While it has become commonplace for IT vendors in South Africa to adapt a more direct model to the market through strategies such as "named accounts", they could be cutting themselves out of a lucrative local distribution channel which is estimated to reach revenues of $30-billion by 2015.
This is three times the $10-billion revenue the channel generated in 2008.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan indicates that channel partner strategies are often overlooked in the broader analysis of technology markets. This, it says, is a mistake as such strategies are key to understanding the manner in which companies deliver their products to market. Vendors, the research group adds, have to ensure that their partners display the same commitment to quality and service excellence that they do.
"The identification of the ICT industry as a critical factor for economic growth by the South African government has led to high growth in this market," says Frost & Sullivan ICT programme manager, Birgitta Cederstrom. "The government sector is becoming an increasingly important customer segment for the ICT industry."
One of the main challenges facing vendors to the ICT industry, she adds, is ensuring that products are effectively driven into the market. This relates, in turn, to the selection of good channel partners and the utilisation of an effective strategy.
"It is clear that there are many instances in which vendors and channel partners do not utilise best practice methodologies to ensure that they maximise growth opportunities," says Cederstrom. "The key to choosing good channel partners rests in the ability to properly convey business objectives to the market."