How Xolas TMS is turning Malaysian telecom companies into lean, mean, tower managing machines
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How Xolas TMS is turning Malaysian telecom companies into lean, mean, tower managing machines

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Anthony Davie, Founder and CEO of Xolas TMS shares success stories from the new platform’s clients in Asia

When you’re thinking about which tower management platform to use, Xolas TMS might not be front of mind. But it very well might be soon. Having built a stellar reputation working with infrastructure providers D’Harmoni and Tele-flow, the young company has recently won some new clients, and founder Anthony Davie is keen to expand the client base both in Malaysia and across Asia.

 

Xolas took the time to craft their solution by working with their anchor-clients for the past three years, and Anthony is confident that what they’ve developed will be a game-changer for the way towercos manage the data associated with their assets.

Ahead of Xolas’ debut at Meetup Asia (December 6-10th 2021) we chat with Anthony to find out more about their history, and the functionality that is revolutionising operating models in Malaysia.

TowerXchange: Tell us about your experience in telecoms and your career before launching Xolas?
Anthony Davie, founder and CEO, Xolas TMS:

I was born in Mexico and lived in Guatemala and Colombia, before studying in the UK. After achieving a Ba Hons in Archaeology and Philosophy in Southampton, I begun my career in software development in 1984 when IT dinosaurs still ruled the Earth!

 

I was working in many different industries, ranging from Luxury Yacht sales in Poole, MRP systems for Engineering firms in Salisbury, and training systems Recal Decca. After that I moved to London and got what I’d call my first proper job for London Regency Life.

 

Here I managed a team of 300 salespeople in the Life and Pensions Quotations. I first came to Malaysia in 1994. It was software development that brought me here,and I spent time working with Telekom Malaysia, Digi, Standard Chartered, Siemens, Maxis and Takful Nasional.

 

I left Malaysia in in 1999 to work for Hewlett Packard as a CRM contractor. After 2 years, I was offered the role of Chief Information Officer back in Malaysia for RHB Financial Services Group. Even though I was ready to leave it all behind when I left for the US, I really missed the Malaysian way of life! I welcomed the opportunity to come back to Asia and have been very happy building my life and business here.

TowerXchange: Speaking of building your business, can you introduce us to Xolas?

 

Anthony Davie, founder and CEO, Xolas TMS:

In 2015 I was working for KERN Technologies, when Dato’ Rehat, COO at D’Harmoni Telco Infra, approached me to build a Tower Management System. Through a series of misadventures KERN went into voluntary liquidation, but I maintained ownership of the project, – the origins of Xolas today.

 

We rewrote the software in 2 months using VueJS and Laravel and in 2016, we secured D’Harmoni as our first client. Shortly after, in February 2017, we added Tele-Flow.

 

For the first 2 years of the project we were focusing heavily on fine tuning the features of the platform, and added our requests module which allowed the request to share, upgrade and backhaul functionality in partnership with D’Harmoni.

 

Some of the other features and functionality that we have spent years building include tracking all site equipment and assets with each asset having it’s own owner. Information on landlords, tenancies, site structures, site design and layout, permits, insurance, and most recently backhaul can all be stored and accessed on the platform. It can also produce invoices, as we’ve integrated finance into the platform.

 

Xolas TMS has customizable workflow which you can attach to any site, so there are templates that help you capture and display the most relevant information for if the site is being built, being dismantled or audited or if there is maintenance due. It’s very flexible in this regard.

 

In 2019, Sabah (East Malaysia) based Common Tower Technologies, became a further client. Then last year, Melaka ICT Holdings were the first client to sign a 5 year contract, which shows our attention to detail and development in close partnership with our anchor clients since 2016 has led to some great results.

 

Today there are many different types of companies across the telecom ecosystem who are looking at using Xolas, and we expect our client base to grow again in a short timeframe.

 

We maintain a lean team, and outsource many of the business functions. Sitting alongside me leading the company is our COO Azrai Mat Hasan.

 

We also have a small software focused team members, Soo Meiw Ling is a project manager, Mohammed Jalala is a Back-end Developer, and Eazrik Zaulie is our UX Developer. The final member of the development team is Bathulah Mahir.

TowerXchange: What is the main challenge that Xolas is able to help overcome? Why are people using it?

 

Anthony Davie, founder and CEO, Xolas TMS:

The problem that tower managers face is the lack of information being available to different teams across the business in real-time. Excel is not a viable solution for such a dynamic group of assets as a tower portfolio.

