D22 IT Solutions, winner of the Management of Innovation Award in the emerging enterprise category

Above all else, keep it simple

Doing maintenance is a lot like paying for insurance: their value only becomes clear when something breaks. With government service delivery infrastructure crumbling after years of neglect, South Africans are starting to develop a healthy respect for the virtues of good maintenance.

One company that probably saw it coming is D22 IT Solutions. After all, its business is creating dashboards that, among other things, enable clients to see at a glance what predictive maintenance they need to be doing.

“A simple thing like maintenance can save you a lot of money in the long run,” says Delesh Kanjee, CEO of D22, which is based in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, and first opened its doors 17 years ago. It has an extremely loyal client base, consisting of mines, farms, and factories that run machines with lots of moving parts that can break down at the drop of a hat if you don’t keep a very close eye on them.

“Some of our clients have been with us for 11 years, 15 years … I am very proud of that,” says Delesh, who believes the secret of D22’s success in innovation is simplicity.

“People like to overcomplicate things,” he says. “We like things to look very simple, but with deep technical roots behind.”

In other words, what the end-user sees is on the screen are colourful, easy-to-read graphs that tell them what moving part is next for maintenance or, in the case of clients with other priorities, such as eliminating wastage or cutting energy costs, where the problems lie.

Behind those simple graphs is an intricate web of sensors, software, and data readers that are incessantly busy with the calculations and computations needed to translate complex live data into sensible indicators for good decision-making.

Simplicity also runs through D22’s own business model. It has learnt, for example, to break large, long-term projects into smaller, bite-sized pieces with tangible goals. These tend to be more palatable to clients than big, open-ended projects, Delesh says.

“We also underpromise and overdeliver, use the ABC principle to prioritise and aim to make money on an ongoing basis to keep our cash flow consistent.”

It’s simple, hey?

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