Business Connexion Group

A powerhouse of business solutions

Renowned for the provision of high quality, high performance business technology solutions, BCX aims to earn 30 percent of its revenue outside South Africa by 2016.

Founded in 1979, Business Connexion Group is Africa’s leading black-owned ICT services provider. Renowned for the provision of high quality, high performance solutions, and for its trademarked slogan “connective intelligence”, Business Connexion is a powerhouse of business solutions based on information and communications technology, running mission-critical ICT systems and managing products and services for large corporations, public sector clients and SMEs in South Africa and beyond.

The company has more data centre capacity than any other service provider in South Africa, and has a network of business and delivery units, with a dozen offices across South Africa, and others in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, Nigeria and Mozambique. Further afield, it also has an international presence in London, England and in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The Business Connexion Services Division is the leading infrastructure and professional services provider in South Africa, providing services to the retail, financial, industrial and commercial sectors, mining and resources and petrochemicals as well as the public sector. The Services Division operates and manages five major owned or leased data centres and 80 client owned data centres or server rooms, all of which are managed according to industry best practices.

The company offers clients a comprehensive range of IT solutions and services to meet all their information and communication technology needs, whatever their scale and scope.Its credentials are second to none across a huge range of services. BCX provides solutions to all Tier 1 retailers in South Africa, for example, and generates over 30 percent of South Africa’s payslips with its payroll solution. It has also designed, developed and implemented the South African government’s payroll system, Persal.

Business Connexion’s ability to deliver a world-class service owes much to the strong relationships it has developed with many of the world’s leading ICT suppliers. Cisco, for instance, awarded BCX the Cisco Services Partner of the Year and Cisco Managed Services Partner of the Year in 2011 for Africa and The Middle East, and the company is also certified by SAP as one of only three providers in South Africa for SAP Hosting Services and the only provider of SAP Cloud Services in South Africa. It also has key vendor relationships with Microsoft, HP, IBM, VMware, Citrix, BlackBerry, Oracle and Adobe, among others.

At the forefront of cloud computing in Africa, Business Connexion offers the full range of solutions, including Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service and Software as a Service for messaging, payroll, recruitment, point of sale, and talent management. The Business Connexion data centre is the benchmark for hosted information systems and information. Its operational expertise, management skills and experience in customer services enables it to deliver cloud services to global clients.

Business Connexion also has a comprehensive suite of information security solutions and services, using its membership of the Information Security Forum to draw upon a rich library of international good practice. Customers can benefit from Business Connexions’ managed security services, including endpoint protection management, mobile device management, anti-spam and e-mail content filtering, web content filtering, proxy management, firewall management, intrusion prevention management, vulnerability management, and remote access service.The company also develops and supplies custom cryptographic products and solutions to protect information classified as highly confidential, for clients including government entities in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and South America.

Business continuity is another string in Business Connexions’ bow, with ICT service continuity processes, alternate site recovery hosting and continuity management and maintenance. It also has education programs to train clients to manage a crisis using appropriate processes, procedures and plans.

Many businesses now see energy use as a critical issue, from an environmental angle as well as financial. Readers will not be surprised to find that Business Connexions operates in this field, too, offering energy audits, assessments, financing and commissioning. BCX is in fact the only current ESKOM-approved JSE listed ICT energy services company.

Businesses wishing to print documents without the capital cost and administration involved in owning their own printers can take advantage of Business Connexions’ managed print solutions (MPS). Using Canon equipment, BCX offers low cost, high efficiency document production facilities for customers on a “pay-per-page” basis, delivering convenient, reliable printing and other related services.

Fittingly for a company involved in rapidly changing technology, BCX focuses on change in its corporate social responsibility approach. It describes its CSR mission as being “to empower young people to be able to change their lives as well as those of their communities through technology. We see our responsibility towards the communities where we operate as a business imperative and this forms part of the overall sustainability requirements for the organisation.” The company engages in philanthropic donations, as well as corporate social investment using financial and other resources to address social development needs.

In addition there are socio-economic development (SED) initiatives which aim to create sustainable access to the economy for previously disadvantaged individuals, focusing on education and skills programmes and a school development programme.

Under its flagship initiative “letmelearn”, in 2011 the majority of Business Connexion’s CSR funding was allocated to the implementation of IT laboratories in schools, focusing mainly on rural schools in underprivileged communities.

The vast majority of schools in South Africa have no access to computers or any other form of information technology. Business Connexion’s investment in these IT laboratories goes beyond providing infrastructure; it also includes a two-year commitment to partner with the schools to ensure full understanding of the technology, plus the development of metrics for the ongoing sustainability of the investment when Business Connexion reduces its involvement with the school.

With a population of one billion people in 54 countries, the African continent represents a key growth opportunity for Business Connexions, and its International Division is responsible for capturing that growth on the continent and beyond. The Group’s key growth strategy is for 30 percent of earnings to come from outside South Africa by 2016. I wouldn’t bet against it!

Written by Martin Ashcroft, research by Paul Bradley