BCX bets on the “intelligent contact center” strategy

Jonas Bogoshi, CEO of BCX.

BCX, a subsidiary of Telkom, is creating new revenue streams by tapping into South Africa’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

The ICT services company has experienced a decline in revenue over the past few years. In Telkom’s business update released last month, BCX reported a 3.6% drop in revenue to R3.7 billion for the third quarter of fiscal 2022 as the company remains under pressure in due to global supply issues.

BCX reports that as part of its strategy of investing in high-quality growth, it is committed to driving operational sustainability through various strategic initiatives, introduced through its innovation business unit BCX Exa.

This includes developing key artificial intelligence (AI)-based natural language processing technologies for the global business services industry.

It is also looking to scale its security division as local organizations increasingly fall victim to an increased array of cybersecurity attacks.

In 2020, the company launched BCX Exa, a digital division focused on helping local organizations build digital capabilities, including building an online presence.

In an interview with ITWeb, BCX CEO Jonas Bogoshi said the digital wing, made up of software engineers and digital experts, has since seen a huge appetite for innovation in South Africa. It has deployed various solutions, such as BCX AIOpsto help companies achieve optimal business results.

In its latest initiative, the unit is creating emerging cloud-based technologies to help private and public sector companies create “smart” contact centers to improve their customer service.

“Although BCX Exa is still a toddler, there are key solutions that we have developed from the unit for the South African market. These include the COVIDConnect solution for the Department of Health for Research contacts and the Yep! Telkom Business Digital Marketplace,” notes Bogoshi.

“The unit is currently occupied with natural language processing technology, and we have developed two different solutions in relation to this project. This tool uses AI and machine learning to enable South Africans to use their native language to interact with a machine when they call a contact center.We have developed Qonda, a solution capable of responding to simple customer requests without human intervention.

According to Bogoshi, Qonda will help bridge the digital and language divide in the BPO industry, by enabling customers phoning the contact center to speak in native South African languages, and the machine will understand, complete the process and respond in the same way. language.

“We are currently testing this tool in one of our own call centers. This solution will play a key role in reducing the digital divide as the challenges faced by citizens are not only limited access to digital technologies, but also the additional language barrier, for example, having to speak in English to access these technologies. .

The South African BPO market is projected to reach $3.6 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 13.2% over the forecast period, according to research firm ResearchAndMarkets.

The local BPO industry has been performing very well over the past few years, mainly due to the continuous support it has received from the national government.

Industry body BPO Business Process Enabling South Africa has signed an agreement with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and other stakeholders, to create between 250,000 and 500,000 cumulative new jobs in the manufacturing sector. 2030.

Legacy of obsolete technology

BCX was created after IT services company Business Connexion was acquired by Telkom in 2015. BCX is the result of the integration of Telkom Business and Business Connexion, founded by Isaac Mophatlane and his late brother Benjamin Mophatlane.

“After the merger, BCX inherited fixed voice services from Telkom, and we saw our traditional offerings and services becoming a commodity as our customers invested in new digital technologies.

“This was a challenge as it meant that our high margin revenues were shrinking very quickly. So we decided to conceptualize a five year migration plan to transition customers from the old legacy traditional voice to the next generation technology. , such as Voice over Internet Protocol,” adds Bogoshi.

The latest offerings are part of the five-year plan for investing in emerging technologies, he continues.

BCX is building a Security Operations Center (SOC) near its Midrand data center, having repositioned itself for SA’s cybersecurity market nearly two years ago.

The IT services company has partnered with European multinational IT giant Atos, to help South African organizations fight cybercrime using quantum computing, big data analytics and SOC automation capabilities.

According to Bogoshi, the increase in cyberattacks targeting local businesses during the lockdown has seen the security division become the second best performing business unit, after its cloud division.

About 80% of the cybersecurity incidents the unit combats daily consist of ransomware attacks, where hackers demand to be paid in cryptocurrency, he notes.

“When we started the security business, we did not realize the huge demand for security services in South Africa that would arise from the current pandemic.

“This business unit has since experienced good growth in terms of revenue and established itself as one of the leading providers of security services in South Africa. As a result, we plan to scale the business and increase our security teams,” he concludes.