Intelligent Tech Channels Issue 47 - Page 19


Westcon Comstor focuses on channel hegemony in Sub-Saharan Africa

Louise Taute , Southern Africa and Westcon-Comstor Marketing and Sales Director Sub-Saharan Africa
Westcon-Comstor is a global technology distributor with annual revenues that exceed US $ 3 billion . The value-added distributor ( VAD ) combines industry insight , technical expertise and more than 30 years ’ experience to be the catalyst for both vendor and partner success . With channel partners being fast-tracked on their journey to become fully-fledged digitally enabled resellers , Louise Taute , Southern Africa and Westcon-Comstor Marketing and Sales Director Sub-Saharan Africa , tells Intelligent Tech Channels how the company is rallying its army of solution providers to dominate the channel business in Africa by becoming digitally enabled and transformed .

TTalk us through the state of the channel market in Sub-Saharan Africa now ?

There has been a slowdown in growth in certain areas of the industry . Some of our channel partners have faced significant budget constraints as their end customers are spending less . And while this is a problem , it is not a new one . What has been most difficult has been shipping delays from international vendors which has also impacted on the price of freight . Combine that with the global chip shortages and the reality is that some vendors have increased their prices by up to five times . Additionally , currency fluctuations have become even more unpredictable . All this combine to dramatically affect working capital and the channel ’ s ability to perform optimally . In some instances , it can take up to nine months from a partner winning a project to being able to implement due to the product shortages .
What was Westcon-Comstor ’ s focus in 2021 and how has the company navigated the COVID-19 pandemic ?
It has not just been about navigating the pandemic , but also about dealing with market conditions like the chip shortages . However , the events of the past two years have made us become more digitally aware . To this end , we have been investing in tools to enable our partners to transform their business and become more agile . We want to help them fast-track their journey to become a fully-fledged digitally enabled reseller .
With any challenge it is important that we review our business and then identify how to adapt to stay relevant in continuously changing market conditions . Fortunately , we have been pushing the cloud and hybrid working agenda for many years . This means that we have been well-positioned to capitalise on the demand for these solutions .
Ultimately , we see more channel companies adopt a model where 40 % of their income will be annuity-based ( think the cloud and software-as-a-service ) and the balance will come from traditional solutions . The trick will be on managing the transition to this environment . For instance , a traditional one-million-rand ( US $ 63,000 ) deal would see cash up front , but with the cloud it will result in paying over 36 months .