Motorola’s new man in SA
After playing in enterprise mobility for 25 years, Kelly is excited about opportunities in the region
ENTERPRISE AND CONSUMER technology multinational Motorola recently appointed a new country manager and director for South Africa. And although new to this job – Mark Kelly only joined Motorola last year – he already has 25 years’ experience in the enterprise mobility sector. Enterprise mobility encompasses everything from mobile email to unified communications and broadband solutions.
Some of Motorola’s better-known products in SA are its handsets, cellular network and wireless broadband offerings and Government solutions such as Tetra (on which the recently implemented Gauteng SA Police Services emergency services system was based).
Kelly comes across as personable and down-to-earth but excited about the challenge ahead and the unique opportunities and “nuances” that operating in the southern African region afford. For example, Motorola has implemented a wind- and solar-powered voice and data network in Namibia (for MTC) and a solar powered network for some of its mines.
In his spare time Kelly is a golfer, likes to read and enjoys spending time in the bush. He’s married and has two daughters and a son.
He came to Motorola with its acquisition of Symbol Technologies, a company he’d been involved with in some form for many years, having himself sold a successful enterprise mobility company.
After a sabbatical, Kelly was asked by Datatec to look after Scantec’s enterprise mobility business (a distributor, which now falls under its Westcon division) and was appointed MD. Thereafter, he joined Symbol in charge of its Africa, Middle East and Israel operations before Motorola acquired it.
Kelly’s first experience of the enterprise mobility sector was while doing his military service in 1983. He was tasked with completing a study on how assets – people and equipment – could be more efficiently tracked as they were moved between camps and came to the conclusion that everything should be bar-coded. Although nothing came of his recommendations, Kelly says he received a commendation from the military for his report.
At Motorola he’ll be in charge of its Africa Enterprise Mobility division (essentially the Symbol business, after a name change). But his new position adds its other three business units – Mobile Devices, Home & Networks Mobility and Government & Public Safety – to his portfolio of responsibilities.
Earlier this year the Motorola Group announced it would split the group in two: separating its mobile device business from its enterprise business (broadly called the Broadband and Mobility Solutions division), probably by 2009. Internationally, analysts welcomed the announcement because its mobile handset division has underperformed.
Kelly says that for the time being this move doesn’t affect him. He has a brief to run the business as one connected unit in SA. Part of his strategy, Kelly says, is to offer a real, end-to-end solution to its clients (people, business and Government) and emphasise the exciting technology and product range that it has on offer.
Although he won’t be drawn on the numbers (the group has a policy of not breaking down its employee base by region, as that changes depending on the different projects being undertaken, etc), Kelly says Motorola runs a fairly substantial operation in SA and southern Africa, representing each of Motorola’s four divisions.
In the public sector, Kelly says there are a number of solutions it could deploy to Government. Among those he sees opportunities to roll out broadband solutions to remote areas to include education and connect clinics with voice, data and video networks and it’s running some pilot sites in Limpopo in that regard. The run-up to the 2010 Soccer World Cup also opens opportunities for Motorola to provide solutions, Kelly says.
A fair amount of its business is conducted using service and distribution delivery partners, particularly in the Government and public safety sectors, while its enterprise mobility business takes its products to market entirely via a distribution channel. “We have a rich history in partnering with local companies,” Kelly says.
With regard to cellphones, Kelly says although the region may be heading towards penetration levels upwards of 75% the fact that more developed markets have penetration levels of more than 100% (more than one handset per person) represents a continued opportunity for Motorola. That’s particularly so as the networks move to increasing their average revenue per user figures by extending their range of services rather than concentrating on rapid subscriber growth.
After its acquisition of Good Technology in 2006, Motorola has offered push email on its Windows Mobile enabled phones and Kelly sees that as an opportunity for Motorola to capitalise on the fast-evolving mobile market in the region.
Plans for split won’t affect him for now.
A real end-to-end solution for clients. Mark Kelly