Some businesses have sparkled in the pandemic as they have risen to the challenge of helping companies adapt to a dramatically changed world. The 4Sight Holdings Group of companies is a case in point. In this interview with BizNews founder Alec Hogg, Tertius Zitzke, CEO of 4Sight Holdings, shares how his teams have been able to help customers create smarter operations, build new products and disruptive models through digital transformation. He provides a glimpse into how to assess opportunities and reshape products to appeal to customers with new requirements.
*This episode of Inside Investing is proudly brought to you by 4Sight Holdings, your digital transformation partner of choice.
Tertius Zitzke on the challenges of Covid-19:
It’s been challenging. Overnight, we had to help customers. We got calls saying, ‘we must lock our offices tomorrow, but we discovered that our payroll is on a PC on the [office] floor. So these were the opportunities to take them into the cloud and never look back again. I think that was the big accelerator for us, but I think the thing about 4Sight – our whole aim – is to converge the three worlds in IT today. It’s basically the operational technologies. All the industrial systems controlling machines – any system that is unique to a company.
Then information technologies. That’s the accounting system, payroll, data and analytics – stuff like that. Then we’ve got the business environment now as well. That is really the platforms – like Office 365, Teams, whatever we do conferences on – big data, visual, enterprise visualisation, digital twins, all those things. To converge those three worlds into one, that’s really what 4Sight does now. We’ve got all those capabilities in one company.
So we’re basically organised into four business clusters. The business environment, information technologies, the operational technologies and then we’ve got another cluster that we call the partner enablement, because we are a big partner for Microsoft and Sage. We enable other partners on their behalf.
On the pillars that 4Sight focuses on:
The five pillars that we focus on in 4Sight are people, customers, operations, finance and innovation. People are the most important thing that we need to manage nowadays. We can already see the shift happening now in managing people that are offline, not in the office – or in the office occasionally. In our industry, it’s fairly applicable. I think there’s a bigger move now to an outcome-based management. Systems that can do that, instead of ‘give me your time sheet and your job card, then I’ll measure you on hours [worked] or what you did.’ Then you need the systems and the platforms for that. What we call Customer 4.0 is basically your sales, marketing, your interaction with your customers and your service level agreements. It’s also how you manage these customers that you don’t see anymore.
On Customer 4.0:
Customer 4.0 is also a new way of generating revenue. I call it, in Afrikaans, ‘bietjie, bietjie, baie’. In other words, ‘little bit, little bit, lots’. That’s the whole movement now, subscription revenue. Not the big CapEx. In the old days, we used to say when you sold software, ‘you don’t eat cake without icing’. The icing was always that lekker software margin. But now it’s just continuing as well. Within a year, we at 4Sight want to be on a 70/30 split on recurring revenue – including the services, asset service. So you actually spread that CapEx for your customer over a few years as well. You actually then have that partnership on a longer basis with them.
On 4Sight’s biggest growth area:
Our biggest growth area in our business right now is that cloud solution provider business. To sell those solutions but to add the value and the integration as well, to the customers.
On the shift of consulting services:
It’s also to take that shift on consulting services. That you don’t simply see a resource – a human being – who’s only got 160 or 200 hours a month. That shouldn’t be the cap. We incentivise the guys to deliver certain things. If they do it quicker, they still get the same. If they work longer, it’s on their time. It’s a big shift that is happening in the world now. To be more people-driven and outcome-based driven, but also to measure and create that digital environment world for the offices. We’re busy building a platform that we call My4Sight. We’ve got a few customers that are on that already. When we had this digital conference a month-and-a-half-ago, you basically walked into the building with your mouse. As you’re in the foyer, you see the billboards and hear people talking. You can go to different venues and rooms. Based on your own profile, you can display things to a certain customer.
On reinventing products:
Innovation is really the product. A lot of people will say, ‘I can’t change my product’. But you can. It’s the way you repackage it. Like I’m saying now, we repackage our product. Like adding new services, new payment terms or new activation. But even car rentals, add services to that. That’s easier and more beneficial. Use Covid as the reason why. Everybody will pay R100 more if they get assurance that the car is really clean.
This episode of Inside Investing is proudly brought to you by 4Sight Holdings, your digital transformation partner of choice.