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Pieter de Villiers on building Clickatell into a $1-billion tech giant

Pieter de Villiers began his career as an optometrist, but quickly pivoted into the world of technology entrepreneurship when he realised running a retail store was not his cup of tea.
Today, the business he co-founded with his twin brother Casper and two others -- Danie du Toit and Patrick Lawson -- is chasing down US$1-billion in annual revenue and is helping invent the fledgling world of "chat commerce".
De Villiers joins Duncan McLeod on the TechCentral podcast to talk about Clickatell's journey, including the early days of the business, how it raised funding from Sequoia Capital -- becoming the first African company to successfully get funding from the storied venture capital firm -- and why he spent 10 years living in Silicon Valley, only to return to South Africa in 2015.
He talks about how Clickatell helped WhatsApp in the early days become the messaging giant it is today (co-founder Jan Koum was a fan of the Clickatell technology) and how the company has used WhatsApp as a basis to build solutions in the fields of chat banking and chat commerce.
He also talks about Clickatell's future plans and comments on whether an IPO is in the offing.
Don't miss the discussion!

Interview: Stephen van Coller reflects on two tough years at EOH

For the past two years, Stephen van Coller has been holding down one of the toughest CEO jobs in South Africa -- attempting to lead IT services group EOH Holdings out of dire straits.
The former MTN Group executive, who joined EOH in September 2018, has been fighting a corruption storm since early 2019, when TechCentral first published details of why Microsoft terminated partner agreements with the JSE-listed firm.
Since then, its law firm, ENSafrica has uncovered shocking evidence of malfeasance in EOH's public sector business unit.
In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod asks Van Coller about his past two years at EOH, the impact it's had on him personally, why he chose to be so transparent about the corruption, and what happens next.
Van Coller also talks about EOH's 2020 full-year financial results, which were published on Wednesday, and why he believes the group is now on the mend.
Don't miss the discussion!

Solving companies' IT challenges in a post-pandemic world [promoted]

The world changed dramatically in 2020, thanks for the Covid-19 pandemic. Digital transformation strategies are being fast-tracked and businesses are being forced to update their infrastructure to accommodate a mobile workforce. But none of this is easy.
Cloud is a key component of this change, with companies having to choose appropriate platforms (public, private, hybrid), coupled with intelligent, self-managing storage.
They also require a cloud platform that's agile and flexible, to heighten innovation and competitiveness without incurring massive cost.
Furthermore, businesses have to maintain their IT infrastructure, particularly in data centres, which play a central role in cloud and digital transformation strategies, and which require on-site support.
The hard lockdown and social distancing rules had a huge ripple effect on this type of support, highlighting the need for modern infrastructure that does not require as much on-site support and physical intervention.
In this podcast, Chris Bamber, MD at SYSDBA, and Stephan Steyn, solutions architect at HPE South Africa, address these issues and provide advice for businesses that are grappling with 2020's big IT challenges.
In short, they explain why a hybrid cloud environment that offers a pay-as-you-use model with intelligent storage features can address the current challenges that businesses face.

Dimension Data on why getting CX right is crucial for modern banks to thrive [promoted]

In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral speaks to Dimension Data executives about how improving the customer experience (CX) in banking, using technology, can help banks do better by their clients.
Dimension Data Middle East & Africa executive for intelligent customer experience Nompumelelo Mokou and the company's head of sales in the intelligence customer experience go-to-market practice, Bruce Lambourne, explain in the podcast how banks are being severely challenged by disruption, especially technology-led disruption.
They talk about how banks are having to adapt to consumers who now expect effortless, on-demand engagement and hyper-personalisation.
In the podcast, Mokou and Lambourne discuss:
* What the bank of the future will look like;
* How the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted debt recovery rates in the banking sector and how Dimension Data can assist from a technology perspective in this regard;
* How banks can remain relevant in a complex and rapidly changing world, especially those that still have a lot of legacy computing infrastructure;
* How Dimension Data can assist in optimising performance in the banking sector; and
* Why hyper-personalisation has become essential for modern banks.
The NTT Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report (CXBR) referenced during the podcast discussion is available here:

