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www.itp.net SEPTEMBER 2010 Vol. 08 V Issue. 06

Building Bu B uiilldi ldi din ng ga and nd n dd delivering eliv el i ering IT solutions for the Middle East An ITP Te Technology ecchn ch hhnno ollo olo logy gy Pub P Pu Publication uubblillic iiccati attiio at on n

Cizar Abughazaleh, Regional Manager Middle East & Africa, Iomega

STRATEGIC THINKING Talking tactics with executives from Adobe, ATS, MTC and Toshiba (14)

THE SMART CHOICE? Middle East handset channel faces up to new challenges (43)

PORTABLE TThe he external external hhard ard ddrive rive bbrands rands tthat hat making money aare re m aking tthe he cchannel hannel m oney ((30) 30)

an t t ea V ufa he lly EN ctu y ge thi D rer t fr nk O s ( om of t R 36 he S )

PROFITS

VE R Wh D at IC re T su sell O p e m por rs r N

SUN ALLY STME SHIFTS FOCUS TO IBM EMPA LAUNCHES ENTERPRISE DIVISION FORMER EMITAC CHIEF BEGINS CONSULTING VENTURE ORACLE CHANGES CHANNEL TEAM

Licensed by Dub D Du Dubai uubbaaii M Me Media ed edi diiiaa C dia City ity it ity ty

P.O.Box 8391, Dubai, UAE, Tel: +971 4 6058200 Fax: +971 4 6058201 Email: distribution@emitac.ae Website: www.emitac.ae

// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010 _www.itp.net_

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FRONT LINE (1) // HEADLINE NEWS FROM THE MIDDLE EAST IT CHANNEL

MICROSOFT ON VERGE OF APPOINTING SIXTH LAR FOR UAE MARKET Addition of new large account reseller to deliver enterprise licences is needed to mitigate credit and coverage concerns

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Microsoft Gulf is on the cusp of appointing a sixth large account reseller (LAR) for the UAE — only the second time in a decade that it has made adjustments to that aspect of its channel. However, the decision to increase the number of LARs to six could prove to be a temporary measure, with the vendor admitting it could also end ties with an existing partner and move back down to five. At the moment, the five LARs in the UAE are Alpha Data, Exceed, Itqan, MDS Abu Dhabi and Seven Seas. They are the only companies in the market authorised by Microsoft to supply large organisations with three-year enterprise agreement (EA) licensing

contracts. EA sales account for around 70% of Microsoft’s UAE business. Zaid Abunuwar, SMS&P director at Microsoft Gulf, confirmed the plans to bring a sixth LAR on board and explained that the decision was based on a number of factors. “We need to make sure that we have the right credit capacity, the right coverage and the right customer experience from the existing partners. If any of those three things break or show stress points then we go to the market and say it is time for us to add another one,” he said. Abunuwar claims the number of customers with enterprise agreements had “nearly doubled” during the last two years and stressed

that Microsoft’s philosophy was based on growing with existing partners. “The LAR business is probably the most stable relationship we have with our partners,” he said. However, Abunuwar added that recent credit challenges had created a need for Microsoft to become extra diligent in managing channel risk. The addition of a new LAR could therefore be followed by the termination of an existing partner, he indicated: “We are also considering the potential of going back to five and that is a possibility…we are evaluating that option internally and that is where we are at right now.” The appointment of the sixth LAR is likely to

be announced in October or November. Microsoft Gulf is understood to have selected its choice from three candidates that tendered for the contract, but is now waiting for internal financial and compliance checks to be conducted before making the appointment formal.

A senior figure at one large account reseller said that whoever came on board should not expect an easy ride: “One of the major problems with the Microsoft licensing business is it’s low margin and long payment terms. I don’t know who would be excited about joining this.”

LEXMARK SIGNALS INTENT TO GAIN SHARE IN RETAIL Printing hardware vendor signs distributor Asbis to help it increase its footprint in the Middle East consumer space

Printer vendor >> Lexmark has moved to strengthen its position in the retail space by

appointing Asbis as a distribution partner. The alliance will immediately begin in the UAE and then

roll out to Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the near future. Mark Thompson, SMB and channel sales manager at Lexmark, informed channel partners of the news in an e-mail. “It is with great pleasure that Lexmark International Middle East is able to announce a new partnership with a distributor that will fulfill the gap we have had for some time in retail,”

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said Thompson in the statement. Lexmark believes Asbis can play a pivotal role in helping it to “build the brand” in the regional consumer market.“Lexmark has struggled in the past with retail in the region and so we see this new relationship as an extremely strategic partnership that will be of great benefit to the Lexmark brand in the region,” wrote Thompson.

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Hesham Tantawi, VP MEA at Asbis, confirmed the tieup and reiterated the intent to replicate the partnership in multiple markets. “Lexmark is a well-known brand and we wish to add value and solutions that fulfill customers’ needs,” explained Tantawi. “We are looking to build the relationship in the UAE and then copy the model in other markets,” he added.

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// INSIDE THIS ISSUE >>

FRONTLINE

// CONTENTS CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

04_Dell builds consumer team

11_HP embarks on cartridge initiative

04_Lexmark mounts retail crusade

11_Quick Heal beefs up channel

07_Sun stalwart plots IBM future

11_Emitac GM seeks fresh challenge

07_Oracle channel changes

13_Asbis sees pick-up in regional sales

SELLING SERVICES

09_Fujisoft backs Panasonic

13_Launch of consulting firm

09_Logicom to carry HGST

13_Packard Bell eyes Lebanon

ATS boss Jed Isbell reveals what Symantec’s recent decision to move its services business to partners means for the Aptec-owned outfit.

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INSIDE INFORMATION

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PRODUCTS

19_REBUILDING DISTRIBUTION

57_THE MAGIC TOUCH

Adobe’s Abdallah Saqqa discusses the company’s new channel structure

Acer targets smartphone users with super-slim neoTouch p300 device

20_MAKING A BEELINE

57_MINIATURE MARVEL

MicroWorld’s Nazir Kazi on the firm’s search for Middle East partners

Gigaset unveils the SL400A, its smallest cordless phone to date

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PEOPLE

53_TRINITY TARGETS GROWTH Sales and marketing chief keen to facilitate vendor and reseller relations

53_COMGUARD’S DOUBLE Distributor lands two channel awards from software partner Kaspersky

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(23)

(30) PORTABLE PROFITS The region’s leading external hard disk drive vendors give their reasons why the Middle East retail channel should back their brands.

57_ENVY OF THE MARKET PC heavyweight HP confirms regional release of new mobile PC model

57_BACK OF THE NET

(36)

LG scores with the X140, its newest netbook with Windows 7 Starter OS

(14)

VERDICT ON VENDORS Vendors are fond of talking up the level of support they provide to Middle East partners. But what do resellers think about it?

NEWS ANALYSIS

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

55_HANDSET SCHEME Technocare claims new programme will benefit vendors and channel

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We meet MTC’s new sales and marketing manager

(43)

55_LG OPENS US$15M HUB Electronics vendor unveils new training centre in Jebel Ali

(61) >>

SMART MONEY The smartphone channel will be hoping that the Blackberry debacle is just a blip for a market that has enjoyed explosive growth.

DAY IN THE LIFE On the job with Secureway’s Ali Yekrang

(59)

EXPERT’S VIEW

Intel’s shock move for McAfee raises several key questions

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(62) >>

DIARY DATES Update your calendar

(51) (15 )) 115

(64) GET TO KNOW {}

Niranjan Gidwani, Eros Group

FACT FILE

Intel and AMD extend lead in the graphics chip market at the .... .. expense of Nvidia ...

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FRONT LINE (4)

DELL PLUCKS NEW HEADS FROM CHANNEL PC manufacturer builds consumer team by hiring ex-Redington and Metra executives

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EMPA CLIMBS THE ‘VALUE’ LADDER New business unit to focus on software, storage and security

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istributor Empa has revealed ambitious plans to crack the enterprise space in a move that it admits is bringing about a “cultural change” within its organisation. Although Empa’s heritage lies in components sales, the company has formed an ‘Enterprise Solutions’ division that will largely focus on the SMB market. So far it has signed partnerships with antivirus software firm ESET, Sweden-based anti-spyware specialist Lavasoft and Citrix-ready web filtering appliance vendor St. Bernard Software. It will also focus on the systems and storage portfolio of Fujitsu Technology Solutions, and brands such as Netgear and Tripp Lite, which it already works with. The unit is being led by Sathya Murthy (above), who has extensive experience of the enterprise landscape having worked for Tech Data, Novell and, more recently Magirus, where he managed the firm’s VMware business. Shahood Khan, sales and marketing director at Dubai-based Empa, says the company wants to address growing demand for enterprise-class solutions, while moving up the distribution ladder by showing “value addition” to newer channel prospects. “One of the primary reasons for forming an enterprise business unit is to be in the projects business, as it is generally a high value and high profit business,” he said.

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ell has recruited two senior executives from its distribution channel to bolster its management team in the region. Vineeth Sebastian, former VP at Redington Gulf and a key figure behind the growth of the company’s volume business, and NY Prasad, who was the managing director of broadline distributor Metra Computer, have both taken up positions at the PC and server giant inside the last month. Sebastian has joined as director of Dell’s retail and consumer operations, while Prasad has been

installed as the general manager of the company’s consumer business. It is understood that Redington has already moved to fill Sebastian’s position by handing his responsibilities to Ashish Bharti, the head of the company’s PC and components division. Metra, meanwhile, is believed to be looking for a new managing director. For now, the business remains under the control of vicepresident Mohamed Eissa. Prasad had only been with Metra for 18 months, having moved to the region from Ingram

Vineeth Sebastian and NY Prasad have joined Dell’s consumer division

Micro, where he served as business development director for the Asia-Pacific region. Dell Middle East appears to be keen on recruiting executives that have a track record in distribution. Sebastian and Prasad follow in the footsteps of ex-Tech Access CEO, Tony Ward, who recently joined as commercial distribution director for EMEA emerging markets, as well as former Redington chief Mathew Thomas, who joined Dell as its consumer distribution head but quit the company for HP earlier this year. The latest appointments come just a month after Dell said marketing chief John Coulston would lead its channel programmes and operations team in the ‘Emerging Countries’ region. “For a region as diverse and dynamic as the Emerging Countries, it’s critical we invest in our channel to enable us to closely align with our customer needs, market dynamics and strategic direction,” said Coulston at the time of the announcement.

