• Out of the box

    Maredi Technologies’ differentiator lies in building networks and providing connectivity that’s customised to client requirements, says CEO Maredi Thema

    Out of the box

    When you compete in the ICT space, and have a desire to secure clients the likes of Vodacom, Huawei, Eskom, Ericsson, American Tower, Afrovation, Commscope, Metrofibre Network and VH Fibre, you need to offer something unique. Maredi Technologies has identified that differentiator and, says its founder and CEO, Maredi Thema, ‘it can’t be found in a box’.

    Thema explains that eight years ago, after developing his professional and technical expertise as a technician, and following his sales experience in the telecoms industry, he identified a gap in the market.

    ‘There were businesses selling products; businesses selling services to install those products. But there was a scarcity of businesses that combined the two and offered those as a solution.’

    The market, however, wasn’t quite ready for Thema’s comprehensive and integrated approach for two reasons. ‘The market was resistant to change and it maintained the status quo of buying and selling boxed products. South Africa was also cresting the wave of hosting the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and although there were opportunities, I felt that any business secured at that time would not have achieved substantial market value – and Maredi Technologies had a future beyond such an event,’ he says.

    As a result, Thema made the decision to ‘punch above his weight’ and compete with existing, well-known suppliers – splitting Maredi Technologies into product and service offerings, firstly to break into the market, and secondly to build a ‘formidable’ brand. ‘I was competing with the big guns but over time I saw trust issues diminishing. I recognised that the dynamic and complex needs of clients required cutting-edge and tailor-made services that hinged on providing sustainable solutions for clients – exactly what we could offer, especially with fibre on the horizon.’

    Today building networks, particularly that of optical fibre, microwave and radio frequency, is synonymous with the Maredi Technologies brand. Another service it provides is end-user connectivity as an ISP for both voice and data. It will maintain the network and optimise it, while continuing to supply relative products.

    Products also include hardware and software, batteries, green energy and backup solutions, and test and termination equipment relevant to fibre and wireless.

    ‘Maredi Technologies provides complete cost-effective and operationally efficient solutions that in turn produce an optimal return on investment,’ says Thema. ‘We work with light- and heavy-weight budgets for the private and public sectors. This is where our strength resides and what today differentiates us from our competitors.’

    Thema says that the company’s competitors tend to focus on a single aspect of the entire IT chain that, once completed, is a done and dusted deal. ‘Generally they do not enjoy the long process of design through to final voice or data capability handover.’

    In comparison, Maredi Technologies finds solutions that take into account all the intricate design layers. ‘We make communication happen from end-to-end, and with as few people as possible, largely because we have strong partnerships with globally recognised organisations like P3, Infovista, IBM, Panda and Otel.’

    Using small teams is important, according to Thema, because it ensures that clients receive a personal touch. They know exactly to whom they can turn for specific solutions, for example. The specific business model applied relates to building partnerships firstly with its customers, followed by individual staff members, of whom there are 35 across two South African offices, both in Johannesburg, but with a reach beyond the borders.

    ‘We have an indomitable spirit to constantly break new ground with the aim to venture further into the continental market. We currently offer our services in Namibia and Mozambique,’ according to Thema.

    ‘My travels in Africa have also enlightened me to the opportunities that exist for Maredi Technologies in West and East Africa. There is a growing demand for the type of turnkey solutions that we can provide in these regions – probably a hundred times more than in Southern Africa.’

    Maredi Technologies’ commitment to excellence and innovation was lauded in the 2018 Vision 2030 Awards, where it was a finalist in the SME category. The awards recognise businesses that demonstrate innovation and success, and their impact on advancing South Africa’s national development and job-creation agenda.

    ‘This award signifies we are doing all the right stuff, not just for Maredi Technologies but for our customers,’ says Thema. ‘The gold standard in our solutions design is a tailor-made approach that caters to the individual and unique business needs of our customers.

    ‘We’re not offering a box – we are providing a complete turnkey solution.’

    By Kerry Dimmer