How CallMiner is helping African Bank retain and grow its client base [promoted]

In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral talks to African Bank CIO Penny Futter and the bank's executive of credit and data science, Vere Millican, about their decision to deploy advanced speech analytics software from CallMiner.
Frank Sherlock, CallMiner's vice-president for international markets, joins the podcast to talk about the company and how speech analytics and interaction analytics software works and what it can do for clients.
Futter begins the conversation with an overview of African Bank, how big it is and its target market. She then explains how the investment in CallMiner's Eureka speech analytics platform supports the bank's business strategy.
Millican then explains how the CallMiner relationship come to be and why the bank chose the company's solutions. He explains what African Bank is able to do with the technology and what they're hoping to achieve with the technology in the near term.
Sherlock explains how speech analytics and interaction analytics can help companies in their digital transformation journeys, before wrapping up the discussion by talking about where he sees the relationship with African Bank going in future.

Westcon-Comstor’s Lyndsey Chiinze on why hybrid cloud matters [promoted]

In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral speaks to NetApp product manager at Comstor Southern Africa Lyndsey Chiinze about “hybrid cloud infrastructure”, or HCI, and why it’s become critically important in digital transformation projects.
This is particularly true, Chiinze said, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and work-from-measures.
In the podcast, Chiinze talks about end-user computing (EUC) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and why these are important concepts with millions of people working from home and, in future, as employees continue to work remotely from a multitude of locations.
She covers where HCI fits into a discussion on cloud computing and how far South African companies are in their journeys.

What Donald Trump can teach your company about digital transformation [promoted]

What if South African companies could learn a thing or two from outgoing US President Donald Trump? Or, more specifically, the way his campaign team used technology to secure the controversial candidate the presidency in 2016?
Karl Fischer, MD of the coastal region at software house DVT and the company's chief marketing officer and executive head of artificial intelligence and data, believes corporate South Africa should be doing just that.
In this episode of the podcast, Fischer unpacks how Team Trump used analytics, social media, mobile technology and even cloud computing, to win the White House and why South African companies would be wise to pay attention as they look to harness digital transformation to maintain and grow their customer bases.
It's a fascinating discussion. Don't miss it!

How the Da Vinci Institute is pivoting online with the cloud and FuseForward [promoted]

In this promoted episode of the podcast, TechCentral chats to FuseForward MD Premie Naicker about the proof of concept the Amazon Web Services partner is doing is involved with at the Da Vinci Institute.
FuseForward, a Canadian company founded in Vancouver, opened its first office in South Africa about 18 months ago. It saw an opportunity to open an office in the country to coincide with the launch of Amazon Web Services' data centres in Cape Town.
Education is a big focus for FuseForward and its contract with the Da Vinci Institute is significant, Naicker says in the podcast.
Da Vinci's executive dean for research and institutional partnerships, HB Klopper, joins Naicker on the podcast to discuss the proof of concept and the impact it has had, especially during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Taking remote, online-based education into home or into remote areas presents real challenges, Klopper says in the podcast, but the potential is there to amazing things using modern, cloud-based technology.
But pivoting to online education is not simply about recording lectures and delivering these online, says Kloppers. Rather, there needs to be proper interactivity with students to ensure a rich exchange of ideas, which then facilitates learning.
Naicker and Kloppers discuss the best practices coming out of solutions implemented in online education during Covid-19 and where the sector is going.
* This promoted content was paid for by FuseForward