AL-BAWARDI RESTRUCTURES COMPUBASE Training and development division now integrated into systems integration business

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l-Bawardi Enterprises (AE) has restructured its technology division in the wake of what it calls a “particularly tricky and unpredictable” IT market. The restructuring includes the integration of Compubase into its system integrator Itqan’s operations. Compubase specialises in offering a range of training and development services. Al-Bawardi claims the re-jig is designed to help it remain resilient against the challenges now facing

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the Middle East channel, adding that the unpredictable nature of the market “calls for constant realignment and planning”. The shifting of the Compubase business into Itqan comes as the integrator puts e-learning solutions at the forefront of its business. Following a partnership with talent development solutions firm, SumTotal Systems, Itqan has now begun projects with a leading governmental body in Dubai and two investment firms in Abu Dhabi.

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“To capitalise on Itqan’s presence in the UAE, and the potential of Compubase’s line of solutions, this consolidation of AE’s technology services was the most ideal step to take in order to keep AE’s competitiveness,” commented Feras Al-Jabi, general manager of Itqan. Al-Bawardi is not ruling out a new set-up for Compubase in the future, but will wait for Itqan to solidify the reach of its training solutions in the market first.

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FRONT LINE (7)

SUN STALWART PLOTS FUTURE WITH IBM Storage integrator confirms it is now an IBM Business Partner in the Middle East

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torage integrator STME has thrown its weight behind IBM in a move that indicates a shift in focus away from Sun Microsystems in the wake of its integration with Oracle. Although STME has been known in the market as a staunch Sun player up to now, it is understood that the company has been exploring opportunities with other leading server providers in the market, culminating in the alliance with IBM. STME has now been confirmed as an IBM Business Partner in six Middle East markets: UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. The partnership will give it access to IBM’s servers, storage and backup technologies, which the solutions provider claims will help it realise its vision of becoming the top data centre infrastructure

provider in the region. It believes that by incorporating IBM’s product and services capabilities into its existing storage portfolio, it will be able to address entire systems and storage data centre infrastructure requirements of medium and large enterprise customers. “The partnership with IBM is an important step in line with our commitment to offer the most comprehensive range of enterprise technology solutions in the region,” commented Salah Abu Shaar, CEO at STME. “Moreover, being an IBM Business Partner reinforces STME’s position as a worldclass and quality-oriented organisation. STME will continue to find ways

JARIR NUMBERS UP DURING FIRST HALF Saudi giant performing better than at same stage last year

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to deliver greater value and enhance the level of satisfaction of its customers in the Middle East,” he said. Although it has traditionally been known as a major Sun Microsystems ally, 100-strong STME works closely with a range of enterprise vendors, including NetApp, Symantec and HDS. Earlier this year, the privately-held outfit was acquired by KSA-based investment house MIC.

audi Arabia’s largest IT retailer, Jarir Bookstore, has given the market encouragement after posting a rise in both sales and profits during the second quarter. The company, which operates almost 30 stores, recorded sales of US$179m for the three months to the end of June, up 17% year-onyear. Net profits increased 5% on the same basis to US$20m. Jarir’s performance during Q2 means that for the first half of 2010 it pulled in sales of US$391m, keeping it firmly on course to exceed the full-year sales of US$681m it made last year.

STME will resell IBM’s server and storage systems

SHARAF ZOOMS IN ON CANON SALES Specialist DSLR stand will offer latest camera range

CHANNEL CHANGES AT ORACLE

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anon and Sharaf DG have joined forces to launch what the pair is calling “the largest DSLR Zone in the Middle East”. Sharaf will house a permanent stand at its Times Square Mall store offering the full range of Canon DSLR cameras and accessories. Experts will be on hand to provide advice about DSLR photography, as both companies look to cash in on a growing market trend for upgrades from DSC to DSLR upgrades. Sharaf hopes the stand will help it increase its engagement with customers and provide them with an “interactive platform” for visitors.

Esaadi now heading Libyan business after internal reshuffle

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racle appears to have shaken up its regional channel team since officially integrating Sun’s business into its Middle East operation at the end of last quarter. The database software giant’s regional partner business was previously under the control of Hisham Esaadi, who served as director of alliances and channels. However, Esaadi now splits his time between the company’s Middle East HQ and North Africa after taking on the role of

managing director for Oracle Libya since June 1st. Oracle does not yet have an office in Libya. It is understood that responsibilities for Oracle’s channel business now reside with MEA vice-president, Gabriel Bakhazi, and Donald Thomas, its former WITS alliance director. Oracle works with more than 1,000 partners in the MENA region, many of them ISVs. Oracle has so far refused to speak about its post-Sun channel

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strategy in the Middle East and North Africa despite repeated requests from Channel Middle East for clarification of its plans. Several of Sun’s key channel executives decided against moving over to Oracle, including regional head Chris Cornelius and partner alliances chief Bruno Haubertin.

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FRONT LINE (9)

FUJISOFT BACKS PANASONIC’S UC SOLUTIONS Reseller launches training centre to drive uptake of vendor’s IP PBX portfolio in the UAE

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ujisoft Technology has opened a dedicated support and training centre for Panasonic’s IP PBX unified communications (UC) solutions in the UAE. The centre, located in Dubai, will provide a range of roles to support Fujisoft in bringing Panasonic’s range of unified UC to market. The company has also been appointed as a gold partner for Al-Futtaim Panatech, the

exclusive distributor of Panasonic products in the UAE. The solution centre will act as a technical hub for Fujisoft’s own staff and reseller partners, hosting twice-weekly training sessions in sales and support, and quarterly sessions with Panasonic engineers on technical advancements to the range. The centre has a capacity to train 20 people at a time. It will also provide technical support to Panasonic UC customers, with eight call centre agents and 10 engineers available. The centre will offer POC and solution demonstrations to customers as well. The move comes as part of a drive by Panasonic, Fujisoft and Panatech to target the SMB market in the UAE and drive the uptake of Panasonic’s NCP and TDE series IP telephony hardware and software. “Market demand for Fujisoft’s solution centre will host weekly training sessions for employees and resellers. unified communications

is growing, globally the ratio between analogue and IP is 70% analogue, 30% IP. However, if we look at the Middle East and UAE, IP is still around 15% to 16%.” said Takeshi Matsushita, assistant manager of Panasonic’s communication systems business unit, at the launch of the centre. Albert Raj, managing director of Fujisoft Technology, says the company will look at expanding its reach through appointing gold-level resellers and VARs to handle the Panasonic IP PBX line. He believes Fujisoft and Panasonic’s solutions will have an impact on the SMB market, partly due to the backwards compatibility and functionality that the systems offer, bringing more flexibility to cost-conscious SMB users. “The solution is a unified box, with the capability to connect to analogue extensions, digital extensions, hybrid extensions and IP, and any brand of SIP extensions will work the system. It is all in one box, with a wide range of software functionality built in,” explained Raj.

NETGEAR TIES UP WITH NIT

“As we grow in strength and in market share across the region, we continue to appreciate the impact our value added resellers have on our continuing success, and this awareness is what has driven us to partner with Network Information Technology,” stated Omar Lutfi Azzawi, SMB channel manager at Netgear Middle East. NIT believes that being part of Netgear’s channel initiatives will boost its business. Wael Abdallah, business development manager at the company, insists the move “bodes well” for its plans to develop and establish more customers across the region.

Reseller to carry vendor’s networking and storage systems

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etworking and storage systems vendor Netgear has signed Network Information Technology (NIT) as its latest VAR partner in the Middle East. The company has been adding a number of resellers to its set-up just recently in a bid to expand its coverage in the region. It believes the newest addition to its lineup will improve its chances of meeting its growth aspirations. News of the partnership comes in the wake of the recent launch

of Netgear’s ReadyNAS 4200 network storage system, which the manufacturer views as an integral part of its hardware portfolio moving forward. NIT has more than 15 years’ experience of the IT and security resell business and will also act as a distributor of Netgear’s kit, according to the vendor. NIT claims to already have partnerships with over 200 resellers that it has been selling other branded products to.

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LOGICOM TO CARRY HGST HARD DRIVES Alliance covers both internal and branded storage devices

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ogicom has moved to expand its storage portfolio by signing a distribution agreement with Hitachi Global Storage Technologies for a number of emerging markets, including the Middle East. Back in June, Channel Middle East broke the news that HGST was carrying out a review of its regional distribution model and weighing up the appointment of additional distribution partners. The partnership — which comes less than a year after Logicom split from Seagate — will see the distributor offer Hitachi GST’s hard disk drives and external storage products to channel customers around the region. This agreement makes sense for both companies and it’s great that Logicom customers can start to benefit from increased availability of Hitachi’s products,” said Michael Papaeracleous, executive director of distribution at Logicom (above right). “We believe there is great potential in all our markets and we have a good plan in place to help Hitachi achieve their goals.” In addition to the Middle East, the agreement covers Greece, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus and the Balkans. Steve Pereira, VP EMEA at Hitachi GST, insists the Logicom deal gives the company the “necessary focus” it needs to address the regional storage market ahead of what it expects to be a promising second half of the year.

