2022 End of Year Newsletter
Weaving the golden threads from Parallel Journeys
With the sun setting on a long but highly paced annual year, and humanity still experiencing the impact of, and ongoing effects of learning about a “post- Covid” world, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on this year, look a little to the past, and to review the course we are on into the next few years.
Our recent past being framed by something as dramatic as Covid, it may seem redundant to reflect that we all come from somewhere, and going somewhere. Still, often our actual awareness is either stuck in the past, or even if in the present, consumed by the legitimate fullness of our “every day”. It is however sometimes necessary, for us to invite in change and change agents for any of us to evolve and grow.
Prior to Covid, the executives of PMT™ published a plan focused on scaling the business for Africa and globally, and ironically enough, it was the Covid event itself that accelerated that trajectory at a much higher rate than anticipated – we realised too that ubiquitous personal development for all our colleagues was no longer an option – that for people to grow in finding common understandings, function with more capacity, we had to offer a personal and group coaching function sponsored by the business.
Our published Company and Client mission brief is quite simple – the application of innovation and technology with integrity, to build and maintain trust, and to deliver value at scale – but this is not the one of interest in this message.
At a Colleague and Team level, in a long-awaited and exciting effort, the Executive placed this statement of purpose before the Team at the start of our mutual coaching journey.
As we invite you on a personal journey of growth with excitement and anticipation to the PMT™ circle of trust, to assist us to unlock our full participation and potential as we scale towards a global stage, we need team, group, and individual coaching, so that each one of us can enjoy growing in participation of becoming a contributing, global citizen so that we can multiply our individual energy and commitment of value creation of Company & Society, now and for generations to come.
So, to weaving the narrative and tying these back together – the uniqueness of the individual is undoubtedly a magical thing, if not complicated, and the journeys we take are challenging and varied. In a cliched way, we could say our experience is a sum of our previous experiences, but one can also postulate that we are also a reflection of what we don’t yet know, or still to experience, the journey not yet taken. Building an awareness of self, and of others should be part of all our growth aspirations, but it’s most true that many of us struggle with how, the when, the tools, and how to seek out mentorship and support – even how to start…
Building a successful and thriving Team now and into the future is more than a collection of excellent brains and good attitudes– it’s an active process that necessitates the personal effort of introspection and application for growth, specifically when we look at how disparate most colleagues backgrounds are when joining the Team. What has been deeply gratifying for me at least, has been the shifts that we have seen in individuals, Teams, and general relationships across the business because of the team coaching and personal coaching sessions. It is also my experience that even though many were apprehensive, resistive, and even scared at the beginning, the majority are reflecting now that large shifts and these have continued to occur – some even saying life-altering and profound enough that addressing life-impacting impediments have been facilitated in a safe space – enabling even more opportunity for personal, inter-personal and career growth. On its own human experience is a dynamic thing, but as a Team, we have definitely been able to show that aligning on values, common communication techniques, mindful awareness techniques, working tools – and a lot of practice, has created a powerful dynamic, readying us for continued acceleration and continued weaving of the rich PMT™ story!
Festive Best wishes
As I enter my 14th year this month, and it still feels like yesterday that this particular sojourn began – many challenges and many successes, the most significant of which for me is the privilege of watching and supporting people grow, often from student level to now, executives in the business. To this end, this is my last Christmas message from my desk, and whilst this does not signify my end of the PMT™ journey, I hand over to Henning this deeply important task of addressing you our Clients, our Colleagues, and Friends for the year-end message. His journey of 13 years recently celebrated is one of respect and trust and personal success, and thank him for his endless support in how PMT™ has evolved to today, and where it will go in the future! I trust that I will continue to support all of you as well as you have me!
To all our Clients, Colleagues, and industry Friends, but mostly to my incredible Team, may your rest and festive period be one of safety, love, and respect for all those you impact, and may you return in 2023 with a renewed vigour, sense of challenge and mindful and applied growth! In terms of the PMT™ Team, I also cannot wait to see what all of you will achieve next year with all your tools, learnings, and invigorated personal aspirations! Please stay safe if you are travelling on our roads.
CEO, Markus Schorn
Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
As a company, Pattern Matched Technologies™ (PMT) has been at the forefront and is an industry leader in setting the standard ranging from working with Mobile Operators to productionising and commercialising services to solve real-world problems and enabling opportunities.
We are grateful for the immense support received from our Clients and Partners and the trust you have placed in us as your Solution Provider of choice.
