Altron Nexus rethinks strategy, goes back to origins

Samuel Mungadze
By Samuel Mungadze, Africa editor
Johannesburg, 10 Aug 2022
Altron Nexus managing director Kennedy Chinganya.
Altron Nexus managing director Kennedy Chinganya.

Altron Nexus managing director Kennedy Chinganya is reshaping the firm in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, placing enterprise and smart solutions at the centre of his strategy to reset revenue streams.

Chinganya, a 20-year ICT industry veteran who replaced Mark Harris last year, sat down with ITWeb last week, sharing his views on why Altron Nexus is going “back to its roots” and reshaping its strategy in a bold way, to outmanoeuvre competition and bump up revenue.

The Altron Nexus boss tells ITWeb the company needs to be on firm ground in case the seas get ugly, and for that it needs to have a stabiliser.

That stabiliser, for Chinganya, is anchoring the firm with enterprise and smart solutions, as he feels these solutions are big enough to steady the ship.

In three weeks, Chinganya will mark his first anniversary at the helm of Alton Nexus and says he spent time with his executive committee revaluating the business until settling on a strategy that places the firm on a growth trajectory.

He explains: “It was very important for me to know where the organisation has to go. So, the first thing I had to do was go to the ground and understand from the people what we can do better. I spent September and October and part of November just talking to our staff. I did my roundtables with staff; I did my town hall meetings.

“I went to the partners, resellers just to get a view on how they see us in the market. The information that came through informed me on the strategy that I needed to draft for this financial year and map a way of how we need to move forward.”

At the end of his consultations, Chinganya says: “I was very clear in my mind that first and foremost is to go back to the roots as to what built Altron Nexus. What built Altron Nexus was the critical communications sector.

“I had to ask myself three questions: What is it that we want to do? Why do we want to do what we want to do? Once those two questions were answered, the third question was: How are we going to do what we want to do?

“We then came up with two portfolios at Altron Nexus − one will be enterprise solutions that we want to take to the market; the second portfolio will be smart solutions that we are taking to the market.”

Creating connections

On enterprise solutions, Chinganya says: “Today, Altron Nexus is delivering the Gauteng Broadband Network (GBN) and this has been running for close to eight years now.

“We have connected the entire province, starting from government offices, hospitals, schools, libraries, community halls and the clinics.

“When you look at that space, we have got a footprint, references of work that we have done. GBN is just one; we also have the Limpopo Connection. The province is now using the network to start monetising it and connecting other municipalities to that network, creating revenue streams for them. The City of Tshwane is another big contract.

“Across the African continent, if anyone can point to a working government network, I will be very happy to benchmark it with what we have at GBN today. That’s one of the prizes we have around connectivity.”

New money ahead

Chinganya is buoyant as to Altron Nexus’s enterprise solutions, saying the company is very confident of its software-defined network solution.

“Today, you don’t need to go to a customer and deploy a network. You can actually deploy a network from where you sit because it’s all in the cloud; you know what machines need to be connected and it will give you a dashboard of what is happening in that network.”

On the issue of going back to Altron’s roots, which is critical communications, Chinganya says the company is growing this segment and chasing opportunities in Africa.

He notes this segment of the business is not only anchored in SA, but in other markets such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique, and new mines that are being established in the region.

“Public safety is key. The layer we have within critical communications now is surveillance, because everyone wants their offices to be surveilled but you also want the boundaries.

“You want to know what is happening in every single corner. We are playing in that space. We are pretty much new but we want to be able to consolidate. Bringing in critical communications, bringing in surveillance as one consolidated solution we can take to the customer.”