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FRONT LINE (11)

HP EMBARKS ON INK CARTRIDGE INITIATIVE Recycling agreement with Dubai Municipality is part of vendor’s Planet Partners scheme

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ewlett-Packard Middle East has joined hands with Dubai Municipality as part of a major new initiative to recycle toner cartridges — a move that is designed to help reduce technology waste in the emirate. The ‘What goes around comes around’ campaign, which is organised as part of HP’s Planet Partners Programme, provides a free and easy return and recycling service for original HP toner cartridges, according to the firm. Recycled plastic from cartridges that are collected as part of the

programme will be used to produce new original HP cartridges, in addition to other products. “We are happy to have Dubai Municipality on board in our most important environmental initiative aimed at saving the planet from huge amounts of technology waste,” said Amin Mortazavi, general manager for HP Middle East’s imaging and printing group. “HP was the first computer manufacturer to operate its own recycling centre in 1997 and now we have the only closed-loop ink cartridge process on the planet.

HP has begun a cartridge recycling partnership with Dubai Municipality

We’re on our way to recycle over two billion pounds of products and materials as part of our constant endeavour to reduce technology waste,” said Mortazavi. HP’s Planet Partners Programme is a free service available in over 50 countries. The vendor claims that 265 million units of inkjet and HP LaserJet cartridges have been collected through the initiative so far. To date, it has recycled 1.71 billion pounds of electronic products and supplies. Dubai Municipality, which uses thousands of printers at its headquarters and branch offices, is the first government department in the emirate to co-operate with HP Middle East as part of the environmental initiative. “As per the Planet Partners Programme, HP has installed a number of empty cartridge collection boxes in different organisational units in the Municipality,” revealed Mortazavi. The turn-around time for delivery and box collection is five working days,” he added.

EMITAC GM SEEKS FRESH CHALLENGE Vijay Saraf to explore new opportunities after departure

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ijay Saraf is seeking to make a swift return to the market after calling time on his 17-year career at Emitac Distribution. Saraf joined the HP and Acer supplier back in 1993 when Emitac was just in the process of getting its distribution business off the ground. He held a number of senior roles during his career at Emitac Distribution, including general manager for sales and marketing. “There has been a lot of change taking place at Emitac and having been at the company for 17 years I felt it was the right time to leave,” said Saraf about his departure.

FVC STRENGTHENS LOGISTICS SET-UP Move designed to result in faster channel deliveries

QUICK HEAL BEEFS UP CHANNEL NETWORK

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merging technologies specialist FVC has established a new logistics arrangement in Europe that it claims will benefit resellers based in North and West Africa. The agreement with Netherlandsbased logistics provider, Merzario, will see its supply chain and logistics managed from Amsterdam, where it can now take advantage of direct cargo flights to that region. “Setting up a supply chain hub into Europe has given our partners in North and West Africa an added value in terms of faster deliveries, speeding up the supply chain process,” said FVC boss, KS Parag.

Internet security and antivirus vendor ties up with four new distributors in the MENA region

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nternet security software vendor Quick Heal has given its Middle East growth aspirations a major boost by appointing a number of authorised distributors. In the UAE, Quick Heal has signed Croma Trading as its second distributor alongside Almasa, while Nexgen Techno and The National Trading House have been brought on board in Kuwait and Bahrain respectively. The vendor has also begun working with Alnamaa Company in Libya.

Shobhit Mathur, regional director and managing partner at Quick Heal — whose operations in the Middle East are a joint venture with eWall Technologies — says the company is keen to strengthen its business in the region. “Quick Heal is present in 63 countries worldwide but we are relatively new to the Middle East because we only entered the market last year. We opened an office in Dubai in January and since then we have been

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establishing our distribution structure,” he explained. The UAE remains the most accessible market for Quick Heal, which is why it has moved to bring in Croma to supplement the work done by Almasa, which it signed last November. “Croma’s role will really be to develop the reseller and dealer market because Almasa has been more focused on the power retail segment, where we now have a good presence,” said Mathur.

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FRONT LINE (13)

ASBIS SEES PICK-UP IN MIDDLE EAST SALES Total group revenues also increase, but hardware distributor still remains unprofitable

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omponents and laptop distributor Asbis’ latest financial results have revealed that it registered sales of US$44m in MEA during the second quarter of this year, an 8% rise on the same period last year. Its performance during the second quarter meant that MEA sales for the first six months of the year totalled US$96m, marking an 8% improvement on the corresponding period in 2009 when revenues reached US$88m. The MEA region has been a beacon of light for Asbis during the past year as its Russian and Eastern European businesses felt the full force of the recession, although all of the company’s units returned to growth in Q2. Overall second quarter sales at the firm climbed 17% to US$270m, while half-year sales increased 28% to US$600m.

Half-year gross profit grew 45% year-on-year to US$27m, although the company suffered a net loss of US$1.9m, which it partially blamed on steep currency movements against the US dollar. Although the loss was smaller than the US$6.5m deficit it posted the previous year, Siarhei Kostevitch, CEO and chairman of Asbis, insisted it was far from content. “[The loss] is still three times lower than in the corresponding period of 2009, but we are definitely not satisfied and determined to close 2010 profitable,” he stated. Kostevitch attributed the rise in sales, meanwhile, to an upgraded product portfolio and market share gains from weaker

PACKARD BELL EYES SALES IN LEBANON Distinet appointed as vendor’s first local distribution partner

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competitors in many countries, although he did not specify which ones. Asbis generated more than 40% of its revenues from the sale of CPUs and laptops alone, while a further 14% came from hard disk drives. Its latest financial report revealed that the UAE finished the quarter as its fourth largest market, with sales of US$34m, while Saudi Arabia ranked sixth, with sales of US$21m.

LAUNCH OF CONSULTING FIRM Amer Khreino founds regional channel development outfit

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mitac Distribution’s former CEO, Amer Khreino, has launched his own consulting firm offering advice to companies requiring strategic guidance. Khreino has been busy putting together the business — called AVENUES FZCO — since resigning from Emitac in March this year. AVENUES, which is registered at Dubai Silicon Oasis, intends to provide a range of services for IT companies that need help in designing market strategies.

“AVENUES offers business consulting services to established companies and organisations, helping them find solutions to stressful problems as well as identifying opportunities that guarantee them a competitive edge,” explained Khreino. He says the aim of the company is to assist management in redefining their leadership role in existing and potential markets. It will also help businesses to devise plans, explore growth

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ackard Bell has announced its entry into the Lebanese market, with Distinet confirmed as its first distributor in the country. The Acer-owned PC brand is looking to make a name for itself in Lebanon having already built a business in the Gulf, and believes Distinet, which is owned by the TeleTrade Group, is the ideal foil. “In TeleTrade we have found the right distributor to make our products widely available for the fashion savvy Lebanese consumer,” said Shashank Sharma, country manager at Packard Bell (above). “TeleTrade is a well-established group of companies, with Distinet having a proven track record in IT distribution within Lebanon, and we are confident that they are best positioned to help Packard Bell grow,” added Sharma. Distinet was always going to be the logical choice for Packard Bell due to its association with Emitac Distribution, one of Acer’s main regional disties. Last year Emitac and Distinet announced a “strategic business alliance” in Lebanon. Jean Haddad, general manager and chairman of 150-strong TeleTrade Holding Group, stated: “We have the resources, market experience and knowledge to make Packard Bell products widely available across Lebanon. We are also in a position to provide excellent after sales-service for all Packard Bell products.”

More than 40% of Asbis’ revenues come from CPUs and mobile PCs

opportunities, optimise operations and reduce risk. “Our mission is to transform businesses through addressing challenges, identifying opportunities, creating value and driving positive change,” said Khreino. “We enjoy extensive knowledge and expertise that are essential for developing new insights to a business and finding solutions to emerging matters.” Khreino has a wealth of channel experience gleaned from his time at Emitac, where he formed new vendor partnerships and helped the firm generate distribution sales in excess of US$400m a year.

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// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

_www.itp.net_

NEWS ANALYSIS (14) // EXTENDED COVERAGE OF THE TOP STORIES

MTC REACHES OUT TO THE RESELLER CHANNEL Memory Technology Middle East’s (MTC) new general manager for sales and marketing is looking to make her mark in the channel after recently moving to the region. She’s under no illusions about the size of the task ahead.

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Maria Lien has only been with MTC for three months, but she’s already become accustomed to the fastpaced life of the Middle East distribution sector. One of her first tasks has been to start the process of expanding MTC’s team, so that the distributor can begin to meet its ambitious growth plans for the region after the challenges that the sector has faced during the last 12 months or so. Sales strength Lien admits that MTC’s sales force is currently under-strength due to some “restructuring” that occurred last year, but insists she is looking forward to altering that in the months ahead. Her sales team presently consists of three executives who have been working with the Jebel Ali-based distributor for at least five years, and she is keen to combine their market experience with some fresh blood. “I am currently recruiting two sales assistants and another two junior sales people, and the intention is to train those four new people so that they can help our current senior sales manager to develop the business together,” she explained. “If I look at the operational side then that will give me a total of seven people with a strong desire to be successful in the market.”

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MTC is a major regional supplier of memory products from the likes of Hynix, Micron and Samsung. It also manufactures and distributes two brands of its own — GENX and Xtreme — and these have become a major part of its identity during the last few years, particularly given the expansion of those lines. The GENX range consists of digital lifestyle accessories, while Xtreme is more focused on the mobile accessories space. With the company intending to launch its own range of LCD TVs to supplement a portfolio that already contains an array of audio devices and digital products, the immediate aim is to develop a strong network of sub-distribution and reseller partners. Lien insists there are no boundaries as far as geography is concerned. “In terms of market and business development, countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Egypt are very important to us, of course,” she says. “But we are also looking into emerging markets like Afghanistan, the CIS countries and Russia. The African markets are also very exciting because not everybody is able to create a market share and build domestic awareness. That is why I am thinking about the ways that MTC can strengthen its market share and build a good brand name in order to serve long-term partners.