PMT™ has been a pioneer for services such as Reverse billed (Sponsored) USSD since 2011, NI (Push USSD), Sim Securitisation since 2013, and Reverse billing of Data URLs (Sponsored Data) since 2014. In 2020, PMT™ substantially invested in creating our solution envisioned in 2017 to solve for fundamental identified features not catered for through the traditional reversed billing solutions. The Obsidian™ Service Connectivity Platform was born, offering a more enriched and secure Reverse Billing (Sponsored Data) and ZeroRating™ Data Service.
Obsidian™ is Mobile Operator agnostic, built on AWS and cloud-hosted components. As a result, it provides and facilitates the enablement of Reverse Billed URL (Sponsored Data) services across all Mobile Operators and various aggregated service providers across multiple Territories as a Service Connectivity Platform. We are excited to communicate to you that we are in the process of rolling out and implementing Obsidian™ projects within SADC and the rest of Africa!
Alongside our trusted service offerings (Pattern Matched Technologies™), Obsidian™ is an Enterprise core-grade service offering positioned for enterprise banking, mobile network operators, IoT operators, and cloud-scale service providers.
Obsidian™ combined with our Secure Messaging and Sim Securitisation service, is perfectly positioned by design to solve real-world challenges enabling an Enterprise to add an extra layer of security and authentication to the transaction through mechanisms such as Customer and Device Lock Down / Secure Notification (Replacement of OTP SMS) deterring fraudsters from targeting Customers using your trusted Digital Channels.
PMT™ has many more exciting projects in flight and new impacting services planned for 2023 and remains committed to delivering a service of excellence beyond expectations without exception!
We look forward to continuing this journey with you in 2023 and wish you and your families a safe, joyous, and happy festive season.
Managing Director, Henning Viljoen
I am excited to write about The Obsidian™ Connectivity Platform, especially when we have been able to gain so much traction in the real-world application of what we have been investing in, especially this last year. Not only has our team grown, but so has our application of Obsidian™ in various use cases.
In August, we were privileged to share that our clients have identified the value of engaging their “Rest of Africa” country operations to implement and gain the same benefits as what they have been experiencing in South Africa. These conversations and engagements have matured over these last months and we are close to realising the start of major projects. What was further provided to us was to opportunity to work very closely with the Mobile Operators in these countries and this has led to further potential enablements directly for the Operators and their existing Enterprise Business Unit customers. For me, this creates so much joy as our technical delivery is serving so many end customers that benefit greatly from Reverse Billed Data Services by our clients, and by offering the solution to provide this in a safe and managed environment, with abuse-protected URLs, is why we have built the Platform and the Reverse Billed Gateway.
Further to this, we have had the opportunity to leverage our API Management release of Obsidian™ to integrate into large at-source VAS service providers and offer these managed APIs to our clients in a reusable and safeguarded way. The intent of Obsidian™ was always to create reusable components that allow us to enable quickly with best-practice, safety, and security top of mind! This enablement will be released before the end of November and we are really excited to deploy this on behalf of our client.
Additionally, Obsidian™ has also been and is continually Best Practice reviewed by AWS themselves.
The greatest part for me to share is our roadmap and what we have been implementing to further expand our Obsidian™ Connectivity Platform capabilities. I would categorise them as follows:
- Abuse Detection – we have implemented a module that continuously scans the usages from external systems towards a service enabled through the Obsidian™ Gateway, compares the usages to common trends, and sends alerts when any particular source consumes traffic out of the norm – this might not be “new” in the world of networking, but it certainly is in terms of protecting abuse on Reverse Billed services and protecting our clients from Bill Shock.
- User and Device Data Flow Protection – this is a really exciting feature that will protect data flows end-to-end, from a consumer’s device all the way to the end service that is served and protected by the Obsidian™ Gateway, including customer and device registration and approvals workflows, device SDK for Enterprise Applications and full integration with our Amber™ Sim Securitisation services to further protect the consumer and our clients to ensure the end customer logged in, the device the services are accessible from as well as the actual Mobile Operator SIM has not been compromised before allowing transactions.
- Secure Notification Service – this is a unique flavour of securitising Enterprise to client engagements and has many applications, one of which allows an Enterprise to securitise messages or notifications to a client which require the client the act upon receiving the information, integrating with a user and device lockdown services, secure Message Push (encrypted) as well as our Amber™ Network Initiated USSD technology for engagement fallback, to ensure customers are reached and the safest way to be notified or to approve crucial transactions.
Many of these great new features will be showcased early in 2023 with our existing customers already in advanced discussions to enable these features as they become generally available.
CTO, Pieter Janse van Rensburg
Browse The Obsidian™ Connectivity Platform Webpage to stay up to date on all the exciting innovations and announcements from the Obsidian™ team.
Quality Assurance Team
In 2022, the Pattern Matched Quality Assurance team embarked on a journey to move away from localised platforms for managing our test cases. We explored various different tools and finally selected Qase. In essence, it’s a cloud-based platform that gives you full control of your test case library. It allows us to do so much more than our previous set of tools.
