Deon Scheepers, Sales Operations Manager at Interactive Intelligence is an accomplished contact centre professional, who has become one of the most widely respected voices in South Africa’s customer service and customer experience industries.
Deon has contributed to the industry in technical, sales, managerial and consulting roles over the past three decades, is regularly quoted in major publications, and is a frequent speaker at industry events and conferences.
His career started in the ICT industry when he joined Telkom in 1983. Working in Telkom’s Data Services Business, Deon was selected as a member of the original team assembled to establish South Africa’s first Digital network called Diginet. In his 10-year career at Telkom, Deon held various technical and managerial positions that involved installations, maintenance, network and capacity planning, quality-control, business process re-engineering, and customer service.
In the mid-nineties, Deon joined ABSA as a Senior Network Architect task with the consolidation and redesign of the voice and data communications networks and infrastructure used by four big financial institutions into a single, amalgamated and optimised platform. In his 5-year employment period at ABSA, Deon managed various ICT projects within the group with responsibilities that included:
Infrastructure planning and design on all Telkom, TDM/SDH-Transmission Systems, Wide Area Networking (WAN), and Front End Processor (FEP) Infrastructure and other Data related technologies.
- Infrastructure planning and design on all Telephony, Unified Communications and Contact Centre related technologies.
- Manage diverse project teams responsible for investigating, evaluating and recommending voice, data and contact centre technologies.
- Ensure alignment with global IT market and technology trends, making recommendations and presenting to ABSA senior-management on proposed technology or architecture changes.
- Consult to internal and external clients by understanding their business requirements and then recommending appropriate solutions to help achieve their business objectives.
- Negotiate service level agreements, and discounts on technology solutions and services with suppliers on multi-millions rand deals.
Deon left ABSA in 1998 and joined ATIO Corporation. As acting CIO and Head: Strategy and Technology, he was primarily responsible for all internal Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and services, and the strategic positioning and growth of the company’s business within the Contact Centre, Unified Communications, Managed Services and Cloud Computing markets. These responsibilities included:
Identify business development opportunities i.e. services, products, solutions, partnerships or new business ventures that would increase growth and revenue, placing ATIO in a more favourable strategic position in the local Information Technology market space.
- Constant market awareness and analysis to identify new markets ad possible Mergers and Acquisitions that would better position and help grow the ATIO business.
- Evaluate, appoint and manage the working relationships with all the Outsource Partners.
- Create and managed a team of individuals that are seen as experts by the relevant industries.
- Manage the Technology and Professional Services Business Unit tasked with providing the following services:
- Business and Technical Consulting
- Pre-Sales Support
- Product Management
- Sales and Technical Product Training
- Supplier and Partner negotiations and relationships
- Establish and position ATIO as the industry “Knowledge Hub” by for example speaking at various local and international seminars and conferences. Key to this strategy is the writing of a variety of articles for well-known magazines, newspapers, and other publications to increase customer awareness and demonstrate ATIO’s market leadership in selected technology areas or niche markets.
In January 2012 Deon joined Interactive Intelligence (ININ), a global provider of software and services for communications, collaboration and customer engagement. During his first year at Interactive Intelligence, Deon successfully assumed the role of Regional Business Development Manager responsible for New Business Development, Customer Account Management, and Marketing in the African region.
He was asked to start a consulting business in the Africa region in January 2013 and in addition to executing the regional marketing strategy was appointed as Strategic Consultant. This new role also included the following goals and deliverables:
Build and show a deeper understanding of the customer’s business, business objectives, customer experience strategy, and business challenges.
- Analysis of the Contact Centre and UC technology, infrastructure and architecture used.
- Create a personalised value message and value proposition for each buyer/customer also showing how ININ will resolve Business challenges and help achieve Business objectives.
- Provide financial justification for IT spend, quantifying the cost of doing nothing and showing the competitive value, business benefits, ROI, TCO and NPV if customer change to the ININ solution.
- Ensure that existing customers are using the ININ solution correctly and receiving the originally proposed business value and benefits.
- Help Account Managers increase Up-sell and Cross-sell opportunities and revenue.
- Create more referencable customers by using consultancy services to improving customer relationship, service and satisfaction.
In 2014 Deon was appointed as Sales Operations Manager at Interactive Intelligence, tasked with building and expanding ININ’s Strategic Consulting services offering into the rest of EMEA and also managing the African Pres-Sales business. These responsibilities include supporting all ININ Sales teams, Account Managers and African Channel Partners providing the following services:
Developing and delivering training programs for African Channel Partners.
- Developing solution designs, pricing and sales proposals.
- Delivering product and technical presentations across all product ranges and solutions.
- Completing RFI and RFP and other technical written responses.
- Ensuring the technical accuracy of architecture designs and pricing used.
- Delivering Pilot projects, proof-of-concept (POC) and product demonstrations as part of the sales process and company strategy.
- Engaging strategically within large sales opportunities for new opportunities and in existing customer accounts.
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