Mondia launches time-based video streamer Monsooq in South Africa

A new emerging markets-focused video streaming platform called Monsooq, developed by multinational media group Mondia, has been launched in South Africa, becoming the first market worldwide to get access.
In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral's Duncan McLeod interviews Mondia chief commercial officer Paolo Rizzardini about why his company chose South Africa as its launchpad and talks about its expansion plans in the rest of Africa.
Unlike Netflix, Showmax and other subscription-based streaming platforms, Moonsoq is time based, meaning users only pay when they're watching -- at a rate of R2 for every 30 minutes consumed. The platform also offers access to casual games on the same basis.
Rizzardini explains why he believes this model will have huge appeal in South Africa and other emerging markets.
For now, users must pay for access (after their first free hour's viewing) by using either a credit card or debit card, but Mondia is in talks with the mobile operators to introduce carrier billing, which Rizzardini says is important to attracting a mass-market audience.
In the podcast, he talks about the content available on the platform, why a focus on local content is the company's top priority and its plans to offer live sports.
Don't miss the discussion!

Maxtec MD Praven Pillay on cybersecurity in a cloud and Covid era [promoted]

In this episode of the podcast, TechCentral speaks to Maxtec MD Praven Pillay about the growing importance of cybersecurity, especially in the cloud, and the solutions the company offers the market.
The conversation kicks off with a look at Maxtec's history and the role it plays in the IT ecosystem in South Africa and the broader African region.
It then turns to Maxtec's relationship with Fortinet and its offerings in the information security space, particularly when it comes to securing cloud infrastructure, be it public cloud, private cloud or a hybrid environment.
Pillay takes listeners and viewers through the Fortinet Cloud Security offering, looking at FortiGate next-generation firewalls, FortiSandbox, FortiManager, FortiWeb and FortMail.
The conversation also touches on what companies have had to go through to secure a remote workforce through the Covid-19 pandemic and how Fortinet's solutions, through Maxtec, have helped clients and their employees forced to work from home.
* This promoted content was paid for by the party concerned

Inside the JSE's plan to build a blockchain-based capital-raising platform

In this episode of the TechCentral podcast, Duncan McLeod speaks to Myles Milston, CEO of London-based Globacap Technology, which has received a £4-million (R83-million) investment from the JSE.
In addition to the investment, the JSE has signed a deal with Globacap to create a blockchain-based "private placements platform" to allow small and medium-sized firms to raise capital.
Milston explains in the podcast how the platform will work (and how it differs from a stock exchange), when it will be launched and who it will be aimed at.
Based on experience in other markets, technology companies, including start-ups, are likely to among the most active users of the platform, he said.
The venture, the JSE said, will “enable the raising of infrastructure finance and allow small to medium-sized issuers to raise capital in South Africa”.
Working with Globacap, the JSE will create a centralised platform, based on blockchain technology (developed by IBM), for issuers to raise capital "effectively and efficiently".
Globacap’s platform provides fundraising management tools to automate private issuances in the equity and debt capital markets. It also offers second round liquidity capabilities that allow holders of equity or debt instruments to exit or syndicate their original investment, the JSE said.
Through the partnership, the JSE intends to replicate and adapt Globacap’s offering across African markets, while reducing the execution risk of expanding into new markets and products.
Don't miss the discussion!

Bank Zero's Lezanne Human on disrupting banking in South Africa

Bank Zero is a new digital bank backed by former FNB CEO Michael Jordaan and launching in South Africa soon with a technology-led approach to financial services and low to zero fees.
TechCentral editor Duncan McLeod spoke to the bank's co-founder and executive director Lezanne Human about Bank Zero's launch plans, who it plans to target, what it's doing to differentiate itself from its rivals, and what is involved in launching a new bank in South Africa from both a regulatory and technology perspective.
In the podcast, Human explains why Bank Zero registered as a "mutual bank" and what that means, whether the South African market is big enough to support the raft of digital-focused banks that have launched or are launching soon, and why it sees entrepreneurs as key to its success.
She also discusses Bank Zero's bank charges, which it unveiled last week, and why it regards low or zero fees for banking as important as it tries to disrupt the market.
Don't miss the discussion!

306 episodes

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