In response to the pandemic and related regulatory changes, the Broll Property Group initiated its default business continuity plan, which determined that a higher number of employees would work remotely, thus increasing the need for, and reliance on, mobile connectivity. This meant that the group was strategically and operationally virtually immediately ready to continue serving its clients to the same high standard.
According to Stuart Mathieson, Broll Property Group – Group IT Executive, while the solution that came out of its collaboration with Apex BI, namely the Clarity TEM platform, has been working well over the years, it has really come into its own in recent times by yielding an approximate 57% saving – which includes 3G related mobile costs – on lockdown mobile costs. “Moreover, it provides a single view of telecoms costs across our growing, scattered workforce and this has been achieved without compromising the ability of our people to perform their duties,” says Mathieson.
He notes that as an organisation, Broll prides itself on its progressive ability to offer services throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and says the group is no stranger to managing a geographically diverse workforce with widespread continental representation.”
“Our tagline: ‘Progressive Property People’, is representative of this ethos.
“Such a strong value proposition, offering expansive coverage and support, does not come without challenges as far as telecoms cost, management and allocation goes, which is why, for the past 12 years, Apex BI and Broll have forged such a mutually beneficial partnership,” he adds.
Mathieson confirms that over the years, Apex BI has grown to become a pivotal support in terms of Broll’s telecommunications management. “Apex BI helped us to control and manage this increasingly sprawling estate by coming up with innovations to take our business forward and, in doing so, have become true partners,” he says.
Expenditure spikes detected and controlled
Nick Inward, National Account Manager, Apex BI, says at the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown, immediate expenditure spikes were identified at Broll. “This was a result of the ensuing increase in remote worker connectivity needs coupled with higher demands on new and existing infrastructure.
“Many companies had to make swift adjustments due to the hike in mobile requirements resulting from lockdown. However, Broll is no newcomer to having a widespread mobile workforce – on the contrary, they are very familiar with this with operations throughout the continent. Obviously, with the advent of lockdown, Broll’s mobile requirements shifted to a need for the entire company, which of course had an immediate impact on costs,” says Inward. “While it was considered too risky to make any material adjustments during the early lockdown period, it was clear that Broll needed a completely new strategy to deal with the changed business conditions, which seem likely to persist for some time.”
Inward says a subsequent cost and consumption-based analysis performed by Apex BI factored in the redesign of the existing mobile landscape and showed that significant cost savings could be achieved in the short term, without compromising connectivity and service to Broll staff, customers or supplier ecosystem.
Single view of all telecommunications suppliers and services
“Part of the solution included adjustment to traditional tariff types utilised and the implementation of more stringent budgets per job function, which could easily be managed and monitored. As lockdown levels eased, a return to some of the physical locations increased and in turn generated additional expenditure. This, combined with an already diverse mobile landscape, meant a heightened focus on cost reporting and allocation was required. In short, it was necessary to achieve a single view of all costs for all telecommunications suppliers and services,” he says.
Apex BI has, for several years, been providing Broll with its Clarity platform, giving a single view with granular automated, and or, on-demand, reporting across all users on both cost and usage. Cost allocation reports automate the process of assigning the costs associated with each SIM card and replace many man hours of traditional manual slog.
Inward explains that automated processes like this not only saves Broll resources a lot of time, but the quality of the information is greatly improved by eliminating human error.
Full managed services solution
“Additionally, Apex BI provides Broll with a full managed services solution and effectively serves as the interface between the company and its telecoms suppliers, providing analysis and advice in order to contain costs, as well as developing new strategies that support the business’ telecommunications needs.”
All requests to the telecoms providers for changes, additions, alterations, etc, are routed through Apex BI’s central support desk, which then manages the entire process. Considering Broll’s widespread footprint, this is a massive saving of time and resources for Broll.
“Apex BI enables Pan-African companies like Broll to focus on its core business while we take care of the telecommunications costs. This becomes an invaluable service particularly when organisations are faced with navigating extraordinarily challenging and globally uncharted times such as COVID, when all hands need to be on deck and focused on core business,” concludes Inward.