MultiChoice uses buying power to facilitate BEE process

MultiChoice Africa is using its significant ICT spending clout within the Naspers group to emphasize its commitment to the black economic empowerment process (BEE), particularly through its ICT department's procurement program.

Errol du Preez, the CIO for MultiChoice Africa and Naspers Group, says BEE plays an important role and deciding factor in terms of whom the company does business with.

"We use our buying power to encourage the companies with whom we do business with to move towards BEE," says Du Preez.

This is achieved by assisting companies that provide ICT services to us to transform them into a BEE or empowered company, he says. Adds Du Preez, "If a company with whom we deal is not BEE, we do not stop doing business with it, rather we encourage it to transform."

MultiChoice also partners with some of the larger BEE ICT companies, such as CS Holdings. Says Du Preez: "We make an effort to recognize companies that are BEE-compliant."

MultiChoice has set itself targets in terms of achieving BEE ICT procurement goals and Du Preez and the company are close to achieving these.

Randburg-based MultiChoice, whose full-time ICT staff consists of over 70 people, has outsourced all its desktop, local area and wide area networks, as well as its database and Unix administration to BEE or empowered companies.

"From a software architectural perspective we are well positioned to take advantage of what is coming down the line," says Du Preez, comparing the ICT division to the company's engine room.

While ensuring that MultiChoice reaches its BEE targets, Du Preez also sees his role within the group as being a synergistic one.

"I am looking for commonality in the ICT roles of the entire group, establishing what synergies can be achieved by pulling all the companies together," he adds.

He says the advantages are numerous: "A single network has been established across the entire group, this has improved efficiency and increased effectiveness, while improving our ICT governance and ensuring that everyone is on the same network architecture."

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