Insight into innovation

Peter Soldo and Tim Matthis of Genex

Peter Soldo and Tim Matthis of Genex

Genex is a business that understands the value of insight. The reams and streams of information that can be mined and interpreted to deliver valuable, actionable insights to the enterprise and drive productivity, development and growth. When it comes to innovation in business and understanding a market need before it even understands itself, Genex is holding its own.

“The biggest reason for our growth and success as a business really does come down to the people that we have,” says Petar Soldo, co-founder of Genex. “It may sound clichéd, but in our industry we really do believe in working with the best and the brightest people. This is fundamental to our business ethos and something that we are really committed to, possibly even more so than our competitors.”

The talent that populates the halls of Genex is an interesting blend of experience and youth. The company focuses on hiring young, fresh graduates as they believe that young minds can really look at problems and situations differently. This is again balanced by the wealth of experience brought to the table by the founders Soldo and Tim Matthis.

“Around 60% of our recruitment comes from graduates or postgraduates without any work experience,” says Soldo. “That profile of young, eager people means we are capable of doing a lot of different things, some of which we may not have considered without their input. The second element is that the size of our business allows us to be more flexible than bigger organisations and gives us an edge to stay ahead of the game.”

There are 65 people working for Genex, some of whom have been part of the business for more than six years. This core staff is hugely committed to what the brand stands for and brings a wealth of experience to the table.

“We are fortunate to have some incredibly bright people working for us and this has really given us an edge when it comes to competing in this market,” says Soldo. “We don’t have a bureaucratic set-up either; our structure is incredibly flat with only three senior people who lead the business. It is a two-level organisational layout that allows us to be very nimble.”

Genex keeps their projects simple and streamlined so that clients always know who they will be working with and, as a result, strong relationships are built throughout. The company allocates only two or three people to each project so as to ensure that the relationship with the client always comes first. 

“We would rather have a few high-calibre people than a lot of average people,” says Soldo. “It is an investment into the future of Genex by getting the right people through the door.  We can then focus on growing our business with employees who are inspired by what we do and want to take it to the next level.”

It is a strong entrepreneurial spirit that drives the ambition of Genex forward and this, alongside a commitment to innovation, has inspired their products and solutions for the enterprise space. The business delivers actionable business insights to its clients that can be used to improve and ensure sustainability.

“We are not necessarily a research business or a digital business or a customer experience solution; we provide insights,” says Soldo. 

Genex started out with Genex Research which focused on delivering market research, business intelligence, data analysis and strategy consulting. This solution was originally called TMS Research and has been successfully running since 1997 with an impressive portfolio of clients behind it. The product can be refined to fit specific business requirements and incorporates a rich portfolio of services. The company then integrated Genex CX, a Customer Experience Management platform that is widely adopted for enterprise-grade survey execution, analysis and service recovery. The system, formerly known as 30x30, supports SMS, USSD, IVR, KIOSK, CATI and web surveys and it currently listens to more than 300?000 customers every month.

Genex’s portfolio doesn’t end there as it also includes Genex Social Intelligence and Genex Retail. The former provides businesses with actionable insights through a leading end-to-end social media management, engagement and analytics system that is also capable of measuring online sentiment. It is a superb tool for leveraging customer insights and providing brands with sophisticated online social intelligence. Genex  Retail was originally known as iRam and it is a retail data analysis platform that can help retail suppliers better manage their stock levels and buying process, saving them millions annually.

“We have been growing at about 30% per annum for the last 10 years which we think is a great achievement,” says Soldo. “We have shown persistent growth and this is again evidenced by our last financial year results.”

Focus on Big Data

A strong core of loyal staff and a versatile product offering has seen Genex grow from strength to strength since its inception and the company continues to innovate to ensure its future and sustainability. 

“About five years ago we saw that the industry was moving towards a focus on customers and that’s when we started offering solutions around customer service management,” says Soldo. “Then about three years ago we saw another shift in the industry towards social media and digital and this inspired us to start our digital leg. Another arm that is now under development is focusing on Big Data which is very topical at the moment and something we have already been doing for the past three years.”

Genex recognised that Big Data, offered the organisation another opportunity to expand and grow and took advantage of it swiftly. Currently they are one of a few organisations in South Africa that offers a comprehensive array of tools across business analytics and insights, social intelligence and Big Data. 

“Too often people seem to think that innovation is centred on a product,” says Soldo. “Our technology has been recognised internationally in terms of its capabilities and how it can be integrated into our products and that’s one of our innovations from the start. For us, what is really important is innovation around our business model, which comes down to recruitment and creating an environment in which smart people can flourish.”

The social media arm of Genex is testament to this commitment. The company recognised the niche in the market, but it was the passion for this area of business that really drove its development within Genex. Some employees who wanted to shift into this space were given the freedom to take it to the next level and their focus has yielded impressive results.

“They have grown into the roles they wanted and they are now running this as a successful department,” says Soldo. “It is this flexibility that really defines who we are as a business. I think how a business does things is really a good example of innovation.  Just look at Airbnb and Uber — what they offer isn’t something new, but the way in which they do it is truly innovative.”

Genex is committed to the people that it has and delivering actionable insights to their clients and this drives their innovation and development. The business is growing steadily with a strong track record and some remarkable solutions that are leading the market today.