Ayo Adegboye, PhD, is the new Managing Director at Business Connexion Nigeria/West Africa.
A Fellow of Institute of Information Management Africa, seasoned professional with combined sixteen years wealth of first-hand experience that cut across both Public and Private Sectors in Telecoms, IT, Consumer Electronics and Marketing.
Adegboye is an alumni of famous Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) Sales Team; the pioneer Business Manager at Galaxy Backbone; under the Presidency also lead a change management at MTN Nigeria with BT Consultants before he proceeded to IBM, Samsung Electronics, South Korea and Schneider Electric West &East Africa as the Vice President, ITB for the region where he was responsible for Overseeing APC by Schneider Electric Go To Market Strategy, IT business and Operation across the region which include P&L.
Adegboye spoke to selected ICT journalists; peter oluka was there for Nigeria CommunicationsWeek. Excerpts.
BCX is a 35-year old company with about 7000 staff strength. It is the foremost IT system integrator with operations in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Until recently, BCX was acquired by the biggest telecoms Company in Africa which is Telkom South Africa.
Today, we pride ourselves in providing customer solutions in the areas of specialize services, IT services, system integration and we partner with the best club of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, HP, Oracle, Dell, Schneider Electrics; just to name few.
Business Connexion is also one company that is in the forefront of internet of things. It is obvious that IT transverses all aspects of human life today.
Therefore, we are business enablers. Also, we are that company that has been able to offer one-in-all-solution to offices, including large, medium and small businesses. In many organizations today you still see a lot of architectural work, networking provided by BCX.
Plans to Lead BCX (Nigeria’s) Vision
I am excited about working for BCX with combined sixteen years working experience. As the leader of the new BCX drives in Nigeria, one principal vision for us is to come up with value differentiation programme.
We are not going to channel our efforts on the competition; rather our drives are geared towards superior customer satisfaction.
Hopefully, when the customers are happy, our competitors will come behind. We intend to remain the trusted advisers to our customers; offering them consultancies as well.
Going beyond that, we understand the terrain/environment in Nigeria today. We are lining up blue ocean strategy that will keep us distinct from others.
Recession: Need for Knowledge-Based Economy
Talking about what government should be doing to harness ICT potentials in pushing the country’s economy forward; well, those challenges have be there for years.
Considering the situation we have found ourselves, government needs to come up with strong policies that will create enabling environment.
However, in as much as government is diversifying to other sectors; it must take into cognizance that diversification to knowledge-based economy is key now. When you talk about knowledge based economy, it is about exporting knowledge.
A typical example of knowledge-based economy is India. There are a lot of software from India used across the world. They rake in billions of dollars yearly. Thus, the Nigerian government needs to channel its interest around IT.
In addition, encourage local content. BCX has taken an initiative by appointing a Nigerian to lead its business in the country. This is the kind of initiative that should be encouraged among other multinationals.
Most importantly, ICT policies should encourage local talents to building exportable knowledge so that in few years from now we can leverage that aspect of our resources.
The way policies around ICT are written, the government needs to encourage private-public partnership. Gone are the days’ policies are drafted without inputs from the private/technocrats.
Specific Policy Areas Government Must Consider
No doubt, government has done a lot in enacting policies surrounding IT Governance; I give the officials all deserved credit.
But there are still more areas to be covered like encouraging training. Today, processes around getting forex for ICT companies are not as smooth as should. How do you encourage foreign direct investment with such restrictions.
NITAD, NOTAP, NCC and other are doing very well, however, there are certain areas that shouldn’t be left unattended. I must reemphasis that private/technocrats should be involved in drafting policies that concern this sector. That will be a significant step in the right directions.
Plans for Customers in Present Economic Realities
Still on the recession, Business Connexion is truly African; we are not naïve of the environment we operate in. Recession is something we know that denies you some privileges. So, BCX has taken a lead by mulling initiatives on how to help the customers.
We realized that it is a tough business environment; hence we are ready to help customers save capex, and building resilient business.
We are in the business of taking away the burden of capex by building infrastructure/services so they can pay over time. That way it becomes win-win for all parties.
And because we understand the challenges companies are facing today, our models are designed to empower businesses. Power, for instance, has been a perennial issue in Nigeria. Therefore, the cloud infrastructure was designed around taking care of that gap.
IoT as Evolution Strategy
Yes, I did mention in the beginning that we are pushing the internet of things (IoTs) drive in this ecosystem.
It is still part of our evolution strategies. When I mention customers, they cut across enterprises: large and small.
We are making huge investments on cloud technology. What that translates to is that a typical SME does not need to invest a lot in infrastructure, software or hardware.
Again, it is our business model to take everything to the cloud. In a layman’s term, when you take a business to the cloud, there is going to be economy of scale. So, we are undertaking a pre-investment on behalf of several SMEs.
To a large extent, we are here to support SMEs and large enterprises; providing solutions for them to manage their operations more efficiently. There are several segments of SMEs that we want to cover; so we are doing a survey that will help us understand them more for better services and products.
IoT, Cloud Computing and Skill Sets
I will start with the internet adoption. The talk about millennia started around 1996. From my experience as then public sector officer with Galaxy backbone, when the usage of technology was introduced in offices there was slow adoption.
But as government has taken up the challenge, today, we talk about e-governance, so, the civil servants are adapting to it. Likewise, in IoT and Cloud computing, there are going to be processes of adoption.
Once that is done it becomes seamless. An average person with a phone knows how to send message via Facebook. You are not trained on how to use Facebook; IoT will become a way of life.
That does not mean we are creating enabling environment for SMEs to leverage IoT or cloud, we want them to access the suites or several applications with ease.
Set Targets for BCX
I actually have my priorities for short, medium and long terms. One of the things I want to be remembered for is actually to bring Business Connexion to top position among IT companies in West Africa.
Again, I will lead the journey into the cloud for BCX, because that is the new phase of business. I want to have a proper handshake with both private and public sectors.
I have had the opportunity to work as a public servant, so brining these experiences together will enable me lead the course, especially in driving SMEs going into the cloud. BCX will unveil a lot of cutting-edge technologies.
I have mentioned that we investing millions of dollars on cloud technologies in the country and you will soon see the impact in this environment.