Sulaco New Media is a specialist provider of strategic business development services that include: Web & graphic design, hosting, IT support / sales and direct / email marketing. The company's name was taken from the novel 'Nostromo' by Joseph Conrad and is being driven by a team of young online gurus that are very serious about their quest to gain market share through proactive, results-driven service within an increasingly competitive marketplace.
One is immediately struck by the frankness with which the company's management discuss their entry into the market and their desire to provide something rare and highly coveted in this market: personal, focused, reliable service.
Sulaco New Media was born out of the combined resources and technical knowledge housed in RisC Com, the Sulaco New Media Group of Companies and Sulaco Web Development.
Sulaco New Media is a registered dealer at all major hardware suppliers in Johannesburg and Pretoria, and has grown to become a competitive computer component reseller.
Sulaco Web Development started as a business in 2006 and took over from RisC Com, making use of its 8 year experience, to form a comprehensive one-stop IT infrastructure, Web development and outsourced support services provider in the form of Sulaco New Media.
"We started with the idea of becoming a one-stop shop for existing and potential clients. The initial objective was to ensure that we get the Web basics right and adopt a more personal approach to managing the requirements of our clients," explains Dawie Hanekom, Marketing Director at Sulaco New Media.
Sulaco New Media arrived on the e-commerce and Internet marketing scene at a time when general perception of this market was, at best, mixed.
"At the time of the emergence of the Internet in the nineties many people were apprehensive and did not really understand websites and how they functioned. Still others realised the benefit of having a website and wanted to take advantage of the trend. But there were many fly-by-night companies that failed to fully explain the pros and cons of online presence - or they simply did not know in which direction the industry will go. Many companies opted for flashy or graphic intensive sites but experienced difficulties because of the time it took to download on 56kbps connections," says Hanekom.
Many a business has been burnt by Web cowboys and multimedia opportunists and have had to learn from the school of hard knocks when it comes to going with 'what sounds good' or 'what looks good on paper' says Hanekom.
"Web presence and management has to be based on business requirements and how this relates to the core purpose of the website. Service providers should have the in-house expertise, resources and track record, this is simply the initial criteria that clients must apply," he adds.
Although South African companies have come a long way since then and are far more mature in their approach to website management and outsourced services, the founders of Sulaco New Media remain convinced of the substantial need for specialist services in this market.
In the decade that they have been in operation they have done much to change perception and present a different picture of online strategy to small, medium and large businesses and companies.
"We continue to provide solutions such as the designing corporate identities, full e-commerce & corporate website development, desktop support & sales, Internet marketing solutions and hosting services. We're also moving towards the 'self-service market' which enables clients to become more interactive with their websites, providing them with the functionality to easily add new pages, do updates and even add video clips without any knowledge of HTML. This option not only saves the client money in the long run, but also saves them time," says Hanekom.
However Hanekom and his colleagues appreciate the competitive nature of the ICT services industry, specifically as it applies to online opportunities.
They also acknowledge that small businesses often have to differentiate themselves early and effectively in order to keep up with larger players.
"Yes it is true that smaller operators or service providers sometimes have to go that extra mile to outmatch competitors, especially larger players. We do have a few attributes that strengthen our portfolio in the market. This includes the fact that we have cultivated skills in both Windows server development and Linux based development, and can confidently develop websites that run on MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 (or higher) or Microsoft Access," Hanekom explains.
This combination of specialist technical skills, market knowledge and customer insight allows Sulaco New Media to show another side of website development and commercial online strategy application. It is a view that has been a long time coming for those working South Africa's corporate landscape.