Few South African companies can claim to have achieved consistent revenue growth since 2006 – particularly given the calamitous global financial crisis of 2008. Yet for INOVO, which entered the SA ecosystem with the intent to disrupt the local contact centre technology market, we have continued to grow and expand – despite economic headwinds and persistent volatility. Wynand Smit, CEO INOVO on reimagining for growth…
Arguably, this consistent growth can be directly attributed to our ethos as a business. Put simply, we take a consultative approach, and embrace our clients as long-term partners – instead of merely businesses to which we are providing a product or service.
Our partnership approach is underpinned by our belief that technology is merely an enabler – and that the true value of technology is only unlocked through intelligent and customized implementation. Only by taking the time to truly understand customer pain points, as well as the customer’s vision, can new technology be implemented and translated into sustainable business growth.
But before we explore what this implementation looks like, it’s important to take a step back and understand the local contact centre environment.
Productivity is key
There is no doubt that contact centres are highly complex and pressurized environments. Moreover, customers dealing with contact centres have continuously rising expectations, and expect personalized, efficient and effective service — delivered by knowledgeable and skilled employees. These employees, along with the customer, require easy and reliable access to information.
For many contact centres, there is often a conflicting drive to improve service delivery to customers while at the same time streamlining processes, boosting efficiencies and ensuring the all-important return on investment (ROI).
In South Africa, 71% of the contact centre’s cost structure can be attributed to the workforce. This means that improvements to productivity and efficiency provide major ROI. Having identified this factor very early on, we know that the biggest impact we can make within a contact centre is to implement a cycle of continuous optimisation and efficiency improvements.
Driving cloud adoption
For anyone remotely familiar with the contact centre environment, it would be easy to understand that achieving continuous optimisation is no small (or simple) task. However, having recognised the global shift towards Cloud/hosted environments, and the massive efficiencies such a shift can unlock, we have designed a fundamentally different approach. Our vision for the SA contact centre market is thus threefold:
- Turn technical solutions into tangible results
We sought to fundamentally change the approach to delivering contact centre solutions in South Africa. In doing so, we harnessed an unorthodox structure that included deploying a skilled Business Services team.
This team is characterised by strong operational experience, sharp business acumen, as well as analytical and subject matter expertise. Importantly, the Business Services team is responsible for our implementations, in addition to assisting customers throughout the contact period to realise continuous improvements.
Notably, customers can at any time leverage this team’s insight and operational experience within their own contact centres. Our measure of success is the business outcome (business case) – we don’t simply gauge whether the technology is working or not!
- Transform the technical landscape
We seek to implement leading edge technologies, but our emphasis is on creating ‘the glue’ that enables technology to solve actual business problems.
Such technology includes virtualisation, Cloud and monitoring tools to create unmatched high availability and disaster recovery solutions. With our approach, we have shifted the focus from ensuring solutions are available and driving to site – to ensuring that deployments are instead very short. In this way, the majority of the time is spent applying the solution, and transferring knowledge to create sustainable business value.
- Revamp commercial models
In order to make certain that our technology is accessible to the South African market, we have devised and implemented alternative commercial models. Essentially, all of our products are available as SaaS, which means that customers can subscribe to the required functionalities. In this way, we focus on creating economies of scale to reduce the total cost of ownership for customers.
As South African contact centres forge ahead in a difficult economy, implementing sustainable commercial – and operational – models will be critical to long-term success.