awards 2010 – Best African Wholesale Offering
· Innovation Awards 2010 – Wireless Network Infrastructure Innovation Award
· SatCom Stars Awards 2010 – GSM Backhaul Operator of the Year
Now in its seventh year since the commencement of operations in Nigeria, Vodacom Business, without doubt, has a lot to celebrate. But the road to gaining higher market share and increased profitability lay in its ability to up the ante in creating more awareness about its business in order to leverage parity with more “outspoken” competitors such as MainOne, MTN, Glo, IBM, Rack Centre etc. who, for instance, offer cloud related solutions to different segments of the market.
Years after Alan Knot-Craig, former CEO of Vodacom (1996 – 2008) made a botched attempt to penetrate the GSM industry; many Nigerians are still unaware that the Vodacom business is more than just GSM and that the company is here in Nigeria for the long haul even without a leg into the more lucrative GSM sector. In concluding,it does appear that Nigerians need more convincing that VBN is not a special purpose vehicle designed to wait it out and latch onto any slip up to disrupt the GSM perking order and give MTN, Glo, Airtel and 9mobile a big run for their money. Perhaps, it’s a matter of time.