Vodacom’s pillars of purpose
As a business designed to connect people today for a better tomorrow, Vodacom’s purpose-driven brand constantly strives to make internet access available to all and bridge the digital divide in the communities it serves. The mobile network operator strives to build trust with its stakeholders by ensuring customer experience excellence and developing a deserved reputation for being a sustainable pioneer and a leader in transformation and Black Economic Empowerment. The leading mobile network operator in South Africa remains focused on bridging the digital divide, having done so through ongoing network deployment across South Africa, societal empowerment initiatives and investing in its network for the purpose of ensuring that its customers can connect to an exciting digital future.
For nearly two decades, the Vodacom Foundation has been contributing to societal development by promoting education, health as well as safety and security initiatives. To drive sustainable development in South Africa, the Vodacom Foundation has partnered with reputable organisations to grant over R1.2 billion towards various programmes. As part of its new strategic objective of being a strong purpose-driven brand aimed at accelerating socio-economic transformation in the country, the foundation now largely focuses on education and gender empowerment – SDG goals 4 and 5 respectively. In addition to this, Vodacom has set aside resources to tackle disaster relief. Vodacom’s principle is to work in partnership with government and other civic bodies to transform societies in every market in which the network provider operates. These areas are deeply rooted in the principles of social change and are also in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with the set of bold new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were formally adopted by the 193-member United Nations Assembly in New York on Friday, 25 September 2015. Over the last 12 months alone, Vodacom has spent close to R100 million and has made a difference to over 800 000 beneficiaries.
In South Africa Vodacom’s flagship mobile education programme (mEducation), developed in partnership with the South African Department of Basic Education, provides ICT equipment and free internet access to 3 000 schools and 92 teacher centres across South Africa and the company has trained over 200 000 teachers on the use of ICT in the classroom. Vodacom has also identified 12 schools from the 3000 that will be schools of excellence. Vodacom understands the value of Early Childhood Development (ECD), and as a result is in the process of identifying 13 ECD’s where they will upgrade facilities and ensure that the ECD meets the requirements of the Department of Social Development. This in turn will give the owner and the staff access to various free training courses which will improve their skills with regards to early childhood development.
Vodacom e-School platform
Recognising that many learners in South Africa do not have access to textbooks, the Vodacom e-School platform provides a secure and free online learning content portal for Grade R – 12 learners. School curriculum is accessed through cellphones, tablets and laptops. More than 500 000 learners are registered on the platform and have access to quality digital content as from August 2018.
Vodacom Youth Academy
The Vodacom Youth Academy is currently in 10 of the 92 teacher centres. The Academy was established in partnership with Cisco, Microsoft, the Independent Development Trust and Mict-Seta. The project offers free ICT skills training in both Cisco and Microsoft, focusing on IT (Cisco ITE; A+, N+ and Microsoft). Our target is out-of-school unemployed youth with Grade12 certificates having passed Mathematics, Science and English. The Academy has benefitted 966 trainees since its inception four years ago.
Vodacom is committed to addressing ICT skills shortage in South Africa and to address this need, bursaries are provided to top-achieving students who come from disadvantaged communities to study in the ICT and engineering sectors. Vodacom has awarded 1 200 bursaries to deserving students since its inception in 1999.
Vodacom has had its sights set on five key strategic elements that set the groundwork for its renowned Vision 2020. The strategy was adopted to ensure that the organisation is best positioned to seize opportunities, and manage the risks, of a rapidly changing marketplace. One that is characterised by significant levels of digitalisation, highly connected consumers and a changing landscape of competition and collaboration, with continuing regulatory challenges.
The five key strategic elements comprise of segmented propositions, which use big data analytics and machine learning to develop a complete 360 view of Vodacom’s customers, and develops personalised customer propositions to lead the various segments.
The next element hones in on best customer experience, and the importance of providing customers with a seamless, single-channel experience. This ensures consistent, personalised and efficient customer engagement across all touch-points, with digital being the dominant support channel and the MyVodacom app being the channel of choice.
The third element lies in providing the best technology. Vodacom’s future-proof network strategy has an increased focus on technology and intelligent information systems to unlock big data capabilities and improve organisational agility.
Vodacom intends on further expanding both mobile and fixed connectivity and deploying new network technologies, while rolling out a national IoT network. The mobile network operator will continue to develop new IoT applications and solutions.
