The rapid growth in demand for cloud and software-as-a-service solutions is changing the face of the IT reseller channel in South Africa, with entrepreneurs from outside the technology industry, independent software vendors (ISVs) and other agile, innovative players moving into the market.
That’s the word from Oliver Niemandt, General Manager: Sales at Tarsus On Demand, the cloud enablement company within Tarsus Technology Group. He says that Tarsus On Demand has seen an explosion in new channel partners and end-user demand over the past year, with the arrival of Microsoft’s Azure datacentres in South Africa acting as a catalyst.
The more immediate spark however, has been the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen users sprinting to meet their remote working and work from home (WFH) needs, in the cloud.
“The business is growing at a pace that is exceeding our expectations,” he says. “It’s particularly interesting to see a surge in demand for our services in the rest of Africa, even before we had sales teams on the ground. Much of the interest in the cloud is coming from the small and medium business (SMB) sector, with entrepreneurs looking for faster and more cost-effective ways to get things done.”
The rise of born-in-the-cloud partners
Niemandt says that Tarsus On Demand is seeing the rise of more and more born-in-the-cloud partners, many of which are successfully challenging traditional value-added partners. These companies have the advantage that they do not have legacy skills or processes, and can get to market faster with innovative cloud solutions.
“By their nature, these companies are small and dynamic,” he adds. “They want to work with a cloud enablement partner like Tarsus On Demand and grow together. These players tend to be focused on business outcomes rather than product. Their mantra is, ‘If technology is the answer, then what is the question?’”
A noteworthy trend
One noteworthy trend resulting from the Lockdown across South Africa is that traditional end-user companies are evolving into technology resellers in partnership with independent software vendors and cloud partners like Tarsus On Demand, Niemandt says.
For example, financial consulting firms are selling cloud financial software to SMBs, or law firms might resell cloud-based legal-tech solutions to clients and other lawyers.
“Many of the traditional lines are blurring,” says Niemandt. “For the new generation of channel players, it’s all about working together as an ecosystem to address pain points and opportunities. The mindset is about building communities that can solve problems together, with the ability to open systems via the cloud and APIs driving collaboration.”
Still significant growth potential
He concludes: “The sheer number of start-ups we’re working with indicates that there is still significant growth potential in the cloud. The appetite for the cost-efficiency, scalability, and reduced management complexity that the cloud offers is stronger than ever, and end-users are looking to their technology partners to help them make the transition.
“Many of these cloud-born companies are looking for channel exposure. ISVs, for example, can benefit from reaching a sales channel of thousands of resellers, while partners and ISVs alike can access hundreds of potential solutions that complement their offerings. We believe that the power of this community has the potential to transform our industry in the years to come.”
[Source: Media Release]