Digital businesses require more than just innovative technology and services to be competitive. They need a workforce capable of extracting value out of the data, systems, and processes at their disposal.

This also extends to the partner ecosystem where an over-reliance on technology can negatively impact the investment employees make in employee training.

“While machine-learning and automation provide great opportunities for enhancing business processes, organisations still need to invest in skills development. In South Africa, the government has placed a huge emphasis on harnessing the talent required to equip the country for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This is critical in the channel as partners, resellers, and distributors are working together in a close-knit ecosystem reliant on expertise and collaboration,” says Kate Mollett, regional manager for Africa at Veeam.

Underpinning this need to develop human talent is the ability to leverage access to data for greater business insights to identify areas for growth. Part of these insights include the opportunity to use existing partner and customer relationships to be repositioned as a trusted advisor instead of being seen purely as a technology supplier.

“To do this effectively requires a willingness for partners to work closer with their vendors and build their knowledge around products and services. For their part, vendors must understand how their partners’ businesses are changing and work with them to help differentiate themselves, not just sell products. And the key ingredient for this is having a skilled workforce capable of unlocking this potential,” says Mollett.

According to the 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report, it is essential for organisations to get the right digital foundation in place to manage their data better and safeguard their future. This means businesses must be united internally, with IT and the organisation working collaboratively to address cultural and skills challenges.

Those that have successfully embraced these more sophisticated data management strategies cite the cloud, their own capabilities, company culture, and confidence as the four core attributes needed. Furthermore, Veeam’s recent report found that 97% of respondents believe leadership styles must evolve to do this effectively, with more than a quarter (28%) indicating that a complete overhaul is required.


Training development

Veeam has had a 100% channel model since the company was founded in 2006. Veeam has partnered with Torque IT to help its partners drive skills development for its solutions, including how to optimise installations and how to use data in more innovative ways for customer enhancement.

“The Veeam Certified Engineer (VMCE) programme revolves around giving partners and customers access to world-class training as a means to empower them with the skills needed across technical levels to meet the dynamic needs of companies in Africa,” says Mollett.

Working closely with the South African Veeam team, Torque IT has single-handedly increased its local VMCE business by 50% and has almost two students per class more than the average across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Already, work is being done to introduce this training into new markets such as Nigeria and Kenya to further develop technical skills on the continent.

As a result, Torque IT has received the 2018 Veeam Authorised Education Centre of the Year Award for EMEA. This prestigious award highlights their commitment to Veeam and for driving technical instructor-led training successfully into the Veeam partner and customer communities across Africa.

“We are expanding our team locally to support the growth of the channel in Africa. We will continue to work with Torque IT and our other partners to strengthen the VMCE segment in the emerging markets across the continent and by equipping our partners with the technical capabilities they need to deliver our solutions,” Mollett says.

Mollett believes a great enabler for providing the technical know-how to channel partners is the growth of the cloud across the continent. This growth, she believes, is raising awareness of the impact more skilled people can have on the technology opportunities that the cloud can help facilitate.

“Thanks to the likes of Microsoft Azure and Huawei Cloud already active in South Africa, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) scheduled to launch next year, the ability of local providers to tap into the capabilities provided by these companies will be integral to taking data analysis to the next level. Companies can ill afford to remain stuck looking at things such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or even Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Now is the time to empower employees with new skills that can drive more value from data and deliver digital transformation for their business,” she says.


Time for change

Data, and its importance for business success, is here to stay. Companies across the value chain need to ensure they use their data more effectively than in the past to differentiate themselves and for competitive advantage. Fundamentally, businesses need to deliver capabilities that unlock the hidden value of the data at their disposal to remain competitive.

The 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report identifies two significant components to ensure this alignment – Capabilities and Culture.

For the former, organisations must enhance their capabilities to ensure employees can draw on data insights and use new technologies as they are deployed. To this end, 9 out of 10 businesses view advancing employees’ digital skills as vital to their digital transformation success. And when it comes to culture, more than two-thirds of respondents believe the company must be more open and accepting towards digital technologies.

“The channel has a wonderful opportunity to integrate technology, data, and training to enable the people in the organisations and those learners still studying to have the skills required to be competitive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” she concludes.