2020 was not the year we anticipated and it will go down in history. The global pandemic has impacted our business, the telecommunication industry, and the world as we know it. Many lessons have been learnt along the way, and as a business, we have had to adapt our offerings and solutions to give rise to more opportunities for scalable growth. Steven Sutherland, Adapt IT Telecoms Executive Director, recaps the lessons learnt and opportunities gained in 2020 and what the business is striving towards in 2021.
Adapting to COVID-19
COVID-19 has disrupted every industry across the world and has challenged businesses to adapt, change, and align to the “new normal”. What did this mean for Adapt IT Telecoms? We had to take a look at our product stack, dig down into our core competencies as well as assist our customers and our own departments with solutions that allowed for work to go on, especially during national and international lockdowns and implemented restrictions.
We moved quickly to ensure that we could meet the market demands for remote working and connectivity. This was done by using our APN-as-a-service, self-service platforms, and data management solutions. This provided secure and safe connectivity as well as data management capabilities for businesses that needed to have their employees work from home. These solutions were also used internally across all Adapt IT departments.
We have seen significant growth in this space over the course of this year, and it is a trend that we believe will continue to develop and grow, due to many businesses having seen successes related to remote work.
COVID-19 pushed every boundary and due to business having to continue, as usual, everything was facilitated remotely. Our teams managed to implement entire projects without being on-site or meeting our customers in person. Although this is a positive and the projects were successful, it does not prove that it is the best way to do things. As a business, we enjoy building direct customer relationships and having our team connect with customers on the ground. It is something that we knew was important before, but now more than ever, we believe it is essential and we look forward to connecting more with our customers in person in 2021.
Expanding into Africa
2020 has been a year of growth for us as a business, and a large percentage of this growth has come from our expansion into Africa. We are proud to have worked with several new customers across the continent to implement solutions that allow them to enhance their revenue streams and add more value to their customer base. These customers include:
- Telkom Kenya is currently using our CCSS platform which has seen significant growth with 30 000 connections being made in just under a year. These numbers showcase that customers want to engage using self-service platforms, and MNO’s are seeing great value in this.
- Telmar Madagascar is implementing our NextGen VAS platforms. We will be replacing several core systems relating to these networks’ revenue streams through the implementation of our USSD, SMS, bulk messaging, and SMS firewall products.
- Togo Cell is also implementing several products from our tech stack that include our VAS services platforms, USSD, SMS, bulk messaging, SMS firewall as well as our analytics offering.
It has been exciting to watch our solutions be implemented across these networks, and also it has highlighted that our product stacks, variations, and solutions are the right mix. It is a feather in our cap to know that our customers are seeing the value and reaping the rewards of these solutions.
Expanding beyond Africa
We have enjoyed a footprint in Australasia, supporting Telstra’s Advanced Analytics needs with our CDRlive Platform, for almost 20 years. Here too we are moving into a more “Cloud-Based” architecture to provide both scale and agility to this business-critical business tool and are looking to expand our product offering into the key end-user client.
The constantly changing US mobile network environment has also created some opportunity within the MVNO market, which we are hoping to leverage in the coming months as these important entities strive for profitability in a highly competitive space.
Continuously working towards improving our offerings and solutions
At Adapt IT Telecoms, we have continued to work hard to ensure that we look at new and innovative ways to improve our service offerings and product solutions. We have achieved this in 2020 by successfully upgrading our CCSS (Corporate Customer Self Service) engine that supports the likes of Vodacom South Africa, from CCSS3/VSM3 to CCSS4/VSM4. This adds significant value to Vodacom’s customer base and will help the network remain competitive in this dynamic market.
In keeping with the times and digital transformation, we are on the verge of moving our APN manager to full cloud-based implementation. This reduces the limitation associated with managing and maintaining on-premises hardware and allows us to service a multitude of clients from one cloud-based solution. This move will give us immense growth and scalability opportunities in the coming years.
Looking towards 2021
In 2020 we have managed to share our passion for the industry and our knowledge by participating in different virtual conferences and exhibitions, engaging in panel discussions on industry-related topics, and through our various marketing activities. This has allowed us to gain market recognition and position ourselves as a thought leader in the industry. But as with everything, there is always an opportunity to improve and innovate, which is our goal for 2021. We aim to achieve this through:
- Adapt IT Telecoms Graduate Program
As a business, we understand the need to grow and develop the next generation of skilled software and app developers, who will ultimately be the future of the telecommunication industry. It was out of this need that our graduate program was born. During the 12-month program, computer science graduates will be equipped with the knowledge and experience needed to excel in this industry as developers. We look forward to welcoming our first four graduates in January 2021.
- The dedicated product development department
As our business has grown, we have identified the need for a focused and dedicated product development department, and we have used 2020 to ensure that we have the right team in place. This new department will focus on ensuring that our platforms and solutions remain relevant as well as developing roadmap items and innovative new offerings. The impact of this will be new innovative solutions that we can take to market, more streamlined implementation, shorter delivery times, and faster reactions to new trends. This will position our business for more sustainable growth and enhance our customer experience in the long run.
- FinTech partnerships
The importance of Fintech has been highlighted in 2020, especially in terms of cashless transactions, mobile money, online banking, etc. which assists in making transactions without having to physically be in space. With this trend set to continue gaining traction in the coming years, we have decided to partner with FinTech industry leaders to provide our customers with attractive and market-ready offerings and solutions.
2020 has been a trying and challenging time, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We would like to take this moment to thank all our customers and staff for all their support this year. In 2021 we will continue building on the growth gained in 2020 and ensure that we remain the Telco partner of choice by providing product offerings and solutions that are competitive, innovative, and answer to the needs of our customers. We look forward to connecting more with our customers in the coming year and building the telecommunications industry together.
Steven Sutherland experienced Adapt IT Divisional Executive, dynamic business leader for their Telecoms Division with a demonstrated 25-year history in the telecommunications and IoT sectors. Strong global marketing, sales, and business development professional with 15 plus years focused experience in the Southern and Rest-of-Africa markets and a unique blend of entrepreneurial spirit combined with a passion for both technology and business.
At Adapt IT Steven is responsible for building and growing the Telecoms Division on top of its industry-proven software competencies including but not limited to Customer Experience and Self Service, NextGen VAS, IoT, FINTECH, and Advanced Analytics and always looking forward to an opportunity to demonstrate the value that their 20 plus years of experience in these disciplines can bring to your business