Grant Bodley, CEO of Dimension Data. Picture: SUPPLIED
Grant Bodley, CEO of Dimension Data. Picture: SUPPLIED

Technology group Dimension Data said on Tuesday that it will retire its brands Britehouse, Internet Solutions and ContinuitySA in a move that will result in the group operating under one name and reduce duplication between some of its subsidiaries.  

Dimension Data, which is headed by CEO Grant Bodley, is made up of four business units: the traditional Dimension Data systems integrator business; call centre unit Merchants; digital solutions unit Britehouse; and internet services provider Internet Solutions. It recently launched a new cybersecurity arm, Dimension Data Security.

The company was once considered one of the largest technology companies on the JSE, with a market capitalisation of R77bn at its peak in September 2000. It delisted from the exchange in 2010, after being bought by Japanese technology firm Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT) for £2.1bn.

Bloomberg reported that Dimension Data’s management is in advanced talks to buy the company back from NTT. Bodley would not be drawn into this speculation, simply saying “NTT will always be a shareholder” and their company was “open to all suggestions”.

From April 1, Dimension Data, which employs 15,000 people across 15 countries, will begin a process to “create an operating model that will enable it to execute on its strategy and better serve its clients, employees and the communities in which they operate”, the company said.

Bodley told Business Day that the consolidation of Dimension Data’s brands is something that has been asked by employees and customers. “We felt the timing was right,” he said.

One of the main reasons for the move is to remove the duplication of services, products and capabilities, said Bodley. Dimension Data Systems Integration and Internet Solutions offer similar products and services, such as networking and data centres. This led to unnecessary competition internally, he said, as different business units would often be in line to bid for the same business, while frustrating clients that want to deal with one company or point of contact.

In addition, Bodley said the move will reduce the costs around operating multiple brands — having different teams, resources, infrastructure, websites, marketing and strategies — that target the same client base. The group also hopes the move will help it grow its business locally at a time when technology businesses, such as EOH and Adapt It, have not fared very well because of a slowing economy and governance issues. Some competitors, such as BCX, have recently announced retrenchments, an indication of the difficult times.

Bodley said SA has been a poorly performing geography over the past five years, though Dimension Data has been growing its market share. He hopes the restructuring will allow the company to stimulate its local business. He said the group is still deciding how to deal with its Merchants and Mweb brands. Mweb, its internet service provider unit, could end up being called “Dimension Data Home”, but in the short term these brands would remain unchanged, he said.

Dimension Data has also concluded an empowerment transaction that will result in employees owning 15% of the business. It also its head office and premises in Bryanston, Johannesburg, called The Campus, which has been its home since 2003 and owned by the company since 2006. The value of the deal was not disclosed. The commercial property has been sold to a BEE-owned company, which is part of the recently established Identity Property Fund, managed by Identity Fund Managers.

Dimension Data occupies less than 50% of The Campus and said the sale of the premises is part of a wider restructuring exercise to enable the company to focus on its core business. It will continue to occupy the premises.

gavazam@businesslive.co.za

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