Wednesday, August 10, 2022

BotswanaPost upgrades its IT to fend off competition from peers

BotswanaPost is currently upgrading its Information Technology facilities as well as technologies that are meant to improve its competitive edge locally over other postal organisations.

The state-underpinned outfit is facing stiff challenge from competition from courier companies that include DHL, the German company that has presence in the country.

The parastatal is in the process of having internet available at its 121 branches around the country.

It has also announced this year that it wants to find a method by which they will carry out doorstep delivery of mail, a concept that other postal organisations have been familiar with for ages.    

Lebogang Bok, Head of Communications at BotswanaPost, said the post office is undertaking two key IT projects to leverage computerisation provided at their branches. The first project is the development of a new Postal Point of Sale, which is currently undergoing User Acceptance Testing.

“This will soon be rolled out to all post offices to offer real-time transactions on the multiple products and services on offer at BotswanaPost,” she said.

“All the 121 Post Offices both urban and rural are connected to BotswanaPost Head Office,” Bok said. “Internet access for public consumption is available at 53 sites countrywide through the Kitsong and Business Centres.”

As it introduces these methods, DHL International introduced the concept of moving from the traditional letter to the digital letter, an initiative that puts them at par with the new media.

For both DHL and BotswanaPost, mail services are the core of their businesses. DHL is an international courier services organisation that is part of the original Deutsche Post, a German company with a large market worldwide.

The general consensus among courier services companies and diversified postal services companies is that the traditional letter is in danger of extinction.

Due to the advancement of technology both in developed and developing countries the traditional letter has ceased to be as convenient as an email or a text message, DHL Germany has reported.

Bok added that the digital letter (e-post) is an opportunity that BotswanaPost is pursuing to grow and diversify product and service offering by embedding the use of technology such as the internet.

Earlier this year BotswanaPost opened the company’s first International Mail Exchange Center, which is said to be a world class facility that will improve efficiency and help reduce operational costs for the company.

The new media has posed a serious threat to the mail services business. Customers are no longer interested in seeing their letters taking days to reach destination. With the new mail sorter that BotswanaPost has bought earlier this year, mail would be sorted much quicker than when it was done by people.

DHL International said though they have introduced the digital letter, they are still making profits in the Southern African market through the traditional letter, which includes countries like Botswana.

However, the company said it has difficult times convincing its customer base in the developed countries to switch to the digital letter, when they already have mail accounts with the googles and the yahoos of the world, where it takes a split second to send a free email.

The second project that BotswanaPost will undertake is the optimisation of the current Information Technology Infrastructure.

The project includes the development of a Data Centre and the use of Communication and Collaboration applications such as Microsoft SharePoint services and Microsoft Lync and Microsoft Exchange to keep staff informed and updated on initiatives and developments within the business.

The objective of this project is to provide a stable and open platform on which to build additional products and service offerings, at the same time provide standardisation and security throughout the information technology environment.

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