Tarsus boosted by RIM partnership

Tarsus, traditionally a PC and hardware distributor, says its quest to increase margins through a distribution rights agreement with RIM earlier this year is already yielding positive feedback.

The group said that, when it announced that it had secured the distribution rights for RIM’s BlackBerry range of mobile infrastructure solutions, it raised a number of eyebrows in the South African technology space.

The Tarsus brand has been synonymous with products and solutions from the world of hardware. But, according to the company’s CEO, Pierre Spies, its partnership with RIM is unlikely to be the last.

“The addition of BlackBerry to our product mix represented another step in a strategy we put in place 18 months ago to provide our resellers with a broader range of the raw building blocks required to meet the changing infrastructural needs (both software and hardware-centric) of South African small businesses, corporates and enterprises,” Spies said.

“It’s a strategy that was implemented to respond to the growing competitiveness of the hardware market and the fact that margins in this space had become more pressurised” he said.

“We know that expecting our resellers to continue basing their livelihoods on the sale of hardware alone had become an unsustainable pursuit.”

“In order to remain successful, and in doing so, ensure our resellers are successful, we need to continue providing a set of complementary solutions around our hardware portfolio, which in turn allow our resellers to increase their relevance in the market,” he added.

Greg Pothitos, general manager of the BlackBerry suite of solutions at Tarsus, said resellers have already begun responding to this move extremely positively.

“It’s a great opportunity for both Tarsus and its resellers because BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) and BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS) were previously only available via the mobile telecommunications providers in the country,” he said.

“With these solutions, coupled with the Microsoft initiative announced recently, that Microsoft and RIM have signed a patent licensing agreement that gives RIM broad access to the latest Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) for certain BlackBerry devices of RIM, our resellers can begin extending the important ground work that’s laid by our hardware, networking and Microsoft software portfolios,” the GM said.

“BES allows them to take great care of their customers’ mobile, business-grade, e-mail, calendaring and contacts (among other) needs; while MVS brings the ability to provide desk-phone type functionality to all of the BlackBerry smartphone users in their customers’ businesses,” Pothitos said.

“It allows Tarsus’ resellers to play a more central role in their customers’ strategic IT requirements and become more deeply embedded as a provider of valuable services to the business. And in our book, that hints at success.”

“We’ve already seen valuable successes in this space and are convinced this new avenue will serve us well in the coming years. Watch this space,” Pothitos said.

Tarsus’ head office is situated in Johannesburg, with branches in Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Nelspruit. Tarsus has also extended its footprint into Africa with branches in Namibia, Botswana and Mauritius.

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Tarsus boosted by RIM partnership