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My mission is to bring good quality and reliable products to serve to consumers and also to build a long-term partnership with clients in various markets.” Lien is hopeful that MTC’s everexpanding product basket will make it a compelling source for the channel going forward, bearing in mind resellers need to maximise their revenue streams. “Nobody can survive nowadays by being in only one or two sectors,” she says. “To be successful, customers have got to understand their capabilities and look at how they can penetrate new markets to develop more business.” Long-term approach Having lived in Taiwan, Japan, China and more recently the UK, Lien is confident that it won’t take her long to settle into the Middle East way of life. And she is adamant that the qualities that helped her foster long-lasting channel relationships in other markets will prove to be equally as effective here. “I want to assure all our partners that I will always look after their interests,” she says. “And if they have any demands or requests about products, they can feel free to tell me. I am here to serve them because we are here together to build a business partnership, and that means it should be a long-term friendship,” insists Lien.

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Maria Lien believes resellers should expand into multiple sectors to ensure they are not over-reliant on one particular revenue stream.

MTC’s GENX Islamic e-Book is one of several new products just released. The company also plans to launch its own line of LCD TVs that it will sell through the channel.

// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

EDITOR’S NOTES (16) // by Andrew Seymour

VENDORS RISKING RESELLERS’ WRATH To what extent does loyalty count in the channel today, especially where a vendor and its partner network are concerned? It’s a question resellers are increasingly asking.

Seagate hopes the decision to slash distribution numbers will improve profitability for its remaining wholesale partners in the region.

Vendors that don’t recognise the changing capacity of the market risk being saddled with an over-stocked channel, which corrodes the value of the franchise for distributors.

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There is a growing feeling in the reseller camp that vendors have become obsessed with expanding the size of their partner networks to the point where they simply sanction new relationships for the sake of it these days. Resellers say the trend at the moment is for vendors to sign up new partners and then insist they’ve been hired to focus on a particular segment of the market or serve a specific niche. On most occasions I’m sure such moves are perfectly justified, but that still doesn’t prevent it from arousing the suspicions of resellers who feel that existing partners are getting overlooked too easily. Many have become deeply sceptical about vendors that seemingly keep adding to their partner tallies when business doesn’t appear to warrant it. Some corners of the market insist the amount of personnel change taking place within the vendor and distribution communities doesn’t exactly help matters either. The first thing that happens when an executive takes up a fresh channel post is that they go and recruit the partners they know from their previous roles, even though

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it can be disruptive to the channels already in place. The grievance aired by some resellers is that vendors are now far too willing to ignore the loyalty and presence of their existing partners. They argue that the pressure vendors face to increase sales is leading to strategies that are built on little more than boosting the quantity of partners on their books. You might argue that this has always been the case perhaps it has. But it doesn’t alter the fact that resellers’ fears have been heightened in recent months. Channel diligence If the recession has done anything to the market, then it has made the reseller channel look to the vendor community - and the distribution channel - for even more support than before. Ask any reseller which vendors are the best to work with and once you get past the quality of products and programmes, the answer is often the ones that display a diligent approach to channel management - the ones that do more than just pick up the phone and who actually get out into the market, provide the personal touch and address the issues that

partners face. It is interesting to note that accusations of vendors becoming too obsessed with partner numbers come at the same time as resellers claim there is a general reduction in this type of channel management. Striking a balance There are, of course, two sides to every story. I’m sure there are numerous vendors out who will argue that if they are appointing partners where they feel it is necessary then some existing channel partners might want to assess their own performance first before complaining. Either way, the whole situation undoubtedly illustrates that channel management is becoming an even tougher job in the current environment. At the end of the day, it is all about striking a balance between getting the most out of existing channel partners that have proved their commitment and bringing in new partners only where it is absolutely necessary. There are many resellers out there which are desperate to remind their vendor partners that the old adage of ‘80% of business comes from 20% of partners’ is still worth remembering in these times.

Al Hosani Computer LLC OfďŹ cial Distributor in the Middle East and West Asia 1703 BelResheed Tower, Buhaira Corniche,Sharjah, UAE Tel. +9716-575-444-3, Fax +9716-575-444-9 www.alhosanime.com, Email: sales@alhosanime.com

// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

_www.itp.net_

INSIDE INFORMATION (19) // EXPERTS IN THEIR OWN WORDS

ADOBE REBUILDS DISTRIBUTION MODEL IN MEA Former AMD channel executive, Abdallah Saqqa, took over as general manager of Adobe Middle East this time last year and quickly came to one conclusion: that the design software company’s regional distribution strategy was in desperate need of an overhaul. He explains the factors behind some of the changes that have recently taken place in the channel.

CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST: Adobe recently appointed Logicom as a distributor for the entire region and Mindware for Saudi Arabia. Why the shake-up of your distribution model? ABDALLAH SAQQA: Shortly after joining Adobe [in June last year] I realised that the majority of the business was really happening in the UAE - in Dubai particularly - and there was absolutely no on-the-ground focus anywhere else, especially Saudi Arabia. Saudi is really not a market that you can even think of ignoring or servicing remotely, it just doesn’t work. So I realised there was an urgency to fix this kind of gap and we began work on restructuring the whole distribution network. CME: Mindware’s contract is just for KSA. What will it bring to the table? AS: It is well established with a good, solid reseller network. We rely a lot on resellers to conduct the business and transactions before the product reaches the end-customer. The appointment gives us the right balance in Saudi Arabia because, whether we like it or not, it is the single biggest country in the region. CME: And what about Logicom? AS: Logicom is playing more of a broader role, which fits perfectly with its model because it has a strong presence in many countries in the region. The likes of Qatar, Oman and Bahrain are smaller countries, but they offer really good potential, especially at the government and enterprise levels. You can add Jordan and Lebanon to that list as well because Logicom is very established in those markets too.

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CME: Adobe employed Grapheast as its primary channel partner in the region for many years. What is the situation with that relationship? AS: We work with Grapheast as well. Grapheast is a partner which has been there for seven or eight years, so it is a real expert in the business. Grapheast has the expertise and the arm to add value during the sales cycle. This is something it is very good at doing and it has built it up throughout the history it has had with Adobe. Its focus on Adobe is tremendous - it is one of the main lines of business it runs in the company, and for us and for them Adobe’s success is critical. CME: One of the casualties of your shake-up was Aptec. Why are you no longer working with them? AS: Aptec is a distributor we all respect. I realised shortly after I started working with them that it wouldn’t make sense for both sides to continue because the objectives I am looking at and the role I am looking for my distributors to play at this stage is not really something that fits their profile. It has nothing to do with Aptec’s capabilities - we all know how big Aptec is and how great they are doing for other vendors, but at this stage it didn’t really make sense for both sides. CME: So what do the new partners offer you that Aptec didn’t? AS: The on-the-ground focus really. The focus and attention we are getting from Mindware in Saudi Arabia, for example, is amazing. They are literally doing no business for Adobe anywhere else, so Saudi Arabia is their bread and butter.

They have absolutely no choice but to make it work there and this is what I really wanted. It makes perfect sense because there is huge potential to capture, but you need a focused partner. I wasn’t really able to make this happen with the previous players. This is really why we have had to come up with new players and new blood from a distribution perspective. CME: Is there a danger that the restructuring could lead to you becoming over-distributed? AS: The whole objective behind this exercise and the partner mix we have today is really aimed at growing the pie rather than sharing the pie. I really want to grow the size of the business that we have in the region and once your pie is growing you’ll have absolutely no worries whatsoever of partners or resellers running away. They will always want to be a part of it and that is really what we are trying to put in place. We are not there yet, but at least we are on the right track. CME: Are there more changes ahead, or is that it for now? AS: The more your business grows, the more that new dynamics kick in and you will have to reconsider if things make sense, but the intention is not to keep making changes. If things continue to go as planned then I think we should be good to go with this model for the next couple of years. If something new comes up that we need to adapt to or react to then we are flexible enough to consider changes, but whatever happens is going to be in line with what makes sense for partners.

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// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

_www.itp.net_

INSIDE INFORMATION (20) // EXPERTS IN THEIR OWN WORDS

MICROWORLD MAKES BEELINE FOR CHANNEL Security software is big business these days, but as those at the heart of this market sector know, competition is extremely fierce. One company trying to make its way in the Middle East is MicroWorld Software Services, developer of the eScan antivirus and content security products. Nazir Kazi, head of international sales for MEA and Asia Pacific, insists if the company can get in front of prospective channel partners then its technology will do the talking.

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CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST: What sort of channel partners are you targeting in the Middle East? NAZIR KAZI: There are three tiers of resellers in the market today. Tierone consists of resellers targeting the big corporates, enterprise and government customers. Tier-two consists of resellers targeting the SMB market, and tier-three resellers are pretty small resellers that don’t necessarily have good technical support people available internally they work with customers which are very low-end. We are identifying and closely working with tier-two and tierthree resellers. CME: How are you engaging with those resellers? NK: The basic intention is to have a direct approach towards SMB and corporate customers, convince them of the product, and then route the business to the channel partners and resellers. That will give them more confidence in the product. The margins are good for them and that will make them more proactive when selling the product. CME: What about from a distribution standpoint? Do you have disties here? NK: Yes, we have Bulwark Technologies as a distributor. It also distributes Cyberoam and CryptoCard products. Apart from that we are trying to identify other distribution companies here in the Middle East which can give us more penetration and introduce us to the right IT resellers. We basically want somebody to put opportunities for us on the table and then we can take responsibility for convincing customers about eScan products.

