The implementation of a host of services from local supplier Saicom has provided significant performance improvements and cost savings to business services specialist Rentokil Initial in its sub-Saharan region.
According to Tashwill Carelse, Rentokil Initial’s IT Director for sub-Saharan Africa, the company specifically chose Saicom as its supplier for its ability to quickly adopt new technology and willingness to try new techniques based on real business needs and challenges.
Rentokil Initial currently contracts Saicom for a multitude of services, including connectivity, hosting, Hosted PBX, and most importantly, an APN service which has revolutionised the way that Rentokil Initial handles its mobile user base. With 15 branches and 1200 users, more than 65% of the users are mobile-based and approximately 97% of the data used is either cloud-based or via data centres in the United Kingdom.
After a period of using products offered by traditional MPLS providers, Tashwill was looking for a company that could offer more flexibility. “Our pilot project with Saicom was around an SD-WAN rollout, allowing us to connect more efficiently with our branches in Africa where connectivity and bandwidth costs are a problem,” he says.
“We wanted to connect our branches and huge mobile workforce through a cloud-based PBX system, that could navigate the connectivity issues we found in many of our branches. We put our requirements out to tender, and to our surprise, it was the smaller and more agile Saicom that was able to tick all the boxes.”
According to Kyle Woolf, CEO of Saicom, the company’s in-depth understanding of the SME market allows it to engage quickly and to respond creatively to customer requests, even up to large enterprise levels. “Generally, SME customers don’t want all the services offered in bundles by MPLS providers but want to be able to pick and choose what they need in order to save costs,” he says. “Our experience in that market has made us a more agile organisation, that focuses on listening to what the customer is asking for, and then to give it to them.”
As a leading partner of VeloCloud, Saicom was able to work with Rentokil Initial’s local and global teams to offer a converged voice and data solution over VeloCloud’s SD-WAN platform. According to Greg de Chasteauneuf, CTO at Saicom, working with a customer such as Tashwill and Rentokil Initial was a pleasure.
“It is not often that we find someone like Tashwill, who is not only willing to try new technologies but is very clear about exactly what he wants to achieve with them,” he says. “It is very hard to develop customer-forward services in a vacuum, and we’ve been able to work with Rentokil Initial as a real customer with real problems, in real time – and yet have someone who is ready to try leading-edge technologies to satisfy his technical and business requirements.”
An exciting project for both parties has been the use of Saicom.Connect, an APN solution which allows the customer to monitor and manage mobile data. Once linked via the APN to the Saicom.Connect platform, it allows for the organisation to then monitor and allocate data per user. If a user is consuming data at a high rate, the business can drill down into the usage and see what they are using the data for and analyse whether it is for business-critical applications.
“The APN provides a seamless connection to our network, allows us to control the data we use, and very importantly, has saved us a considerable amount of money,” says Carelse. “Our users connect via a virtual private network (VPN) via a corporate APN. Our mobile costs were running away, and since implementing Saicom’s analytics layer we have been able to save 20% of those costs. As we are monitoring the costs per user, it means that our branch managers are able to have one-on-one conversations with users who are consuming too much data and manage it on a granular level.”
Saicom is continuing to work with Rentokil Initial on further enhancements, adding management layers and looking at ways of improving last mile connectivity for the company at its remote branches in Africa. “For example, even though a branch might have fibre connectivity, the quality of that fibre is often poor in more rural areas,” says Carelse. “With SD-WAN and links available from Saicom, we are able to monitor our data connectivity to use the most appropriate and efficient paths, and switch as we need to.”
“We are looking forward to our continued journey with Rentokil Initial,” says de Chasteauneuf. “Finding a customer such as them is a pleasure in our business, and we have no doubt that we will continue to grow and find new business solutions together.