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Supporting the small guy – SMME in the channel


Johannesburg, 23 Sep 2021
Read time 3min 20sec

SMMEs that can adapt to the platform economy create enormous opportunities for themselves. Digital platforms enable them to scale and save costs.

According to a 2019 paper published by the American Economic Association, digital technologies can lower search costs, replication costs, distribution costs, tracking costs and verification costs. Ditto for productivity and reaching new customers: A 2020 paper sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that "an increase in platform traffic has a stronger positive effect on labour productivity growth for SMMEs".

For SMMEs in the technology channel, the opportunities are particularly enticing. Not only do they operate in a sector that represents the centre of digital technology development, but SMME channel providers can support many customer companies eager to digitise themselves. After all, a business that doesn't digitise won't survive. This is common knowledge. Yet digital transformation is complex, uncertain and often very risky. Companies need digital champions who can walk that journey with them, and few are as agile, focused and determined as SMME technology providers.

All that articulates the opportunities. But what about barriers? SMMEs face numerous problems they must resolve before they can become effective contenders in the new technology paradigm.

They need better access to funds and business development catalysts. They have to reduce their risks, such as cashflow or broader access to skills, while scaling up to meet the needs of larger customers. They must improve their credibility to a market not always keen to risk employing a small provider. And – perhaps most crucial – they need the presence to work with vendors, align with larger service providers, access rebates and better negotiate licence deals.

How can the market remove those barriers and empower SMMEs? At Axiz, we asked this question while pursuing two objectives. First, we want to expand what we offer to the channel, including our growing prominence as a cloud service provider. Second, we want to evolve into a digital-first business that still leverages our heritage and expertise.

This thought process led to establishing the Axiz platform. In this hub, our customers can do everything: Order hardware, mix-and-match cloud services to resell, access credit and business development, find new partners across the platform network, and even enrol new vendors for limited or ongoing periods.

Axiz holds SMME partners in high regard. Few in the channel can offer the level of specialisation, focus and intimate collaboration that SMME providers are capable of. Thus, part of our design is to support the small guy and build a platform experience that amplifies SMMEs in the digital market. This platform is beyond a glorified e-commerce store or a few automated billing processes. The Axiz platform represents a community and an ecosystem that offers our partners what they need at the level and relevance they require.

Platforms and the platform economy present a significant advantage for SMME channel companies. But that is all theoretical and doesn't happen spontaneously. Instead, SMMEs need access to platforms and partners that celebrate the potential that the digital world offers smaller solution providers, reduce the barriers that have left them outside of major deals, and provides the type of credibility, financial backing and de-risking that leave SMMEs with the room to do what they do best.

At Axiz, we built our platform systems to match those needs and help SMMEs realise savings, improve productivity and gain access to more customers, partners and opportunities. Through this effort, our SMME clients can adopt the digital economy and help their customers do the same, thus building stronger businesses, a thriving technology channel and a stronger economy for all.

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