Telkom unit BCX readies channel for Alibaba Cloud

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 26 Sept 2022
Jonas Bogoshi, CEO of BCX.
Jonas Bogoshi, CEO of BCX.

Telkom subsidiary BCX is set to appoint two channel partners to resell Alibaba Cloud services in South Africa and the rest of the African continent.

So said Jonas Bogoshi, CEO of BCX, last week in an interview with ITWeb after the company signed an exclusive deal with Alibaba Cloud to bring the Chinese company’s services to the South African market.

Describing the company’s go-to-market strategy, Bogoshi said BCX will sell Alibaba Cloud directly or indirectly to the market.

“Effectively, we will be Alibaba in South Africa. Therefore, we’ve got two types of go-to-market strategies,” he said.

“The first one is using our own internal teams to sell directly to our end-users. Number two, we will have to adopt or appoint other partners to go and sell to the base. As an example, there are some independent system integrators who will be buying from us and selling to their customers.

“The typical hardware distributors now sell cloud. So if you look at the top two distributors in the country, they sell cloud via their resellers. So we have already spoken to two of them. We haven’t appointed them yet but we’ve already spoken to them and they will be our channel partners, both in South Africa and the rest of the continent, because some of them have got resellers across the continent, so we’ll be covering the entire market through that.”

According to Bogoshi, BCX will primarily target the financial services, healthcare and retail sectors with Alibaba Cloud.

“We will be taking to market all the vertical solutions that Alibaba has created over a period. Today there are over 200 vertical solutions in financial services, retail, healthcare and the public sector. So we have identified some of the key applications.

“We have tested them with some of our large enterprises and they can see value in those applications. We’ll be taking that to market. So broadly speaking, that's our go-to-market on this partnership.”

While Alibaba Cloud’s hyperscale rivals such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure have established data centres in SA, local companies will be consuming Alibaba Cloud Services off its data centres in Germany, Bogoshi revealed.

In May, Alibaba announced the launch of its third data centre in Germany to support the growing digital transformation demands from organisations.

With the introduction of the new data centre, Alibaba Cloud now has a network of 84 availability zones in 27 regions across the globe.

Also speaking during the interview, Julian Liebenberg, BCX chief of cloud platform solutions, said to scale Alibaba Cloud, the company will start training its workforce and start recruiting.

“It will take a bit of a workforce to scale this up. We are also in a process where we’ll soon start some recruitment and rescaling because we have people in this line of business,” said Liebenberg.

“So we’ve accelerated on that very quickly. We are looking at this as the Alibaba Cloud Centre of Excellence within BCX.”

Despite being a late entrant into the South African market, Bogoshi believes Alibaba Cloud still has a fighting chance against the likes of AWS and Azure.

“Worldwide, you can see that all of these hyperscalers do co-exist because customers are looking for choice. So that’s what we see out there. That’s the first thing. But secondly, I think you are aware that Google is also looking at coming in to the country.

“So I think there will be a big demand in the coming few years and that’s why all of us are expecting to see growth from cloud services. So yes, there is an advantage for somebody being the first one, but that doesn't mean there is no demand to be fulfilled by subsequent entrants.”