world cup 2010

Indian tech giant Mahindra Satyam is looking to expand its market share and broaden its services in Africa, building on both the publicity and the experience it gained as a technology partner of the FIFA World Cup.

Satyam has operations in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, and its success so far has convinced the company that it can grow its brand in these major sub-Saharan Africa economies.

"We have a very strong global brand, but the company was not well-known in Africa before the World Cup; we will build on the exposure to expand because we have the global experience," said Kgoadi Thipe, manager of strategic accounts for Mahindra Satyam in the Middle East and Africa.

During the World Cup, the company provided a management system to track 250,000 people working around the tournament in South Africa. The system had to be integrated with security systems to manage accreditation and transport to and from the various venues.

Successes included the ability to provide mobile-phone-based booking and alert services for transport, and to track changes in tight security procedures.

"The best thing is that we were able to be integrated with the South African Police Department and other security arms, as well as provide mobile-phone-based services," said Dilbagh Gill, Mahindra Satyam head of sport and FIFA relations.

South Africa may be one of Africa's leading call center and BPO (business process outsourcing) destinations, but when setting up call centers to deal with last-minute ticket sales and inquiries, Mahindra Satyam chose Hyderabad as the location.

"It was very expensive to operate the call center from South Africa; we already had systems set in Hyderabad and bandwidth was far much cheaper," added Gill.

Meanwhile, in order to build market share, the company plans to expand local hosted services for systems including ERP (enterprise resource planning) software from vendors such as SAP.

For the FIFA system and operations during the monthlong tournament, Satyam is using Telkom South Africa data centers, and Gill says operations have been smooth, with no downtime.