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CME: How many partners sell your products in the Middle East? NK: We currently have around 25 active resellers selling our products. CME: Is this your first year of operations here? NK: No, over the past couple of years we have been developing the business, but we didn’t have a proper presence here. We were just coming during GITEX and travelling here once or twice a year. But now we are putting a footprint down - we will have a team here and we are also setting up a telemarketing team to look at market opportunities. CME: So you didn’t have an office in the Middle East before then? NK: No. Right now we have a sales person on the ground taking care of channel sales. For us, the opportunity is on the retail side and the SMB side. Compunics is our retail distributor and it basically offers our eScan retail products – the single-user to three-user licences - to power retailers. Bulwark is looking after the SMB and corporate products. We are also doing OEM bundling. We have just cracked a case with BDL to bundle eScan along with Dell Inspiron laptops. CME: What is the biggest challenge you face in trying to build sales? NK: Our main challenge is getting an opportunity to demonstrate the product. Our conversion rate is quite good because the product does the selling through its performance, quality and the support. Convincing the reseller to proactively offer eScan is the biggest challenge. From a product point of view we are a winner, but from a brand point of

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view it is a challenge because it is new to the customer. CME: There are a lot of security software companies for the channel to choose from. Can resellers make money from selling eScan? NK: Yes, that is the biggest value proposition we offer to resellers. Everybody is struggling for a bigger GP, but we are a very good bet in terms of offering a better gross margin to the reseller. We offer flexibility on the pricing to win endcustomers, there is good support in place and we have set up a telemarketing team to generate leads which will be fed to the resellers. CME: You talk about offering a better gross margin. Can you quantify or substantiate that? NK: We give margins ranging from 20% to 30%. With the big brands, if I am a reseller and I approach a customer and offer him Symantec, there are 10 other people offering Symantec. Customers are smart – they will ask for a discount and I will have to give that from my pocket. If I am getting 30% from Symantec and the customer is asking me for a 20% discount, I only get 10%. But with eScan we give the discount to the end-user and we don’t ask the reseller to give the discount from its pocket. For example, if the end-user price of my product is US$100 and the reseller-defined discount is 25%, the reseller still gets that discount even if the customer asks for a 20% discount to take the order for US$80. The discount margins are always protected irrespective of what discount we give to the end-user. That is a big difference.

DRAWING

THE LINE Notebook vendor Toshiba has moved to quell fears from distribution partners that it intends to initiate direct trading relationships with key retail accounts by clarifying its channel strategy for the region. oshiba recently revealed plans to employ a more hands-on approach emplo retail management going to reta forward, raising alarm bells forwa distributors who feared that a among distr significant chunk of business could be away from them. taken awa But th the company insists its wholesale wholes s partners have nothing to worry worr r about because the emphasis is on increasing its em m level le e of engagement with key retailers, not displacing the role of distribution. Santosh Varghese, Toshiba’s regional general manager for the Middle East and Africa, says the company has no plans to take any business away from its distribution partners, nor is it attempting to engineer direct transactional or logistic arrangements with retailers. He insists

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the company simply wants to supplement the work carried out by the distribution channel to provide key power retailers with more assistance in terms of areas such as business planning and product positioning. “Our distributors have done a lot of market development even before Toshiba had opened up an office in the region and when we had minimum manpower. Now that we are expanding in the region — with a total strength of between 14 and 16 people — it is time that we directly meet the main partners,” says Varghese. “But when I say ‘directly meet’, what we want do is work with them alongside the distributor on business plans for the year or possibly six months.” Varghese says it is perfectly normal for manufacturers to want close relationships with the second-tier partners that generate the majority of their sales, insisting that it does not alter the part that distributors play in managing the logistics, credit and inventory side of the business. Toshiba operates a tightly-controlled distribution network in the Middle East, with a single wholesaler in most countries expect for Saudi Arabia, where it has moved to an open distribution model in recent years. “Toshiba is a distribution-oriented company and when I say that it is because we have a lot of distributors which have partnered with us for the last 25 to 30 years,” says Varghese. “Like any Japanese company, distribution is considered an extended arm of the vendor.”

Varghese insists Toshiba is now in a position where it has the channel management resources to work more closely with the channel and add value to the overall business. It has identified 10 to 20 retail accounts across the region where it believes it is realistic to develop quarterly plans in conjunction with its distributors. “What we are going for is a semi-direct relationship — we are not signing any direct contracts,” stresses Varghese. Authorised Toshiba distributors operating “The business part is taken care in the Middle East region today of by the Toshiba account managers and the distribution Al-Futtaim UAE account managers, so there is Al Futtaim & Sons Bahrain more transparency and no PC Dealnet Qatar ambiguity,” he adds. Bhawan Trading Oman Over the past few months, the ABM Kuwait Middle East retail channel El Araby Egypt strategies of the leading PC SMS Jordan vendors have come under ABM Saudi Arabia scrutiny, with growing talk that Asbis Saudi Arabia some want to drive direct Redington Saudi Arabia trading relationship with key Jarir Bookstore Saudi Arabia power retail accounts. KSA is (direct retail contract) one market that remains firmly

THE FULL LINE-UP

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Toshiba is a distributionoriented company. We have a lot of distributors which have partnered with us for the last 25 to 30 years under the spotlight, due largely to the existing direct arrangements that most suppliers have with local powerhouse Jarir Bookstore. Varghese admits the nature of the Saudi market calls for a different strategy — as illustrated by its multi-partner approach to distribution in the country — but denies that Toshiba is speaking to any retailers there about a direct trading relationship. “The only direct relationship is with Jarir, which is a power retailer which controls about 70% of the market,” he comments. “That is the only direct relationship with any retailer as of now. At this stage distributors are core business partners for us and I don’t see any immediate changes happening.” As the debate about vendors serving retail accounts directly continues to rage, Toshiba distributors in the region will be hoping Varghese proves to be a man of his word. „

SELLING SECIVRS

Advanced Technology Services (ATS), the independent IT services arm of pan-regional distribution group Aptec, celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. In light of the recent announcement that one of its main vendor partners, Symantec, is shifting more services business into the hands of its partners, Channel Middle East caught up with ATS’ general manager, Jed Isbell, to find out what this change means for the company.

> John Maliakal, Toshiba

ATS described itself as a professional services and IT security consulting company when it launched five years ago. What services does the company specialise in today? JED ISBELL: ATS provides the highest quality IT professional consultancy services and support to vendors and resellers within the Middle East. The company offers enterprises expertise in all aspects of computing infrastructure including IT security, storage, server and desktop virtualisation, and high availability/disaster recovery solutions.

and we do not look to engage directly with endusers. The foundation of our strategy is that we look to ‘complement’ the channel with the services required in terms of their product offerings and not be seen as ‘competitive’. For example, should any delivery lead to extra pullthrough in terms of business with the enduser, be it product or services, then we would look to make this known to either the vendor or partner who engaged us in that delivery.

Do you provide services directly to end-users?

Moving onto the relationship with Symantec, it announced at its MENA Partner Summit earlier this year that some of the services business it managed directly will be shifted to partners. What opportunities is this creating for ATS?

JED ISBELL: ATS’ business model is based on the following pillars: we do not sell products

JED ISBELL: We see this as a tremendous opportunity and one through which we look to

build upon our relationship with the channel. Previously, we had to maintain a level of professionalism by being seen not to compete with Symantec whereas we now look to work with both distribution and the channel in terms of developing and offering solutions — both product and service — with service-based promotions to the market. We intend to kick this off in terms of a mail archiving promotion using a standard service SKU for up to 250 users at a very attractive price point. We are also looking to offer deep-dive training for the end-customer, should they be served by ATS. Symantec’s new partner-led services model is built on three layers: implementation-only partners; licence sales in one country, tools in another; and both licence and services companies. Where does ATS fit into this model?

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JED ISBELL: ATS is clearly aligned to layer one. As I have stated, it is not our strategy to sell products (licence sales). We believe that we are bespoke in our go-to-market strategy in terms of probably being the only Symantec partner that actually fits into this layer. Routing the services business through the channel marks quite a shift in strategy for Symantec. What challenges will implementing an indirect service model create? JED ISBELL: For ATS, this service model is not a big change in itself. We have always offered a direct (vendor-led) and an indirect (reseller/partner-led) offering where we have been serving our vendor and reseller customers in security, virtualisation and storage services. As a result, almost all of the vendors and resellers that we work with have benefited by partnering with us as an independent services provider, thus avoiding any channel conflicts. The challenge will be to step up our administrative department to liaise with the numerous Symantec partners, should they be interested in looking at ATS as their extended technical arm. Even if you attempt to partner with resellers that don’t have the technical resources to manage services delivery themselves, presumably you are going to see the Symantec services market in the region become more competitive overall?

SKILLS ON TAP When it comes to its Symantec portfolio, ATS claims it has consultants who can deliver an extensive range of services to customers today. It classifies these into the following areas:

Security Information Risk and Compliance Storage (Availability) Infrastructure Operations Business Continuity Advisory Services Operational Services Project Management

JED ISBELL: The Middle East is, and always will be, a competitive environment regardless of what business you are in. Clearly the channel partners will be re-assessing their own business models as to how best they can take advantage of the changes announced by Symantec. It is something only they can decide upon based on their respective customer bases and market propositions. It is, however, an area that ATS is also keen to develop in the form of partnership agreements. How would these partnership agreements be managed given the potential for channel conflict? JED ISBELL: The basis of the partnership agreement is to enable the channel partners to maintain their focus on the respective needs of their customers with that of ATS, working closely with them in terms of developing and delivering overall solutions that meet their customers’ needs. Since we announced this concept we have been approached by a number of channel partners interested in such a relationship, upon which we have already managed to sign-up agreements with four major partners and now have a number of others under discussion. The channel and its partner community know how best to sell products, whereas we like to believe we know best as to what is needed to ensure a quality delivery in terms of the sold solution. What sort of staff resources do you now have at ATS? JED ISBELL: We have about a dozen consultants focused on the implementation of various Symantec products and they carry consultant and senior consultant tags. All of our consultants are capable of handling projects from end to end — pre-sales, sales, design, implement, test, trouble shoot and finetune, plus knowledge transfer. Our technical team is distributed between our Riyadh and Dubai offices, and is capable of covering requests across the entire region. The financial downturn has reached all areas of the market. What sort of impact has it had on ATS? JED ISBELL: I think it is fair to say that all companies were impacted by the financial downturn in one way or another. ATS was no

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ATS’ business model is based on the following pillars: we do not sell products and we do not look to engage directly with end-users exception, but like a number of companies we looked at ourselves to see what could be done in order to ride the wave whilst it lasted. Investments have been cautious, with costs being thoroughly scrutinised in everything that we do. I believe that by taking such action we will come out of this a more mature and stronger company. „

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PORTABLE PROFITS The growth of the portable hard drive sector has made it an extremely competitive market, with resellers and retailers having to think carefully about which brands they back. Given the choice on offer, we invited leading manufacturers from this segment to single out an external device from their current line-up and tell the channel how and why they can benefit from selling it.

