Company Announcement: Communications consolidation - The strategic fundamentals
Africa|Facebook|Housing|IPads|IPhones|Kindles|PROJECT|Social Media|System|Systems|Twitter|Africa|South Africa|Communication Technologies|Communications Context|Connectivity Tool|Enterprise Wide Communications Architecture|Service|Systems|Infrastructure|Cellular Telephone|Communication Technologies|Mobile Phones|Smartphones
Corporate life has long featured a gulf between the interests, motivations, budgets and actions of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) department and, well, everyone else. This was true as long as communication technologies were largely hidden aspects of how humans interact. The notorious “Big Room” housing the company contact centre was an obvious manifestation of how separate ICT was from the rest of the company, on strategic and practical levels.
Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
In the last decade, however, social media has turned communication on its head. The results of the social media shift are visible in the corporate boardroom, where profoundly changing consumer behaviour is forcing CIOs, COOs, CEOs and CFOs into collective responsibility for a company's strategic development and operational successes. Today, the bottom line is pretty simple: business success requires an ICT department that is fully integrated into the wider business strategy.
Much of this change in strategic orientation is a reflection of the extraordinary flattening out of communications that is occurring across the world. But in South Africa, this revolution is wrapped up in the equally powerful mobile access revolution. The mobile phone is taking its place as our primary connectivity tool thanks to its ability to by-pass many of the frustrating infrastructure hindrances that continue to challenge the common man. Add spiralling mobile use to the general Social Media boom and you have a communication relationship between brand and consumer that is so fluid it's almost impossible to pin down.
This pattern has created an extremely challenging communication context for companies, where increasingly demanding consumers are expecting uniform levels of service and information across multiple channels (fax, email, Facebook, Twitter etc.) and devices (computers, smartphones, mobile phones, iPads, Kindles and iPhones). Brands simply have to cater to all these channels and devices, and most consumers couldn't care less what technical challenges have to be dealt with to deliver the service. If the communication isn't happening on their terms, they are increasingly likely to jump to a better equipped rival.
Thus companies are being forced to establish a consolidated, enterprise wide communications architecture able to cope with any communications context and unfettered by operational ring-fencing. There are many strategic and operational benefits to be gained from such consolidation; apart from the crucial ability to talk to consumers on their terms, a consolidated system offers the kind of high level strategic lens that allows decision makers to truly understand and assess what's going on in each division or business unit. Also, if executed correctly, it has the ability to dramatically reduce the overall cost of doing business.
With so many variables at play, it’s one thing to decide on a consolidated communications architecture and quite another to actually put it into practice. In South Africa, some companies are baulking at the challenge and appear to be hoping the new communications context will simply disappear and stop bothering them, while others are literally throwing the kitchen sink at making sure their systems are not only able to cope with today's demands, but are also able to seamlessly scale (up and down) according to future needs.
For those embracing the challenge, the first crucial step is to understand the full scope of the market driver's influencing the decision. Does the brand need to deliver better service across the board, or in a specific area? Are customers pushing for key changes in communications options? What are those changes? Has reporting become a cost-intensive internal nightmare? Every business case is different, and it is essential that decision makers fully understanding the fine details of their specific market context before making any bold consolidation moves. As always, it is essential that tactics are informed by a strong strategy if they are going to deliver the expected results.
Once the strategic backdrop has been put in place, the next step is to find a strong partner to work with - that means a proven company with a track record in migrating clients from silo-orientated communications architecture to a consolidated one. The quality of such a partnership is especially important because of the intense, long term nature of the exercise. Implementing a consolidated communication system is at the very least a one year project, and is likely to end up in the 12 – 24 month range in most cases. It's a mission-critical transition that can and does deliver massive savings and sharpened market performance - but never if approached half heartedly. A partner that understands the terrain and has proven credentials will take considerable responsibility for successful execution onto its shoulders, and will also bring vital insights into elements of the process, such as internal communication.
Given the high stakes and challenges involved, it's easy to see why some companies are simply avoiding the consolidation imperative. But when one considers the rate of change currently prevalent in how, why, where and when the world is communicating, Executives must heed the consolidation call in order to address this challenge.
Other Announcements News
The University of the Western Cape reports that its Fortinet security solutions are proving so efficient that no security incidents have occurred to date this year. Elroy October, Systems Administrator at UWC’s central IT department, joined the central IT department...
EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. … Power management company Eaton today announced the launch of Dura-KoteTM plating technology, which delivers a significantly higher level of corrosion resistance for Eaton’s carbon steel fluid conveyance products. Eaton’s carbon steel fluid...
The Financial Service Board released the Retail Distribution Review on November 7th, 2014. The review is based on the framework of Treating Customers Fairly and proposes 55 policy decisions in order to alleviate issues such as poor customer outcomes and mis-selling...
A consortium of nine banks has restructured the financing for the Gebze-Izmir highway project in Turkey to $5-billion, while the maturity was extended to 15 years from a previous seven, banking sources said.
The consortium consists of Deutsche Bank and eight Turkish...
Germany's HeidelbergCement has clinched a deal to sell its Hanson Building Products business to private equity firm Lone Star Funds for $1.4-billion to reduce its debt.
Up to $100-million of the takeover price will be payable in 2016, depending on the 2015...
Global mining equipment and services provider Sandvik Mining has recently provided one of Africa’s largest contract miners Aveng Moolmans with five diesel-powered drill rigs for use on the Nkomati nickel mine, in the northeast of South Africa, near Machadodorp in...
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
This Week's Magazine
South Africa remains an important manufacturing and export platform for Ford Motor Company, says executive chairperson Bill Ford. However, he adds that other countries on the continent are “becoming interesting”, and that the US carmaker is casting its net wider for...
TO BE PHASED INTO SERVICE The first MeerKAT dish, with another 63 to come
Germany’s Max-Planck-Society (MPG) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPlfR) are investing €11-million (about R150-million) into South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array programme. The money will be used to design, build and install S-band radio...
Infrastructure spend in sub-Saharan Africa will grow from $70-billion in 2013 to $180-billion by 2025, says PwC capital projects and infrastructure Africa leader Jonathan Cawood. This is one of the findings of PwC’s Capital Projects & Infrastructure report on East...
Private-owned defence and aerospace manufacturer Paramount Group and the Ichikowitz Family Foundation unveiled its Anti-Poaching Skills and K9 Training Academy in Magaliesburg last month.
Wireless networks should enable users to engage and must provide relevant information to them based on their activity and location
The inclusion of Bluetooth to provide sub-three meter accuracy and heightened functionality for users is one of the ways to change existing wireless networks into engagement networks. An engagement network differs from common wireless networks in that it enables the...