Economists recently gave a mixed review of the current state of the South African economy and its short-term growth potential. Businesses are acutely aware of the need to scale back, of a higher unemployment rate and competitive but economically strained market. ICT leaders believe whole-heartedly and more passionately that technology can empower businesses.
Lance Fanaroff, joint CEO of national ICT managed services provider Integr8, explains economic realities have forced businesses to reduce expenditure, transform Opex to Capex, effectively manage TCO and guarantee a return on investment in projects, technology and resources.
“I think that the economy is in for a very challenging time. The weakening of the Rand, the growing unemployment, the political instability, the business confidence, and loss of skilled professionals to immigration and the decreasing number of entrepreneurs all have a negative compound effect on the economy,” Fanaroff says.
Integr8 has proven its capability by diversifying its product portfolio to provide creative financial solutions to help cost-conscious companies sustain their services and operations.
Using its years of market experience, technical expertise and product know-how, Integr8 offers clients the opportunity to pay for products and services on a monthly basis – as apposed to laying out large amounts of capital.
“This allows companies to have greater efficiency and control over their cash-flows, as well as be more tax efficient,” adds Fanaroff. “While at the same time, ensuring that companies are always up to date with the latest technology platforms, with a reducing support cost”.
The offering complements significant value in the day-to-day business operations, but specifically for clients that are holding back on potential opportunities because of economic uncertainty.
On the back of this increasingly popular offering, Fanaroff and his fellow executives at Integr8 believe that companies can grow stronger in this environment and there are many opportunities that can be taken advantage of in this time of adversity.
“These are challenging times, however with challenging times come a fortune of opportunities. I believe that companies can find opportunities, and take advantage of the current environment… we believe that this is actually an exciting time. It is during these sort of times when innovative, open-minded, and positive businesses can catapult themselves forward, and grow exponentially – both vertically, and horizontally,” Fanaroff continues.
As more businesses become aware of these opportunities and act with agility, there is more room for partnerships, mergers and acquisitions. Fanaroff points out that this increasing level of consolidation will define the continent’s ICT environment for the foreseeable future.
“I think this trend will continue for a few years still, and I think it will become even more prominent. Companies will need to do this from a speed perspective, from an agility perspective, from an innovative perspective, and from a synergistic view. The market will definitely continue to consolidate as companies will prefer to work closer with other specialist companies, as opposed to grow those specialities and competencies organically,” Fanaroff concludes.