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Dimension Data

Dimension Data CEO Jason Goodall set to take global reins at NTT

Dimension Data Group CEO Jason Goodall has been named as the candidate for the role of CEO of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp’s new global operating company. Original Link

Interview: Dimension Data MEA CEO Grant Bodley

In this episode of the podcast, Duncan McLeod interviews Grant Bodley, CEO of Dimension Data in the Middle East and Africa. Original Link

Internet Solutions promises more open peering

Internet Solutions may be feeling the pressure from Teraco’s NAPAfrica. The Dimension Data-owned Internet service provider said on Thursday that it plans to become “more open and actively engaged in peering”. Original Link

NTT confirms restructuring plans involving Dimension Data

NTT on Tuesday announced a major restructuring affecting several of its principal subsidiaries, including Dimension Data, NTT Communications and NTT Data, intended to make the group “more competitive and profitable” on the global stage. Original Link

Major changes afoot at Dimension Data, sources say

Dimension Data and its parent, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp, are poised to announce a major restructuring as early as next week, according to sources who claim to have knowledge of the situation. Original Link

FibreCo to target smaller towns, starting with Kroonstad

FibreCo CEO Simon Harvey

Long-distance South African fibre provider FibreCo Telecommunications plans to connect towns on its national backhaul routes, starting with Kroonstad in the northern Free State, it said on Tuesday.

Kroonstad is the Free State’s third largest town after Bloemfontein, the capital, and Welkom.

“Given that only 5.4% of households in the province have access to the Internet at home and that only 9.9% have access at work, it’s clear that there is an urgent need to hasten access to high-speed broadband connectivity,” FibreCo said in a statement, citing research from Statistics South Africa.

Kroonstad is the first town along the FibreCo national fibre route between Johannesburg and Cape Town to have fibre rolled out by the company.

“The FibreCo Kroonstad connectivity project is the first in our town connectivity strategy, which plans to connect many more towns along our 4 000km national fibre route,” said CEO Simon Harvey.

“The biggest challenge to universal broadband is infrastructure cost. FibreCo’s open-access model in Kroonstad allows any number of service providers and operators to buy connectivity without the large capital outlay, making it significantly more affordable than if they were to build the infrastructure themselves,” he said.

The company plans to work with Internet service providers, including wireless providers and mobile operators, to provide high-speed broadband services.

FibreCo fibre map. Source: FibreCo

Access Global is the first ISP to partner with FibreCo in Kroonstad.

“FibreCo has already provided high-speed broadband connectivity services to clinics in Kroonstad, one of which is the first clinic to ever receive direct fibre through a fixed-fibre termination point,” said FibreCo business development executive Sammy Mafu.

FibreCo, which is a joint venture between Cell C, Dimension Data and Convergence Partners, has also installed a fixed-fibre node at the Moqhaka municipality, with its own dedicated 1Gbit/s-ready connectivity node.  — © 2018 NewsCentral Media

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Didata’s Merchants buys Canadian outsourcing firm

Johannesburg-headquartered Dimension Data and its subsidiary Merchants have acquired 100% of Canadian business process outsourcing (BPO) specialist Millennium 1 Solutions for an undisclosed sum.

Millennium provides contact centre, credit card, back-office and administration services to Canadian organisations in the financial services and retail sectors.

Merchants, which is part of Dimension Data’s CX and Digital Workplace practice, is a customer management outsourcing solutions provider that builds and operates contact centres for clients worldwide.

A new Merchants Group holding company will be formed incorporating Merchants and Millennium, the NTT Group-owned Didata said in a statement.

Millennium CEO Tom Band will remain CEO of the Millennium business in Canada, and Merchants’ current MD, George Todd, has been appointed CEO of the expanded Merchants Group. Didata will appoint a new MD for Merchants.

The Millennium deal adds 2 131 permanent employees to the Merchants’ business, bringing the total to 7 600. — © 2018 NewsCentral Media

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Ex-Didata CEO Brett Dawson pumps R10m into Gather Online

Brett Dawson

Former Dimension Data CEO Brett Dawson has invested R10m into Gather Online, a social discovery and messaging platform, and will join the company’s board as chairman. The money will be used to expand internationally.

With South African-born founders, Gather Online has developed an online communication service that “allows users to achieve real engagement with communities of like-minded people”. Dubbed “Snapchat for groups”, the service offers time-limited access to discussions on a variety of topics from careers and business to travel and health.

“Gather Online enables people to shift from passively consuming content, as is often the case with existing social networks, to connecting with like-minded individuals and having meaningful conversations,” said founder and CEO David Price in a statement. “It fills a real gap for engagement in the social media landscape.”

