Opt­ing for flex­i­bil­ity

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be­lieves its smaller size gives it the nim­ble­ness to of­fer niche ICT prod­ucts — some­thing that re­ally in­ter­ests him.

It’s worked for him in the past. Like Huge Group, Nashua Mo­bile and ECN started out as least-cost op­er­a­tors, but mor­phed into spe­cialised elec­tronic of­fer­ings aimed at small and medium-sized busi­nesses.

Open­shaw sees a lot of op­por­tu­nity in of­fer­ing these kinds of ser­vices to smaller busi­nesses. He says larger ICT busi­nesses es­sen­tially of­fer the same ser­vice to en­ter­prises. This ba­si­cally means they’re sell­ing large vol­umes at low mar­gins. “The cus­tomer must take it or leave it,” he says.

When the econ­omy is good this for­mula is fine, but it doesn’t work so well when con­di­tions are less than ideal. This is what hap­pened with Telkom sub­sidiary BCX, whose rev­enue dropped 4.6% to R21.2bn in its lat­est re­sults be­cause a weak econ­omy led to a drop in vol­umes.

With many of the larger ICT play­ers fo­cused on ser­vic­ing big­ger com­pa­nies and only of­fer­ing generic ser­vices to small and medium-sized busi­nesses, Open­shaw be­lieves Huge Group has much to gain by of­fer­ing be­spoke prod­ucts that cater to the spe­cific needs of these com­pa­nies.

He is op­ti­mistic about his move to Huge Group — it puts him in the same com­pany as a num­ber of ICT heavy-hit­ters.

Vo­da­com’s former head of fi­nance, Rob Burger, joined Huge sub­sidiary Huge Tele­com as FD on Au­gust 1. Brian Arm­strong,

Telkom’s former COO and chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer — and cur­rent pro­fes­sor of dig­i­tal busi­ness at Wits Busi­ness School — sits on its board. Former tele­com an­a­lyst Duarte da Silva is also there, serv­ing as Huge Group chair.

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