Synthesis, a South African success story, established over two decades ago, offers customised strategic solutions and software products for the financial, retail and healthcare sectors to name a few. It has been supporting Mauritian companies for 10 years. Tjaard du Plessis, Synthesis Head of Digital and Emerging Technology, talks about the strategies developed to better serve Mauritius-based companies.
You are a South African-based company and an Amazon Web Services partner. Why are you interested in Mauritius?
We seized an opportunity. One of our clients had an office in Mauritius and we realised that we had prospects for development on the island. In fact, we realised that several of our clients had a branch in Mauritius. We also realised that there were lots of skills and learnings from South Africa that could be applied to Mauritius and this kick-started our journey.
We have now been working with Mauritian companies, mainly in the financial sector, for 10 years. We offer unique services and we wanted to develop further here. As we talked to different clients, we noticed that Mauritius has a digital culture. It all made sense. On the one hand, there is the demand and the culture, on the other, we have the right technologies. Wherever these opportunities lead us, is where we want to play.
In concrete terms, what technological and digital services do you offer?
We are basically developers. We don’t sell very much licensed products. This is not our core business. Synthesis sells expertise. We are equipped with cutting-edge technology, a highly qualified team that works closely with our clients to facilitate their procedures, their way of doing things and their business. We are experts in the financial field being able to innovate and implement emerging technologies. Our objective is always to build with the customers the next version of their digital transformation.
For example, we have supported some Mauritian banks in the installation of internet banking. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), we help companies automate their various processes. We build digital, chat or web channels to further computerise companies, to reduce paperwork and increase the use of applications. What is important for us is the innovation aspect based on our experience.
We want to create beautiful, user-friendly experiences that work well and add value to the user. We offer other services around that. For example, by using artificial intelligence to help companies get more insight about all the data they collect about their customers.
If I understand you correctly, you offer tailor-made services…
Yes. To help you understand better, when you buy a product, you pay for a licence but you do not own the IP. You don’t have control over the different features of the product. What we offer is different. We provide our customers with developers who work with them to develop a product that speaks to them, that meets their needs and that ultimately they will own.
I think it is vital in this digital era that banks and financial companies build and own their own technology. Synthesis is becoming an accelerator in this process. As we are an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner, we are able to offer data storage management through the cloud in particular and AWS helps us accelerate that journey.
When we talk about big data, we are also talking about an astronomical amount of data and a huge cost to manage it. Thanks to our experience, we help companies to set up reliable, faster and less expensive systems. Cloud is a very good place to innovate and to add value to your business.
After the implementation of the service, how do you support the clients?
We do this in two ways. We can support through a fully managed service. Some customers prefer to rely entirely on us. But we can also help the company itself to continue to maintain the service. We also do it by developing internal skills through our Synthesis Academy. We help developers to become more familiar with new technologies. This obviously depends on the resources of the companies. Some companies are not ready to take this on.
If a company does not operate in the financial world, how can Synthesis help?
Developing services for the financial sector has opened other doors for us. For example, many banks are setting up platforms for e-commerce and this leads us to develop products or services for the commercial sector. These different sectors are closely linked. Today, agriculture cannot do without technology. Farmers use drones and applications in their work.
We have developed applications for more precise agriculture. We also bring our expertise to the logistics sector. In fact, any industry can benefit from the services we offer through cloud.
You have often mentioned innovation. Is this really Synthesis’ strength?
For us, innovation is not an empty word. We are always looking for a higher level of development. Our teams know how to use the experience acquired from working on different projects in different fields. We work with people who like to play with new things. We are much more than developers, we are innovators, adapters and we love challenges. We operate at a more strategic level and we are focused on finding the right technology to solve a problem. You have to be good at adapting to change. How to develop differently? How to use things like the cloud to your advantage? You cannot afford to experiment on something new that will take one year to build the prototype. You have to be able to build rapidly.
We help drive your business’s success through digital and emerging technology. We help you think about your strategy around technology. We work with you and enable you to build your business’ future.