According to a report by ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa), the State of ICT Sector and the country’s ICT sector has continued to demonstrate signs of growth, albeit 0.3%, recording US$46.52bn in revenue in 2021, up from US$14.22bn in 2020
Importantly, it is expected that the market will continue its upwards trajectory with research firm, GlobalData’s South Africa ICT Market Size and Forecast (by IT Solution Area, Size Band and Vertical), 2022-2026 - Market Research Reports & Consulting, GlobalData UK Ltd predicting a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5% (from 2021) during the next three years.
An important driver of the above growth is digital transformation and therein lies considerable opportunity for the ICT channel, becoming valued partners in organisations’ journey towards a digitised posture.
From Schneider Electric’s perspective, we believe its vital that our channel partners future-proof their business by delivering end-to-end energy management and automation solutions that help customers drive efficiency, growth, and profitability. These include:
Moving Beyond Hardware: For many IT channel partners, moving beyond hardware to also deliver managed services is an opportunity to demonstrate enhanced value to customers. It also creates an opportunity for greater financial incentives from suppliers as they start to measure and recognise the long-term value that each partner is delivering to customers.
Evolving and transforming the business: With a clear plan in place, IT channel partners can more successfully leverage all resources - from training and education to new technologies and smart digital tools. Traditional hardware-focused IT channel partners face consolidation pressures as traditional product margins erode, and customers increasingly turn to next-generation partners with digital capabilities and focus on software-enabled and services-led solutions.
Transition from a sell-focused business model to a serve-focused business model. This creates a business platform for increased, recurring revenue streams, efficient customer engagement, closer customer relationships, competitive differentiation, and enhanced partner status. To operate successfully, it will require commitment from partners to change their business model and recognise that customer success and capital expenditure are vital focus areas driving long-term success.
Improving digital presence: By combining physical and digital models, the channel can cater to varied customer needs. These also include implementing digital marketing strategies based on data generated by CRM tools to respond to market needs and opportunities.
Also, improved digital visibility such as online catalogues, configurators, tutorials, and apps can go a long way in assisting and engaging customers during their digital journeys.
Build a partner ecosystem. The channel will benefit tremendously from creating alliances and partnerships with likeminded companies and brands that complement its offering and provide the innovation and support it needs to succeed in the future.
Granted, whilst the outlook for the SA ICT market does look positive, it remains vitally important that the entire channel from vendor, distributor to reseller and beyond evolve in a world where digitisation has become a primary business objective.