2019 CEO Outlook - Funke Opeke, MainOne - KPMG | NG
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Recognising the major infrastructure gap in connectivity between Nigeria and the rest of the world, MainOne Cable Company Limited has been at the forefront of providing broadband infrastructure services over the past decade. Funke Opeke, MainOne’s founder and CEO, who has led the expansion of the company’s network capabilities and footprint across Nigeria and West Africa, believes that governance is fundamental for business resilience in an environment as dynamic as Nigeria’s.

“Good governance has played a critical role in the success of our business,” she says. “The market dynamics and technology will change, and opportunities will evolve, but you need to have the right structure in place that guides all your actions as a business. It provides the framework for the implementation of the long term business strategy and actions in a holistic manner that addresses the needs of all key stakeholders. This is fundamental to building a sustainable business.

”Capital is also very important. But access to capital is less of a challenge for us, especially as we have the right governance and structures in place.”

The Nigerian economy is currently in a recovery cycle, having recently emerged from a recession. However, recent growth forecasts have been in the low single digits. Opeke believes that these economic growth cycles are a test of an organisation’s agility and resilience. “Resilience has been absolutely essential for us as a business during the slow growth phase of the economy,” she explains. “During such times, an organisation has to be able to maintain high quality operations, continue to delight, and hold onto, customers and talent in order to sustain revenues.

“We have had to build more resilience into our business over the years, leveraging technology to improve our efficiency, addressing skill and knowledge gaps, and exploring innovative ways to deal with the impact of adverse foreign exchange rates – given a lot of our inputs are sourced internationally – in order to deal with growth in business volumes at more competitive prices.

“However, when the economy is growing, then it is a time for the business to be extremely agile.”

Being in the information and communications technology space, disruption is both a threat and an opportunity for a business like MainOne. “We are seeing ourselves being disrupted and we are prepared for disruption,” Opeke says. “Technology evolution is seeing shorter obsolescence windows. A few years ago, computing was largely done in computer centres owned by companies, in the facilities they controlled. Then this companies transitioned to having these service outsourced by moving to data centres. Now, large businesses, even on the African continent, are migrating completely to cloud platforms.

“We see all these disruptions, and we are prepared for them because we are nimble enough, with the capabilities to shift across all these segments. We are building platforms that our customers own and also enabling customers on our own platforms. As a resilient and sustainable business, we are looking far ahead and are not afraid to cannibalise what exists in order to build something greater in future.”

Throughout this document, “we”, “KPMG”, “us” and “our” refer to the network of independent member firms operating under the KPMG name and affiliated with KPMG International or to one or more of these firms or to KPMG International. 

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewees and survey respondents and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.  KPMG’s involvement is not an endorsement, sponsorship or implied backing of any company’s products or services.