GIVING THE PITCH: CIZAR ABUGHAZALEH, REGIONAL SALES MANAGER MEA & TURKEY BRAND: Iomega PRODUCT: SuperSpeed USB 3.0 eGo RRP: 500GB capacity model priced at US$99 MARGIN: “The channel can make double-digit margins” DISTRIBUTORS: Trigon, Empa (UAE); Al Jammaz (KSA); Al Babtain (Kuwait); Delta (Egypt); T.PRO (Lebanon)

TARGET MARKET Iomega’s eGo portable hard drives are designed for business travellers as well as consumers who won’t settle for less than a high-end, yet affordable, hard drive that is fast, rugged and dependable. Buyers of an Iomega eGo hard drive also expect bundled software and they get that with Iomega’s comprehensive protection suite — a one-stop portfolio of back-up and antivirus software that comes free of charge. Utilising transfer speeds up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0 models, the USB 3.0 eGo allows users to save their work files, photos, music and videos in a fraction of the time it would take with USB 2.0 interface speeds. STAND-OUT FEATURES Iomega’s eGo portable hard drives are award-

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winning portable storage solutions, ultra-stylish compared to other branded PHDs and typically more rugged as well. They can withstand drops of up to 51 inches — more than 40% better than the industry average. Add in the bundled Iomega protection suite and users get a total solution that’s a market leader in the portable hard drive category. Additionally, the drives are also backward compatible for desktops and laptops that only have USB 2.0 ports. CHANNEL INCENTIVES OR OFFERS The USB 3.0 eGo hard drives are bundled with a portable hard drive case from Iomega. The Middle East channel can count on Iomega eGo portable hard drives to deliver the best in performance, ruggedness and style for today’s road warriors and other users too.

GIVING THE PITCH: CHRISTIAN ASSAF, CHANNEL SALES MANAGER MEA

BRAND: Seagate PRODUCT: Free Agent Go Flex RRP: Prices based on capacity. Go Flex 500GB priced at around AED425 (US$115) MARGIN: “The margin is a minimum of 15% for retailers and resellers” DISTRIBUTORS: Almasa, Asbis, FDC

TARGET MARKET This unique drive, with the new ‘Eco System’ created by Seagate, targets all markets and customers looking for digital attached storage.

Mac-ready due to special pre-loaded Seagate software. The drive also allows you to access your content on your TV, network and on-the-go when combined with other GoFlex devices.

STAND-OUT FEATURES Go Flex is based on new Eco System technology. From the name ‘Flex’ comes the flexibility of this drive, allowing the user to have multiple connectivity for the same drive by just changing the cable. The drive normally comes with a USB 2.0 cable and let’s you upgrade to USB 3.0, Firewire or eSATA. It is 100% PC- and

CHANNEL INCENTIVES OR OFFERS Seagate has always offered incentives to partners to generate profitable business and since this product will be introduced in the last week of August, there are a lot of preparations going on for the launch. Seagate is the storage leader and this product is unique. The new Eco System will definitely change the connectivity concept.

GIVING THE PITCH: KHALID WANI, SALES DIRECTOR MEA & INDIA

BRAND: Western n Digital PRODUCT: My Passport Elite RRP: AED329 (US$90) S$90) for the My Passport Elite 320GB and AED399 (US$110)) for the 500GB version MARGIN: “Resellers llers and retailers can drive e margins of 23% to 25% by selling this product” DISTRIBUTORS:: FDC, Metra, Redington

TARGET MARKET The My Passport Elite is the perfect device for people that have precious photos, videos and music that they want to safeguard and carry around with them to show to others. The democratisation of digital media has meant that consumers and professionals of all ages are collating more and more media files, filled with personal content that they want to protect. My Passport Elite portable protect drives target these types of users. hard d convenient grab-and-go USB dock The co comes with the drive frees up that co valuable desk space and eliminates the valuabl search for USB ports, which makes it for professionals who take their ideal fo back and forth to the office. data ba STAND-OUT FEATURES STANDMy Passport Elite really stands out The M the crowd because of features from th such as WD SmartWare software, which is a visual control centre with a single screen view of all your data. From iit you can back up, retrieve and secure your files. Our drive is one of

the smallest on the market — you can easily fit it in your back pocket or bag — and it comes with Drive Lock, giving users the peace of mind that their data is protected from unauthorised access or theft through password protection and 256-bit hardware-based encryption. And when users connect the product to their PC, the illuminated capacity gauge will show how much space is available on their drive. CHANNEL INCENTIVES OR OFFERS At Western Digital, we have a VIR programme that is offered to select small business partners and retail outlets selling external drives. These partners will need to qualify for the programme under certain criteria established by Western Digital. In addition, we offer special rebates, marketing funds and regular training on sales, products and industry trends to our partners. There are opportunities for up-selling and crossselling products, as well as bundles, such as combining WD TV Live together with a My Passport Elite.

(31) BY ANDREW SEYMOUR

// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010 _www.itp.net_

GIVING THE PITCH: DAVID GRANT, MIDDLE EAST CHANNEL MANAGER TARGET MARKET Consumers, home workers and anybody who needs to back up valuable digital content.

BRAND: Hitachi GST PRODUCT: LifeStudio Mobile Plus RRP: Lifestudio Mobile Plus will retail at between AED440 and AED520 (US$120 and US$140) depending on capacity MARGIN:“LifeStudio continues to leverage the innovation and R&D strength of Hitachi to offer enhanced features. As such, the channel can gain more margin opportunity” DISTRIBUTORS: Almasa, Asbis, Avnet, Logicom, Trinity Electronics

STAND-OUT FEATURES Hitachi is the first hard drive manufacturer to address consumers’ needs around content organisation and navigation, taking it from a simple external storage and back-up device to an interactive experience. The new frontier for personal storage is the software and this is just the beginning for LifeStudio. LifeStudio is an evolving platform where we will continue to leverage the innovation and R&D strength of Hitachi to offer new and enhanced features to our customers. CHANNEL INCENTIVES OR OFFERS None at the moment. It’s a new and

innovative product line that we feel consumers will embrace, making it attractive for partners to sell. The LifeStudio line takes external storage beyond a ‘hard drive in a box’. Innovations within the hard drive category have traditionally come with design changes, increases in gigabytes and decreases in prices. The tools that consumers currently use to store and find their digital content are basic hard drives that provide little to help consumers organise and locate their data. Additionally, much of what consumers value from a contentperspective is online and socialised on dozens of sites. The LifeStudio external drive delivers a stunning 3D wall that pulls content in from your computer, any USB device that is connected to your computer or your social media outlets, and organises it into one view.

GIVING THE PITCH: MADHAV NARAYAN, GENERAL MANAGER OF IT TARGET MARKET The G2 is an eco-friendly range of drives with low power consumption and low acoustics. They are simple and durable, making them attractive to females and males, students and professionals. They also target consumers who do not wish to see their hard disk drives scratched or left with finger marks. BRAND: Samsung PRODUCT: G2 portable hard drive MARGIN: The G2 is available from AED199 to AED399 (US$55 to US$110) DISTRIBUTORS: Eros Electrical, Metra (UAE); Intertec Group (Qatar); Al Seeb Technical Est. (Oman); Square Distribution Company (Kuwait); Bin Hindi Informatics (Bahrain)

STAND-OUT FEATURES The eco-friendly G2 is simple and stylish, yet durable and highly portable. Halogen-free, and with a low noise and energy consumption, the G2 comes in four uniquely created colour schemes and ranges in capacity from 250GB to 640GB. The Samsung G2 is equipped with a number of user-friendly features, such as a capacity gauge to see how much storage space is remaining and the amount of space which is dedicated

to back-up. The hard disk also comes with a variety of fast, secure connections. USB 2.0, the industry standard, can transfer data at a maximum rate of 480 Mb/s. With a physical weight of just 0.138kgs, the G2 offers the ultimate in portability. CHANNEL INCENTIVES OR OFFERS The Partner Relationship Management (PRM) programme has been introduced to enhance channel loyalty and sales. From time to time we participate in the marketing calendars of our strategic Middle East retail partners with special offers. Samsung has been manufacturing drives since 1988 and consumers can expect reliable, innovative products. Due to consistent but controlled supply — and hence less channel inventory — Samsung also offers sustained profitability for the channel.

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GIVING THE PITCH: PRASAD RAMCHANDRAN, CHANNEL DEVELOPMENT MANAGER MEEA & TAN

BRAND: Imation PRODUCT: Apollo Gen 2 RRP: Between AED188 and AED425 D425 (US$50and US$115) depending on capacityy MARGIN: “This segment is dynamic in nature, so the price and margins are volatile. However, it is a profitable category for all our channel partners and retailers” DISTRIBUTORS: Despec, Redington (Regional); Al Falak, Jarir (KSA); National Trading House (Bahrain); ISS (Jordan)

TARGET MARKET Given the storage explosion that is taking place across the globe, portable hard drives are an essential tool for all households to store data, videos and photos. With mobility and portability, this holds good for the professional segment as well. The Apollo Gen 2 model is the most recent addition to m our 2.5-inch category and it is a o ccontinuation of our Apollo series of portable hard drives. We currently p offer three capacities in this class: o 3320GB, 500GB and 640GB. STAND-OUT FEATURES S Unlike other entry-level products U ccurrently available in the market, the Apollo Gen 2 comes with Total Media A Back-Up software and a carry case for B free. Furthermore, it has an ultra slim fr

design, sleek styling and weighs around 0.16kgs. It is USB 2.0-powered and requires no external power supply. CHANNEL INCENTIVES OR OFFERS This segment of the hard drive market is dynamic in nature and we keep offering special promotions to the retail and reseller channels accordingly. We also run a quarterly channel programme for our reseller partners. Imation has more than 50 years of legacy in storage and is a trusted brand among consumers. In this class it differs itself through a lot of additional features, like the Total Back-Up software, along with quality and performance. This provides our resellers and retailers with an extra edge to cater to consumers, who get good value for their dollar.

