CAD software specialist Autodesk has recruited 148 new partners across the African continent over the last 15 months to help the company combat software piracy. According to recent research conducted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), most Autodesk customers in Africa would prefer to buy licenced software, but often don’t know where to find it.
As a result, they resort to pirated copies which don’t carry any of the benefits associated with buying valid licenced software, including after sales support and regular upgrades.
To address this issue head on, Autodesk implemented a focused strategy to grow its reseller network across Africa with the aim of decreasing the purchase and use of pirated software by increasing the availability of genuine Autodesk products.
“In just 15 months, we have grown the number of channel partners across Africa from 40 to 182,” says Richard Smedley-Williams, MD of Inovatio Distribution, the South Africa based Autodesk distributor tasked with growing the partner network.
“The bulk of this increase comes from countries within the SADC region – South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia. Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana have also shown great growth.”
To supplement the growth in the number of channel partners, Autodesk is also running an awareness campaign on the benefits of using licenced software, such as support, proper updates, and access to other services such as the ability to use the licenced copy in the office and on a home PC.
Licenced users also get access to Autodesk Cloud, a new Web-based set of services that offer greater mobility, new viewing and sharing capabilities, and more computing power.
“We need to ensure that we’re not only preaching about the benefits of legal software, but also making the software available on a broad scale,” explains Smedley-Williams.
“It is our firm belief that partners and customers alike won’t purchase a legal copy of the software if they don’t know where to buy it. Yet research shows that our customers do want to do the right thing by buying the licenced versions, and it is our role as the distributor to ensure easy, affordable access to our technology.”