Doing business in Africa requires focus and “feet on the ground” or genuine presence claims management at Orange Business Services, the Business-to-Business arm of France Telecom-Orange. The company says it has the experience, the knowledge and the resources to maintain its position on the continent and is upbeat about the growth of Africa’s multinational company base.
Speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg yesterday, Jean-Luc Lasnier, General Manager and Vice President for Middle East and Africa (MEA) at Orange Business Services said the B2B division contributes 30% of France Telecom-Orange’s overall turnover, which, in 2012, stood at €45,3 billion.
Given that 70% of its core target market in Africa (within numerous vertical markets) is based in South Africa, the company’s decision to settle its headquarters in this country is straightforward.
From this base the company delivers IT and communications services to 220 countries (aided by the company’s service delivery to the airline vertical) and local presence in 166.
According to Lasnier it is the company’s experience that many multinationals have adopted a high-tech approach and readily deploy technology, however, there is little standardisation of the IT environment.
Orange Business Services is focused on these companies, who are either established in emerging markets or who are seeking to expand their footprint on the continent, with services including networking, voice and telephony, machine-to-machine, machine-to-people and security.
“Orange Business Services serves as the business partner for integrated IT and communications … its service strategy revolves around network reinforcement, telepresence and datacentre,” added Lasnier.
However, disaster recovery, security and connectivity are also considered primary and progressive services.
“Due to the evolution of this continent, we have considered that investment will be critical to access, to connect more people. We have invested a lot in the Africa coast, in submarine cable infrastructure to extend broadband access within Africa,” Lasnier said. “We believe that Africa is in a new evolution, economically, politically and also in terms of technology.”
The replication of the same IT and communication solution across multiple countries is stated as the company’s core strength.
Ultimately, the commitment to invest in Africa and have true, on-the-ground presence is what counts in this market claim management at the company.
Chris Tredger, Online Editor