Yet another US multinational vendor has upset the local distribution applecart by officially appointing MB Technologies' ChannelWare to represent it. As published in IT-Online three weeks ago, networking firm 3Com yesterday issued a press release confirming that ChannelWare would be its third distributor in South Africa alongside Comztek and Westcon. 


ChannelWare is the distributor that emerged from the now defunct Storgate following MB Tech's joint venture with Ingram Micro.
Last week, ChannelWare signed up Kentucky-based printer vendor Lexmark despite its current distributors "over-achieving" on local revenue targets.
This announcement created a degree of angst among local distributors and the 3Com statement is expected to compound this.
Local distributors feel they are hamstrung due to the perceived proximity of ChannelWare to Ingram Micro, particularly when it comes to US vendors.
The text of the official press release is as follows:
ChannelWare has announced the signature of a new distribution agreement with 3Com South Africa, further confirming its commitment to expanding its portfolio with prestigious technology brands and affording its resellers (and their customers) access to solutions that are well known for their quality and value-for-money.
Tony Galvao, managing director of ChannelWare says that the new distribution agreement gives resellers access to a range of products that expands on their ability to provide end-to-end solutions.
"In addition to the products in our portfolio that take care of customers' enterprise client, server, storage and software requirements, networking also forms a vital piece of the puzzle. With the portfolio we now have in place, our resellers can start providing solutions that cover the entire spectrum of customer needs – it strongly positions them as end-to-end solutions providers," he says.
True to ChannelWare's promise of providing a sound technical and business skills base for each of the product lines it distributes, Galvao says the company is dedicating substantial resources to the brand, ensuring that the resellers have a sound support structure in place for both pre and post-sales support.
"This is one of the differentiators we're most proud of and we will continue to hold true to this promise as we continue to expand our portfolio," he adds.
Tracy Lawler, channel and distribution manager at 3Com South Africa says
that from her company's perspective, ChannelWare plays an integral part of the company's strategy to extend its scope into the market.
"Up until now, our distribution strategy wasn't allowing us to touch all of our potential markets. When ChannelWare approached us, we knew that the historical ambit of the MB Technologies Group, along with ChannelWare's distinctive distribution modus operandi would be a good platform for reaching markets that we had difficulties addressing in the past," she says.
Lawler adds that 3Com previously experienced challenges engaging with the growing SMB sector, as well as verticals such as manufacturing, engineering and finance.
"We believe that ChannelWare's good penetration into the market and its focus on a mix of brands, will help us gain access to those markets," she notes.
Galvao is quick to highlight his confidence in the 3Com brand. While ChannelWare's current expertise allows it to bring the majority of 3Com's solutions to market, over the coming weeks it will be embarking on a serious internal upskilling exercise, which will result in ChannelWare gaining access to 3Com's range of VoIP and converged communications solutions.
"We plan to make a very noticeable entrance into networking with this latest distribution agreement – both through upskilling our internal resources and those of our resellers. We believe the networking market is poised for growth and we will be ready for it," he concludes.