Ansar Sykes

Senior Product Manager


I’m a Senior Product Manager with over 5 years' experience in product management. I've worked on many exciting products ranging from the creation of advanced integration APIs to product managing all the aspects of Clickatell's developer website portal (Developers' Central). Some of these are huge projects lasting over 12 months to complete. I've been entrusted to deliver unique mobile solutions to major clients such as WhatsApp, Facebook, IBM, United Airlines, and many major banking firms.

I have 10 years' experience in the telecommunications industry. In my first 5 years of my career at Clickatell I was predominantly client facing with positions such as Enterprise Pre Sales Engineer and Technical Account Manager. During this period I managed many successful integration projects with major clients such as Capitec Bank, BP, Standard Bank, Santam, Multichoice Africa, Old Mutual, African Banking Corporation, Shell, Deloitte & Touche, Nedbank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Ericsson, European Commission, Fundamo, CR2, Liberty Life, CNN, MBD, Mercantile Bank, Metropolitan Life, MWEB, Prezence, Qatar Airways, FNB, Shoprite, Stanbic (Nigeria), Striata, Sun International, Sybase365, and Transunion and have been recognized for my achievements.

In the beginning of my working career I had various exciting positions ranging from Technical Engineer to Software Developer. This has allowed me to gain a strong technical background in modern technologies combined with software development, quality assurance and enterprise sales experience.

My career has forged me into a highly skilled Senior Product Manager with a total of 15+ years working experience in telecommunications, ISP, financial and healthcare industries.

I have a keen interest in security solutions using mobile technology and enjoy finding new and creative solutions to problems.

I'm exploring new opportunities :)

Work History

Work History
Nov 2009 - Present

Senior Product Manager


Senior Product Manager for Clickatell's messaging APIs and website portal for API provisioning, reporting and billing. Key Responsibilities:

Managing the entire product line life cycle from strategic planning to tactical activities.
Specifying market requirements for current and future products by conducting market research.
Specifying highly detailed technical requirements for current and new APIs.
Driving a solution set across development teams (primarily Development/Engineering, and Marketing Communications) through market requirements, product contract, and positioning.
Developing and implementing a company-wide go-to-market plan, working with all departments to execute.
Analyzing potential partner relationships for the product.

★ Achievements: As Senior Product Manager I successfully managed the concept, analysis, development and go-to-market (where appropriate) of the following projects:

Text-to-Speech messaging API. REST SMS messsaging API. SOAP SMS messaging API. Connect API for direct partner enablement in the Clickatell's core system (e.g. Clickatell for Salesforce).
Content encryption API to secure customer message data.
US Small Business API.
US Embargo compliance.
Developers' Central upgrade.
Cybersource Hosted Order Page integration & PCI compliance.
Multiple SMS routing solutions, e.g. Automated global SMS two-way solutions.
Fraud detection engine (RISK) and 3D Secure implementation for credit card payments. Custom internal customer communications system.
Custom coupon management system for marketing initiatives.
Major improvements to Clickatell's existing messaging APIs to improve performance and revenue by reducing errors and simplifying developer integration.
Major improvements to Clickatell's billing system to allow for more competitive global pricing.
Multiple improvements to Clickatell's website and API portal to improve conversion rates, e.g. EV SSL Certifications and automated API configuration for easy plug 'n play implementations.

Jun 2005 - Oct 2009

Pre-Sales Engineer, EMEA


I started my career at Clickatell in the customer service department as a Tier 1 Technical Support Engineer. Combining my drive for customer service excellence and high technical aptitude after 1 year I was promoted to:

Tier 2 Technical Support Engineer (duration 5 Months)
Tier 3 Technical Support Engineer (duration 1 Year)
Technical Supervisor (duration 3 Months)

During my Tier 3 position the focus changed to managing and entrusted with Clickatell's enterprise customer base. This focus naturally evolved into further promotions exclusively working on enterprise customers (both existing and pre sales).

Technical Account Manager, EMEA (duration 1 Year)
Pre Sales Technical Engineer, EMEA (duration 2 Months)

Key Responsibilities: Provide technical support and assistance to the enterprise sales team. Maintain current relevant technical knowledge regarding technologies, architectures and methodologies in the enterprise messaging space. Coordinate with sales executives as well as members of the post-sales support, product marketing and product development teams regarding key strategic account opportunities and initiatives. Present technical aspects of key solution sets to strategic partners, customers and prospects. Author technical elements of proposal documents. Provide the sales executives with full support in the productions and completion of RFIs, and RFPs. Deliver to customers - on-site, at exhibitions and seminars - multi profiled product presentations. Dedicated TAM for MEA/Europe Enterprise clients.

★ Achievements: Successfully assisted the sales team in winning many large EMEA enterprise customers and managing existing customers.

"Ansar is doing a fantastic job at handling and managing MEA customers. He has really stepped up to the challenge and is exceeding all my expectations. Customers have the highest respect and praise for Ansar. Thank you Ansar!"
– Deon Van Heerden (VP MEA Sales and South African Country Manager).

Oct 2003 - Apr 2005

Software Test Engineer


Halifax is a banking chain in the United Kingdom and a division of Bank of Scotland, a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group. Based at Halifax Bank head office, Halifax UK.

Responsible for release acceptance testing of all software updates to ATMs, Branch Terminals and their Online Banking Portal.
Develop and execute manual and automated tests in different platforms.
Partner with software development staff to resolve application bugs and test upcoming application releases.
Actively participate in Iteration Planning, Stand-ups, and Team Retrospectives.
Develop and actively participate in build test automation scripts.
Anticipate feature needs and implication of project decisions on quality.
Proactively share knowledge on best practices for testing software.
Produce well-written technical and business communications as needed.
Communicate technical information to non-technical personnel.
Learn quickly and independently, stay on top of emerging technologies, applying learning to solutions.

★ Achievements: Gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in processes and systems in the banking industry.

Oct 2001 - Sep 2003

Senior Software Developer


Software Developer for Neil Harvey & Associate's Document Solutions Department. NHA is a complete ICT solutions provider for the Healthcare Funding Industry.
Clients: Medscheme Group, BestMed, Sigma Health, De Beers, etc.

Develop windows based applications for driving high-speed document scanners, barcode creation and barcode detection.
Integrate windows based document solutions application into NHA's core product: Medware.
Testing and evaluating new document solutions technology.
Contribute to the ongoing improvement of software practices within the business.
Research, design and implement best practice solutions to new problems.
Co-ordinated hardware/software installations.
Onsite and remote assistance.
Administration of SQL Server 7.0 production databases.
Held software demonstrations at clients to introduce new products.
Assisted with client staff training.

★ Achievements: Successfully developed and rolled out software to drive multi-million rand document scanners and high-speed barcode printers at multiple client sites through-out South Africa. Gained 2 years of software development and healthcare industry experience.


2009 - 2012


University of South Africa

Bcomm Management

1999 - 1999

Distinction (First Class Pass)

University of Cape Town

Visual Basic 6, Databases and SQL, object-orientation and networks.

1998 - 1999

NCC International Diploma in Computer Studies

WS&L College

(1st Year Degree in Computer Science)
Cobol and Delphi 3. Modelling for computing in mathematics. Business systems, human communication and information systems. Introduction into A+ Technical and MCSE.

1993 - 1997

Grade 12 (Matric) Certificate

Windsor High School
English, Mathematics, Accounting, Science, Biology and Afrikaans.

Top Skills

Mobile Communications
Product Management
Mobile Devices