Service, delivery will make all the difference in 2009

If ever there was a time in the development of the formal South African ICT distribution and supply channel when service and delivery levels influenced trade, it is now.

Looking into the new year those businesses that can step up to the plate and hit hard when it comes to quality service and enhanced delivery will secure position, ensure survival and continue to compete.

It would be fair to suggest that the global financial crisis and economic turmoil across many markets has had a devastating affect on industries and sectors – within established and developing markets alike.

And hugely influential sectors like ICT and telecommunications has not escaped under the radar. The ICT Channel has been hugely influenced by consumers that are bearing the brunt of volatile currencies, spiraling living costs and pressure on resources.


Businesses are looking to extract maximum advantage from the investment in ICT infrastructure and services.

The desktop PC and notebook space is impacted by the increased emphasis on the transfer of business-building value in virtualization and software as a service, and outsourced expertise.

In addition, end users are more focused on aspects such as warranties and other cost-saving benefits of dealing with established players with proven track records of support, stock availability and price competitiveness.

As such there is more pressure going up the channel – from resellers to distributors to vendors – to ensure that prospective customers are guaranteed a return on their investment.

Resellers must be aware of the latest developments in technologies and assist, in so far as possible, their clients and end-user group to identify key features, understand these critical elements of technology and effectively match up technology to requirements.

Distributors will be operating in a far more competitive environment that will demand consistency in service, stock management and price structure. This has always been the case, but will be more so in the new year.

Vendors have to remain in touch with market changes and both current and emerging trends. The ever present need for compact, multifunctional, cost effective product remains, but there will be added pressure going forward for all-in-one devices that do not break the bank.

Whilst investors will remain ever-mindful of cost and price differentials, loyalty and support will go towards brands that are robust, offer value for money and suit the tastes of digital lifestyle enthusiasts throughout a myriad of markets.

It goes without saying that mobility and wireless infrastructure will dominate the ICT sector going forward as the digital lifestyle, home networking and gaming markets continue to demonstrate strength and growth.

Furthermore it would be foolish of us to neglect the impact of socio-economic and political change and what this will mean for the ordinary consumer and markets at large.

From a corporate point of view, compliance and corporate governance will continue to be a prominent consideration for decision makers and this will be juxtaposed with pressure to gain advantage through strategic business intelligence, related systems and processes.

Suffice to say 2009 is going to be a very challenging, very energetic and dare we say rewarding year.


Gary Naidoo