Tom Eggemeier: Harness new media or get left behind

Tom Eggemeier, Senior Vice President for Sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa of Alcatel-Lucent

IT News Africa caught up with Alcatel-Lucent’s Tom Eggemeier, Senior Vice President for Sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa, on a whirlwind trip to South Africa. Only a day before he was due in Barcelona, Tom cleared his schedule to spend some time discussing Alcatel-Lucent’s renewed focus on enterprise development in South Africa.

Smartphones and tablet PC’s allow consumers to connect with each other, and with the world at large, through always-on applications such as Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. People are sharing information and opinions at a phenomenal rate. Approximately fifty million Tweets are sent via Twitter every day. Consumers can derive enormous value from these platforms, Eggemeier would like to see businesses harnessing the new media to increase their brand awareness in the marketplace.

Eggemeier highlights an example of a Twitter user with a lot of influence who might have an unsatisfactory experience with a particular company and tweet about it. All of a sudden, thousands of potential customers are receiving the irate tweets of someone whose opinion they hold in high regard. Eggemeier suggests that companies turn this situation around by analysing the social media influence which a frequent customer might have, and targeting those with more “clout” than others. This would turn frequent customers into happy customers and brand ambassadors at the same time.

Tom also advocates businesses striving to give their employees the same high-quality technological experience at work as they can have at home. With applications such as Skype freely available for consumers to make cheap video calls from their homes, they still have to sit with an analog telephone on their office desk. With Gartner predicting that 200 million people will be paying for video conferencing by 2015, businesses should be innovating, not lagging decades behind their employees.

Furthermore, Tom feels that company’s should offer support for their employee’s smartphones and tablet PC’s.

When asked about Alcatel-Lucent’s strategy for the next year in Africa, Tom explained that the company plans to build on existing infrastructure in Algeria, Morocco, Egypt and South Africa, and a customer base of over 4000 enterprises to continue to deliver their full range of services, and as a springboard for further investment in Africa.

By Angela Meadon