Price said Dawson’s investment will support Gather Online’s expansion plans. The company, which has operations in South Africa and Australia, has about 40 000 daily active users. It now intends to target Europe, the US and Asia for growth. The company has unexpectedly “gone viral” in locations it has not specifically targeted, it said.

“We believe there is a significant opportunity for a platform that encourages people to become more engaged with each other. On the other major platforms, a post only gets engagement from about 1% of people, so 99% are passively consuming,” Price said. “Gather Online overcomes this by facilitating more fruitful communication which has a beginning and an end, like we have in real life.”

Dawson’s R10m investment is part of a third seed-funding round, which has been expanded due to oversubscription. “Funds will be used to improve the platform and to scale it to the levels that would interest Series A venture capital funds later this year.” — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media

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Meet the CEO: Dimension Data’s Jason Goodall

Dimension Data Group CEO Jason Goodall

Meet the CEO is a new, weekly feature on TechCentral. The aim is to introduce our readers to the people behind the news by providing insights into the leaders shaping South Africa’s ICT industry. Our second interview in the series is with Dimension Data Group CEO Jason Goodall. We hope you enjoy it. — Duncan McLeod, Editor

What was your first-ever job?
After completing my B Comm at Wits University, I wrote my chartered accountants’ board exam and completed my articles as a senior auditor at Deloitte & Touche (now Deloitte). I then joined ISM (now IBM) in the finance department. I quickly realised ales was where the action and the money were, and IBM was a leader when it came to sales training. So, after a year in finance, I moved onto the Nedbank account as a client manager. After two years, I was appointed financial controller for IBM South Africa, responsible for the overall finance and commercial environment for the business.

Who is your greatest role model, and why?
I’ve been inspired by several leaders, both personally and professionally. I make it a goal to learn one or two things from every leader with whom I work. Sometimes one learns the good, and other times one can often learn even more from the not-so-good. There are many people I admire but four who always come to mind:

Stephen Hawking: A remarkable man who proved that personal circumstances don’t have to dictate the value you can bring to the world. Having been diagnosed with motor neuron disease at 21, he went on to be the most influential scientist of our time and has broadened the horizons of all of our thinking when it comes to understanding and appreciating the universe. I don’t think there are many people who’ve challenged our thinking the way he has.

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher: Thatcher became UK prime minister at time when the economic outlook was dismal. She made some tough calls regarding the unions, and and going to war in the Falklands. Although many people turned against her, she always acted with honesty and integrity. Ultimately, the UK gained strength from her strength, which demonstrates a characteristic of effective leadership that I admire.

Louis Gerstner: I was working at IBM when Gerstner took the reins of the global business as CEO. At the time, morale was low and there was a feeling among many that IBM was doomed. Watching Gerstner turn IBM around was incredible. The company had its best run for more than a decade thanks to what he put in place. In his book, Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance?, Gerstner says that with the right kind of leadership and fresh thinking, you can turn a troubled company around – even one the size of IBM.

Richard Branson: Just consider the number of industries Branson has become involved in — and transformed. From media to music, airlines and mobile phones to healthcare and insurance, it’s phenomenal what he’s managed to achieve and how he’s continued to innovate. He always seems to enjoy what he’s doing, too. That’s important.

What’s your favourite quote?
“Recognise your culture as an asset worth investing in.” If your organisation’s culture is distinctive, and an accelerator of your success, you need to put a great deal of effort into nurturing and growing it — and communicating it across your organisation. If you speak to any of the senior leaders in our organisation, they’re always talking about their people: how they’re developing them and keeping them passionate, and what they’re doing to attract the best new skills.

What phone do you currently use, and why?
Apple’s iPhone X. Because of my busy travel schedule, I spend much of my time on my phone. I like the quality of the screen, the available apps and the improved battery life.

What are you currently reading?
I always read two books at the same time — one to learn — and the other for relaxation.

My current learning book is Zero to One — Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, by Peter Thiel. At the end of the book, Thiel challenges the reader to play an active role in what our future as a society will look like in 20 or 100 years. We can’t take for granted that it will be better, which means we must work to build it now.

The other book I’m reading is Running with the Krays, by Freddie Foreman. The book re-lives gangster life in London in the 1960s.

Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

What are your favourite books?
I enjoyed Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Although I don’t agree with everything that Rand wrote, I like the theme of working hard and building a skill that makes your contribution unique; the bravery of doing things your own way; and the sense of purpose and determination of her characters.

Another favourite is The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. It’s beautifully written, simple and often sad, with characters who are engrossing.

What’s your favourite movie?
Dead Poets Society. Robin Williams is one of my all-time favourite actors and comedians. I also love Good Morning, Vietnam.

