Interview with Stephan in "VoIP for business"

Why did you move your business to SA?

But first we did not move move our whole business as have been reported. We have moved several key functions to South Africa.
Our global customer service is now 70% in Cape Town.
Business development, design and 50% of sales activities is in Cape Town.
Senior management and staff is in Cape Town as well.
Our legal head entity is still based in Sweden.

Back to why:
One of the few beauties with owning your own business is that you can allow yourself the luxury of experimentation.
1, We wanted to experiment with a full fledged operation in a country that we knew wouldn´t kill us financially and where competition wasn’t too fierce.  South Africa is English and we thought it would be a good start to enter the English world.
2. I knew we could become a substantial player in South Africa
3. Recruitment and draw from the pool of talent in ZA.
4. On a personal level I have loved ZA ever since I came here for the first time 1989. I know the country has a great future.
People love new stuff compared to for instance Swedes, that are very cautious.
For us as a family it was/is an opportunity of a lifetime and I don´t regret it. We love the people and the country,

Were you surprised by the It infrastructure available in the country?
Yes. I couldn’t believe it at first.
I knew that it wasn´t going to be easy at all. But as a company you always expect to receive great service if you are willing to pay.
The lack of competition keeps up really poor service levels and low band width.
We are paying the same here for the type of service we paid for in Sweden 10 years  ago.
I really dont think it is acceptable.
I cant see any real investment beeing made in broad band and fiber optics.
And the country will loose out as a whole in the long run. It´s sad. South Africa should be in the fore front.
I think we could take a lot of jobs away from India in the IT sector and several jobs in the call centre sector if we had better bandwidth.
I read a report that our telco costs are four times higher than for instance India. It sounds high to me but no doubt we are paying a premium for the lack of competition.

What is your view on the fact that some people see SA as being
backward in terms of IT?

I agree.
I find that people and companies have accepted the lousy level we are on now because they compare with five years ago. But go to Europe where wireless super fast real broad band is everywhere. Any apartment in Scandinavia has 10-25 gig broad band right into their kitchen for 195 rand a month and prices are going down all the time.
This should be more a government issue than private issue. Not investing in broadband is like saying that you still believe in a one lane gravel road instead of tared 6 lane freeway. Infrastructure wheather its airports, harbours, roads or broadband all works the same, the more you build the more people will use it.
Great broad band access will allow for Fortune 500 companies to relocate support functions to South Africa people will to start build micro enterprises on a whole new level.

What kind of growth has your business seen since moving here?
In ZA we have gone from zero to 120 mill rand in sales on rolling twelve in 12 months now.
We will double that in the year to come.
Globally we have doubled our sales last year.
I think we will double sales in 08 and 09 as well.
Locally we want to become one of the top 10 in three years and one of the top five in five years.

Have something to say...