The commoditisation of technology has resulted in service providers looking for ways to differentiate themselves beyond products. Louis Jardim, commercial director at MICROmega Group company Turrito Networks, believes that being a trusted advisor is essential to this evolution.
“This is one of the biggest challenges. Very few people trust the intentions of a service provider. To some extent, this is warranted as the interest of the customer is often secondary to the bottom line of the business. For example, if you are a network provider, it is in your interest to sell network solutions irrespective of whether there is a perfect customer fit,” says Jardim.
The service providers best suited to this changing ICT environment will be the ones who have zero interest in specific vendor solutions. Instead, according to Jardim, it will be the aggregators that will take pole position.
“Typically, this is how you start gaining a level of trust. Clients will start relying on aggregators to provide advice on industry best practice. The companies able to excel are those that can provide multiple tailored models as opposed to one specific solution,” adds Jardim.
As an aggregator, Turrito Networks has access to all the networks and their respective solutions, and the value proposition makes for compelling reading. Part of this is the price argument. By going directly to a provider, a customer can pay more as there are not the same economies of scale that an aggregator provides.
“It is a case of providing customers with service levels that show they are not small fish in a big pond. We are seeing that small to medium enterprises and smaller companies are quicker to adopt utility-based ICT access than larger organisations. They want to focus on their business strategy and leave IT to an outsourced provider,” says Jardim.
As a local company, he says Turrito Networks understands the South African market dynamics as well as the limitations that exist around bandwidth and data.
“We are becoming the foundation for ICT solutions that companies across industry sectors can use. South African businesses want to deal with providers that make them feel valued. Trust needs to exist because the customer truly believes you have no economic preference for the network you roll out,” he says.
New entrants to the market that compete with existing internet service providers take the route of building their own infrastructure that can be leveraged with higher margins. This is not something that interests Turrito Networks because of the work it has done in establishing itself as a trusted aggregator of solutions.
“We can almost always guarantee our customers the best possible price for their needs. We are able to leverage an industry at war with itself. It is only becoming more competitive but this means we can offer our customers even more services. Even into Africa, we can leverage into more of the providers there to spread a value proposition across the continent,” he concludes.