This info is from the perspective of a Vox Telecom employee in the Cloud Services Division of the Core Department around the year 2020.
It is to give information to prospective employees as it is hard to get truthful first hand evidence about companies.
Most times you only know how it truly is once you are locked into a contract.
General Company Numbers
As at June 2022:
Vox (Vivica Group) had:
- 912 salespeople
- 2,500 staff
- 220,000 customers
General Company Information
As at June 2022, all employees are issued a Windows based laptop (the make being HP or Dell).
You do not get macbooks and even if requested with a form and no matter what technical requirements of the job.
Company History and CEOs
The company has had many names – It started as Datapro group – which merged with Atlantic and Orion to form vox telecom. Then they dropped the telecom for customer facing marketing. Now it is Vivica group held by Vivica holdings.
The company did list on the Alt-X board of the JSE for some time with their CFO Gert Koen running that project – but they delisted in 2011.
Tony van Marken left Vox in 2011 – A seemingly level head and smart executive. Ultimately an analog player in a digital world.
Around 2011 – Gus MacRobert, former Internet Solutions CEO, became co-CEO with Douglas Reed.
Jacques du Toit became CEO in 2013. As at June 2022, Jacques du Toit is the CEO and Gert Koen is the CFO.
Shareholders, Blunders and More History
In 2008, the Senior management made a serious blunder when using Single stock futures and CFDs in trades. Instead of holding stock in their share inventive scheme they used a fly-by-night broker Dealstream – that collapsed.
Reed held the equivalent of 26 710 000 shares in single stock futures (SSF) and another 5 167 219 in the form of contracts for difference (CFD). Jacques Du Toit (The current CEO at the time of writing) held 22 993 493 in single stock futures contracts. Both now own no futures or CFDs at all, a loss of millions of rands.
It appearrs that DealStream took Reed and Jacques Du Toit for R17m then the owner fleed to Israel.
More info in Doug’s Letter to staff in 2008.
Also in 2008, Vox Acquired Storm Telecom for R360m.
In 2011, Investec owned 15% – when Lereko Metier and Investec made an offer for R500m. Then 53% of shareholders comprised of RMB, Mvelaphanda and the IDC.
In 2020, MIC (Mineworker’s Investment Company) acquired a 9.9% stake in Vox Telecom.
There has been talk by Government forcing 50% black ownership of ISPs. Another reason why splitting into various parts can lessen the impact and let the ISP stand alone.
- Many of Upper management are Afrikaans
- Medical Aid is mandatory
- A minimum of 7.5% contribution to a provident fund (along with insurance) is mandatory
- COVID Vaccination and/or COVID vaccination disclosure is mandatory at the risk of warning and dismissal
- The company is very authorative and strict when it comes to policy
- International standards and a risk-based approach is highly prioritised
- The company also has a policy to give opportunities to EE positions – the first choice goes to designated groups. Ie. Not whites.
- Moving up into a management role is usually done through time at the company. Managers in the Core department had all been at the company for 15 years or more – barring one which was information security. The others: CTO, Network, Voice, R & D and Cloud had all been there very long.
- The customer facing side (product management) is siloed off from the technical side (core)
As at June 2022, Vivica consists of:
- Armata – Security
- Guardian Eye (IoT)
- Qwerti – Laptop rentals
- Hypa – No touch customer engagement
- Nymbus – Cloud
- Frogfoot – Infrastructure Fibre
- Stage Zero – backup power, embedded generation, electric vehicle changing and distribution by creators of fttx and juel – created brysk (UK ISP)
- Vox Gaming
- Vox Weather
Vox Core is the technical team powering vox’s network, voice and cloud services. Included here are also the Information Security and Research and Development team.
As at June 2022 – Out of the 2500 staff, roughly 60 – 75 people are in Vox Core.
- Cloud: 20 people
- Network: 15 people
- Voice: 12 people
- Infosec: 8 people
- R & D: 5 people
Attrition or churn rate is staff exiting either by dismissal or resignation.
The CEO is always keen to show the numbers on new signings for the business quarterly. However, there is failure to show staff leaving.
In "Core cloud", there are 20 team members.
The manager of Core Cloud was intensively focused on growing the team – but struggled in retaining staff and skills. For example in the Automation team: the manager managed to pursued the CFO to be able to employ another person making it 4 people total. However, within 6 months of this announcements 2 of the 3 members of that team had left. Significantly less experienced members were employed to fill the team.
The manager also mentioned that since he became Head of Cloud in 2017 – there had been constant hiring and people leaving.
About 16 people left the "Core Cloud" team in 3.25 years. A churn rate of 25%.
As a rule of thumb:
25% of the team will leave each year on average.
The culture is very corporate and authoritarian.
The manager comes from a networking background and started from the ground at the vox contact center.
Earning certifications and moving on up.
Although the manager knows the power that comes from the use of open source technologies the experience and knowledge acquisition is done by hiring people that know their stuff.
It is a good place to learn networking and virtualisation related things if you ask around and get involved. You can easily be sidelined and moved into dead end projects if you allow it.
Overall a decent place to work and a decent team – a few areas that are lacking as with all companies.