Sun Microsystems' MD for sub-Saharan Africa, Vito Bonafede today berated channel partners who were not taking full advantage of the opportunities present in the African marketplace.
Addressing delegates at Sun's annual Partner Symposium, Bonafede said that although the company achieved turnover of more than $120-million last year, this could be substantially higher if partners properly positioned themselves to take full advantage of opportunites in the marketplace.
"Money is flowing into our territory every day from organisations like the World Bank to address the shortage of skills, the shortage of technology," Bonafede says. "A lot of money is flowing in that we are not capitalising on.
"It is important to recognise that the demand for technology in Africa is growing 30% year on year and if we're not properly positioned, we're not going to capitalise on this opportunity," he says. "We have not capitalised on he market opportunities [out there]. We had a reasonable year last year, but we're not taking cognisance of, or covering, these opportunities and we're losing business to 'bits 'n bites' companies.
"Our market is growing at 30% – that is immense growth," Bonafede says. "And it is very disappointing to see the figures and numbers where we haven't capitalised. I can't understand that and want you, as partners, to invest in the right skills, invest in the marketplace, and take the market share we deserve.
"We have the best product range, the best technologies around – that's been known for years adn today we have the same," he says. "It is imperative that we understand that we do have the tools and solutions to satisfy any customer demand, and there is no reason we shouldn't be sucessful."
Bonafede stressed that Sun was fully committed to its channel and would only conduct business in Africa via an indirect model.
"We are 100% dependent on our partners in Africa," he says. "We look to you to help drive the marketplace and market opportunities. We hope you are making the right kind of money [from Sun] and investing in the skills for the services that come after the sale of a solution.
"We're not capable of delivering these services to customers with only 150 people – we look to you to drive this. A lot of customers are asking for services and we've all got to capitalise on this."
Bonafede concluded by saying that n the next six to nine months Sun will embark on a drive to become a more sales-driven organisation.
"We really have to focus on the market opportunities that are out there," he says.