GIVING THE PITCH: JASEM AL ROOMI, DIRECTOR

BRAND: Buffalo PRODUCT: MiniStation HD-PXT RRP: The 1TBBuffalo MiniStation PXT series retails at AED699 (US$190) MARGIN: “Resellers can maintain a healthy margin due to the value added features of this product” DISTRIBUTORS: King Computers (UAE), Computer Age (KSA), AdvanTec (Kuwait)

TARGET MARKET Buffalo’s MiniStation USB hard drive offers a compact, lightweight and portable storage solution for all customers. It securely protects data from prying eyes through hardware encryption and has excellent shock protection against those accidental knocks. The value added features in this product, such as the hardware encryption and shock resistant chassis, make it suitable for both business users as well as consumers. STAND-OUT FEATURES The Buffalo MiniStation HD-PXT has an award-winning shock resistant chassis and the flat, wrap-around cable management system integrated into the body means you’ll never lose the cable again. The MiniStation HD-PXT comes complete with the Buffalo Tools suite of complimentary software that offers

enhancements such as TurboPC and Turbo Copy, which increase file transfer and copy performance twice as fast compared to standard USB2.0 portable hard drives. Buffalo Backup software also offers easy data back-up and restore solutions. CHANNEL INCENTIVES OR OFFERS The main advantage that both retailers and resellers gain from carrying Buffalo is that it adds to their total sales in the category, since the features, performance and quality of the product make Buffalo very unique, which consequently attracts customers. Moreover, Middle East resellers that are focused on the export market need not worry about RMAs since the failure ratio of this product is way below the industry average, primarily due to the fact that it has been designed and assembled in Japan.

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VERDICT ON VENDORS Vendors are fond of talking up the level of support and assistance they provide to the Middle East channel. But how much of what they say is exaggerated and how much is true? Who better to ask than the partners themselves...

> Tarun Nandi, Bluebell Computers

Channel Middle East spoke to the following resellers about their expectation of vendors: - Nayagam Pillai, CEO at Seven Seas, a Dubaibased systems integrator focusing on enterprise infrastructure, storage, security and software. - Gigi George, business unit head at Alpha Data, an Abu Dhabi-based enterprise VAR specialising in infrastructure, business software and services.

- Anil Gupta, managing director at StoreTech, a UAE-based reseller specialising in storage, back-up and recovery solutions. - Albert Raj, director at Fujisoft, a Dubai-based VAR with a background in providing networking, telecoms and turnkey office solutions. - Khaldoun Borini, general manager at Integrated Standard Solutions (ISS), a Jordan-based HP and

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Microsoft reseller that also sells accessories, memory and its own-brand HR software. - Abdulrahman Al-Kayali, executive director at Fourth Dimension, a KSA Intel integrator that also focuses on Cisco, Dell and HP solutions. - Tarun Nandi, owner and manager of Bluebell Computers, an HP, Canon and Samsung reseller specialising in hardware and printing products.

> Khaldoun Borini, ISS

Who do you receive the most overall support from: vendors or distributors? And which one is more important to your business and why? GIGI GEORGE: As one of the key UAE system integrators specialising in enterprise level solutions, we work with both vendors and distributors. Depending on the solution, we work with either the distributor or the vendor to ensure that our clients get the best value in terms of technology, price, support and ongoing SLA. When it comes to software solutions, it is often a better option to work directly with the vendor. However, with hardware, more often than not, it is easier to work with the regional distributors since they have facilities like faster RMA and related logistical and technical support at a local level. KHALDOUN BORINI: Vendors are the most important for our business in terms of training, marketing and technical support. Distributors are the most important in terms of financing and logistics. NAYAGAM PILLAI: If you look at the overall support which we are receiving from vendors and distributors then vendors are definitely not as forthcoming.

> Gigi George, Alpha Data

Although vendors say they know everything, they only do what I call superficial adjustments. At the end of the day, policies and procedures are dictated from some head office in Europe or the US There is pressure on distributors from vendors to meet certain deadlines, so they provide a greater degree of flexibility and support on certain terms and conditions. As a buyer, I am comfortable dealing with distributors as long as I have a very clear-cut understanding that they are purely into the indirect business and there is a transparency and clarity on that front. Distributors are more localised and know the cchallenges. Although vendors say they know everything, they only do what I call superficial adjustments. At the end of the day, policies and procedures are dictated from some head office in Europe or the US.

ALBERT RAJ: We receive the most overall support from vendors. Distributors are not bothered about support at all. They are just moving boxes. If we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t receive support then we will lose our customers.

ANIL GUP GUPTA: Vendors are logically expected to provide the much-desired and mandatory training and solutions implementation. product tra But few try to fulfill these obligations and when they do they line up one after another for period of time and then sleep for a specific p months with virtually no contact. Many many mont distributors have started their own direct product-selling sister companies, which sit product-sel next door tto their channel sales teams. Their direct-selling colleagues conveniently get all direct-sellin the hard-e hard-earned customer contact details from the chan channel and then they up-sell or sell additional addition products directly, enjoying the special prices for products that distributors sell in the channel. Considering all this, the vvendor is a better alternative.

TARUN NANDI: The most overall support comes from the distributors, so they are the most important to our business. The best distributors are the ones that can provide product availability and give us good pricing information for the current period and the future, as well as provide information about the events they are planning or what they are negotiating with the vendors. The commitment and loyalty from a strong distributor is very important. That is one of the reasons why the market misses Tech Data â&#x20AC;&#x201D; because of the support it provided. Today it concerns us if the vendors are not supporting the distributors. Some of the distributors in the market have supported us to grow, so if something happens to them then it will be a loss to us.

ABDULRAHMAN AL-KAYALI: Most of the support comes from vendors. However, this can bring about problems if a vendor breaks their promises, as there is nothing you can do. The support does vary from vendor to vendor, and depends on the kind of programmes they offer to resellers. Distributors, on the other hand, are more like box movers.

(37) BY ANDREW SEYMOUR

// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010 _www.itp.net_

Which vendor that you partner with on a regular basis is the best to deal with and why?

KHALDOUN BORINI: HP, because of their unique marketing support and their engagement with the end-users. Training is also a plus when working with them. ABDULRAHMAN AL-KAYALI: Intel, as it offers clear programmes which help resellers to improve their business. I’m not saying Intel is perfect, but it is the best. TARUN NANDI: For me, it is HP. We have been doing business with HP for so many years and we are a Preferred Partner. It is the combination of their massive product range and their coverage and promotions. They are the best in promotions and rebate structures. NAYAGAM PILLAI: It is a very difficult question to answer when you deal with 25 to 28 brands. We see that everybody is more or less on the same page, but over the last six or seven months from a channel perspective Microsoft has definitely been trying to accommodate the local challenges and work on being transparent and channel friendly. On the compute side of the business I would rate IBM better than HP because HP has stripped down its whole SPO structure. They don’t have a channel face now, so if I want to interact with each business unit I need to talk to a different person. The other thing we are seeing is that HP is going after certain accounts that they want under their portfolio directly and they are also eating into the service business of the systems integrators. IBM is more channelfriendly, it is very focused, there is a lot of price protection, and it wants the channel to take the lead. However, its challenges are different because I think it has still not broken loose on the GBM side. To a large extent it is still GBM-oriented. GIGI GEORGE: We are very privileged to have strong partnerships with our vendors and could not, in all honesty, single out one vendor. However, since a large majority of our projects

> Anil Gupta, StoreTech

ALBERT RAJ: Cisco. Everything is systematic with them. The support process, rebate structure and pricing structure is all in place with the right focus.

are in the ELV sector, we work a lot closer with vendors in this sector, including Polycom, Symon and Bosch. What is the one thing that most irritates or frustrates you about the vendors you work with? ABDULRAHMAN AL-KAYALI: Playing with the rebate programmes. KHALDOUN BORINI: Changing the policies and expanding horizontally across many partners. I’m not saying vendors should go back to the model of just having one partner, but there should at least be a limit. GIGI GEORGE: One of the advantages of working in niche segments is that while we offer bespoke solutions, we quite often partner with smaller, specialised vendors that work remotely in this region and sometimes this can pose a logistical and — occasionally — an educational challenge. NAYAGAM PILLAI: The biggest frustration comes every time there is a change of people because the person takes a lot of time to settle into the position they are employed for. And the price paid for the mistakes they make and that learning curve comes at the expense of the margin of the channel. A new guy comes in and has his own ideas, and that leads to the second problem, which is a change of policies,

procedures or go-to-market model. You find that these principals keep changing their structure every six or 12 months — every time there is a change of face — and it is the single most frustrating thing about them. ANIL GUPTA: A lack of commitment towards the channel’s interests. Vendors wish to eat their bread with both sides buttered. TARUN NANDI: It is frustrating when vendors are sitting here and they get a complaint and don’t look for any solutions. I will give you a simple example: APC. There are so many duplicate APCs in the market. People at APC know w about it but they don’t do o anything. Another thing g is the grey market. APC C knows that grey marketing is there — the prices are cheap heap — so they should hould come in the market and support the reseller. But if they don’t do it then the e reseller loses their trust. ust. With the grey y market or duplicates > Nayagam Pillai, Seven Seas

