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sick customer service award: afrihost

Afrihost wins ISP of the year 2012


Wednesday we joined Gian Visser for the MyBroadband2012 event in the Vodacom World center. One of the many awards that they hand out each year among great ones like the honorary award to Pieter Uys for his role in the innovation of the broadband landscape, is the ISP of the Year Award, that went to Afrihost this year. This is the second year in a row that Afrihost won the award!

Ever since Afrihost changed the face of broadband in South Africa in 2009 by charging R29 per GB (when the going rate for a gig was no less than R70) it’s been quite a roller coaster ride – and I love roller coasters! 🙂 Funny enough, in 2009 Axxess (whom we acquired in 2011) won the award that year, so kudos to them for that one!

Then in 2011 Afrihost won the award for the first time!

Naturally, winning these awards is a collective effort of the entire organisation… from the CEO, Directors, GM, Management Team, Branding, Support, Accounting, Sales, Operations, Dev… any department all the way through to the cleaning staff is equally responsible for making us achieve the award and goals we set out to achieve in 2012. I would like to, however, single my team out in this post…

I’d like to commend the Dev Team at Afrihost for the exceptional performance over the past year in helping Afrihost to achieve this goal, you guys have really made Afrihost proud and are exceeding the mantra “Wouldn’t it be (incredible|breathtaking|amazing|awe-inspiring|extraordinary)+ if…“. It is indeed amazing to be part of a team where the systems have been written well enough and fast enough to achieve an award like this for a second year in a row.

I’d like to single out the developers and engineers that was part of my little world leading up to this:

  • Sacheen Dhanjie – it’s always important to have a guy in the team who’s passionate about good architecture, proper use of design patterns and reusability of code – these developers are the cornerstone of code that will live 10 years from now and still perform optimally and be robust.
  • Dale Attree – organisations like Afrihost cannot do without having what I call a gunslinger – these developers are people who know where the fine line lies between working fast and efficient and being seconds too late/slow; they make snap decisions on what action to take to minimize damage to systems and data, and understand that sometimes you have to do something fast and fix data later – because it will make the organisation tons of money being fast-to-market vs seconds/minutes/days/weeks/months too late.
  • Warren Clifton – rarely do you find a developer who understands people like this guy – the so called “soft-skills” that many people refer to lately is absolutely key to developers in the modern era. Gone are the days where you have a guy in a white coat with thick glasses sitting in a dungeon doing machine code that changes the world; the era where developers and top management have to have a close working relationship is here – and this guy understands that probably better than most of us. Not only does he understand it upward, but when I need something communicated interdepartmentally (for instance from Dev to Support/Sales/Accounting/etc) there is no better person than Warren. On a side-note, Warren is also one of the developers who’s grown his knowledge and expertise the fastest.
  • Andrew McGill – not officially being part of the dev team is no excuse in Andrew’s mind to be one of the most valuable and exceptional R&D specialists and technologists, contributing tons to our automated and intelligent processes; more often than not all of us find ourselves wanting when it comes to understanding the underlying technologies – and Andrew is exceptionally good at not only understanding the technologies that we use, but also utilising it to save thousands of man-hours!
Two new developers also joined us, and even though they haven’t been actively involved in the systems that got Afrihost where she is, they were proverbially delivered by the pilot helo just as the Afrihost Ship leaves the calm seas and entering the rough seas of the open ocean: Roscoe van Wyk and John Kosmetos. Watch this space 🙂
Exciting things are coming in the final part of 2012 and in 2013. Examples include the move from the IS network to the MTN network, giving us greater control over the products and giving us the ability to provide even better and customisable products to our client base. Symfony2 is joining the ranks of our core-software soon – building on the already profound stability and usefulness of Symfony 1.4. Much more drive toward the mobile applications to put the power-of-Afrihost in our clients’ hands, where they can change their online experience by merely using their fingertips on their phones.
And… much… much more!
Now… let’s rinse, reset and repeat!
See you at MyBroadband2013 for the next one!!
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