Africa to inspire through digital innovation
The current global crisis has had a massive impact on economies and the traditional way of doing business. It has put the spotlight on how effectively organisations across industry sectors have embraced a digitally transformed way of working. Nowhere is this more evident than in ICT that is delivering the solutions required to operate in this new world.
A core message in recent weeks has been that of people needing to stay safe while remaining connected not only with one another but also by doing business and keeping industry running. This is especially critical in developing markets across Africa. These already under pressure economies have been struggling to find the ideal balance between driving the remote working agenda while keeping companies functioning as effectively as possible.
“This is where a digitally-enhanced way of doing business becomes essential not only for survival but also for identifying new opportunities for future growth. Trusted technology partners become a vital part of this ‘new’ ecosystem. It is critical for them to work closely with companies and identify what must be done to grow business and how to accelerate the adoption (and training) of more innovative digital solutions,” says Saartjie Wait, Marketing and Digital Experience Director at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa.
In part, this is where customer experience becomes an indispensable step in the value chain. Now, more than ever, companies will turn to partners and service providers capable of delivering on this. And when meeting these evolving customer service expectations, those partners will be rewarded by not only increasing brand loyalty but also in binding customers to their products and services.
“It is with this customer-first, digitally-led mindset, that Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa has introduced the Inspire Africa programme. For us, it centres around a value proposition that integrates the expertise and solutions of our top vendors to create a compelling partner-driven offering. This sees the combining of unique cross-architecture vendor solutions to equip partners to provide their clients with the means to conduct business more efficiently."
Focused on experience
Fundamentally, a positive experience entails more than just products and services. It incorporates consistency across multiple touchpoints. Furthermore, it is something that continuously evolves as requirements change, especially given the uncertainty around what the future holds.
“Digital is a cornerstone of this as it can touch on every aspect of a business, whether that is from a partner perspective or a customer one. It helps create closer relationships as it builds a culture of innovation while removing the reliance on individuals. People are always connected and have their mobile devices readily at hand. This is where the power of machine learning, automation, and even more adaptive apps come into play. For our part, we have extended this to a digital distribution model that forms part of the Inspire Africa programme,” says Saartjie.
This will radically transform the channel as many know it today. It sees the establishment of integrated digital distribution platforms that deliver the tools, technology integration, and automation that partners need to grow and thrive in any market condition.
“Such a digitally-focused model benefits partners and customers alike. From increasing their agility to have visibility of all orders, quotes, vendor portfolios, and real-time data, to improving the efficiency of processes to reduce turnaround times, it is all about creating an enabling environment. Another advantage of going fully digital in this regard is that it provides vendors and partners with the ability to scale and grow their customer base through a unified platform. As it is accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, the channel can continue operating despite any potential restrictions on employee movement.”
Inspire Africa has been developed around combining all this with a unified solution set that delivers the value partners need to push a digital environment for their clients.
From a Cisco perspective, the focus will be on secure remote working and facilitating effective video conference calling. In turn, Veritas lowers the cost of data replication and reduces the risk of data loss, and especially critical function with so many remote workers. The third pillar is NetApp that delivers solutions to manage data and data centres by minimising the reliance on physical applications. It is about to deliver true hybrid-cloud capabilities along with the tools needed to generate the reports and insights required to make effective decisions. Finally, Solarwinds provides the means to leverage data security by aligning the requirements of Cisco, Veritas, and NetApp across industry verticals.
"Throughout this shift towards digital, we are still remaining true to our focus on being people-centric. Technology, on its own means little if people are not there to drive it and benefit from it. We want to empower partners, vendors, and customers to take advantage of these innovations wherever they are working from to remain as safe as possible,” concludes Saartjie