Just because software solutions from Micro Focus and SUSE are targeted at government and enterprise-level users doesn’t mean that small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) resellers can’t benefit by being an integral part of the supply chain.

Government is committed to promoting and growing SMMEs, so those companies able to position themselves and their solutions are well positioned for success.

Currently, total ICT spend in South Africa is about R12-billion – and a whopping 60% of that is spent by government.

With government committed to enabling SMMEs, this is a massive opportunity. However, SUSE country manager Matthew Lee points out that SMMEs only contribute 37% of South Africa’s GDP.

This compares to a global mean of 67%.

“So it’s not a good story now, but there is a great opportunity,” he says. “With the initiatives that government and private sector have in place, the sky really is the limit for SMMEs.”


Government opportunity

Now, Micro Focus has gone one step further and negotiated the SITA Framework Agreement for the provision of its products.

In terms of this contract, all Micro Focus and SUSE products will be supplied to government departments at a 50% discount on the South African list prices, guaranteed for a period of three years.

Standard 24/7 support is included in these purchases, says Pumzile Zibani, account manager: public sector security portfolio for Micro Focus.

To ensure prices don’t change while procurement is in process, the rand-dollar exchange rate will be set each quarter in advance.

An important point about this agreement is that no further tender process is required for government departments to purchase Micro Focus products .

This is a huge benefit for SMME partners since they won’t have to get involved in complicated tender processes, and can thus focus on the business at hand.

The contract covers all the products in the Micro Focus stable, with organs of state able to transact through SITA. Government customers include all organs of state in South Africa as defined by the constitution. Perpetual licences can be transferred among departments, as long as Micro Focus is notified.

Although these sales will be facilitated by Axiz, as the fulfilment agent. Resellers won’t make a margin on the software sales, they can qualify for rebates that range from 5% to 30%.

Partners are also able to offer value-added services, and can even resell services from Micro Focus and Axiz.

In fact, services are the big opportunity for partners, as it enables them to become more strategic to the customer.


SMME programme

Micro Focus and Axiz are setting up an SMME programme to ensure as many emerging partners as possible are able to benefit from the SITA Framework Agreement.

Magda Hanekom, Micro Focus business unit manager at Axiz, explains that the programme, an addendum to the SITA Framework Agreement, is facilitated by Axiz.

In order to qualify, resellers must be a Micro Focus or SUSE partner. They most also partner with Axiz. SMME partners must be B-BBEE Level one companies that have the potential to grow.

SMME partners are not limited to government sales. Those choosing to work with the private sector will also benefit from the value contained in the SMME programme.

As part of the programme, Axiz will ensure partners are up to speed on software skills.

This includes business training in the form of certified business professional qualifications, soft skills for the sales team, operational training and Microsoft Office training.

Thereafter certified sales certifications can be obtained through either online or classroom training.

Technical training for SUSE can be done online or through classroom training at CTU. Micro Focus training is conducted either via on-demand classroom training or virtual/classroom courses.

Marketing support is provided to SMME partners. They can use both the Micro Focus and Axiz facilities for client meetings or presentations. Marketing teams are on hand to help with these.

Marketing development funds are available, as well as social media support and a product showcase.

Axiz also runs a graduate programme aimed at unemployed youth holding an IT diploma. The programme is hosted by partners and vendors aimed at increasing the candidates’ technical enablement and certifications.

Young people with the required skills can be hosted by partners in the SMME programme at no cost to themselves.

With the formation of the Axiz SMME community, partners get access to additional skills and experiences.

They are also able to learn from larger partners and leverage their ecosystems.


Why Axiz

Axiz is a value-added distributor, which means it offers a lot more than just stock-holding, according to executive director Jim Holland.

“The nature of business is changing and we have to be able to adapt quickly.

“Today distribution is about the enabling the channel, assisting the business, training, technical facilities and empowerment.”

This has led directly to the establishment of the SMME development programme, which is geared towards helping emerging partners gain traction in the market.

Close partnerships with vendors like Micro Focus are key to making this happen.

“We have a clear focus on this programme,” Holland says. “It is something that we hold very dear, and that we need to embrace as a channel and an IT industry.”


Why Micro Focus and SUSE

Micro Focus has been in business for more than 40 years. It recently acquired the HP Software business, adding to its broad software portfolio and making it the world’s biggest software company.

Micro Focus solutions span the whole software lifecycle, from development to operations and cloud, including security and information governance.

SUSE, a leading supplier of Linux and open source solutions, is part of the Micro Focus stable, although it operates as a separate entity.

Micro Focus and HPE Software are currently merging their partner programmes, but partners currently need to sign up on both in order to offer the full range of solutions.

SMME partners are urged to sign up for both programmes.

Partners can become certified in any of the broad solution areas. These are application modernisation and connectivity; application delivering management; IT operations management; security; information management and governance; and big data and analytics.

The operating system is the foundation of any application, and SUSE offers an open source solution that is designed for enterprise-level business.

SUSE’s Lee points out that open source is usually relevant and offers a high degree of value. Today it has moved past the operating system and now offers a full range of solutions that cover the full software stack.

SUSE goes one step further, and packages open source developments in an enterprise-ready environment.

“SUSE provides enterprise open source solutions that you can bet your business on,” Lee explains. “Our products are very stable and very secure. And we go to market with our partner channel.”

For details on the SMME Programme, contact Magda Hanekom on (011) 237-7000