Below is a list of very powerful features that we now have access to:
- Detailed test cases
- Pre-and-post condition setups
- Success and failure conditions
- Plugins with JIRA
- Detailed but easy-to-read test reports
- Custom test cycles
And the list goes on. This tool has been an efficient and cost-effective solution and has solved problems we didn’t even know we had.
Bravo to the QA team for the quick and seamless adoption of Qase!
Senior Software Test Analyst, Francois Burger
Our team has had a great year, with many accomplishments. One of the most notable achievements is the enhancements made to the transaction processing component to meet legislative requirements for certain countries. This was a difficult task that required several rewrites, but the team was eventually able to process thousands of balance snaps per second. This enhanced functionality, combined with API updates that allow clients to perform their own maintenance, puts the Transaction Processing Function (TPF) component in a strong and well-positioned place for growth with our clients.
Senior Developer, Henk Bijker
This year PMT™ achieved AWS Select Tier Services Partner status!
AWS Select Tier Services Partners employ trained and certified individuals and have proven customer experience.
Achieving this status has been a six-year-long journey for PMT™ and as an early adopter of the platform, we have been in a position to have built up a wealth of expertise. Over the years, PMT™ has been privileged to enable some of Africa’s most prominent banks, insurers, fintech’s, and retailers to launch cloud-based offerings and services with AWS.
PMT™ has a cloud-first approach to new business and we have deployed our own software solutions on the cloud. We have positioned some of our main products in AWS, so it is a major driver for PMT™, and because we deliver our own solutions in AWS, PMT™ is in a great position to help clients with their complete cloud journey.
As an AWS Select Tier Services Partner, PMT™ has the competence to consult on AWS deployments. We can help and guide customers in using our own solution on AWS, but also work with them on the overall architecture and building their total solution.
Additionally, all of PMT’s engineering staff have some level of AWS certification, many of them with advanced training, and training is an ongoing exercise within our teams. We are on a constant learning curve and always have some courses and certifications underway that will help us to enhance the business. This is where we can start and partner with clients to deliver our expertise.
What we have achieved thus far is by no means the final goal and is just the start of our journey with AWS, and being appointed as a Select Tier Service Partner this year is a good and solid stepping stone, allowing us to expand our knowledge and expertise into the new year.
This year PMT™ introduced group coaching and individual coaching, which was designed at working with teams in groups or individually to learn new skills, stretch themselves to reach their goals, grow, be uncomfortable, keep an open mind to new possibilities, and build their work relationships.
PMT™ would also like to Congratulate our coach Will van der Walt for recently completing and achieving his Post Graduate Diploma in Coaching at SACAP (The South African College of Applied Psychology).
Will van der Walt to share more about coaching:
Organisations are complex social organisms, filled with systemic complexity both in the processes and practices employed and the complex and rich relationships that emerge to shape how we are together at work. It is especially rare for organisations to lead with a people-first approach to their future, where growth and “how we are together” in this new future is front of mind. This is exactly what PMT™ has set out to do when they decided to explore coaching as part of their strategy for the future. Exploring future possibilities is brave work, scary at times – and leads us to the edge of what we disavow in ourselves and in others. Seeing an organisation bravely stepping into conversations and experiences that ask for growth is a privileged space.
In South African context, coaching is often seen as a means to fix something that is not working – possibly because of the connotation with sports where a coach is employed to fix the team’s problems and get them to high performance. In light of PMT’s success in the last few years, and with a focus on collective and personal growth for each member in the organisation, it is clear that coaching has found fertile soil in which the firm belief is that we all already have the answers, the potential, the motivation, the capability and the possibilities to create the future we want. It is exciting to see an organisation employ strategies that seek to invite and realise future possibilities in both individuals and the collective. It has been a tremendous privilege to work with each person in the team and I continue to be curious about what becomes possible in the highest possible future for this ground-breaking organisation and its people!
Coach, Will van der Walt
In 2022 PMT™ has seen our dynamic team grow and evolve, and we are very pleased and proud to warmly welcome our 11 new employees for 2022 to PMT™. Together they have brought years of collective industry experience and expertise, as well as fresh new energy to the PMT™ team. We can truly say that their impacts have already been felt throughout the business and we look forward to seeing them grow in PMT™!
This year many staff members at PMT™ reached some extraordinary milestones! To start our CEO Markus Schorn celebrated 14 years at PMT™ this year, our MD Henning Viljoen recently celebrated 13 years at PMT™, Kyle Armstrong and Maro Asmaclis both celebrated 12 years at PMT™, and we also had Hector Kgopane and Neo Leballo both celebrated 5 years at PMT™, we thank you all for the years of great work, leadership and commitment to PMT™ we look forward to the many more years with you!
