Delivering SME IT solutions with big business discipline
Succeeding in an increasingly competitive market requires that small to medium businesses (SME) take the same advantage from information and communication technology that big businesses do. However, in the absence of large budgets or the resources to appoint fulltime staff, such companies can put themselves at a distinct disadvantage. That's where Cape Town-based technology services company Xepa Consulting provides the answers.
“We provide support, strategic guidance and innovative technology solutions that help the small to medium business gain all the advantages of technology without having to deal with any of the headaches,” says managing director Garth Francis.
One-hundred percent black owned, Xepa Consulting is also active in delivering solutions for local government.
He observes that there is no shortage of options in the market for large companies looking for quality IT know-how, support and strategy. “However, for the SME it is different. The directors of these organisations typically have their hands full with strategic and operational issues, which relate directly to their operations. They don't have the time or, in some cases, the know-how to deal with IT. They need a partner that can be trusted not only to take care of the day-to-day performance of the IT environment, but also to provide guidance and insight on what, from the technology world, can help them to improve their business.”
With its competence across a range of platforms, including VMware, Novell, Microsoft and Linux, Xepa offers a range of choice in the expertise it offers. But more than that, the company brings proven best practice methodologies based on the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). Francis explains: “ITIL provides a guideline for IT service delivery; it is well-accepted in the corporate world as an optimal baseline for support. Applying ITIL principles and combining it with our organisational culture, we believe we are able to deliver a level of professionalism which the SME wants and needs - but which has to date been lacking.”
Providing some insight into how ITIL is applied, Francis explains how the company executes against the service level agreements it has in place with clients. “Our service desk is Web-based and is the point at which all interactions with customers takes place. With a call logged, notification is passed on to our staff through e-mail or SMS with escalation procedures in place to ensure that resolution takes place in the prescribed time. Meanwhile, the customer can check status of the call at any time,” he says.
This is just one example of how Xepa's clients benefit from best practice processes. “Our point of departure is that IT is important to every business, no matter what size. Our SME customers should benefit from best practice processes, which in turn support their ability to get the most from IT to achieve their business goals and support competitiveness,” says Francis.
Importantly, he says, Xepa is itself an SME. “A lot of the solutions and services we sell, we use ourselves. We have a very clear idea of what works well for the SME; this is a market that was neglected in the past [by service providers], so there is a definite need for a partner that is able to meet the needs of the SME with high-quality, high-value IT expertise.”