Tarsus Distribution held its inaugural Better for Business event in March. Titled “How the professionals get IT done”, Anton Herbst, CEO of Tarsus On Demand and Tarsus Technology Group, and Kobus de Beer, Head of Channel, Sales, Distribution and Business Development at Intel Corporation, discussed the future of IT and business in general, and how best to navigate the next 18 months in a crazy world. The event was chaired by Gavin Moffat, co-founder of reputation management and strategic marketing consultancy join.the.dots.

Asked what kept him awake at night, De Beer said he was concerned about macro challenges and the goings on in the local and international economies. “Just as we thought we were starting to recover, there are new challenges that are beyond our control. From a business perspective, I’m constantly thinking about how we manage these challenges and help our customers through this period.”

“What if we have learnt nothing from the past two years?” Herbst said that was the question playing on his mind. “We have seen that no two people are the same, and that applies equally to employees and customers. We have an opportunity to become far more customised, which is also a challenge. My second concern is how we remain relevant, personally and professionally, in such rapidly changing times.”

Not since the industrial revolution, beginning in the 1760s, has humanity undergone such a massive shift, Herbst added. “We have the opportunity to play into those changes, and to make a difference every day. Where the industrial revolution dehumanised us, people will play a bigger role in our future. However, critical thinking skills are in short supply and need to be developed.”

Intel, which helped define and build the modern world of computing, has moved to the forefront of innovation once again, after losing market share in recent years. “Our objective is to improve humanity through technology,” De Beer said. “At present we need to focus on strengthening global supply chains and making customers’ lives better. Events like this are key to finding connections with customers and sharing ideas and challenges.”

Discussing the challenges that resellers have faced over the past two years, De Beer said he had been surprised at how ill-equipped many resellers were at enabling digital transformation and engaging effectively with their ecosystems. He also noted that supply chain fragility had had a massive impact on resellers globally as they had been unable to meet the massive demand for PCs.

“This was the first time in IT history that there was a shortage of supply,” Herbst said. “Most retailers buy themselves rich, not sell themselves rich. The lesson is that we must never oversupply the market again. Also, it’s worth noting that 500 million PCs were shipped in 2021, along with 1,4 billion phones, so what shortage are we actually talking about?”

Noting that value is being reinvented, Herbst said there was a transition taking place – from supply chain to ecosystem. Contrary to companies doing everything themselves, there’s an evolution happening in the channel. Those with different skills sets are partnering to provide value for customers at the centre of the ecosystem. He also urged resellers to stop focusing on stock and start creating demand.

De Beer agreed, encouraging the audience to listen to what customers were saying, to investigate their needs and business challenges, and to design solutions with these considerations top of mind. “Partners have to build closer relationships with one another to understand their mutual capabilities,” he said.

A “future proofed” business, they agreed, was one agile enough to adapt quickly to market shifts. This was key because the balance of power in the world is changing, and scenario planning should be part of every business owner’s vocabulary.

“To create the ideal business model, define what you are passionate about, what you are good at, and what matters,” Herbst concluded.