Mitsumi takes on a new challenge in establishing a new VAD division. Jagat Shah, Chairman & CEO, explains
Please discuss the timing of launching the VAD division this year
Mitsumi, as you know, is today among the fastest growing technology companies in Africa and our Distribution landscape covers 17 Countries directly with operations across Africa that makes us a true “Pan-Africa Distributor”. While our model for the past seven years has been to focus mainly on the volume business we are also aware of the growing need for a true IT-infra distributor for Africa. Given our coverage and proven logistic expertise it was quite logical for us to step into the enterprise space and with key alignments with our esteemed vendors we launched the Value division at the beginning of current year.
Which countries are you offering these solutions in?
Our current focus is on East & West Africa with aspirations to grow the Value division in North & Central Africa in FY14
You’ve been able to sign some very prominent names in IT solutions like HP, Dell SonicWALL among others. What does this say about the Mitsumi name and brand?
We have been quite successful in forming great relationships with most of the key vendors. In addition to the above, we have also signed on IBM, Riverbed and Polycom lately. This demonstrates our ability to “invest” in technology-rich areas and the faith reposted in us by some of the global leaders speaks for itself. Mitsumi Value division is on the cusp of creating a great story for itself in Africa.
As a new division, please discuss your channel partnership related to this division
At Mitsumi, we take pride in our reach and understanding of the African landscape; our ability to invoice and deliver locally has enchanted us to the African IT channel community. To add to the current channel we have made a natural shift adding VAR’s to our partner community. We invest in our local partnerships some of which go back more than a decade. We provide our vendors with dedicated resources in-country and also have dedicated Pre-Sales engineers who work closely with the VAR’s in delivering trainings, PoCs and even certification on-boarding programs. This we believe is Mitsumi’s key differentiator today.
How much of an investment have you put into the new division and how much do you see the VAD vertical adding to Mitsumi’s bottom line in the medium to long term?
Our biggest investment is in our people, the environment we provide them to excel and incentives for their personal growth. It’s natural that the vendors we sign for each technology vertical also require expertise on their proven Architectures. We also help our partners deliver the “last-mile” support in certain cases, obviously when we build services as value contributor, the overall impact on our GTM is significant as on our bottom-line.
Which segments are you targeting with the value solutions?
We are currently focused on Mobility, Security, Unified Communication & Collaboration and Virtualization.
How big and sophisticated is your primary African market for VAD solutions?
The African continent represents its own complexities since we are not dealing with one but 52 countries with vast differences in language and culture besides each country being regulated by different import & duty laws. Our biggest strength has been our understanding of this very challenge, The African market today has a growing financial sector, enterprise and public sector in addition to an ever-robust SP space. Africa today can boast of VARs which have identified themselves as experts on such verticals and therefore our GTM differs for each Industry vertical.