The future is here and the future is digital. Who can in these modern times imagine doing business without Internet?
Tanzania is no exception, from farmers checking for current product prices online and SMEs growing their market via Social Media, to international conglomerates banking online and governments twitting policies changes, life as we know it, has gone digital.
That been the fact, the need for safe, reliable and affordable internet services is ever growing. While we all use the internet but here is a quick question, do you know your Internet Service Provider (ISP)?
Since 2011, Flashnet has been meeting and exceeding business Information Technology (IT) needs covering both connectivity to productivity; From Connectivity, Managed IT, Cloud, Unified Security and Collaboration tools for your business like the celebrated Office 365, a partnership with Microsoft to provide you tailored network services or the Zoho Workplace, an application suite built for unified communication, team collaboration and productivity. Say the least Flashnet, is a leader in IT a must have partner in this digital age.
Meet Vinayan Benedict, the Director of Flashnet, he gives us an exclusive interview about Flashnet’s advent in Tanzania, from inception to becoming a leading service provider that your business simply cannot do without.
Congratulations on the success of Flashnet, in this extremely competitive digital world what is behind your success?
Thanks. Our success is our team work and Dedication. Our team has been in the industry for many years and we are able to maintain the quality service from inception. We also thank our Customers for their trust which lead us to provide the Quality services without compromise.
Tell us about your business, what is Flashnet, what services do you provide?
Flashnet is an MSP (Managed Service Provider) and we provide Connectivity, Managed IT, Cloud, Security and Collaboration Services. An MSP is not a common term in Tanzania but its very popular in Europe , US and other developed countries. We are trying to provide similar services here with an affordable cost without compromising on Quality of Service. We can manage entire IT infrastructure of a Company including their digital presence without them having a dedicated IT resource. This will enable Companies to be more efficient, secure and on par with new age technologies.
Now that you have told us what you do, lets go to the most important part, why you do it. What inspired you to this choice of business or rather why Flashnet?
We have been into Connectivity Business for many years and we noticed the gap of associated services in most of the Customers we worked with. Either they don’t have IT resources or the existing IT resources are not competitive enough to manage their requirement or provide innovative solutions. These were leading to a non secure, non productive IT atmosphere for Clients and we thought of adding more services to our portfolio which can fill the gap. We ended up in converting our self into an MSP to provide the technology services which are in need.
SMEs are growing exponentially in Africa and more so in Tanzania whose economy is enjoying a sustained average annual growth of 5 percent, tell us about these acclaimed business IT solutions Microsoft 365 and the Zoho Workplace.
The World is moving to Cloud and we don’t have any exception other than to move towards it. We are partnered with renowned collaboration tools like, Microsoft365, Zoho and Gsuite to provide new age technology tools to our Customers so that they wont be stay behind in this technology advanced era. The collaboration tools gives way more than traditional email hosting, they provide shared Work drive, Meeting,Calendars and Office Apps.
There is still a large misconception out there on the level of digital consumption in Africa, what is your view, is there reasonable demand for your services?
Yes, digital consumption is comparatively low in Africa with other continents. Considering the current Cyber threat landscape there is a huge scope for Managed IT and security Services. We can see that changes now as Companies started demanding these services. It will take time for more digital consumption in Africa but we can see that trend is going up and we will be there soon.
Marketing and branding is a big aspect in business development, how do you reach out, retain and grow your market?
Building a trustworthy Brand is most important in our line of Business. Most of our new Customers are by referrals from our existing Customers and also we advertise our services by print and digital mediums. Our target Customers are Enterprises and SMB’s and we work on a stable growth level than an exponential growth which is the right approach for our Business model.
You have obviously had great success with Flashnet, but what was the hardest part of getting the business started?
Here most of Businesses are failing to start or survive due to lack of adequate working capital. We also gone through that part and it took many months to stabilize. We will need Angel investors and flexible lending mechanisms to bring in more technology companies.
At what point did you know, ‘ok, we are going to make it.’
Starting was very slow because we need to get trusted by Customers as this is a critical service. We gave extra efforts and customized solutions to gain that trust. We got positive referrals from our Customers and we are able to reach more prospects with these referrals. At this point we realized that we are on right track. Shortly we introduced Managed Services to cater additional IT services to our existing Clients.
If you had the chance to advice the government on what it can do to improve the business environment in Tanzania what would be your advice?
Government support is eminent for growth of Business and they should engage more with stake holders to understand the challenges in every industry.Communication and IT industry is inevitable for the growth of nation and any support from Government will be helping to attract more investors in this sector.
Where do you see Flashnet 10 years from now?
We have plans to expand our portfolio in other regions within next 2 years and also expanding to other East African Countries by 2025. We want to be a leading Managed Service provider in East Africa within next 10 years and with our commitment and teamwork we are confident to achieve this.