The largest division in Business Connexion is the Services division contributing R1 840,2 million (45,3%) to group revenues.
The ICT services offered by the Services division are ideally suited to the current economic environment where organisations are considering ways in which they can meet their business objectives while avoiding capital outlays and reducing operating costs. The division is able to leverage the group’s diverse skills base to understand the customer business model, value chain and strategy and, in so doing, help customers with any ICT service or technical requirement. Further to this, the specialists have the flexibility to design services specific to the customer requirement. The resultant benefit to the customer is an enhanced level of business performance, enriched information application and flexible information technology.
The Services division solution offering is extensive, ranging from business consulting services where specialist consultants engage with customers on best practice ITIL v3 (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) based processes, application design and SAP implementations through to the new and emerging world of cloud computing. Data centre and infrastructure services have always been central to the Services division solution offering. The established data centre services coupled with the addition of communications and security solutions have opened the pathway to cloud computing.
The division has made enormous strides in the recent past. Notably it has been awarded Tier IV status for the Midrand data centres verifying that they are fully compliant with the most up to date international design guidelines and best practice for high availability. This is a major factor when large enterprises consider outsourcing their mission critical systems. A further advantage for customers seeking to move to cloud services is the fact that Business Connexion now has over two years’ experience in deploying cloud solutions and is one of only two organisations in the country certified to build, sell, and outsource the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) solution. This capability enables customers to deploy virtualisation and cloud computing solutions quickly and cost effectively, giving them the agility to meet rapidly changing business needs.
During the year under review Business Connexion’s data centre operations were awarded the Frost and Sullivan Market Share Leader award with a total market share of 23% compared to the nearest competitor at 19%. The Services division also achieved a verified maturity rating of 3,55 out of 5, on thirteen ITIL v3 processes. This is the highest rating ever awarded to an African company and amongst the highest in the world.
There is increasing interest from the group’s premier customers to move towards cloud services because of the division’s focus on ITIL based best practice processes and the corresponding savings that they can achieve in the cloud environment. The development of a customer engagement “light” model has also made the solution offerings more affordable to Business Connexion’s smaller corporate sector customer base. This benefit can be seen in the division winning back previously lost customers, being awarded contracts with new customers, and achieving “preferred supplier status”.
The global services management centre (GSMC) continues to contribute significantly to the Services division. At the year-end the GSMC managed approximately 200 000 infrastructure assets with 26 agents in the command centre and in excess of 200 agents at the services desk servicing approximately 170 000 active users.
With the anticipated growth in cloud computing and vendors increasingly recognising the high level of skills and expertise the organisation has, the Services division is well positioned to partner with vendors with respect to the ongoing development of solution offerings. This, coupled with signs of economic recovery, will allow the Services division to capitalise on its market leader status and deliver on its growth strategy in an environment where customers are constantly seeking to deliver greater value from their information technology infrastructure and applications at significantly lower costs.
Within the Professional Services division application development and support are showing steady growth. In addition the business consulting business unit has shown strong resilience to the global economic climate as customers seek better ways of managing their business processes and information technology infrastructure. This, directly and indirectly, helps the Services division drive its complete solution offerings from Microsoft solutions, SAP offerings, through to the complete list of data centre offerings.
The Services division has been successful in retaining and re-signing a number of large outsourcing contracts that were up for renewal. These renewals are for a further three year period. There has been a considerable increase in activity in the outsourcing and managed services market during the past few months and Business Connexion has been successful in being short listed for a number of these deals. Should the group be successful in winning its share of these deals they will contribute significantly to the revenue base in the future. Business Connexion’s expansion in KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape is progressing well and the group has been awarded some good contracts during the year and prospects in these areas remain promising.
Overall the Services division is confident that it has created the platforms, skills sets and business model that will continue to position it as a major player in the managed services and outsourcing industry.
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