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Tough times call for smarter business technology choices

Johannesburg, 06 Jun 2023
Kwirirai Rukowo, General Manager, Qrent.
Kwirirai Rukowo, General Manager, Qrent.

Rising interest rates and inflation, a weakening currency and the soaring costs of staying in business through load-shedding are prompting savvy technology leaders to reassess ways to cut costs without impacting productivity. With uncertainty on the horizon, CIOs and IT leaders will have to relook at tech investments to get the most out of their IT budget.

Load-shedding is costing South Africa around R900 million a day, according to the Reserve Bank, with businesses either losing work hours when the power is off or incurring significantly higher costs to run generators. This comes on top of rising costs of doing business overall.

A recent SoftwareOne survey: “CIO Pulse: 2023 budgets & priorities” found that 83% of CIOs polled are under pressure to stretch their budgets further. PwC’s 26th Annual Global CEO Survey also finds that CEOs are looking to cut costs and grow revenue.

Sage's latest annual survey of almost 12 000 SME leaders globally, Small Business, Big Opportunity, found that high costs are a significant barrier for South African SMEs, with 77% saying inflation was a drag on their business outlook. The survey also found that local SMEs see technology as a crucial component in their future success.

“Businesses of all sizes, all around the world, are having a tough time and South Africans may be under more strain than most,” says Kwirirai Rukowo, General Manager of Qrent, one of South Africa's largest providers of refurbished IT hardware. “They hope to cut costs without impacting head counts or productivity, and to do so in this climate, they need to start making smarter choices. One area they can look at is the procurement of technology hardware.

Buying refurbished tech is often overlooked, but refurbished IT equipment can offer immediate savings for those looking to cut down on costs. Refurbished IT equipment can cost 30% to 50% lower than new laptops and desktops, but without sacrificing on performance and reliability,” says Rukowo.

He explains that expertly refurbished laptops, desktops, printers, projectors, servers and tablets look and perform as well as new devices, and can be customised to even support power users. “We can customise machines to meet the needs of various roles – from high-spec devices for developers, through to simple devices for basic use. This is why even blue-chip enterprises across the country are choosing to use refurbished devices over new ones. We currently have over 50 000 refurbished IT assets in use by various clients in South Africa, which is a true testament to the reliability of refurbished tech,” he says.

“Using refurbished IT equipment also helps organisations enter the circular economy – a growing priority for businesses everywhere. We are currently consuming more and irresponsibly discarding electronics at a rate that is harmful to the planet. Extending the lifespan of electronic devices supports environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, presenting an overall strong value proposition,” Rukowo says.