When Daka took over as interim CEO of the South African engineering firm in 2012, the plan was simple – turn the business around and improve its fortunes.
Daka was a non-executive chairman of Ansys when he was appointed as interim CEO.
In 2014, the company reported an operating loss of R7,3 million.
However, in a little over four years, he has managed to turn the fortunes of the ailing business. Turnover grew from R100 million to R500 million.
With the turn around mission successfully completed, Daka decided to step down as an interim CEO last September. He was replaced by Rynier van der Watt, CE in charge of strategy, mergers, and acquisitions (M&As) as CEO.
However, Van der Watt was only at the helm at Ansys only for 9 months. He now focuses on M&As.
Van der Watt was replaced by Daka as CEO.
Businesswoman Nonhlanhla Mjoli-Mncube has taken over as non-executive chairman.
When Daka became CEO he devised a strategy to reposition the company as a digital technology solutions provider.
He is repositioning the firm along the four broad capabilities: safety and productivity, digital network connectivity, cyber security, and original design manufacturing.
The aim is to take advantage of immense opportunities presented by digital technology.
Part of Ansys’ DNA originates from the defence industry.
The firm was established in 1987 to provide avionic computers/crash recorders or black boxes to the South African Air Force. It generated R700,000 in revenues by its first year in business.
“If you can make such kind of a computer then you can make a computer that can work in harsh conditions,” said Daka.
Daka and his team have not been afraid to seek opportunities to provide digital technology solutions in tough industries such as mining, railway, and safety of data.
Daka is a former miner. He worked at Palabora Copper long time ago.
He sees opportunities in mining for Ansys to provide digital technology solutions.
Last month Ansys delivered a 70% rise in revenue to R806 million for the year to end-March 2017. Net profit was up 239.2% to R67.8 million.
Clearly not content with profits delivered during the company’s 30-year anniversary, Daka wants to expand the company’s headquarters in Centurion to enable Ansys to take advantage of new opportunities in vertical markets.
So far, Ansys is off a rousing start.
The firm is diversifying into providing telecoms networks underground in mines for its clients.
For more read: SA’s Ansys Eyes Growth Opportunities in Digital Mining
“It’s a natural progression into becoming a digital technology solutions provider. We used to make solutions in harsh environments,” explains Daka in an interview.
“We are still good at it and will continue to explore harsh environments. That’s mainly because the DNA of the company is historically from the defence sector.”
Under Daka’s leadership, Ansys is eyeing growth opportunities all the sectors of the economy.
The firm is targeting more opportunities in digital railways: For more read: Ansys is Enabling Shift to Digital Railway in SA, Botswana
Ansys is a black-owned and controlled technology firm that design, develops, produces, distributes and integrated digital technology-driven solutions for the defence and information security, mining and industrial, rail and telecommunications industries.
The company chaired by Mjoli-Mncube is leveraging digital technology to create solutions for its clients.
Ansys is also into data security to ensure that data collected by its sensors is transported safely and reaches clients securely.
“So, our business, if you look at it in terms of the value proposition we into safety, productivity and connectivity,” said Daka.
“We also do digital defence solutions. Underpinning these is our capability as a business, we start from an idea or an end-point or problem a client has. That’s where everything we do starts.”
As part of its growth strategy, Ansys recently bought Profitek Industrial Communications for R40 million.
Asked whether the company is planning to go an acquisition spree, Daka said: “We are in this game for a long term”.
He added: “When we make an acquisition is either giving us access to capability, IP, technology, skills, or markets.
“Not just profits, because it is about building this business that if you look at it 5 years from now you will be able to recognise it: there is a black-controlled business in IT or in technology and is doing it. An iconic business in the technology space. That’s what we are trying to build.”