|July 22, 2015 To All Our Elephant Talk Colleagues:|
As we entered 2015, Elephant Talk faced challenges caused by a number of unforeseen events which required us to make some critical changes to how we operate the business and how we go to market serving a growing global client base. I am proud to say that thanks largely to the unique talents, expertise and commitment of our staff, Elephant Talk has been able to cope very smoothly with these challenges. Now more than ever, we are focused on delivering some of the industry's most advanced, flexible and cost effective mobile core network and back office solutions available, backed by world-class technology development, delivery and support capabilities. I can assure you that the action plan that management has set in motion will position our company well for both short and long-term success.
To understand our new path forward, it is important to know what caused some of the changes you have seen, heard and read about. At the outset of 2015, our company amicably ended its multi-year relationship with Grupo Iusacell in Mexico following its acquisition by a major U.S.-based carrier and subsequently needed to restructure and reduce its outstanding debt obligations. Both of these matters were successfully resolved over the past 45 days, providing the company with the financial backing required to fund its future growth plans. Simultaneously with these critical accomplishments, management and our Board worked on defining and implementing a strategic plan that would allow us to not only capitalize on the tremendous opportunities ahead of us, but also address the current market realities. I am pleased to report that this plan has now been successfully implemented and the organization has embarked on its new path.
Our new strategic operations plan is the result of management and the Board of Directors' comprehensive review of the company's operations and the valuable direct input of our senior management and executives, in particular, Dr. Armin Hessler and Martin Zuurbier, our CTO. At the center of this plan is the goal of creating a nimble, flat organization that is focused on sales and world-class operations. The most visible part of this plan is the split and restructuring of the company into two organizations - Delivery & Operations (DO-ET) headed by co-President Dr. Armin Hessler and Sales & Innovation (SI-ET), headed by co-President and CTO Martin Zuurbier. DO-ET is responsible for platform architecture, implementation and operations while SI-ET is responsible for all commercial activities, vendor management and R&D. Each of these new organizations are accountable for their own day to day management and the successful execution of their respective duties.
Additionally, there will be three cross-functional Boards that ensure full alignment between Armin's and Martin's organization. These are:
(i) Demand and Sales Alignment Board, chaired by Armin: The main purpose is to jointly qualify new leads, undertake the necessary resourcing planning, establish program budgets, business cases and prioritization
(ii) Technology and Architecture Board, chaired by Martin: This Board will jointly approve Architecture and Technology standards, the core platform evolution roadmap and strategy, and vendor catalogues
(iii) Investment Review Board, chaired by Mark Nije, our CFO. The main objective of this Board is to review and approve all capital expenditures.
To help achieve the new organizations' missions, as you may have seen, a number of internal promotions and role changes have been made in the DO-ET domain, including:
- Derk Paul Visser is heading the new function of "Demand and Product Development". This is a new function created to strengthen the company's capabilities towards sales and customers.
- Javier Sainz and his team are now focused on "Delivery and Service Management" with full end-to- end responsibility to implement both new customer projects and change requests/RFCs from existing customers.
- Yves Basquet now assumes a new role for future strategic direction and thought leadership on our platform "Architecture". The Architecture team will very closely interact with all functions of the organization, such as providing architecture support to the Demand function, liaising closely with the development team and working with the delivery team on implementations. Architecture also drives convergence of our country implementation and has sign-off authority on any technology stack we deploy across the world. Thus we will ensure standardization and simplification of our business.
- Marcel Hulleman will move from Operations to lead the "Development" team responsible for strengthening the integration amongst our development locations in Guangzhou and Bandung.
- Carlos Flores has been promoted to manage the global "Operations" activities for our mobile platform business. His main objectives will be to strengthen the robustness, processes and operational discipline in this function.
- Rafael Campuzano will be responsible for a new function called "Testing and Quality Assurance" which is absolutely crucial for the future of the business.
- Marja-Liisa Ketola will lead the new function of "Processes, Risk and Compliance" and the team responsible for SOX compliance, Risk and Security and also the "process house" which is the foundation for all operational processes and documentation. Marja-Liisa also will oversee our company-wide improvement program and manages the Office and Facility aspects of the company.
On behalf of the management team and the Board, we want to congratulate these individuals on their appointments and recognize the work and dedication of all our employees who enable us to deliver our world-class technology to our customers each and every day.
With this new organizational structure in place, Elephant Talk is now prepared to renew its sales focus, one now targeting a global base in excess of 800 MNOs, helping them to better serve their own brands as well as their wholesale and enterprise customers in addition to the hundreds of larger Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) brands, all of whom are actively looking for cost effective, reliable and rapidly-deployable core network and operation support systems such our full suite of SDN and NFV- enabled platforms. With a small and focused sales organization, which currently consists of 9 sales, channel management and sales support members, backed by streamlined DO-ET and SI-ET organizations we are committed to revenue and profit growth. It is our intention to double the size of our sales force in the SI- ET organization over the next 12 month. We believe that increasing the size, quality, and focus of our sales organization is critical as we ramp up our global growth initiatives. Announcements regarding the full staffing of Martin's team should follow in the not too distant future.
Going beyond the internal structural and operational changes, in the weeks and months ahead, you will begin to see a number of additional changes, in particular, in the way we communicate. Given our role in helping modernize the global mobile communications industry, it's clear that we ourselves need to look for new and innovative ways to communicate both internally and externally. As part of this, we have looked at trends in corporate communications adopted by leading global organizations as well as emerging technology and intend to embrace more direct and real-time approaches with changes ranging from a new interactive corporate website, internal intranets, and an investor relations "app" (we will of course also encourage all of you, as key stakeholders, to get the app as well!), which we believe will empower all of our stakeholders with more access and transparency than ever before.
In conclusion, we are optimistic about the second half of 2015 as we embrace our new organizational structure and begin to execute on the many opportunities ahead of us. We expect to sign a number of significant new global customers in the weeks and months ahead, launching Elephant Talk Communications into new geographies including the Americas, the Middle East and Asia. We have full confidence that our new operating structure will ensure we continue to deliver the industry's best key performance indicators with the most responsive customer service in the industry.
None of this would be possible without you, our staff, and for that we are grateful. You are the driving force behind our success so if you have any questions, concerns or ideas, please always feel free to contact myself, Armin or Martin.
Steven van der Velden Chairman & CEO