Intelligent Tech Channels Issue 20 | Page 28

ICA FR A AL I O N E L S G E R ANN CH A F RIC GROWTH IN AFRICA IS DRIVING THE The channel market is changing. There is a trend emerging where solutions across different categories are combining to create a more holistic, horizontal approach to the channel offering. But companies are also demanding hyper-specialised businesses and application technology skills from vendors. And, according to Westcon and Ruckus Networks, this outlook is set to continue in 2019. CHANNEL MARKET D ue to the current economic climate in South Africa, the region has experienced shrinkage. “Even though the shrinkage is still relatively small, if these conditions persist, we are likely to see a steady decline in players in the channel market,” said Andries Janse Van Rensburg, Channel Manager at Westcon. “However, for Africa, we are seeing the exact opposite, with strong channel growth in regions such as Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Mauritius.” Riaan Graham, Sales Director, Ruckus Networks Sub-Saharan Africa, agrees given that these specific countries are not dependent on South Africa’s economy. As a result, he says that there is a steady growth in these regions especially from a There is no doubt that the channel is changing – but every year we see change so it’s not change we need to fear. 28 Wi-Fi perspective as new hotspot roll-outs and infrastructure upgrades have become a necessity and priority in the respective regions. “With wireless staking a claim as ‘critical infrastructure’, there are a number of implications and trends that we are seeing coming to the fore in the channel,” said Graham. “Channel players have looked at diversifying their own offerings – from partnering with home automation installers to working directly with the logistics sector around a unified communications strategy. We are also noticing that partners are more often coming directly to Ruckus to get guidance on building solutions as they start to move into different vertical sectors – the trust has been earned.” However, budgets aren’t keeping up. As most IT products are imported either in Euros