EMC Southern Africa is embarking on a new drive to increase its presence in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries with increased investment and improved focus.

Nick Christodoulou, regional partner manager, EMC Southern Africa, says the company works exclusively with its partners in the region.
“We recently initiated a process of re-evaluating our partnerships across the region,” he says. “Our stated intent is to have fewer partnerships, but to ensure that each of these partnerships is strategic to both parties. In time to come, depending on the revenue expectation within certain geographies, we may elect to open an EMC office.”

Commenting on whether Africa is a major growth area for EMC, Christodoulou says: “In South Africa, EMC has more than double the market share of our closest competitor. We are the market leader, which brings its own challenges.

“In SADC, we estimate that we have less than a 10% share across the region. The difference between our current market share and what we regard as a fair market share is a significant revenue opportunity, coupled with the fact that IT in the rest of Africa is growing exponentially.
“In theory, this should equate to explosive growth for us because you have the combination of two factors, growth in the market and growth in share,” he says.

Christodoulou says that as is the case in other territories, African customers are continuously looking for new, innovative ways of creating value from IT and in particular from data. According to Christodoulou, the discussion is not about acquiring more storage, but rather about offering a complete solution around data management.

“The customer wants to know how to store, back up, secure, archive and analyse their data – and how to make it more readily available,” he says. “They are more educated than ever, which means that channel partners need to be even better informed and to elevate their discussions away from hardware and towards solution selling.”

He believes EMC’s partners are well positioned to address the demand and deal with this opportunity.

“As I mentioned earlier, our stated intent is to have fewer partners but the right partners,” he says. “This enables us to focus on doing more of the right things with the right partners. It should also mean that the partners become more profitable. However, the partner also has a critical role to play in developing their skills, capabilities and focus around the EMC value proposition. If we are focused on them and they in turn focus on us we will produce a better result for the customer.”

Christodoulou points out that the increase in demand currently being experienced in Africa will continue into the future.

“The rest of Africa is using technology to leapfrog themselves even further ahead than most developed economies,” he says. “Where developed economies have legacy infrastructures and legacy decisions that they feel compelled to justify, the CIO in the rest of Africa is not hampered by the same constraints. They are much more open to new technologies and new ways of doing things. This level of freedom as well as the explosive economic development we have seen indicates that there will be demand for a very long time,” he says.