Executive leadership at local unified email management services provider Mimecast South Africa is forthright about the Company’s ambition to step up efforts to engage and capture more of the enterprise segment. Describing their conquests in this space to date as “largely consequential”, Managing Director Brandon Bekker says this objective is now a focus – and it is working.
One of the reasons why the strategy is taking shape (and given that the Company can add the likes of Old Mutual, Sasol, Tiger Brands, Shoprite Checkers, Pick ‘n Pay and Mr Price, amongst others, to their client portfolio means that there is some degree of success to the strategy so far) is because, as Bekker explains, prospective clients now have the choice to deal with a wider partner base, rather than simply going with what they know.
The multinational company was founded in 2003 by Peter Bauer and Neil Murray. It has offices in the US, UK, Australia and South Africa. It has 500+ staff and in the region of 7,000 clients worldwide.
The Company’s bread & butter business is helping clients to remove the difficulties in handling its most important asset: data that passes through email systems.
It contends that corporate email has increasingly been used as a primary store for critical business information, and, at the same time, has become more complex, fragmented, less reliable and more costly.
One of the main drivers in this space is the growing level of complexity associated with corporate email management. In addition to compliance with corporate governance regulation, there is the need to adhere to data protection legislation such as POPI (Protection of Personal Information), as well as security and creating a seamless experience for the user.
In order to effectively address these issues, Mimecast developed a platform that uses cloud computing to deliver email management. The value proposition is a platform that reduces on-premise storage requirements and ensures continuity, security and compliance, along with service and support.
A layered approach to the market
In the past the Company’s sales force was deployed to cover three key markets – the SME market segment (operations with 150 seats or email users), the mid-market (up to 1500 users) and then the enterprise space (1500+ users).
There was one sales representative serving the enterprise space, there is now three.
Bekker explains, “The sales structure in a fast-growing business also reflects market penetration… we have changed things quite recently. We have had a lot of recent success in the enterprise space. Focus drives better results than just spray-gunning the market.”
To this end Mimecast SA has assimilated 60 named accounts, covering key sectors including retailers and government-type organisations, for the three sales representatives. “Each representative has twenty accounts and focus only on those accounts. So we try to drive the right message, PR and brand into those type of accounts,” Bekker continues.
However, the Company has applied a flexible approach to the sales structure. Those looking after the business’ mid-market are free to engage the top end of the market, as long as it is not one of the sixty named accounts.
This setup is the heart-beat of the business and its value proposition of helping clients to enhance email as a central and pervasive form of corporate communication.
Bekker explains that the email forum has advanced and today this channel has to be intensely secure to facilitate the transfer of data. “You have to build auxiliary services around email to make sure that it was secure, up all the time and that records of transactions are kept and accessible. So, typically, an email environment would be an Exchange server, then all services and software would be implemented around the email environment. It becomes complex and expensive to manage. It is also hard to find skills because IT engineers do not want to look after email servers … it is considered a bottom-feeding role.”
Given this current state of the market, Mimecast is positioned to provide a platform at Internet level and utilise a multi-tenancy service to remove the pain associated with people managing different systems, software and hardware, and deliver a service that takes care of auxiliary email requirements in the Cloud.
“We have what is essentially a set of databases to store information and policy engines for functionality. You can deliver deep functionality with a Software-as-a-Service platform. So we can currently produce about six hundred pieces of feature and functionality, off a single service,” he adds.
Whilst the reality for Mimecast SA is that it is expensive to focus on- and do business in Africa, the Company is well aware of the opportunities that do exist in the continent.
“Africa is so vast, with so many moving parts, that we can close a customer really quickly and opportunities are coming in from various countries. Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana are key growth markets, and we do have a number of clients in Africa,” Bekker adds. “We are in a strong leadership position in the South African market and our intent is to become a standard, but we are looking at IPO in the next couple of years in the US and with that we will have to commit to consistent growth, including Africa.”
Chris Tredger – Online Editor