It is no secret that iBurst has been struggling over the last few years. The company lost two CEOs in as many years and does not provide customers with a value proposition which differentiates them sufficiently to gain market share.
Many consumers feel that poor service levels, billing problems and a failure to keep up with broadband speeds mean that they are not a broadband provider of choice.
Former iBurst CEO Alan Knott-Craig Junior recently shared his thoughts about the challenges at the company, what caused problems, and what could have been done better.
The first mistake, said Knott-Craig, was that the wrong technology was selected. He explained that the iBurst technology was competitive when iBurst launched operations, but the failure to increase speeds and the limited iBurst ecosystem means that the company could not compete effectively against other South African broadband providers.
Another former iBurst CEO Jannie van Zyl disagrees. According to Van Zyl, iBurst made an astute technology decision at the time, and one that was years ahead of the competition.
“However, iBurst’s mistake was to hold on to the technology when it became apparent that the technology had no future,” said Van Zyl. “As Alan Knott-Craig senior used to say: it is better to make a quick decision so that you can change it if needed. iBurst made the right decision, but did not change when needed.”
The second mistake was the company’s poor billing. Knott-Craig admitted that they “cocked up their billing system” despite two attempts to fix the problem.
The third mistake, said Knott-Craig, was that they did not roll out their network fast enough. The cause for iBurst’s lacklustre network roll out was twofold: a lack of funds and problems with getting access to affordable high sites.
Knott-Craig highlighted the need to have shareholders to provide the needed financial and strategic backing to make a network provider work – a privilege which he did not enjoy while heading up iBurst.
Knott-Craig left iBurst in mid-2009 because of “marital problems” but said that he would have loved to stay for another two years to do what needed to be done at the company.
Van Zyl, who took over from Knott-Craig when he left the company, said that the future of iBurst does not lie in consumer services, partly because of the points which Knott-Craig highlighted.
“iBurst will do well to reinvent itself as a network operator and small business solutions provider,” said Van Zyl.
What we did wrong at iBurst: former CEO <<What do you think went wrong?