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The Margin Q2 2017

The Margin Q2 2017

Desperate times

Loadshedding, xenophobic violence, droughts and water shortages, #feesmustfall and service delivery protests, state-owned entity mismanagement and state capture – there’s no doubt the past decade in South Africa has been dogged by some pretty worrying, far-reaching issues. For many lesser nations these concerns would severely hamper their economic activities, but South Africans have been resilient enough to weather the various storms and more often than not come out the other side. While I don’t believe this opening editorial is the right platform for me to wax political, I do think better leadership from government could have helped us traverse the series of national crises more easily. And it’s that point, unfortunately, that has led us to our current situation. While there have been resolutions in places, the aforementioned national issues have collectively snowballed and, following a cabinet reshuffle resulting in a change of minister and deputy within the National Treasury (among other changes), two of the international credit ratings agencies followed through with their threats, making the country’s credit rating into the sub-investment grade or ‘junk status’.

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In the immediate aftermath, the effects haven’t yet filtered through too dramatically. The rand fluctuated a little, although its decline was less spectacular against the US dollar and British pound than Nenegate in late 2015, early 2016. Anecdotally, I’ve heard of at least one local distributor of sound financial repute suddenly being quizzed by international suppliers about their ability to make payments. I suspect worse is yet to come, and we will start to see price rises across the board for imported items (which is most of the tech we buy) in the coming months and years. This is likely to put businesses and consumers on a cost-cutting offensive.

In this issue of The Margin, we look at the potential impact of junk status on the economy and channel. In our article, ‘How to beat the Game?', we look at ways that smaller retailers can compete against the larger mass-market retail chains that are better able to slash prices on commodity items such as laptops.

In these pages, you'llalso find pieces that talk to the need to stay relevant in the modern world, such as our story on the need for partner programmes to evolve to keep pace with the cloud and the growth of hearables. We also profile Matrix Warehouse and how the company is modernising itself. Our In Focus section is on the growth of open source from beyond the confines of the bedroom hobbyist to becoming something no enterprise architecture can do without. We’ve also reviewed five of the latest gaming laptops, so find out which we rate the best. Our roundtable is focused on cyber security – an ever-relevant topic.

As always, I hope you find the stories in these pages interesting and insightful.

Happy reading

Adrian Hinchcliffe
Editor
adrian@itweb.co.za



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