Business intelligence firm Apex BI eyes channel boost
South African-based business intelligence (BI) solutions provider Apex BI is looking to double its number of channel partners in the next 12 months.
So says Neil Buckley, MD and founder of Apex BI, in an e-mail interview with ITWeb.
Apex BI is a wholly South African-owned and -founded entrepreneurial business that develops its own software.
Founded in 2007, the company operates in the below-the-radar technology expense management (TEM) market.
TEM is a service that allows enterprise organisations to get a better handle on their assets and services. Its purpose is to provide greater visibility into technology inventory and reduce areas of inefficiency to generate cost savings.
Buckley notes that worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.8 trillion in 2021, an increase of 4% from 2020, according to the latest forecast by Gartner.
He says Gartner defines BI services as offerings to design, develop and deploy enterprise processes and to integrate, support and manage the related technology applications as well as platforms.
“Apex BI falls into that definition but we are a specialist TEM wholly-owned South African enterprise. We provide powerful TEM solutions to all sectors of the market, including SMEs, medium to large enterprises, telecom carriers and service providers,” he says.
“We are also the only African-based member company of the Enterprise Technology Management Association.”
On how the company is looking to grow its business, Buckley says Apex BI software is currently used to manage 1.5 million mobile devices and 40 000 desk phones. The firm reports on over 80 leading ICT providers for 500-plus customers.
“In 2020, we reported on R744 million worth of ICT expenditure for our customers. The business is now poised to share its success in the form of a ‘Business-in-a-Box’ with new channel partners.”
He notes the potential market for the firm’s suite of Clarity products is massive, which is why Apex BI has decided to shift to an exclusively channel-based model.
“Our strategy is to grow and double our number of channel partners in the next 12 months. We believe this will give us a far more extensive reach into both local and international markets.”
He adds that Apex BI has designed a channel strategy that accommodates various types of resellers – exclusive, non-exclusive and co-branded. There is also potential for white-labelled services for the likes of fixed-line or mobile network operators.
“Obviously, the kind of support varies according to type of reseller, but the important point is that the partnership includes all the back-office and sales tools needed to succeed. Clarity is already a world-class IT and telecoms data expense management platform, and is continually being improved via ongoing research and development by an in-house team of developers.”
He explains that by using the company’s experience in creating successful partners and resellers, its footprint grows organically.
“We believe our people and our partners are our greatest assets. We are seeking experienced business owners or industry-related entrepreneurs, either servicing an existing customer base or providing customers in the medium/large enterprise space with IT or telecoms (preferably mobile) services, to join our partner programme.”
Buckley says the pandemic brought new challenges for all businesses. “With fibre connectivity not yet deployed fully throughout South Africa, various forms of mobile connectivity remain a crucial means of voice and data connectivity for remote workers. We saw our role as providing essential support to our customers during a legitimate crisis. To do this, Apex BI also had to become remote.”
For example, he adds, between April and June 2020, the company onboarded 15 000 SIMs. “In one instance, we onboarded 5 000 SIMs in a single day – something that typically has a seven- to 14-day turnaround with all the standard checks and balances, plus verifications having to be performed at speed and at bulk. As many customers implemented a work-from-home strategy, all these requests were vital to them.”