In an increasingly competitive South African IT marketplace, resellers are scrambling to differentiate themselves; endeavouring to provide products and services that won't disappear into a maze of 'more of the same' offerings.

With this challenge in mind, Internet Service Provider (ISP) XDSL is enabling its resellers to move beyond the norm, allowing them to offer ISP services to their clients, backed by XDSL's technical expertise, support and billing services depending on the structure they require.
Says Danie Fourie, MD of XDSL: "Resellers are faced with shrinking margins and an increasingly competitive environment. This is driving them to seek out new revenue streams and opportunities that will augment their turnover.
"Reselling our broadband offering provides them with a valuable opportunity to increase revenues on an ongoing basis. Once the customer has signed up, the monthly revenue due to the reseller is paid over on an ongoing basis for as long as the customer continues to subscribe to the service. The more customers they sign up, the greater the reseller's ongoing revenue."
When partnering with XDSL, resellers have the option of either offering the services under their own branding (known as a non-branded reseller) or co-branding the service with XDSL. Co-branded resellers have access to first-line XDSL support that enables their customers to call XDSL directly for any support issues or queries.
The processing of customer accounts is simplified for resellers who have access to a dedicated log-on system that allows for the creation and management of user accounts. The billing and support is handled directly by XDSL. A distinct advantage of the co-branded initiative is that XDSL deliver the ADSL line too at a cost benefit only achieved through the company's contract with Telkom.
Fourie adds: "This provides resellers with a horizontal business model that allows them to attract new customers and generate revenue with a service that is extremely simple to manage. In addition to the basic broadband connectivity service offered, XDSL also offers value added services to its clients. These services are extended to resellers and their clients.
"They include Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which deliver enhanced security through encryption; free online storage; firewalls; and a self management service known as WebAdmin that enables the client to manage and monitor the service whilst increasing bandwidth limits as and when required."
With both the co-branded and non-branded models, resellers enjoy a number of benefits. In the case of co-branding, resellers can promote their business with the confidence of being backed by XDSL's well established infrastructure. However, they also have the ability to manage their clients themselves, from support to billing. The co-branded option allows resellers to promote their services together with a reputable ISP and rely on XDSL for first-line support and automated billing.
Co-branded resellers also have the added advantage of being able to call XDSL rather than Telkom if there are issues with the Telkom line in the knowledge that XDSL's strong technical team will assist with any query.
These resellers simply complete the forms with their clients (on paper or online) and XDSL do the rest. The online forms feature a wizard which takes the reseller through each step with the client. Put simply, a form is printed, signed and faxed through for activation.
"Our reseller business has grown significantly in the last six months which we believe is indicative of our strong service and, importantly, our value offering," adds Fourie.
"This is delivering a significant benefit to our resellers and allows them to create a value add for their clients. In addition, their clients are now able to deal with one entity for their ICT and broadband connectivity requirements."