Columnists

Big week for MTN

The operator announced its Simfy acquisition and its intention to re-launch Mobile Money in SA and apply for a licence for the service in Nigeria.

Paul Booth.
Paul Booth.

SAP's acquisition of Qualtrics dominated the international ICT market last week.

At home, government's announcement regarding its Telkom SA stake was one of the main stories.

Key local news

* Satisfactory interim numbers from Vodacom, with revenue up 1.7% and profit up 1.1%.
* Mixed interim numbers from Telkom SA, with revenue up 5.2% but profit down 12.8%.
* Very good year-end figures from Ayo Technology Solutions, with revenue up 33.5% and profit up 398.3%.
* MTN Group acquired music streaming provider Simfy.
* Terragon, one of the biggest data and marketing technology firms in Africa, bought Singapore-based mobile technology firm Bizense.
* Naspers and Innova Capital made a $400 million investment in iFood, a food delivery platform controlled by Latin America-based mobile marketplace Movile.
* Mindworx, the innovative business services consultancy, and Rainmaker Solutions, the UK-based digital and business transformation specialist, have joined forces to accelerate the transformation of African businesses for the digital age.
* PCI Pal, the UK-headquartered payment security solutions provider to contact centres, has expanded to SA, signing up telecommunications and customer engagement solutions company Ninzi-Connect as its first reseller.
* Infraco has partnered with Angola Cables to facilitate Internet connectivity within SA and the rest of the continent.
* Telecoms minister Siyabonga Cwele said the administration's plans to offload part of its 39% Telkom shareholding have been put on ice indefinitely.
* A withdrawn JSE cautionary by Stella Capital Partners.
* The appointment of Fikile Mkhize as interim chairman of Ellies Holdings.
* The retirement of Elliot Salkow, executive chairman of Ellies Holdings.

Key African news

* Seacom acquired national open access fibre provider FibreC.
* Mara announced the production of the Maraphone, the first made-in-Africa, full-scale smartphone, soon to be manufactured in SA and Rwanda.
* MTN will apply for a Mobile Money licence in Nigeria.
* The appointments of Ado Bayero as chairman of Teleology Nigeria; Stephane Beuvelet as acting MD of Teleology Nigeria; Katherine Getao as CEO of Kenya's ICT Authority; Mugo Kibai as CEO of Telkom Kenya; and Lanre Kolade as CEO of CSquared.
* The resignation of Aldo Mareuse, CEO of Telkom Kenya.

Key international news

* Accenture acquired Stockholm-based Kaplan, a provider of data-driven customer relationship management services, which transforms customer experiences through strategic, analytical, technology and creative solutions.
* A subsidiary of AGC Networks bought Black Box, a leading technology solutions provider dedicated to helping customers build, manage, optimise and secure their IT infrastructure.
* BlackBerry purchased Cylance, an artificial intelligence and cyber security company, for $1.4 billion.
* Cable One acquired private equity-backed fibre network operator Clearwave Communications.
* Citrix bought Sapho, a start-up with an intelligent portal for engaging employees, for $200 million.
* Infineon Technologies purchased Siltectra, a German start-up that has developed an innovative technology (cold split) to process crystal material efficiently and with minimal loss of material.
* Kofax acquired Nuance Document Imaging, a division of Nuance Communications.
* Microsoft bought XOXCO, a company that builds bots and conversational tools.
* Oracle purchased Talari Networks, a provider of SD-WAN technology.
* SAP acquired Qualtrics, an analytics start-up, for $8 billion.
* Vista Equity Partners bought Apptio, a developer of technology business management software as a service application, for $1.94 billion.

Naspers and Innova Capital made a $400 million investment in iFood, a food delivery platform controlled by Latin America-based mobile marketplace Movile.

* Search engine company Baidu led a $302 million investment in XinChao Media, an elevator advertising company, in a move meant to promote the digitalisation of China's offline advertising.
* A German District Court ruled that Huawei Technologies Deutschland and ZTE Deutschland infringed patents of two patent holders in MPEG LA's AVC Patent Portfolio License by using their technologies in mobile phones that implement the AVC/H.264 (MPEG-4 Part 10) standard.
* Trend Micro and Moxa, a leader in industrial communications and networking, have executed a letter of intent relating to the formation of a joint venture corporation, TXOne Networks, which will focus on the security needs present in the industrial Internet of things environments, including smart manufacturing, smart city and smart energy.
* The US Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission have subpoenaed Snap for information about its March 2017 initial public offering.
* Excellent quarterly results from CooTek (back in the black) and Huya (back in the black).
* Very good quarterly figures from Quanta Computer and Tencent Holdings.
* Good quarterly numbers from ESCO Technologies, Foxconn, Magic Software, Nvidia, Unimicron (back in the black) and Zhen Ding Technology.
* Satisfactory quarterly results from Cusco, Iliad, MAM Software, NetApp, Phison Electronics and YY.
* Mediocre quarterly results from Walton Advanced Engineering.
* Mixed quarterly figures from Applied Materials, Digi International, Infineon Technologies, NetEase, Sanmina, Switch and TDC A/S, with revenue up but net income down; and from Gilat Satellite Networks, with revenue down but net income up.
* Quarterly losses from Ali, Black Box, Boxlight, Cardlytics, Datawatch, Document Security Systems, Fusion, GDS Holdings, HTC, Intellicheck, Macom Technology Solutions, ParkerVision, Payment Data Systems, Qutoutiao, SolarWinds, Sonos, Superconductor Technologies, SurveyMonkey, Uber, Veritone, Vodafone Idea, WidePoint and Wix.com.
* A half-year loss from Vodafone.
* The appointment of Thomas Kurian as CEO of Google Cloud.
* The resignation of Binny Bansal, CEO of Flipkart.
* The departures of Amos Genish, CEO of Telecom Italia; and Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene.
* A planned IPO from Scandinavian telco, Ice Group, on the Oslo stock exchange.

