SMB market requires tailored solutions

With enterprises technology spend grinding to a halt and average selling prices plummeting in the consumer segment, the small and medium sized business sector has become an attractive new target market for the IT industry’s larger resellers and technology retailers.
This has meant that the small and medium sized business market faces the strong possibility of being snatched away from the small, one or two man reseller shops that have traditionally made a modest, yet stable living from the provision of ultra tailored solutions.
“Some of these resellers will see this as a death sentence and batten down the hatches for a tough couple of months ahead,” says Traci Maynard, GM of Tarsus Technologies’ software division.
“Others will see it as an opportunity to provide their customers with reinforced motivation for the value they provide. And being part of the latter group of resellers comes down to providing the right solutions for the right customer needs,” she says.
Maynard says there’s a historical reason the small and medium sized business sector has been service by specialist players.
“And that reason isn’t difficult to find. To be blunt, it’s quite simply that one size doesn’t fit all.”
Unfortunately, larger resellers and technology retailers have traditionally made their money from the provision of relatively generic products and services for the masses. And that’s something that flies directly in the face of what small and medium sized businesses require from their technology partners.
“Small and medium sized businesses require individual attention and tailored solutions. It’s something that takes specialist expertise, and by providing their customers with the right solutions, small and medium sized resellers will continue to be successful,” she says.
Maynard says she’s just returned from a Microsoft conference held in Los Angeles and that one of the key messages delivered was that there’s a ton of opportunity within Microsoft’s product portfolio that small and medium sized resellers can use to excite and delight their customers.
“Solutions that help resellers achieve on goals such as server virtualisation, simplified infrastructure management and even hosted or cloud-based delivery for applications are at the forefront of what’s on offer,” she says.
“Add to that the fact that Microsoft has realised how dependent small and medium sized businesses are on out-of-the-office connectivity and in turn, that it’s started working with vendors in the portable computing (notebook, netbook and slate) space to create seamless solutions to this challenge and there’s another opportunity on offer.
“Lastly, round that out with small and medium sized business specific tools, such as a bespoke portal that allows smaller resellers access to customisable, ready-made marketing materials that can drive their value proposition to the market and it’s clear that Microsoft is becoming serious about this sector of the market.
“All things considered, where some small business resellers see a threat, I see an opportunity. And those that focus on the latter will reap the rewards,” she concludes.

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Tarsus Technologies distributes the world’s leading IT hardware brands to the Southern African reseller channel.
Tarsus, a member of the MB Technologies group, was established in 1985 and with close to three generations of operation, it is the longest-established IT distributor in South Africa.
Tarsus is uniquely positioned to meet the channel’s needs for credit funding, stock availability and efficient logistics to ensure that resellers are able to deliver the best possible service, support and overall solutions to their end user customer base at the lowest possible cost. Not only does Tarsus provide excellent service and world-class logistics, it is also committed to the development of the reseller community and its skills.
Royal Bafokeng Holdings is MB Technologies’ controlling shareholder making Tarsus one of the largest black-owned technology groups in the South African market. Tarsus Technologies is recognised as a Level 3 contributor with a BBBEE procurement recognition level of 110%.
Tarsus’ head office is situated in Johannesburg with branches in Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Klerksdorp, KwaZulu-Natal, Polokwane and Nelspruit. Tarsus has also extended its footprint into Africa with branches in Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana and Mauritius and a focused sales team services the other territories in Southern Africa from the Johannesburg office.
Tarsus distributes a range of products from the world’s leading manufacturers. For more information visit our website; www.tarsus.co.za.
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