 

We have seem many instances of a Finance team’s data being a couple of weeks old, whereas the maintenance team might have something more up to date that isn’t being shared across the business. By using a centralised platform for all of their tower assets, towercos and operators are able to solve this problem.

 

The project management teams often have the most up to date data in our experience, and other departments falling behind causes delays, and inefficiencies in workflow that Xolas is in prime position to to overcome.

 

Solving these inefficiencies with a scalable solution allows the business to run more efficiently and also grow at a faster rate with less investment in additional workforce.

 

One of the other real benefits of using Xolas is the fact that each department has their own dedicated and customisable dashboard. If you are logging in from the Finance team, you’ll see a completely different data set – tailored to the data you use the most in your daily functions – than a property team from the same company.

TowerXchange: Can you share some examples of how this has worked in practice?
Anthony Davie, founder and CEO, Xolas TMS:

Take Common Tower for example. They have two staff who regularly travel around Sabah with their contractors every two weeks and then they went back to the office to complete the data entry admin from the findings of their route. Now, with Xolas, they update the system in the field and head office sees the results immediately. The removal of this lag allows enquiries to be answered in a more timely manner, problems to be identified and passed to the relevant teams immediately and those two staff members to be far more efficient all at the same time.

 

D’Harmoni’s average close rates for requests to share and upgrade were two and a half months before they started Xolas. They have managed to more than half that by using the platform, and now, by using the request module, their average close time is under one month. Streamlining this process has led them to be able to increase their profit by 30%.

 

Tele-Flow has all their legal documents in North Malaysia, but the head office is south of Kuala Lumpur. Before becoming clients of Xolas they had to scan, email, fax or even courier documents between offices. Now, they are all hosted on the platform in PDF format, and are accessible regardless of where in the country (or the world!) they are required.

 

I’d draw attention to the customisable workflow again here, because for bigger countries like Indonesia or India each region may have differing laws and regulations. We’ve considered this in development and the customisable workflow solutions allow you to adapt to local compliance practices.

 

TowerXchange: We’ve seen a lot of towercos looking to digitise their portfolios recently and turn to automation to streamline internal processes. Why do you think now is the time for towercos to be investing in data driven solutions? What external market factors are making it a necessity?
Anthony Davie, founder and CEO, Xolas TMS:

 

It’s easy to point to many instances of mergers between operators in Asia across the past couple of years. This is in no small part due to the fact that they are struggling to run efficient, profitable operations due to a whole host of market factors.

 

Towercos need to support operators, and help them to make their interactions more efficient. So not only are you improving your own operating capabilities by investing in data collection and management, you are offering your clients an additional service and added value, by making it easier to manage their relationship with you.

TowerXchange: What does the future hold for Xolas? You’ve patiently refined the solution in it’s current state, so should be expect innovation to be a core feature of the business moving forward?
Anthony Davie, founder and CEO, Xolas TMS:

 

At the moment Xolas is an excellent holistic telco and tower administration system. But in the future, we’re definitely keen to build on this, and expand the range of capabilities of the product. A few that I’m keen to prioritise include integration with drones, looking at Internet of things capabilities, Virtual and augmented reality for inspection and maintenance purposes and even crypto and blockchain.

 

We want to create operational cockpits using IOT concepts as part of the platform. We’ve already developed and rolled out the QR code functionality that will allow the increased use of Drone’s to directly capture information from sites, so this is definitely on the immediate roadmap.

 

The platform also already hosts all of a clients data about equipment, and maintenance tickets on the system so creating an AR/VR solution is a case of making the UX seamless and making greater use of this data.

 

Finally, I’m interested in how blockchain and even cryptocurrencies have disrupted the property sector and other industries. I believe there are significant opportunities to use this technology in telecom infrastructure, that has not even be discovered of conceived of yet, let alone tapped, for example Smart Cities.

 

According to PWC’s five mega-trends ultra rapid-urbanisation is a contemporary phenomenon and at least 50% of the human population lives in urban areas. Millennials are now having a significant impact on the shape of markets, and 90’s era business models won’t work for them. They consume games, social media content and are very much digital natives. This remains a long-term strategic goal for Xolas.

 

If you are interested in meeting with Anthony, and hearing more about Xolas’ work in Malaysia, make sure you sign up to join TowerXchange Meetup Asia 2021 HERE. You can use our interactive networking platform to contact Anthony and request a meeting, or you can join him for our virtual roundtable on Malaysia, where he will be joined by edotco and EdgePoint country heads to discuss the market dynamics that operators and towercos are grappling with.

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