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Denzil Fillis

Mpilo Technologies: Developing Solutions Decoding Success

A Journey of Innovation and Social Impact!

Setting out on a business journey is like exploring unfamiliar territory. What does it take to transform a dream into a successful reality? How does one transform a dream into a thriving enterprise? The narrative of Mpilo Technologies, led by Denzil Fillis, not only answers these problems, but also provides persuasive proof of successful integration.

Established in 2015 and headquartered in Johannesburg, Gauteng, MpiloTech has become synonymous with excellence in personalized software development, digital banking front office solutions, UX/UI research and design, resource augmentation, and a diverse range of services. A brainchild to the Founder, Denzil, MpiloTech is a specialist software development company has not only evolved with the ever-changing technological landscape but has also undertaken a crucial mission: addressing South Africa’s escalating unemployment challenges.

As the Chief Executive Officer of Mpilo Technologies (Pty) Ltd., Denzil brings a wealth of experience in project planning and technical workings. His journey with the company, from its early days to its current stature, signifies a deep-rooted dedication that has been pivotal in navigating the path to success.

However, what sets MpiloTech apart is not just its technological prowess but also its commitment to job creation in the Digital Transformation space. The groundbreaking initiative, “Unearthing Greatness in Unexpected Places,” transforms individuals with zero exposure to Digital Transformation into skilled Citizen Developers, creating a pipeline of success stories that redefine opportunity and potential.

Below are the interview highlights:

Please brief us about yourself and what inspired you to embark on this sector.

Without any exposure to computers or the IT industry, I went to university wanting to study mathematics and got introduced to the work of IT, particularly programming. While the learning curve was steep, I managed to complete my Bachelor of Sciences in Maths and Computer Science.

I started off working for a company much like MpiloTech, an emerging black software company. I grew my skills and experience over the years working at large insurance and banking companies. I was fortunate to work with a large Indian system integrator who introduced me to the concept of Software Development Best Practices (CMMI). I saw a gap in the SA market where CMMI was virtually unheard of, and I embraced this and started learning as much as I could about the discipline.

I have studied software development best practices, particularly CMMI, the foundation of Mpilo Technologies. This investment has seen us succeed and is driving us further almost daily.

Could you give our readers an insight into your company and its inception story?

18 years ago, I had been trying to get a business off the ground on a part-time basis with little success. At the same time, my first child had been born, and as such, starting a business was risky. However, I was introduced to a book called The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which talks about the universe conspiring to help one achieve one’s destiny. After finishing the book, I literally quit my job and started my entrepreneurial journey. As the book alluded to, I managed to secure my first contract while I was working my notice period, and pretty much 18 years later, I am at the point where we have a successful software development company with over 100 staff members delivering enterprise software solutions to, amongst others, the banking sector.

What do you believe are the key factors that have contributed to the rapid growth and success of your company in recent years?

The key success factor is perseverance in the face of significant adversity. Since inception, I have believed in two things, namely, software development best practices and an unknown technology called Kony, which I brought to South Africa more than 10 years ago.

In terms of Kony, the first 8 years brought zero ROI as the technology was bleeding edge. Unfortunately, South Africa is a laggard in terms of software adoption, and as such, I have made little progress in terms of getting the software sold. However, in 2019, my fortunes changed when Kony was purchased by Temenos, the largest banking software company in the world. Our partnership transferred from Kony to Temenos, and that is where our digital banking journey began. To date, MpiloTech is affectionately known as a trusted Temenos Infinity Digital Banking Sales and Delivery partner. We have several digital banking implementation projects under our belt and are working on quite a few new opportunities.

How does your company foster innovation within its teams to stay ahead of the competition and drive continuous growth?

We believe in innovation on two fronts, namely Business Process Innovation and Technology Innovation. Our commitment to Software Development Best Practices in the form of Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) sees MpiloTech as the undisputed leader on this front on the African continent. Currently, we have the most CMMI-certified associates and recently appointed a new CIO, Alok Goswami, who is Africa’s only certified CMMI Lead Appraiser and is globally recognized in this regard.

Further, our partnerships with leading product providers Temenos and HCL Software allow us access to bleeding-edge technology that our competitors do not have access to. I believe that we are at least 5 years ahead of any South African competitor in the Digital Banking and Multi eXperience App Development Space. Our continued partnership and investment in these technologies will see us lead the way in South Africa and the world, for that matter.

In what ways has your company adapted to market trends and changes to sustain its growth trajectory?

The COVID-19 pandemic is an excellent example of how MpiloTech was not only able to withstand the effects of the pandemic but also managed to reach greater heights. During the pandemic, we embraced Remote & Hybrid work and managed to retain our excellence levels with high customer satisfaction.

Can you highlight any specific strategies or initiatives that have been particularly instrumental in the fast-paced development of your company?

Our willingness to adopt leading-edge, complex technologies has differentiated us from our competitors. Furthermore, our adoption of Software Development Best Practices in the form of CMMI has given us the ability to compete with large multinational companies. An example of this is when we were able to win a large Digital Banking Project with the largest corporate bank in Africa, edging out the competition for some of them, some of whom have over 10,000 employees.

What role has technology played in the growth of your company, and how do you stay abreast of the latest technological advancements in your industry?

Technology is at the forefront of the growth of MpiloTech. Being a tech company, we are always on the lookout for the newest and most innovative tech solutions on the market. 2024 will see us make announcements of new key strategic partnerships and innovations for the South African market.

In terms of market expansion, can you share any successful experiences or challenges your company has faced while entering new markets or demographics?

Our ambition is firmly to become a pan-African company and ultimately a global solutions provider. We believe we are on our way to becoming this with the work we are doing in Mauritius and future projects that will see us deliver solutions in at least 9 other African countries outside of South Africa.