Words From Our Newest Staff Members
On the 1st of September 2022, my career path took a whole new turn! I joined PMT™, to say it has been a great experience, is an understatement. From joining, I have learnt so much in a very short space of time – I am so proud to be a part of the USSD revolution brought on by PMT™. Being a part of the Service Officers team specifically is a great fit for me – I absolutely love engaging with people and I get to do that all day, whether it is internally or with our Clients. One skill I have enhanced since joining PMT™ is MULTI-TASKING! Sometimes it feels like you are dancing with several people at the same time – lol. This means adjusting your pace constantly, learning new moves, and remaining a true partner. Even though it has only been just over 2 months, I already feel part of the PMT™ family. I love structure so keeping track of several tasks at the same time comes naturally – yip, sometimes a ball gets dropped, but it’s the beauty of how we learn. I look forward to a long wonderful journey with PMT™!
Services Officer, Marianne Seeta
Since the first day I walked into PMT™, as a Software engineer, it has been nothing but exponential growth! Fantastic encouragement, accommodation, and promotion of learning and development! Inching me closer to achieving my lifelong goal of wanting to positively influence as many lives as I can. I have the opportunity to grow my resume and further my role into a position that enables me to do this more effectively. All of this whilst PMT™ actively drives and encourages work from ANYWHERE initiatives. Words cannot express my gratitude for being part of an organisation that has given me satisfaction in all aspects of my life. I am looking forward to the rest of our journey!
Software Engineer, Edmundo October
Since 2012, PMT™ has been involved with an NGO that is close to our hearts called The Family Africa Organisation. Over this last decade, PMT™ has grown its partnership and collaboration with The Family Africa organisation, to bring a lasting change to the youth of South Africa through education.
The Family Africa team works to bring real hope for the future of thousands of people who were previously disadvantaged groups in South Africa. The Family Africa team supports local communities through various initiatives, including Early Childhood Development centres (ECD), youth education programmes, health & safety awareness, food parcel distributions and much more. Many of these incredible initiatives PMT™ has been able to be a part of and support over the years.
The EaziTeach™ Programme!
PMT™ is passionate about Human Upliftment, and we continue this year to make a change in people’s lives through Technology & Education for Future Generations. This passion led to PMT™ creating and sponsoring The EaziTeach™ programme, which is kindly run by The Family Africa team. The EaziTeach™ programme is focused on bringing educational aspirations for the future of South Africa by rolling out learning programmes, to creches at grass root schools across the country.
As part of our EaziTeach™ programme, PMT™ has been privileged to provide Sponsorship to over 15 Family Africa teachers to receive Early Learning Qualifications! In addition, PMT™ has also Sponsored a computer course for another 9 teachers this year, which will empower them to use technology in their children’s education. Our vision is to equip teachers to help build better communities through education.
PMT™ is honoured to be part of contributing to building the next generation of South Africa and seeing this programme grow even further this year and has been inspiring for PMT™ to be a part of as we understand the importance and value that ECD centres bring to our society.
We are aspiring to see this programme grow even further in 2023! Visit the EaziTeach™ webpage, where Corporates and Individuals can easily get involved with making a positive change in these children’s educational future.
The Family Africa Blanket Drive!
At the start of the colder winter months, the PMT™ team came together for the yearly Family Africa Blanket Drive which has become a tradition for PMT™ to be involved in every year. This year the PMT™ team was able to donate over 800 blankets to people in need and to make sure these families were kept warm over this winter.
We give regular updates on the positive progress that the EaziTeach™ Programme and The Family Africa’s initiatives are making on our blogs.
The PMT™ Team will be taking a break to rest and rejuvenate themselves, we will be closed from the 9th of December 2022 until the 2nd of January 2023. This will help us all come back with even greater motivation to continue providing excellence without exception to our clients. During this break, our support team will continue to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you with any support inquiries during this period. Please see our Key Contact information below:
Key Contact Information
In closing, this has been another extraordinary year of exciting growth and development within PMT™ and for our clients, and we are looking forward to the exciting things still to come in 2023 and beyond. The success of Pattern Matched Technologies™ is truly based on the relationships we have built over the years, and we wouldn’t be where we are without your support. We remain committed and driven to delivering you a service of excellence beyond expectations without exception.
We are grateful for the opportunity to work with, and for you and we are looking forward to continuing this journey with you in 2023, and may you all have a joyous and safe festive season ahead with your families!
The End of Year Newsletter was proudly created by PMT’s Digital Marketing Manager Joshua Adair