Phoenix to launch 24/7, 365 days a year remote support in Africa

Anton Vukic, Channel Director at Phoenix Distribution in West Africa, talks about IT security and his company’s plans for the continent.

Anton Vukic, Channel Director at Phoenix Distribution
Anton Vukic, Channel Director at Phoenix Distribution

What is the status of IT distribution market in West Africa?
The market is in a very healthy state at the moment with much room for growth and development in the territories. We believe that education and training is key to assisting our resellers in growing. In West Africa, the market consists of local African distributors and French distributors due to the language.

Talk us through Phoenix Distribution plans for its reseller partners in the region?
We firmly believe that the only way for us to continue growing is to support all our resellers to receive the same growth. We will be supporting our partners across Africa with marketing, training and support. We will be launching 24/7 365 days a year remote support for our resellers to take advantage of. This will allow some resellers without the technical knowledge on some of our products to still take advantage of selling our brands. We will assist with not only support but remotely rolling out products on behalf of our resellers.

Which markets are key for Phoenix Distribution’s growth in West Africa?
Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana

What are the main challenges your channel partners are finding in their market?
2014 was a tough year with economic problems caused by the Ebola outbreak. Another major issue is getting payments out to international partners and vendors due to exchange controls.

What new distribution programmes are you rolling out for the region next year?
Phoenix will be launching a major incentive program across all our brands across the whole African continent. This will not only be related to sales but also connected to training and education, which we believe is vital to growth. We will be launching the 24/7 365 days a year remote support mentioned earlier.

Which products are receiving a lot of focus this year and why?
The security threats are growing on a daily basis and every company and consumer in the world needs to be more secure, thus we have put a major focus on Kaspersky this year in Africa. Another product which we are putting focus on is Storagecraft, which offers business continuity and disaster recovery, as no company can afford having down time anymore.

What training programmes is Phoenix Distribution rolling out in 2015?
We will be running Kaspersky training programs in all regions. We plan for our African partners who do not get face-to-face training to launch weekly webinars across all our brands.

Which are the hottest products Phoenix Distribution is currently offering?
Beats by Dre Headphones, Kaspersky, Logitech.

How is Phoenix Distribution addressing the issue of fake products, spare parts and grey imports in Africa?
With regards to hardware, if the consumer wants the real sound of Beats, they will not receive this from fakes. They will need to pay to hear and receive the best audio quality etc. It’s like supporting the drug trade. As long as there is a demand for it, there will be suppliers willing to manufacture and smuggle the goods.  We will be working with the vendor wherever possible to ensure counterfeit Beats are removed from the market. This is never a major issue when it comes to software as vendors are watching that activations are in the correct territory and this is easily controlled by IP filtering.

Where do you see the biggest opportunity for your product offerings coming from in 2015?
Kaspersky’s is a great brand for all resellers to get behind; their innovation and continued product updates are leading the industry. This is backed up with their numerous global awards. The high end headphone market has seen the biggest growth for a segment in last few years and this is still yet to explode across Africa.