Research results and predictions

EMEA/Africa:
* The number of active fleet management systems deployed in commercial vehicle fleets in SA reached an estimated 1.3 million in Q417, according to Berg Insight. Growing at a CAGR of 14%, this number is expected to reach 2.5 million by 2022.
* IT spending in EMEA is projected to total $973 billion in 2019, an increase of 2% from the estimated spending of $954 billion in 2018, according to Gartner.
* Volumes dropped by nearly 5% in the EMEA smartphone market in the third quarter, compared with the same quarter in 2017, but market value was up more than 10% over the year, according to IDC. Total market volumes were 89 million for a value of $29.8 billion at retail prices before sales taxes.

Worldwide:
* Global spending on robotic process automation (RPA) software is estimated to reach $680 million in 2018, an increase of 57% year-over-year, with RPA software spending on pace to total $2.4 billion in 2022, according to Gartner.
* Worldwide spending on the technologies and services that enable the digital transformation of business practices, products, and organisations is forecast to reach $1.9 trillion in 2022, with spending expected to steadily expand throughout the 2017-2022 forecast period, achieving a five-year compound annual growth rate of 16.7%, according to IDC.
* Worldwide revenue for IT services and business services totalled $506 billion in the first half of 2018, an increase of 4% year-over-year, according to IDC.
* Global tablet shipments are expected to decline 4.3% year-on-year in 2018 to 145.5 million units, as shipments of entry-level devices grow weaker due to the rise of smart speakers and unfavourable currency exchange rates, according to TrendForce.

Stock market changes

* JSE All share index: Down 2.3%
* FTSE100: Down 1.3%
* DAX: Down 1.6%
* NYSE (Dow): Down 2.2%
* S&P 500: Down 1.6%
* Nasdaq: Down 2.1%
* Nikkei225: Down 2.6%
* Hang Seng: Up 2.3%
* Shanghai: Up 3.1%

Look out for

International:
* Further developments regarding Dell's listing.

South Africa:
* Further developments regarding government's ICT policy.

Final word

Forrester's 2019 predictions identify the major dynamics that will affect companies in the coming year, a year where firms will shift from strategic ambitions to pragmatic, surgical efforts.

In 2018, leaders set their sights on large-scale initiatives such as digital transformation and customer experience (CX). But many faced the harsh reality that these strategies are hard, costly and challenge the way leaders run their businesses. CX performance was flat and more than 50% of digital transformation efforts stalled.

In 2019, leaders will turn their attention to pragmatic, surgical efforts. Forrester predicts:

1. CX remains under fire: brands will give up on strategic CX initiatives and resort to old-school methods for short-term gains.
2. Digital goes surgical: digital transformation will move to a pragmatic portfolio view of digital investments.
3. Purpose regains meaning: purpose will become a strategic priority again, acting as the strategic compass for firms.
4. CMOs rebrand: CMOs will bring back brand as their top priority.
5. CIOs take the reins: CIOs will expand their remit, building a model that translates tech-led innovation into customer value.
6. Artificial intelligence builds a foundation: firms will put more building blocks in place to accelerate their ability to meet AI's promise.
7. The world goes to Zero (Trust): Zero Trust will become the ad hoc standard security architecture.
8. Consumer brands enter the outrage: more brands will partake in market-baiting, but most will misjudge the mechanics and make minimal impact.
9. B2B in a squeeze: B2B marketers will shift away from blunt outbound methods and reorient around customer outcomes.
10. Employee experience takes centre stage: leaders will reignite change management efforts, substituting targeted initiatives for 2018's broad-based culture efforts.
11. Robots reimagine talent management: talent leaders will use automation to address the talent scarcity squeeze.
12. VC funding recalibrates: Martech and adtech investments will dry up as investors look to put their dollars into specific verticals.
13. Blockchain exposes advertising: blockchain will allow advertisers to see where waste and abuse lie and how their money is spent in the media-buying supply chain.
14. Internet of things (IOT) gets down to business: IOT in the B2B space will take off, while B2C incarnations still try to find their footing.

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