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Channel executives play a critical role

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Paul Luff, SMC Networks SA Country Manager

The activity and pressure to generate business within South Africa’s formal ICT channel is such that people are often overlooked when it comes to recognition of talent and contribution.

The reality of the market place today is that decision makers are often swept up in the moment of confirming deals, securing leads and following up on delivery and inevitably do not pay enough attention to the ‘people on the ground’.

These are the people that can make or break these deals and leads. They are the people that manage processes and procedures that are critical to the overall relationship and progress of business between parties.

In many instances they are the same people that have to negotiate the finder details of proposals. They have to deliberate and reach consensus on issues and challenges that may- and often do – impact on service delivery.

It is easy to understand why the concept of channel executives has emerged so strongly within the market. The channel executive has a great deal of credibility and it is equally understandable that they should receive recognition for their efforts.

The fact is that from a network solutions and application point of view, the South African channel has matured. Aside from more service providers, vendors and resellers, there is also a noticeable increase in competition for business.

Channel executives play a critical role and there is no doubt that they have to perform. They are the front line of a vendor’s engagement strategy with the market.

This means that they have to keep up to speed with trends and developments that continue to shape the channel.

Progressive trends such as ‘triple play’ (application of multimedia resources including voice, video and data over a single channel), cloud computing, social networking and virtualisation have a profound impact on business.

Consumers are also generally more tech-savvy and when it comes to corporate networks, business leaders know what they want, why they want it and where it will work best. This market maturity is evident in the quality and quantity of product being introduced into the channel.

End users demand cost-effective, compact, high performance solutions and the channel executive is positioned in the middle of interaction between all channel role players.

If the market grows and develops to the extent that service providers expect, there is every reason to believe that the profile of channel executives will grow significantly.

Paul Luff, SMC Networks SA Country Manager

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