The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present a truly global challenge, birthing the most disruptive and life-changing events that have brought our beloved Botswana and the rest of the world to a perpetual standstill since early 2020. Businesses continue to be impacted, predominantly from a sales and human resources perspective, largely from the Nationwide lockdowns and movement restrictions. People continue to find themselves working from home or working remotely, whilst shops, restaurants and the entertainment, tourism and hospitality industries are still reeling from reduced customers and business. Our healthcare system and first responder base, of course, constantly work to manage the situation as best as possible, and the private sector continues to lend support in many ways.
On the other hand, one cannot deny that some good has also been observed. Working from home has meant some people have more time with their loved ones and a slightly stronger sense of work-life balance; environments have been thriving from reduced human traffic, and organisations across the country have for the most part heeded the call to accelerate into greater inclusivity through investment in digital platforms and solutions. We see this, for example, most firmly, in the banking space.
Whilst it is perhaps a stretch to refer to any “silver lining” in a pandemic, the accelerated digitalisation only nudges us further into the planned strategies by businesses and the Nation – towards becoming a more digitally savvy and inclusive knowledge-based economy. We are all being forced to demonstrate resilience and agility, at the same time adapting and innovating quickly for the sake of progress and positive impact. Issues such as strained bandwidth and internet connectivity are swiftly being dealt with, or at least as swiftly as is possible, and while we are certainly not without challenges in our adaption to the new normal, we are moving forward.
The uncertainty around how long this situation will persist increases the complexity of formulating a concise response as a business. Business continuity and business readiness are paramount. The organisational ability to respond to critical contingencies is crucial for business leaders in the perspective of continuing business. It is therefore important that businesses become more proactive in assessing risk and vulnerability from an operational viewpoint, and we see this in the leadership approach changes within many organisation – more inclusive, more human, more digitally-centered and more invested and committed to employee wellbeing and customer experience.
Not all businesses were ready with these and not every single business was ready to start working from home nor changing previous operational ways, but we have adapted and continue to adapt. The pandemic really catapulted businesses to develop strategies that would determine how businesses should operate going forward in the form of digitalisation to ensure that everything becomes more inclusive and more convenient, largely though becoming more digital and virtual; therefore, investment in tech infrastructure and Internet accessibility have been integral.
At Orange Botswana, we have worked to ensure we are always ahead of the anticipated need of our colleagues, consumers and communities. We are dedicated to innovating, adapting and deliberating on what we can continue to keep doing or do better to support our people.
The changes and uncertainties of the period have been rewarding as well as challenging. They have impacted our infrastructure as there was a tremendous increase in Internet demand and usage. People and businesses became heavily dependent on digital platforms, more than ever before, to do their day-to-day activities. To do your banking you need to access your App, for shopping online you need to browse the Internet, socialising with friends and families through WhatsApp and Facebook means you need data; hence the demand for data and seamless Internet connectivity became high. Coinciding with lockdowns was a nationwide network upgrade project by Orange Botswana and this helped in accommodating the evolving needs of the customers.
The pandemic has impacted the demand of some of the products and services, but our focus has been to ensure we remain present and we deliver what is needed and then some. Our commitment to provide customers with innovative solutions, especially during this time of need, grows stronger each day. Our suite of products plays an integral supporting role in people’s ability to work from home and we are dedicated to helping businesses stay functional during the pandemic. This includes but is not limited to:
- Orange Fiber: this is running through our partner BoFiNet’s structures and available in parts of Gaborone. The capacity for Orange Fiber to transport very high speed offers the possibility for different people in the same household to make simultaneous use without constraint related to the sharing of speed.
- Orange Wireless: this spans across Gaborone and its periphery providing a point to multipoint radio access and has a business dedicated internet offer that gives businesses a one-to-one ration download speed and guarantee quality service.
- Office 365: this enables employees to work smart, anywhere, with a hosted email solution. It provides secure access, sharing and file storage at work, at home or on the go.
- Business Dedicated Internet: this solution delivers a fast and resilient service for businesses that rely highly on availability of Internet and internet-based applications. It includes a comprehensive range of high-speed dedicated data lines from 1 Mbps up to 100Mbps, optional backup solutions available.
We have business continuity offers tailor made to response to the current COVID-19 epidemic, and with a subsidised prepaid data services put together to allow organisation to be able to continue to work remotely from their day-to-day offices. This includes:
- Mobile Broadband Mifi: this is a portable and pocket size WIFI device that can connect a laptop/s and any other devices that may need to connect to the internet.
- Prepaid Konnecta Home: this is a mobile plug and play service that is limited to a power connection in your office or home, this device however allows for more devices to be connected to it like any other router.
This climate has also presented a key opportunity in terms of security as a business opportunity. Working remotely requires a certain level of cyber security and there is a need for us to tailor make a service that will cater for this new need. These are areas we continue to invest in.
Our tagline as Orange Botswana is bringing you closer to what matters and we believe that what matters to the customers is seamless connectivity, being able to be online 24/7 to have a reliable functionality on their business. We pride ourselves in giving an unparalleled customer experience, not just customer service. We always strive to go the extra mile to in providing in delivery to our promise, and this means always working to do better and to do more.
Thus, we have ensured that our internal processes speak to the customer promise. We have ensured that our services do not involve physical documentation and we have also aligned our aftersales support to be able to assist remotely before a customer can even consider leaving their home during the pandemic. The team is also well trained and has adopted the new way of doing things ensuring that there is cohesion, always with a view towards doing better.
Our work is never finished, for the customer experience is something we will always invest in. Orange Botswana is a partner to people and communities in this period, and beyond. We will always continue to have our people at the heart of what we do, so that we always support, deliver and innovate for progress.
By Dennis Mmolai – Director, B2B & Fixed Broadband