Establishing an office in South Africa has not only paid dividends for printer firm TallyGenicom in terms of increased revenues, it has also added to the skills pool in the region, with more than 50 engineers being certified by the local office this year alone.
John Spreadborough, vice-president and MD of TallyGenicom MEAI, says the local office has exceeded the company's initial expectations. Until the opening of the office in the middle of last year, TallyGenicom fell under the auspices of Tarsus.
"Our South African business has doubled since we opened the office here and we've experienced strong growth so far this year," Spreadborough says. "The training and certification processes we've put in place have also made a huge difference.
"Opening a local office shows our commitment to this region and I think that the market draws on this commitment," he says.
Peter Vieira, director of Tally Genicom SA, says the company's training is proving popular not only in South Africa.
"We have partners sending people for training from as far away as Nigeria and Kenya, despite the fact that we do conduct regular training sessions in those countries," Vieira says. "We currently have about 500 certified engineers in the region, but I think that the fact that we've trained and certified more than 50 since the start of the year points to the success of our programmes."
Vieira adds that modification of the training programmes occurs on a regular basis and that the organisation will announce its latest iteration in the next few weeks.
"We're about to step up to the next level in terms of our training," Vieira says. "It's no longer just about servicing hardware any more – the next step is solutions training. High-level solutions."
Spreadborough says that the key to ensuring a loyal channel lies in giving partners value.
"And the value we offer isn't just about good margins, it's also about adding skills to our partners' organisations," he says. "We don't charge partners for training. It's free and I think that's something that's very important, especially in emerging markets. Added to that, we make sure that our partners make decent margins. We've got a very loyal channel in these markets because they earn money from selling TallyGenicom.
"I think it's a very interesting statistic that TallyGenicom hasn't had one bad debt in an emerging market in 10 years,"Spreadborough says. "And it's not that we haven't taken risks – we have. I think that statistic lends credence to the way we operate in these markets – both in terms of margin and in terms of training."