Dimension Data will be a monolithic company


In a move that’s bound to disrupt South Africa’s tech industry, Dimension Data has announced that it will be bringing all its sub-brands together under one company. The information technology services giant announced on March 10 that all of the company’s subsidiaries will be retiring from a federated structure into a monolithic brand.

The decision was made in the best interest of the company’s clients, staff, and the company and society at large, Dimension Data chief executive Grant Bodley says. It also comes in understanding and anticipation of where the market is going, and to ensure that the company is optimally positioned to maximise upon it. 

At the heart of the decision lies client-centricity. “We’re changing a lot of our strategy, but our focus is always ensuring that we have an outside-in approach or a client-first type of approach and lens,” Bodley says. “Client-centricity is about selling clients a product that is in their best interest to achieve their outcomes.”

Dimension Data’s track record shows that it has always been able to anticipate the market. Emerging trends point at a convergence of technology. Riding the wave of this emerging trend requires all the component parts of the company’s various offerings.

“We’ve got a really exciting new go-to market value proposition. But that value proposition is only relevant and valuable to clients when it is operationalised,” Bodley says. The restructure is about aligning the company’s go-to market strategy and go-to market junction versus its old operating model.

Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, the company operates on every inhabited continent. Dimension Data focuses on services including IT consulting, technical and support services and managed services.

The company was fully acquired by Japanese telecommunications corporation Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) in 2010. In July 2019 all Dimension Data operations, excluding those in the Middle East and Africa, became part of NTT Ltd. AlwaysOn, e2y Commerce, Internet Solutions, Nexus IS, and SQL Services are some of Dimension Data’s current subsidiaries.

Team collaboration: Manelisa Mavuso, chief marketing executive, Andy Dikobo, executive: public sector and Reoagile Mokoka, marketing manager. (Photo courtesy of Dimension Data)
Team collaboration: Manelisa Mavuso, chief marketing executive, Andy Dikobo, executive: public sector and Reoagile Mokoka, marketing manager. (Photo courtesy of Dimension Data)

Bodley says the restructure also has to do with correcting the overlapping solutions and products of their different brands. Creating a single company means eliminating competition between the subsidiaries and instead allows for collaboration.

The restructuring means that the company’s executive structure will require a different makeup. From April 1, Dimension Data will start reporting and measuring according to this new operating model. By July the company hopes to have been through the majority of the restructuring or reorganisation, and then look to have retired the old brand by around October.

Clients of Dimension Data have expressed the desire for a single mother-company as subsidiaries can get confusing. By giving the clients what they want, the company hopes to create an improved, efficient service experience. It also simplifies the escalation processes, giving clients a consistent experience, with one website and one call centre, which will improve the company’s delivery capability.

Besides clients, this move is also expected to benefit the company itself. “We’ll have more capacity of our best people: the real technical architects, the real whiz kids of Dimension Data. Instead of competing, they will be united together in a big pool of people capable of working with our clients,” Bodley says.

The restructure will also allow the company to identify where the excess capacity or non value adding assets are within the business, so it can offload them in some shape or form.

The chief executive reiterates that Dimension Data is a people company, so it cares about how its employees feel and work. The company wants to help employees unleash their mass potential in a collective community under one name, helping to ensure that it provides the outcomes that its clients seek.

Top management has talked about leveraging the best of Dimension Data, bringing all of its various cultures and traits together from its subsidiaries as one. Technology is about people making the technology work, Bodley says. “Despite leveraging Artificial Intelligence, robotics and other forms of new technologies, at the heart and core, you need human capital to make it all work together.”

In December, Dimension Data also achieved 51% black ownership recognition status, which has improved the company’s BBBEE score from level 4 to level 2 for 2019.  

The company’s BEE rating also puts Dimension Data in a prime position to work with the government; it has been significantly absent in the noise around state capture and corruption. But besides that, Bodley says the company believes technology has a massive ability to unlock potential and help the government overcome some of the challenges it faces regarding education, healthcare, unemployment and sanitation.

With it’s client-first approach, Dimension Data is looking to becoming the leading ICT company in the market, and the employer of choice for young and up-and-coming talent.

“We want to be the most referred to company in Africa. It’s not about being the biggest or the best. The most referred means people are seeing value in some shape or form and so they’re happy to recommend you,” Bodley says.

The company empathises with its employers’ anxiety in the restructuring of its brand. However, Bodley said this move will allow for their roles and traits to be better harnessed for a collective purpose.

“We’re very excited,” Bodley says. “Of course there’s anxiety, there’s nervousness whenever you go through change. We need to continually evolve to take advantage when opportunity presents itself. I’m very optimistic about it. I believe we’ve got an incredible brand, knowledge and data. It is the longest-standing ICT brand on the continent and South Africa.”

In anticipation of the change, Dimension Data goes back to Charles Darwin’s quote: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

For more information, visit www.dimensiondata.com

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Shaazia Ebrahim
Shaazia Ebrahim is a Master’s candidate at the Centre for Gender Studies at SOAS. Ebrahim is also a former Wits University student and reported for The Daily Vox during the second wave of Fees Must Fall.

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