Next on the list is none other than Vodacom’s digital organisation and culture. The leading network provider aspires to become a leading digital company and, to achieve this, will require extensive digital transformation within its organisation.
Vodacom has begun the process of transforming itself into a truly digital organisation, and intends on achieving this through continued investment in the acquisition of new skills and talent in areas such as big data, analytics, actuarial science and digital marketing.
Last, but definitely not least is Vodacom’s brand and reputation. The aspiring leading digital company remains the customer brand of choice, with a market-leading reputation for responsible leadership.
Over the years, Vodacom has seen further progression in promoting financial inclusion, education, agriculture and healthcare through its business driven partnership initiatives, such as its sustainable CSI initiative – Foundation, and platforms such as Siyakha.
Vodacom’s investment strategy has involved streamlining its internal and external systems, investing in technology and empowering its partners and customers through collaborative methods. Technology and people remain at the forefront of the envisioned digitally connected future.
For the purpose of connecting its customers to a better tomorrow, today, Vodacom launched its Siyakha initiative in 2017, inspired by the need to become more than just a network for Vodacom customers. Siyakha, which means ‘to build’ in IsiZulu, was introduced to offer zero-rated and lower-priced products and services to the emerging prepaid segment of its customers, who don’t have many resources and are looking for affordability. Vodacom wanted to create a platform that would allow the brand to make a difference, and truly be a brand with purpose in customers’ lives.
One of the meaningful ways that Siyakha has done this is through its Mum&Baby offering, which provides early childhood development information before, during and after pregnancy for parents and caregivers. Likened to ‘having a nurse in your pocket,’ this practical tool provides a range of helpful information including breastfeeding, nutrition and key developmental milestones.
The content on Siyakha is available in five languages, namely: IsiZulu, Sesotho, IsiXhosa, Afrikaans and English. The goal, when introducing Siyakha, was to create a platform that would be a reflection of its customers. So, to personalise the platform, Vodacom is constantly investing in technology, such as big data, which will help the network provider determine its customers’ usage behaviour. The aim is to create a more targeted and holistic platform so that customers can get meaningful information that is relevant to them. Since launch, more than 7.5 million people have benefitted from services offered by the Siyakha umbrella.
A purpose-driven telecommunications business
To drive enterprise growth going forward, Vodacom Business is focused on three principal investment areas: realising growth opportunities for digitisation in the enterprise market, building market leadership in mobile voice and data solutions, including IoT, and scaling converged services through targeted investment in fibre, fixed wireless capillarity and next generation networks. Over the past few years, Vodacom Business has invested in infrastructure development and building skills to service the enterprise market, including the SME market in all categories. The mobile network operator continues to explore opportunities to develop sector-specific propositions agriculture, education, industrial and transportation. Vodacom has secured the mobile voice and data communications contracts for national and provincial government departments for four years. This has enabled it to partner with government to support greater innovation. As a result, Vodacom has continued to maintain a strong market share in mobile, with significant growth opportunities in the fixed voice and data market. The leading mobile network operator has expanded its service proposition in the cloud and hosting space, building on an extensive fixed and mobile infrastructure, pan-African footprint, investment in data centre infrastructure, and its collaboration with global partners such as IBM and SAP HANA. In terms of managed and professional services, Vodacom has remained well-positioned to develop a meaningful market presence, leveraging off its existing client base as well as sector-specific infrastructure and skills development to service the enterprise market.
The exciting future that lies ahead
Vodacom has contributed significantly to the growth of its network, having invested R11.6 billion, which was used to expand on its coverage and improved the quality of its network. So far, Vodacom has invested R8.6 billion in South Africa alone.
It was a proud moment when Vodacom became the first mobile network operator in Africa to exceed the 80 percent threshold in population coverage on a 4G network. It now provides 80.12 percent coverage in South Africa, with 99.78 percent of the population covered by 3G and 99.7 percent covered by 2G.
The Vodacom story is filled with excitement. Its great network, technological innovations and the digital transformation of the mobile network organisation, which builds on a unique ecosystem offering, will undoubtedly create a digitally connected society filled with endless possibilities. The leading telecommunications company will continue this journey of connecting its customers for a purpose.