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AC3: ‘Now is the time for true entrepreneurs to succeed’

AC3: ‘Now is the time for true entrepreneurs to succeed’

COVID-19 has spurred a lot of “innovation out of necessity”, but not all partners will survive, says Simon Xistouris

Simon Xistouris (AC3)

Simon Xistouris (AC3)

Credit: AC3

The world is now more than six months into the coronavirus pandemic and only now are the repercussions really starting to hit Australia.

With Treasurer Josh Frydenberg recently confirming Australia’s status as being in a recession, scores of enterprises are now reckoning with half a year of shrinking revenue and spiralling cash flow.

For many within Australia’s IT channel, the challenge is now a matter of survival, believes AC3’s CEO Simon Xistouris. 

Concerning what makes a successful technology partner of a pandemic, he told ARN:  “There is a lot of uncertainty and for those businesses that are not built to be able to withstand the current pressures, sadly, there will be no recoil.

“Before getting ahead of ourselves, I think to be a successful technology provider post the pandemic, you need to have survived it in the first place.”

He added: “I believe this will be trying to predict and plan for what’s next. Especially for those that have been significantly affected either positively or negatively.

“For those that do survive, there will be an increased focus on risk and value. The risk of doing business and the value we offer our clients will be significantly magnified.”

AC3 thankfully has deep foundations built in Australia. First formed in 1999, as the systems integrator and reseller Klikon Solutions, the company slowly began transitioning itself towards a managed service provider (MSP) with the acquisition of AC3 and then later Bulletproof.

As such, not only do AC3’s vendor and customer relationships go back a long way, but it also has a foothold in the market of recurring revenue — an area partners are discovering to be critical in the face of mass project deferments during the pandemic.

The need for public cloud by a number of industry verticals has served AC3 well so far through the pandemic, especially around the need for telehealth, with one start-up company increasing spend by 10,000 per cent. 

There is always a flip side, however.

“Certain industries have been hit hard and spending has slowed. While we would expect to see this speed up again as they start to recover, I don’t think we can expect a surge in spending from these industries,” admitted Xistouris.

From a partner perspective, businesses that are already behind the cloud and recurring revenue business will face tougher challenges. At the same time, Xistouris believes COVID-10 will be the time that the channel’s “true entrepreneurs succeed”.

“If your traditional business model is no longer viable and won’t continue to be even as we move into the recovery phase, you will need to innovate,” he explained. “There are opportunities for customers to capitalise on the new needs and demands of consumers, but this does require an appetite for risk.

"However, I am sure some of the most successful businesses that have emerged during the pandemic have been a result of innovation out of necessity.”

Like many Australian companies, AC3 used the new financial year to call a strategy reset. Although no major overhauls were tabled, the need for business resilience became a key priority for Xistouris. 

“As for technology priorities, we will continue to focus on our core strength of cloud but we are also doubling down our efforts and investment in cyber, application modernisation and digital workflows,” Xistouris said. “Each of these technology pillars are underpinned with clear products and services.”

“I think it will be more of the same, which I will summarise as being as flexibility and responsive as we possibly can. For those not doing so well, being sympathetic and accommodating to changes and for those that have been positively affected, being responsive and innovate,” he added.

ARN Advance is a centralised editorial resource designed to help partners access forward-looking content as the Australian market attempts to reposition for growth.

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