By Johan de Villiers
Welcome to our first e-Zine of 2024. We are excited to announce a host of new initiatives at First Technology, which will improve our ability to service our clients and improve efficiencies within the company.
By now, all of you are familiar with our company’s website www.firsttechwc.co.za that also features our blog with weekly articles covering a range of subjects that are relevant in our digital age. These articles are also propagated through our Group Company’s LinkedIn page.
We have realised that existing and new clients access the webpage for information or pricing requirements, but inevitably need to contact an account manager directly at the office during working hours to resolve a query or quote.
For the past couple of months, our in-house AI developers have managed to add an intelligent chat-bot on the website, called SynthIA (Synthetic Artificial Intelligence) that will radically change how we can service and interact with you, especially outside working hours.
SynthIA has been developed on ChatGPT 4.0 Turbo and has ingested all our company marketing collateral, product guides and service offerings over the last number of weeks.
“She” is therefore not a scripted “Chat-bot” in the traditional sense that simply uses a pre-programmed algorithm in order to satisfy a limited list of possible questions. Very much like you would find on most banks and insurance companies’ websites. These interactions can be frustrating, limited and is certainly not artificial intelligence.
Visit www.firsttechwc.co.za and give SynthIA a test drive when you have a moment. We appreciate any feedback, should she show some “personality” issues during the initial stages of roll-out or is unable to deliver a satisfactory answer. Any quote queries will be directed automatically to the designated business unit manager, automatically by Synthia should it be quote related.
In the future we will look at the ability to deliver SynthIA as a commercial AI product to our clients for you to offer the same functionality to your own client base.
On the new vendor front, we are also excited to announce that First Technology has been appointed as a fully accredited Nutanix reseller. This expands our current datacenter vendor offering and allows us to provide your company with a range of exciting solutions that was not accessible before.
Hayley Patterson, who has driven the Western Cape sales initiatives for Nutanix previously, will join our solutions team from the 1st of February and bring with an in-depth understanding of the Nutanix market and technology.
In addition to that, all our datacenter architects in Cape Town have been technically certified on Nutanix and your account manager will be able to assist with any pricing requirements.
Our existing focus on Dell, VMWare and Veeam does not change in any way, as Nutanix allows us to address market segments not previously serviced by our team.
The most pressing issue our industry is facing in the South African channel at the moment, is the termination of VMWare reseller’s contracts with their new owner, Broadcom. Broadcom is of course the same company that bought Computer Associates (CA) and Symantec some years ago. This is a global strategy of the parent company and only a limited number of resellers in South Africa will be able to continue to supply VMWare products and licensing.
A number of clients have requested us to provide clarity on the continued supply of VMWare’s product range.
We are fortunate to be selected as one of these IT companies and will therefore not foresee any interruption to our client base in our ability to execute on your VMWare landscape and requirements.
In conclusion we will be sending out our annual client survey at the end of February to gauge how we can improve our service levels and product offerings to you going forward. As always, there is a stunning notebook up for grabs, to the value of over R 25 000 to one lucky survey participant. Please take 2 minutes to provide us with your feedback once you receive the email in a couple of weeks’ time.
Until then, only the best wishes for 2024 and let us hope interest rates start trickling down within the next quarter or two!
Johan de Villiers
First Technology Western Cape