Westcon-Comstor postures to bring value back to Microsoft resellers in Africa

Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa has created a full spectrum of service offerings to compliment the delivery of Microsoft solutions and products to its reseller partners across the continent. With this announcement, Westcon-Comstor resellers will be able to procure their Microsoft solutions digitally, sign up as a Microsoft Cloud Service Provider (CSP), tap into accredited training as well as gain access to a host of online resources.

A long-standing partner of Microsoft, the value-added distributor is now extending the reach of its CSP programme throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, enabling customers on the continent to fast track their business to the cloud. This is in addition to the company’s recent appointment as an accredited Microsoft learning centre for the region.

“Microsoft continues to be a core vendor for our business, but to date our offerings in Africa have been limited,” states Tidiane Lo, Director of Westcon at Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa. “We are pleased to announce that this is no longer the case. Our resellers will now have access to the full Microsoft stack, from CSP, to Azure and everything in between.

“Furthermore with the imminent launch of our digital procurement solution BlueSky in the region, our customers in Africa can now procure all of this digitally.”

Lo spoke to Biztechafrica about the programme:

What is the CSP programme?

The Cloud Solution Provider programme goes beyond reselling licenses to being more involved in a customers’ business, as it brings with it the opportunity to engage more deeply with customers on a monthly basis. The programme enables an increase in profitability by opening new revenue streams through offering Microsoft online services. Billing and support is outsourced to q preferred indirect provider, in this case Westcon-Comstor, making it a great value-add for customers.

What are the differentiating benefits?

Westcon-Comstor has one of the largest Cloud Service Provider (CSP) footprints on the African continent, and it’s also a Microsoft CSP distributor of choice. We help customers who have a view to accelerate their cloud business with provisioning tools to manage their order with the simple click of a button. Innovation is core to our go-to-market strategy, which means we spend time in investing in our own skills and solution sets.

The CSP provider programme lets the reseller own the end-to-end customer relationship. When hosted on BlueSky our Westcon-Comstor owned procurement platform, resellers can further take advantage of flexibility to pro-actively manage customer subscriptions. The CSP programme offers monthly billing or upfront annual billing, so it’s easy to switch on or switch off CSP licenses, whenever convenient. Partners with a Silver competency will also benefit from Microsoft rebate structures within the programme which are designed to help to grow their business.

We have experts on hand internally who are completely familiar with the full Microsoft solution stack and our Azure, CSP, licensing, cloud and product specialists, can help map a client's business needs with the right technologies available today. The Westcon-Comstor managed services opportunities and our services offerings, also help contribute to boosting partner growth as the cloud market continues to soar.

As a value-added distributor with a focus on service, we have a host of professional services, vendor attached service offerings, and an online learning programme called Velocity that provides our partners with access to the right mix of industry-trusted cloud and sales training, accelerated vendor solution training and targeted Westcon-Comstor programmes and systems training.

Who can join/become a partner?

The programme is perfect for resellers of technology solutions. It really is as easy as joining the Microsoft Partner Network by completing a partner profile, paying the annual membership fee and getting an MPN ID. This is a wonderful way to accelerate cloud skills and cloud competencies through the Microsoft learning portal. All partners need to do is enrol in the CSP program, select Westcon-Comstor as their preferred indirect provider and join the cloud journey.

What are the criteria for partnerships?

All that is needed to partner with Microsoft is an approved Microsoft Partner Network ID. Partnering with Westcon-Comstor is even simpler by opening up an account and on-boarding onto BlueSky.  

Why has the company's portfolio in Africa been limited to date?

Microsoft's other licensing programs like Open Licenses and Open Value Licenses are controlled with distinct territory contracts which has inhibited the expansion in some regions. However, Westcon-Comstor now has a global CSP agreement with Microsoft which has opened new market opportunities to grow our cloud reach.

Africa has become the hub of emerging IT with government and non-government organisations alike adopting cloud-based technology. Internet speed and connection is also improving, particularly in countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Madagascar being in the top ten for internet speed on the continent.

The Global CSP agreement with Microsoft has enabled Westcon-Comstor to reach the entire Sub-Saharan Africa continent. Our footprint extends to four regions: English West Africa, French West Africa, East Africa, Indian Ocean Islands, that makes 40 countries that are being serviced by our business.

Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Mauritius, Senegal and Ivory coast are the key countries that we are currently focused on, and where we can provide BlueSky local enablement sessions to resellers.

What is the projected cloud demand in Ghana/Kenya/elsewhere in Africa?

Microsoft's first Africa datacentre is set to launch in 2018 in South Africa, which will undoubtedly transform the entire landscape for African Cloud adoption.

Which sectors/business sizes are adopting cloud? Why?

Westcon-Comstor works closely with those small-medium enterprises who prefer working with an indirect provider to provide them with provisioning tools, namely BlueSky and Level 1 and Level 2 technical support to grow their cloud business. This in turn saves costs because there is no need to invest in hardware infrastructure.

What does this mean for traditional channel players?

Cloud is the future. Anyone who is not prepared to adopt cloud technology may be left behind as things change and move forward – which they are doing at a rapid rate.


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