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Fendahl Sees Active Market, New Commodities and Implications of a Home-Based Workforce

Fendahl is very busy, says Henry Thornalley. “We have submitted three RFPs this week alone for sizeable opportunities,” he says. “It’s unprecedented busy, and under normal circumstances, we would be lucky to do one RFP of that nature every couple of months.” He sees the activity as broad-based ranging from North American gas to global Ags and softs, metal recyclers, and more. “Ags, in particular, seems busier than normal,” he says. All of the activity is also paying off, and Henry expects to be making a series of announcements regards deals done at the end of last year and into this. Getting agreement from customers for press announcements is notoriously tricky, but he is confident that Fendahl will soon issue a number of them.

The conversation with Henry was intriguing in a couple of different ways. First, new commodities are emerging, and Henry says Fendahl signed its first Cannabis customer last month for a legal Cannabis exchange in South Africa. They are also working on a bid for a water deal. “Some unusual things are going on in commodities,” he says. “We do expect the legal Cannabis market to be quite large, but at this point, it remains immature.”

The second area of discussion was the changing landscape of selling and delivering CTRM and CM solutions. “It takes longer to seal deals,” he told me. “It is simply more difficult to build rapport without the face-to-face meetings in person. More online meetings must take place, and it just isn’t so easy to pull people into a Zoom meeting at short notice. The upside, though, is less travel!” He also points to an increased number of demonstration sessions being required and sees a trend towards more online workshops in which different departments are participating over several days or a week. “Buyers are a tad more cautious under such circumstances,” he said.

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The work from the home environment also seems to be something that potentially will outlive COVID lockdowns and drive a specific set of requirements associated with managing a home-based workforce. “I think some companies see it as a way to reduce costs now, especially with the need for less travel,” he said. “Companies need less office space, for example, even if the workforce works from home a couple of days a week.” ComTech agrees that the work environment has likely changed permanently with more home-based working hours combined with office days. We have also seen the emergence of the nomadic workforce on the consulting and contract side.

However, a home-based workforce brings a new set of issues evidenced by many different studies that have been issued over the last few months in the area of security. If home-based users use their computers lacking adequate security or do not utilize a VPN connection, numerous issues can emerge. Indeed, Henry cited a case he had heard of when false invoices were presented to a company and paid. Increased vigilance and security are needed. Additionally, Henry also pointed to something as simple as Windows updates creating issues for users utilizing non-company PCs and needing to tune IP whitelists for home-based users. Security is a concern that is driving two-factor authentication and encryption, for example.

To react and respond to increased activity levels and with expectations being strong of having a very good year, Fendahl is actively recruiting. It has already grown its sales team and is now adding in the pre-sales area and its Pune office more generally. “All expectations at the moment are that Fendahl is set for a very good year,” Henry concluded.