Exclusive Networks Africa facilitates growth opportunities despite challenges.


There is no doubt that the international economy is experiencing challenges currently, and South Africa is additionally able to add in its own unique factors on top of the existing world-wide upheaval that includes supply chain disruptions and recession concerns around the globe. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), there is still much uncertainty in the short- to medium-term outlook as the global economy adjusts to the shocks of 2020–22 and the recent financial sector turmoil, and recession concerns have gained prominence[1].

Nonetheless, in a ‘good news versus bad news’ scenario, we can still anticipate and maximise pockets of excellence in the local cybersecurity channel, which the expertise and experience of Exclusive Networks Africa is able to facilitate.

The good news

We are predicting a local growth of the cybersecurity channel of around 30 percent this year. While the Covid-19 pandemic brought unprecedented global challenges within the modern era, it spurred on digital transformation around the world. As reported by international management consultants McKinsey and Company in an October 2020 survey, enterprises globally accelerated their digital transformation plans as a result of the pandemic by several years, in ‘a  tipping point of historical proportions’.

The IT industry world-wide was able to facilitate the move into new channels of communications and operations, and was therefore able to survive during this period better than many. Thus, the anticipated 30 percent growth is not necessarily coming off a low base.

Now for the challenges.

The brain drain continues

Data today is generally regarded as being an organisation’s most valuable commodity, but without the right cybersecurity skills sets, companies are at a disadvantage and remain vulnerable. However, the local IT industry is already facing a skills shortage and we anticipate losing further skills this year, both to emigration as well as ‘semigration’.

The remote working facilitated by the pandemic has helped to entrench the scenario whereby one does not have to leave the country to earn revenue with international firms. The IT industry is thus losing skills and talents to actual emigration. as well as in-country remote working possibilities, where payment is in international currencies rather than rands.

And so, while we still have the required skills within the country, they are being used globally, and it is hard for local companies to compete with this. Additionally, strong skills investment on the vendor side is also attracting top talent, leaving a smaller pool for the local channel players.

Overall, we thus foresee that the skills shortage will worsen, and those that are available will need to be sourced at a premium rate, which is placing significant strain on the channel. Against these challenges, as a valued-added reseller, we are able to support our channel partners in a number of different ways.

Challenges bring opportunities

Skills enablement and training is a critical factor moving forward within the channel. At Exclusive Networks Africa, we  are dedicated to ensuring that we are able to assist our distribution partners, backed with the required skills, and are proud to host a number of training initiatives.

This includes certified training on Fortinet and F5 solutions, both in person as well as through virtual instructors. Additionally, we offer non-certified training on a number of other cybersecurity products within our portfolio. Our in-office mentorship adds real and valued experience to the trainee’s certification. 

Additionally, we regard our intern programme as a critical element of skills development within the company, and have been involved in passing on practical experience to young people for a number of years. This year, we currently have some seven interns being trained on the job, proudly living up to our reputation of being a breeding ground for talent.

From a CSI perspective, we are passionate about supporting education in South Africa to uplift members of the country’s poorest communities. We have therefore been supporting The Love Trust and Literacy for Life – non-profit organisations involved in early childhood development (ECD) education – for a number of years now.  

Global resources, local expertise

Exclusive Networks is a global trusted cybersecurity specialist for digital infrastructure, with a distinctive approach to distribution that gives our partners more opportunity and more customer relevance. Exclusive Networks Africa is aligned with our parent organisation’s unique ‘local sale, global scale’ model. Our global reach and in-depth knowledge facilitates a lower cost to purchase, painless migrations and seamless project coordination.

Exclusive Networks Africa offers multiple consumption choices, with an omni-channel presence that includes options to buy – the traditional procurement method – as well as finance and leasing services, managed services, Infrastructure-as-a Service and finally customer experience on demand. Additionally, we are transforming channel consumption by offering ‘everything as a service’, harnessing innovation and disruption to deliver partner value.

As we approach mid-year, it is true that we are staring at continued challenges. Against this backdrop, Exclusive Networks Africa’s holistic vision is to deliver a value-based suite of services for our partners. We have significant global resources at our disposal, backed by local expertise and experience.

Stefan van de Giessen, Country Manager: SA and SADC at Exclusive Networks Africa