When we began to attract more e-gaming customers worldwide, it was inevitable that we would have to adapt as a UK reseller and a specialist IT infrastructure company. But little did we appreciate that going global in five years would be such a new experience.
The challenges we faced demanded some of the most creative and inspired thinking we have ever done.
We found that we needed to think creatively about the financials, particularly concerning credit. We have no trouble in getting the best vendor or third-party finance houses for big gaming names, but when the purchasing entity is incorporated outside the UK – even if it is basically a household name – vendors and distributors can be more picky. This can be particularly true where the global customer may be incorporated in a country with less comprehensive company-reporting rules.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the customer is financially unstable, but less financial and operating information is available on which to base your credit decisions.
Work closely with distribution, starting as early as possible to identify possible scenarios and plan for them. Additionally, the VAT rules on UK companies providing services, hardware and software to subsidiaries of UK companies are all different and fiendishly complex. Make sure your finance team checks with HMRC for the latest advice.
Your finance people should work with your distributors and vendors to develop innovative financial offerings. You may well find you need to initiate the process, as distributors and channel-dependent vendors often give little thought to this kind of thing.
Do the right thing for the customer, and for the vendors. This is vital, and perhaps the hardest thing of all for a small reseller to do is to stand up to a giant vendor. It often seems to demand a split personality, and can certainly threaten loyalties.
So build those relationships but keep your objectives in sight. Make it clear to vendors that your objective is to minimise total cost of ownership for the customer, while maximising IT performance.
Many vendors that claim to be global still might not let you sell hardware or software in some countries. Even if you can, you may find your biggest competitor is the vendor’s local teams. Your customer, also, may be wary of losing local vendor support.
Larger resellers can afford to incorporate in target countries, and sell around the world in a way that smaller players cannot. Be prepared to find creative ways of selling and supporting solutions in some countries when you can, in order to operate globally. Find workarounds through local partnerships, especially if you’re offering superior solutions, service and support.
Stay independent and offer quality support no matter where the customer is based. We could certainly get better deals, better support and better pricing allied to only one vendor. But it is more important to us that our customers see us vendor-independent and able to offer the best service and support for their IT.
This means we often ignore vendor promotions.
Wherever you look, there are e-gaming organisations. They span the globe and need the same level of 24/7 technical expertise and infrastructure wherever they are. That’s why as a niche specialist we have had to creatively transform the way we work.
Neil Truby is managing director of Ardenta
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