As we see many ICT companies resuming operations under the current lockdown regulations, we continue to embrace the new normal.
We care about our partners and are aware that many will need to pivot their businesses to focus on new challenges to continue trading. This is a time for strong leadership under a constantly changing situation – be assured that we are always ready to listen, and to discuss, in the quest for survival.
Because we are classified as an approved essential services company, Networks Unlimited has been operating throughout the lockdown period. All departments and services have been running from home, together with essential services deliveries dependent on stock availability. The company is now fully operational, including warehousing, collections and deliveries. Non-essential staff, including sales, finance and admin, are still working remotely.
Networks Unlimited has been concentrating on helping our partners with access to products, finance and logistics, and our full product portfolio is available to our reseller partners. We are putting strong focus on licence-based options to minimise logistics and delivery time and speed up sales, as well as on renewals and maintenance. Additionally, licences are delivered via email and delivery, support and billing is instant.
We have been providing online training to address specific sales or go-to-market drives on products. This includes free training across certain technical courses which we usually charge for, and these have been very well attended. Additionally, we’ve held a number of Zoom-based braais, together with our partners and customers, to drive product knowledge and training while having a bit of fun, and these have proved to be immensely popular.
It is inevitable that there will be a serious economic impact on both partner and customer business due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic constraints, and so financial issues are top of mind for everyone. The value /logistics chain, which comprises the end-user customers, our partners, Networks Unlimited and our vendors, progresses as follows: the customer needs to pay the partner, who in turn needs to pay us, and we then pay the vendor. If one defaults the rest of the chain collapses. It is therefore very important to negotiate expected commercial and payment terms at a start of each deal.
We know the importance of being very close to our customers to ensure we understand their priorities and assist them to achieve their goals. Networks Unlimited can negotiate payment terms on a deal-by-deal basis depending on the partner, customer and deal size, but we are also cognisant that everyone is under pressure to cover overheads. Obviously, ROE and forward cover is the best way to protect pricing on deals.
There was initially an impact at the beginning of lockdown with the grounding of flights and the closing of ports. However, with the recent re-opening of the ports, we are once again seeing inflow of stock, and are resuming our logistics service for partners, with only slight delays from overseas.
The outlook in the short term has been very tough: self-preservation is having a big impact on the decisions we are making every day and we need businesses to survive. Spend will move from the industries that we are accustomed to dealing with, over to those that have been prioritised under COVID-19 such as telco, education, health and government sectors. A strong focus on cyber resiliency and cloud can be expected to cater for working from home, as well as moving apps to the cloud for easier access.
On that note, let me hand over to the rest of the business: our Cybersecurity, Networking and Storage, Enterprise Systems Management, and Backup and Recovery areas all have information to share with you!
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