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ANGOLA - Telecoms & IT

Msuega Tese

Executive Director, Integrated Solutions Angola (ISA)

Bio

Msuega Tese is an African entrepreneur based in Luanda, Angola. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of Integrated Solutions Angola. Previously, Tese worked in several countries during his decade-long career in the oil and gas industry. He graduated with an honors degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Port-Harcourt, Nigeria. He also took part in the Owner/President Management Program (OPM) of the Harvard Business School. His book, The Versatile Leader, will be published in 2023.

"We work with all sectors of the economy, such as banking, oil and gas, government, and private companies. Our services include providing IT infrastructure solutions and training."
TBY talks to Msuega Tese, Executive Director of Integrated Solutions Angola (ISA), about the company’s history, training staff, and ESG activities in the country.
Can you elaborate on the motivation that led to the creation of Integrated Solutions Angola (ISA)?

I began my career in the oil and gas industry in the mid-1990s and was transferred to Angola in 2000. I saw a need for local IT service providers in Angola with high technical capabilities. This meant clients had to rely on international companies even for basic services. Recognizing this as an opportunity, I established ISA with a group of friends. Our primary objective is to offer local services in Angola that meet the high standards comparable anywhere else in the world. It is unacceptable that services rendered in Angola should be substandard. We have named our company Integrated Solutions because our work encompasses various areas. Although our focus is on technology, we provide other solutions as well.

Could you outline the current areas of focus of the organization?

We work with all sectors of the economy, such as banking, oil and gas, government, and private companies. Our services include providing IT infrastructure solutions and training. We focus on both the infrastructure and the human side, including leadership. Both areas are crucial because having the best infrastructure is not enough without skilled talents to manage it. Similarly, having excellent skills is only sufficient with the necessary tools to work. Our holistic approach ensures that our solutions deliver the best results for our customers.

What services does ISA offer in terms of training courses, and what methodologies do you employ for internal staff training?

We provide training services that give participants valuable practical knowledge to make a difference in real life. Our training offering is divided into three main areas: Technical, Management, and Leadership. In the Technical area, we offer various levels of Data Storage skills and certifications, Virtualization systems, Backup and Replication, and cybersecurity at different levels.
For Management, we provide Project and Quality Management training, focusing on ISO standards for Quality management. Our in-house developed leadership training is called The Versatile Leader. Recently, we published a book with the same title, and it became a bestseller on Amazon. This training prepares new supervisors and managers to lead effectively in different situations. Even experienced leaders have found it refreshing as it challenges traditional thinking and offers practical insights in various areas. We are excited to share the secret of our success with the world.

How does ISA incorporate an ESG framework into its operations in Angola?

At ISA, we integrate ESG into our business in various ways. We support an orphanage and actively oversee the growth and development of five children. We collaborate with universities during our recruitment process. We take on students, provide them with training, and compensate them as part of our social program. We retain some students after their training, while others leave without any obligation. We ensure sustainability throughout our business by hiring fairly, providing rigorous training, assigning challenging tasks, and continuously improving our processes. We value merit above all else. It is important to note that our management team is currently predominantly female, with women making up 70% of the personnel. However, our employees are equally divided between men and women. In addition, our leadership continuity process ensures that the company can continue to operate smoothly in the event of an unexpected or planned absence. These are a few of the factors we consider for our sustainability.

What are the challenges and opportunities of being a leader in Angola?

The greatest challenge for any leader is to produce more leaders. Training leaders is a complicated and lengthy process with no guarantee of success. This is a problem that exists worldwide, not just in Angola. There are also no clear standards for training leaders, unlike professions such as pilots, engineers, and doctors, which have established training processes with predictable results. This is the problem I set out to solve in my new book, The Versatile Leader. My goal is that everyone who reads it will become an excellent leader in any situation, even if it’s the only book on leadership they ever read.

ISA hosts a variety of events, including both in-person and virtual options. Can you elaborate on specific training initiatives and your promotional strategies for these events?

Our training events are not like typical theoretical training sessions. Our experienced facilitators share their practical knowledge and expertise rather than just information from books. Our technical trainings focus on both theory and hands-on experience. We also collaborate with vendors to ensure our training outcomes meet international standards. ISA’s training methods are very effective. They give participants practical knowledge they can use immediately, resulting in high satisfaction levels. While we provide virtual events, we always prefer face-to-face training for maximum impact.

What are ISA’s plans for growth in the future, and where do you see the company in five years?

We use scenario planning to prepare for the future. Scenario planning helps us create flexible plans by considering different perspectives on what could happen. This method ensures that we can adapt to changing conditions easily. We consider several scenarios that may arise from current uncertainties and plan accordingly. Regardless of the scenario, we will continue to support our customers in the market. The specific details, such as the number of employees, will depend on the circumstances in the country at that time. We are well-prepared for different possible situations.

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