Africa FocusDigital TransformationInterviews

Africa is Undergoing an Unprecedented Digital Transformation

Nassif Yazbeck, the IT Channel Sales Manager at Vertiv, speaks about their recent partnerships in the African markets, opportunities for 2021, and more

Tell us about your recent partnerships with CSSA and Fajoba in the African markets.
These partnerships fortify our commitment to expanding Vertiv’s footprint in Africa. As part of our broader strategy to support digital evolution in new markets around the world, we identified the Fajoba Group in Uganda and CSSA in South Africa as reliable and progressive partners in their respective markets that will help make our premium technology more readily available.

CSSA has an extensive network across key industries which will support customers to gain access to Vertiv’s offerings in new markets. Similarly, the Fajoba Group is a leader in the East and Central African region, and through our partnership with them, we will be able to boost local stock levels to meet the growing demand for our popular IT infrastructure support, with plans to open new sales offices and widen distribution channels.

How important is the African market for Vertiv’s regional business strategies?
We can all agree that Africa is undergoing an unprecedented digital transformation. In the last couple of years alone, massive strides have been made in various sectors of technology. From Egypt’s new smart capital project, to the first commercially-viable 5G network being launched in Southern Africa, the landscape is changing rapidly. Our large scale expansion on the continent is indicative of just how important the African market is to Vertiv.

How is Vertiv driving digital transformation in the African market?
Over the last year alone, we have announced several partnerships with local players, and we have signed on to provide our solutions to major projects that are being undertaken in Africa. Through our strategic partnerships with distributors, we have been able to make our critical digital infrastructure solutions more readily available to local customers and ensure speed of delivery.

Within our portfolio of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, we have turned into the changing needs of customers with a line-up of cost-effective, high-quality products ranging from critical power to thermal management solutions, racks, and enclosures, as well as monitoring and management, with the full backing of Vertiv’s highly-skilled support resources.

How are the market and its needs different from its neighbouring markets such as the Middle East?
Africa is unique given the diversity in cultures, environmental differences, and local infrastructure which differs from Country to Country. Vertiv recognises this difference and optimises offerings, supply chains, and partnerships to suit the individual needs of each market and/or region.

How is Vertiv preparing itself to tap into the opportunities that 2021 will bring along?
As a company that has always had a fixation on “what’s next”, we are approaching 2021, with the kind of optimism that we have always approached the future with. There are massive opportunities that 2021 is undoubtedly going to bring along in the digital and technology spaces.

As a direct result of the pandemic, remote workforces have escalated demand for connectivity, which in turn has placed pressure on data centers. This requires us to remain committed to addressing such challenges with our full spectrum of IT solutions into 2021 and beyond.

What were your learnings in 2020 and how will you use those to tweak your strategies for the upcoming year?
2020 was a revelation and testament to the resilience of Vertiv and our distributors. Our key takeaway has been that organisations have to be responsive and flexible. Before this year, no one could have predicted how the pandemic would turn the business models of some of the world’s leading enterprises on their heads.

Many crumbled, but in equal measure, many exhibited tremendous levels of innovation, adaptability, and ingenuity, and rose to the occasion. As Vertiv, we have always believed that digital continuity is ultimately business continuity, and in the wake of the pandemic, this is a philosophy we will continue to express and execute.

You recently partnered with Honeywell to improve the sustainability of data center operations in the region. How will you translate the benefits of this partnership with your channel community?
Our drive with this partnership is to create more sustainable and efficient data center performance. We are working together with Honeywell to combine their industry-leading building management systems, operational software, safety and security products with our uninterruptible power supply (UPS), power distribution, thermal management, infrastructure monitoring, and modular solutions to enable operators of hyperscale, large enterprise, co-location, and edge data centres to integrate multiple domains of data within data centres. For our channel community, this simply means that we continue to expand our already-extensive portfolio, which can only be a good thing.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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