What is your most treasured possession?
A small watercolour that my late dad painted when he was in his 70s. It’s a beautiful painting of a meandering river, close to where he lived in the UK. He’d never painted before, and only took it up as a hobby when he retired. People don’t believe that it was painted by an amateur.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I’ve been lucky to have had a few highlights in my career. The first was passing my B Comm board exam. Another was closing my first deal at Nedbank, an ATM order for 100 Diebold machines. Getting my first commission cheque was cool. The most important highlight of my career was being appointed CEO of Dimension Data two years ago.

What is your greatest regret?
I don’t have any major regrets. I sometimes look back and think I could have done things slightly differently, or maybe stuck to my sport at university a bit longer, but nothing that I think would have fundamentally changed my life. However, I do have a bucket list of what I still want to do so that I don’t have regrets later in life. I want to make the most of the opportunity I’ve been given at Dimension Data. I want to climb Mount Elbrus in Russia, attend all the Formula 1 races in the world, and — when I have time to train — I’d love to complete an ironman triathlon.

How do you cope with stress?
I don’t get stressed too often because I’m pretty good at focusing and prioritising. And I make sure I schedule in some downtime. For me, there’s nothing better than spending time in the African bush. I also love sport and travelling with my family, and active holidays where we try new things, like hiking, scuba diving, boating, skiing and sky diving.

What skill or talent would you most like to possess that you don’t already?
Professionally, I wish I had better software programming skills. The world is moving to an agile, application-orientated environment where management and intelligence are being abstracted into the software layer. I think everyone should have a basic understanding of software development and programming skills. I’m learning this in my spare time. Personally, I’d like to be more creative in music, painting and writing. I’ve attempted to learn to play various instruments and was hopeless, so I focused rather on creative writing.

What phrase do you most use in business?
“Perform while you transform.” I use this phrase all the time. I believe that established businesses that don’t embrace digital transformation won’t be relevant and competitive in three to five years. For some, time has already run out. Every company needs to transform because there’s no plan B. But transforming a mainstream business isn’t easy. It’s like trying to change a jet engine at 10 000 metres! Organisations must perform as they transform; they can’t stop and take a break from business as usual to focus on transformation.

What’s your favourite place in the world, and why?
Plettenberg Bay. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s the one place in the world where my family comes together: my daughters are studying and working in different parts of the world, and I spend a lot of time travelling, so as a family we spend little time together. Once a year over Christmas, we all converge on Plett. I look forward to running on Robberg Beach in the early mornings with my daughters.  — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media

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Former Didata CEO joins Ubusha board

Brett Dawson

Former Dimension Data CEO Brett Dawson has joined the board of Ubusha Technology, a company that offers cybersecurity, identity governance and access management solutions.

Dawson, who resigned from Didata about two years ago, will offer strategic input to the firm and play an advisory role to the management team, led by CEO Marius Agenbag, Ubusha said in a statement.

“Brett brings a wealth of international, enterprise and industry experience which will be critical to our leadership team,” said Agenbag in the statement.

“We believe that his guidance, together with an investment from the Anuva Equity Fund, will prove invaluable in expanding the business into innovative areas of identity security as well as further accelerating our growth.”

Dawson was CEO of Didata for more than 10 years, during which time the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone-owned IT services group grew its revenue from US$2bn to $8bn/year and expanded from 30 to 58 markets.  — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media

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Ngcaba to turn to the courts after losing Didata dispute

Andile Ngcaba

Dimension Data said on Wednesday evening that it was “delighted” with a ruling by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) against the former chairman of its Middle East & Africa operation, Andile Ngcaba. Ngcaba told TechCentral he would now take the matter on review in court.

Ngcaba took the NTT-owned and Johannesburg-headquartered Didata to the CCMA after he was excluded from a long-term incentive scheme than benefited staff and other directors.

According to a report in Business Day in August, Ngcaba accused the company of institutional discrimination after he was excluded from the incentive scheme. “I am pursuing this on a basis of principle. If this is happening at my level, how much more on junior level?” Ngcaba said, according to the newspaper.

Ngcaba stepped down as chairman of Dimension Data Middle East & Africa earlier this year after Convergence Partners, his investment vehicle, sold its shares in the company. He joined Didata originally in 2014.

“Ngcaba has lost his CCMA case in which he alleged that Dimension Data had committed unfair labour practices by failing to provide him with remuneration and benefits equivalent to the other senior executives…,” Didata said in a statement.

“The matter was heard by the CCMA on 14 November and the ruling was made public today. The commissioner found that the delay of 15 months in referring the alleged unfair labour practice to the CCMA was ‘wanting and not reasonable at all’. The commissioner also found the Ngcaba’s prospects of success are slim,” it said.

Ngcaba told TechCentral that he would take the matter on review in the courts. He didn’t comment further.  — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media

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