Telecom Namibia is ringing the changes
Telecom Namibia has entered into an agreement with NewTelco South Africa represented by Jasco Co-location Solutions in a pioneering step aimed at connecting Africa to the world by delivering a much faster and cheaper internet service.
The agreement will also remove the reliance of a number of African telecoms operators on third parties to connect internationally and drive down the cost of communications for the continent.
NewTelco South Africa will establish a total of four international Points of Presence (PoPs) connected into the WACS undersea cable that became active in May 2012.
These PoPs, to be located in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Frankfurt and London, will be procured and built by NewTelco SA for exclusive use by Telecom Namibia.
Also, as part of the agreement, Telecom Namibia, the national fixed and mobile telecoms operator in Namibia, is currently making use of NewTelco’s existing infrastructure until the dedicated infrastructure is built. A number of global carriers are already connected into the service.
Namibia was the second country to extend the reach of their network into Europe on the WACS cable.
When selecting a partner, Telecom Namibia went out to tender with a very specific set of criteria that needed to be met. One of the conditions was for a company with a global reach and existing experience in building PoPs around the world.
Telecom Namibia also required a company skilled at systems integration to bring together products and equipment from a variety of vendors and provide a single point of contact, as well as a partner with the critical mass required to supply infrastructure and provide the use of such infrastructure on a rental basis back to them.
The Jasco Group as a whole is well known for its systems integration expertise, and thanks to NewTelco SA’s partnership with NewTelco GmbH, a German company with co-location hubs in 25 locations including major world capitals and years of global experience, Jasco Co-location Solutions was the ideal partner.
Eckart Zollner, Business Development Manager for Jasco Co-location Solutions, said: “In order to connect to global telecommunications providers, Telecom Namibia needed space in multiple data centres as well as a company to manage and maintain services.
“NewTelco SA, through our ties to NewTelco GmbH, is perfectly positioned to deliver on Telecom Namibia’s requirements and fulfil this role. Not only will this assist with bringing down the cost of telecommunications, it will also provide cheaper Internet connectivity as Namibia will no longer have to route data traffic through South Africa.”
Direct routing not only provides more cost effective interconnections, it also enables the operator to offer higher speeds of connectivity at lower prices, as well as better customer service.
Telecom Namibia is now able to manage its own networks and make broadband connectivity more accessible to the Namibian public, helping them to bridge the digital divide and allowing the country to compete on a global stage.
The strategic location of the four PoPs mean that Telecom Namibia can now offer its customers in South Africa or abroad direct connections to a number of existing and future undersea cable systems such as WACS, SAT3, EASSY, SEACOM, ACE and BRICS.
This not only provides for a fault tolerant international service platform, but also provides an opportunity to benefit from an optimised pricing model as traffic can be routed over any of these cable systems.
Oiva Angula, Senior Manager: Corporate Communications and Public Relations at Telecom Namibia, said: “Jasco Co-location Solutions met all of our criteria, and has delivered the first phase of a solution which will revolutionise telecommunications in Namibia.
“Further phases, such as additional PoPs and the extension of our national infrastructure, will enable us to further extend these services and access new technologies such as Voice over IP and cloud services.”
Pete da Silva, CEO at The Jasco Group, said: “NewTelco is a carrier neutral co-location centre and provider, which means that at every point of presence location there are hundreds of global carriers present. Telecom Namibia can now have its pick of carriers to interconnect with, ensuring that they always receive the best pricing and service levels, which can then be passed on to their customers.”
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”