[INTERVIEW] Realising greater value from technology investments in Africa
This week Africa Business Communities speak to Jonathan Tawiah, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of Ostec Ghana Limited.
Educated in the UK, Jonathan has a first class degree in Financial Economics and a Finance MBA. Jonathan worked with various Capital Markets companies; specializing in technology investments. Relocated to Ghana during the second half of 2000 and started Ostec in 2001.
Tell us about your company.
“Ostec is a leading IT infrastructure services provider, we provide a single source of technology, skills and expertise to help companies and their IT departments realise greater value from their technology investments. Our services capability spans three key areas: Technology sourcing, Infrastructure integration and Managed services. This enables us to offer a true end-to-end approach with our services; we can advise you on your IT strategy; implement appropriate technology solutions and manage elements of the IT infrastructure on your behalf. Ostec is now the largest Managed IT Services Provider in Ghana. We are also growing pretty fast across West Africa and have recently moved into Central Africa. Our Managed IT Services Division manages IT in West Africa for some of the world’s leading organizations such as the BT Global Services, Vodafone, United Nations, The SIAT Group and Cummins. Our Connectivity Services Division has designed and rolled out Wide Area Network Connectivity for various global businesses operating in West Africa. Ostec’s appeal lies in our ability to combine expert consulting, integration and support services with world-class customer services. We offer customers three main options or flavours for use of our managed services. One is where the customer owns the network and shares management responsibility for it with Ostec, in this scenario, Ostec will place IT staff to run the network. The second option is where Ostec itself owns the IT equipment at customer’s office and shares equipment management responsibility with the customer. A typical example of this approach is where Ostec does all the investment in equipment and places first level support teams on site. The customer then employs an IT Director to focus on strategy. The third option is where Ostec owns the IT equipment at our back office and sets up connectivity between client and Ostec back office for access to applications and support.”
What, according to you, are the major developments that have affected the IT industry in Ghana?
“The current downward trend in cost of bandwidth is having a major impact on IT Service delivery in Ghana. Companies are now keen on trying out various collaborative applications online to improve efficiency and deliver better customer experience to their customers. This is fueling the demand for more connectivity between company HQ and branch network.”
What are the key trends in IT to watch for in the near future?
“The future is Cloud Computing. This is also becoming more of a reality now because of the drop in bandwidth prices. We see Cloud Computing as the key enabler for small to medium size businesses to reduce cost, concentrate more on their core business and compete better.”
What does mobile technology mean for the future of IT in Ghana and specifically for your organization?
“With the introduction of 3g networks and cloud computing; we see mobile platforms and applications as the key driver for taking services in large volumes and in ‘bite size’ formats to the consuming public quickly and affordable.”
Social Networking is becoming a mainstream component of IT. How can small business have access to this social networking phenomenon?
“The question is not really about ‘access to’… Social Networking and / or presence on the web is a MUST for every business. Ghanaians are spending ever increasing amounts of time searching for services and even contact details online, so having a web presence is now a necessity. It cost nothing to sign up for a Face book, LinkedIn or a YouTube account; yet, these are all great application for marketing services or yourself!”
What are your growth plans for 2011/12?
“The 2010 fiscal year was our best ever. We saw turnover increase by 40% but our most stunning performance shows on the bottom line where we saw pre tax profits go up by 300%. We are working smarter by better utilizing our engineers across different projects. We are looking to grow our operations in Central Africa in 2011. The Central Africa region is virgin territory for us yet it already contributes significant numbers to our bottom-line
What is the latest about your Ostec Ghana?
“We are currently working on a large regional connectivity project for a global business customer based in Europe.”
This article was originally posted on West Africa Business Communities