MTN Group’s Kenneth Matau is responsible for technology strategy and execution of internet of things (IoT) and cybersecurity for business-to-business offerings across 17 operating subsidiaries in Africa.
In his role at MTN, he has managed major architecture changes in IoT, fixed connectivity, and unified communications and videoconferencing. He has also managed big technology projects in Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Zambia and South Africa, each with its owm complexities, budgets and privacy laws.
An electronics engineer by training, Matau also holds a certificate in financial management and has an international cybersecurity certification.
TechCentral asked Matau a few questions for its IT Leadership Series.
What does your company do?
MTN Group is a telecommunications operator that is evolving into a full technology company. It sells fixed and mobile connectivity, cloud and hosting services, IoT solutions, unified communication and collaboration tools, cybersecurity solutions, and devices.
What do you see as the IT leader’s top priorities in 2023?
Data analytics through AI and monetisation.
Who do you most admire in business and why?
Adrian Gore, CEO of Discovery Group. Gore has built an insurance company and a bank, both of which rely on data analytics, which is an area many companies in South Africa have fallen behind on. Discovery is probably also the most advanced in its use of AI.
How do you attract and retain talent?
I’m fortunate to run two highly relevant platforms: IoT and security. They don’t need a lot of motivation. I show them how important a task they have at hand and how far they can go in their careers if they contribute to the bigger picture. I play much to their strengths.
If you could go back and give your 18-year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
“This is just the beginning, young man. You will have to fight for everything, even that which seems obvious. You will achieve things that you cannot imagine today, so remain humble and focused.”
What’s your favourite productivity hack?
I wake up early. This is the time when I can move mountains.
What occupation (other than your own) would you like to try?
Where do you see the technology industry heading in the next three to five years?
Data monetisation will be big, and so will resiliency and alternative energy in this load shedding environment.
What is one book you’d recommend to our audience and why?
The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, by Scott Galloway. The book takes the reader behind the success of these companies and how they broke down monopolies to create their own.