Orange Business Services, the IT services arm of giant French telecommunications operator Orange, is gearing up to help South African multinationals wanting to expand on the continent to do so.
Jean-Luc Lasnier, GM for Orange Business Services in the Middle East and Africa, says that of the multinationals active in Africa, 70% are in South Africa. He says the decision to focus on South Africa was an easy one because it makes for the perfect base from which to cover sub-Saharan Africa.
Lasnier says Africa is a complex environment and a unique approach is required for each country. He says this diversity “requires that you are present. We want to be close to our customers and close to the market.”
While Orange’s South African operation will serve sub-Saharan Africa, its Moroccan office will cover markets in North Africa.
“In sub-Saharan Africa, we go direct to market. In North Africa, we go direct, or through existing affiliates.”
Lanier says the company is still considering which of its services to offer in the region and will evolve depending on “market needs”.
Orange hopes to attract banks, resources companies, retailers, medical companies and public sector as clients. It already works with SABMiller, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and AngloGold Ashanti in South Africa.
“How can we achieve double-digit growth in a country where growth is only 4%? In South Africa, the multinationals won’t grow their revenue by two digits. But they need to optimise their cost and their infrastructure and standardise their IT systems. Orange can help with that.”
Lasnier says one of the advantages of rolling out IT services in Africa is the lack of legacy. This means Orange can use the latest technology without having to worry about moving companies from existing solutions.
Orange has had a South African presence since 1967. Business Services has a team of 60 people in its Johannesburg office. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media