AOS Ltd, a Rwandan based ICT service provider and operator of the National Data Centre has adjusted prices of their services to allow local firms to access quality hosting services.
In an interview with The New Times’ Collins Mwai, the firm’s Chief Executive Officer Seong Woo Kim, Chief Marketing Officer Manzi Rwaka and Chief Data Centre Operations Brice Kayihura gave insights on their approach to improving services and reducing prices.
For a long time, the local market has been perceived to lack skills, expertise, infrastructure and capacities to offer services such as cloud and web and mail hosting services. Where do you stand in these aspects?
Seong Woo Kim: AOS Ltd is a Rwandan based ICT service provider and operator of the National Data Centre offering various hosting services such as such as cloud computing, web and email hosting, server colocation, Backup as a service and a disaster recovery facility to both the public and private sector. It is a joint venture between the Government of Rwanda and Korea Telecom (KT) and the company was created in 2014 with KT having over 30 years of experience, a global IT leader.
AOS Ltd, a Rwandan based ICT service provider and operator of the National Data Centre has adjusted prices of email, web and cloud hosting services to allow local firms to access quality hosting services. Photos: Courtesy.
We are committed to providing reliable and secure services and we have been investing in our infrastructure.
We have top security features, 24/7 online support and advanced facility features including power and cooling system, fire system, security systems, a disaster recovery facility among others.
We also have committed, well trained and experienced staff.
By your market research and understanding, what is the trend(s) of demand for the services in the local market and how has that informed AOS’s service offerings?
Manzi Rwaka: We saw an increase in the demand of hosting services over the years in the private sector especially these past months due to the pandemic where most businesses adapted to the situation and needed an online platform for service delivery and business continuity.
Customers also look for good quality of service, good support at an affordable price.
The price reduction offered by AOS is a good initiative to make services more affordable, encourage companies to have an online presence and attract more people to host locally therefore contributing in the growth of the private sector in Rwanda.
What is the profile of target clientele of the services? Who is likely to benefit most?
Seong Woo Kim: Our profile target market specifically for these discounted services is private sector companies in Rwanda such as SMEs, start-ups, etc… to make it more affordable, encourage them to have an online presence, to host locally and bring back local content for those hosted abroad.
We are also targeting companies in the region.
A number of regional and international firms can be considered competition offering the same services often at more competitive costs. How is AOS set up with regard to growing competition and increase of players in the sector?
Manzi Rwaka: We provide reliable, secure and affordable Data centre services and we are now giving discounts of up to 77 per cent on Web and mail hosting with the lowest option being Rwf12,150 per year (Rwf1,013 per month) and up to 50 per cent on cloud services with the lowest option being Rwf26,275 per month to be more competitive on the Market and increase our customer base to capitalize on the volume of sales and not on the price.
We have not only local customers but regional and international as well.
Our Data is hosted locally in Rwanda which is an advantage to keep local content within the country mostly for security reasons especially for sensitive Data and we offer 24/7 online support with the choice of using our home language.
We also provide solution development, systems integration and IT consulting to both public and private institutions.
A major frequent complaint and challenge is that most local service providers in cloud and web and mail hosting services have poor response times, power redundancy among others, what’s the set-up of AOS to deal with the challenges?
Brice Kayihura: We have put in place measures and improved communication procedures on how to respond quickly and effectively to our customers’ inquiries or when we face technical issues.
We have our hotline 4747 and our email contact: [email protected] that are responsive 24/7. We have been conducting internal training to help employees to respond accurately and confidently.
We have also invested heavily to improve our power redundancy. Our current facility is backed up by 4 lines of defence against power outages.
Data Security against cyber-attack is increasingly a big concern for clients and their stakeholders, what are AOS capacities and capabilities to deal with growing threats?
Brice Kayihura: We have put in place security measures and policies to deal with growing threats issues. We have a team dedicated to security policy and operation of the data centre.
We have various security measures for every layer of IT service delivery in our Data centre to protect our network. We also work closely with the National cyber security agency (NCSA).
That collaboration helps us communicate new threats and enjoy policy improvement.
Trends in the service offerings that have stood out in recent months that have informed your market approach?
Seong Woo Kim: Due to Covid-19 pandemic, there was an increase in the demand of hosting services as most companies were in need of an online presence and online service delivery platform as opposed to the traditional way of doing business.
We have realized that many businesses were affected by this pandemic and we have decided to give a discount on both web and mail hosting and also cloud hosting services to make it more affordable for SMEs and start-ups, easy access, ease of online payments on our online market portal and to encourage private companies to host data locally in Rwanda.
AOS Ltd offices moved to a new location which is Kigali Business Center (KBC) Building, 3rd floor Block D.