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ALBERT RAJ: RMA. Normally all the products purchased from distributors should have a one-year warranty from the date of our sale to the end-customer. But distributors give a one-year warranty from their purchase date, when they actually get 15-month warranties from the vendors. What steps could the vendors that you work with take in order to make your business better? GIGI GEORGE: There are several important steps that vendors need to take care of. The main one is better communications, especially during the process of bidding, implementing and supporting large technology projects. This includes transparency in the vendor’s supply chain model so that we can plan better in terms of delivery schedules. Of course, other support systems like technical training and marketing collateral help as well. KHALDOUN BORINI: Ensure that assigning new partners is based on the quality of the performance, not on closing a specific deal during a specific quarter. A better understanding of local markets and local cultures is also needed. This specifically applies to marketing support. In many cases, what applies in the countries that vendors are from doesn’t necessarily apply to ours. NAYAGAM PILLAI: I think the single most important thing for the vendor and the reseller community is that the business model is

transparent. For instance, we are not demanding that they support us, but if we have put in the effort and it is early in the sales cycle then we need protection, and that all boils down to transparency. We don’t want complicated processes and we don’t want the cost of doing business to be high. Transparency is something that lacks in channel management across the board. Every individual here has their eye set on a position in Europe or the US, to be very frank with you. They end up using this opportunity to meet their quotas and move onto the next level. ANIL GUPTA: They should stop being greedy and enrolling every channel company that comes their way just to maximise reach in the fastest possible way. They need to honour past close business relationships rather than ignoring existing partners’ investments in terms of getting the people trained and opening up the customer base. In the majority of cases, it is the reseller that sells the vendor’s solution and the vendor doesn’t have any role to play in these deals except that they are known in the market. I would classify these as our customers — in no way can they be claimed as the vendor’s. The majority of vendors have lost the basic principles of what business though the channel actually means. ABDULRAHMAN AL-KAYALI: Be honest, give space to their major accounts to generate more profit and focus on the quality of business rather than the volume of business. TARUN NANDI: The formula for any business across the world is 80-20. That means 20% of your customers generate 80% of your business. That formula was there 50 years ago

10 QUALITIES RESELLERS LOOK FOR IN A NEW VENDOR PARTNER 10. Reliability of the product and whether it fits their existing portfolio without causing conflict 9. Strength of the vendor’s brand 8. Strength of the vendor’s local team 7. Clearness of the vendor’s roadmap for the region and the availability of local programmes 6. Size and competitiveness of the vendor’s existing channel base in the region 5. Ease of doing business with the vendor and its perceived transparency 4. Ability to provide financing support to the channel 3. Vendor’s pricing structure and track record of channel support policies 2. Level of local technical training, marketing collateral and sales support 1. Level of revenue and margin that is shared with partner, including post-sales activities

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> Albert Raj, Fujisoft

you have got to support the resellers. Yesterday I was fighting with a distributor of Canon because there’s a lot of grey.

The commitment and loyalty from a strong distributor is very important. That is one of the reasons why the market still misses Tech Data and it still exists today, so vendors have got to realise that they can increase their customer base but they have to support those 20% of customers which have been loyal to them. We need marketing, we need incentives, we need volume discounts and we need them to stop grey marketing. They should also have a universal pricing structure. It should not be the case that we have a price, Europe has a price and the Far East has a price. Product allocation is also an issue. Any new product goes to Europe and the US first. We are always the last to get it. HP has printers with 95% allocation to the US and Europe, and 5% here. Take a printer like the 5550dtn, for example, which is a common entry-level laser colour printer. To get this product you have to beg the distributor for allocation! ALBERT RAJ: They should have proper sales, pre-sales and technical teams to support all resellers and end-customers before they start selling. Secondly, they should meet up with resellers regularly, understand their problems and try to resolve them. „

SMART MONEY The Middle East smartphone landscape might have been rocked by the threats of some countries to block the very features — amid security concerns — that have driven rapid Blackberry adoption across the region, but the channel will be hoping that this is just a blip for a market that has enjoyed an explosive growth rate.

ife in the Middle East smartphone channel has suddenly got a whole lot more interesting just recently. At the time of writing, the Blackberry’s Canadian manufacturer RIM is embroiled in sensitive negotiations — and, presumably, round-the-clock development on its encryption technology — with several governments in the Gulf. So far, it has achieved a temporary stay of execution for its data services in Saudi Arabia, while discussions continue apace with the UAE ahead of an October deadline, and a weather eye is kept on Lebanon, which is also currently reviewing security concerns.

L

Not surprisingly amid so much tact and diplomacy, neither RIM nor its smartphone competitors are saying much about the situation in public at the moment. The channel, too, is being circumspect. Nobody wants to jeopardise a market that has been on such a clear upward curve and seemed to chime so perfectly with evolving demand for mobile services in the region. “Smartphones have been a driver of sales for us in the last 18 months and have been one of our fastest growing categories,” says Ashish Panjabi, chief operating officer at retailer Jacky’s Electronics. Panjabi says the smartphone category is that rarity: a market that

(43) BY PIERS FORD

// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010 _www.itp.net_

> Sameer Anjaria, Nokia

has shown double-digit growth. “For example, during GITEX Shopper last year, we ran a promotion on Blackberry smartphones where we yielded a growth rate of over 100% from the previous year to that point that we were inundated for weeks after the event with trying to get everyone’s service activated,” he says. “Smartphones today play an integral part of any promotion or event we do as they not only bring average selling prices up in the mobile telecommunications segment in general but also help us develop a longer-term relationship with our customers — smartphones tend to have a shelf life of 12 to 24 months before we see them getting replaced.” Haresh Thawani, head of telecom at another retailer, Jumbo Electronics (main picture), tells a similar story. He says the upward trend is down to better pricing and lower rates for data packages. “For us, the smartphone category has emerged as the frontrunner in terms of value and volume sales,” he comments. “The category holds immense importance for us and as a result we now have a dedicated area for smartphones across our stores. Visibility for the segment is significantly higher than for others,” adds Thawani. The implications of blocked Blackberry services at such a crucial stage in the market’s evolution are clear. When interactive agency Omnia Connect recently conducted a survey on the mobile internet habits of UAE consumers, it revealed huge potential demand for mobile content and services — although customers are frustrated by a lack of mobileoptimised web sites and slow connection speeds. In other words, there is everything to play for, for vendors and the channel alike. “We have seen demand for phones offering e-mail, web browsing and social networking increase dramatically,” says Nikitas Glykas, regional director South Eastern Europe and the Middle East at smartphone vendor HTC. “HTC designs phones by observing the way people live and communicate, and then

experimenting with design and technology to find the right mix for different consumers. This is why we have introduced phones in the Middle East that cater to specific regional needs. The momentum behind mobile internet trends enjoys strong support from Middle Eastern consumers. Another key trend that influences them is the demand for Arabic applications and content — which is why we provide applications like Holy Quran, Prayer Times, Dictionary (English to Arabic and vice versa) and Hijri Calendar on our phones.”

The smartphone category has emerged as the frontrunner in terms of value and volume sales — it is now of immense importance to us Closer collaboration between vendors and operators, particularly on the data package front, have played a crucial role in firing up competition and engaging the channel in generating value-added sales. Retailers like Jacky’s Electronics and Jumbo Electronics typically carry comprehensive smartphone lines from all the major vendors — Blackberry, Apple, HTC, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG and Acer. According to Thawani at Jumbo, the days are long gone when only Apple and Blackberry provided user packages. With most vendors now offering sophisticated data

packages, they have all become a viable and lucrative proposition for the channel. “Selling a smartphone as compared to a normal mobile device takes more effort,” he says. “Hence the vendors provide better margins to retailers to keep them motivated towards this growing category.” Ashish Panjabi at Jacky’s Electronics says that in the case of Blackberry and Apple, it works very closely with the country’s telecommunications providers, Du and Etisalat, to promote not only the sales of these devices but also the activation of the data packages that go along with them. “This requires more work than just selling a box, as we need to explain service packages and help customers activate the package that best suits their requirement,” he explains. “For this, we need to work very closely with both telecom providers to ensure that our staff are fully trained to help customers in the entire process. With Du, for example, we have dedicated terminals in all our retail outlets where we can register new customers directly onto their system.” Panjabi says the retailer works directly with other vendors to ensure sales advisers receive training and understand each smartphone’s position in the customer’s device ecosystem. “Unlike conventional mobile phones, most vendors have realised that smartphones are not simple off-the-shelf sales and require more engagement — which is what we’ve been working to provide,” he comments.

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> Nikitas Glykas, HTC

With quality of customer service and retailer expertise increasingly important in such a competitive market, vendors are keen to demonstrate their commitment to the channel in the smartphone segment. “We focus on providing a great consumer experience by highlighting the various solutions and applications that the consumer can use on the smartphones,” says Sameer Anjaria, business development manager for Nokia’s MEA sales operations. “Some time back, the focus would have been on device features, but now it is all about the solutions and how these can answer a need to bring value to consumers. The device is now more the enabler of this experience. We believe in a holistic approach towards offering

enablers to the channel. While the financial incentives are important and are offered in line with our strong brand presence, our approach is also on various other enablers like ‘experience stands’ in key retail outlets, staff training, marketing material and building our care network for a strong after-sales support.”

CONVERGED DEVICE SALES DEFY THE DOWNTURN Vendors of converged mobile devices shipped a total of 63 million units around the globe in the second quarter of 2010, compared to 42 million units in the same period last year. The haul means that more than 118 million smartphones were sold in the first half of this year alone, according to IDC. The research house attributed much of the market growth to strong uptake of Android-based devices. Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst at IDC, expects the global smartphone market to continue its ascent this year, particularly given the anticipated launch of several refreshed operating systems. “Both BlackBerry and Symbian^3 are poised with fresh, yet familiar experiences while Windows Phone 7 promises a complete break from previous versions,” he says. “All these are expected to launch in the second half of 2010, and their reception among end-users will indicate their future in this fast-growing segment of the market for 2011 and beyond.”

Top Five Smartphone Vendors, Q2 2010 (Units in Millions)

Source: IDC

Vendor

2Q10 Shipment Volumes

2Q10 Market Share

2Q09 Shipment 2Q09 Market Volumes Share

2Q10/2Q09 Change

1. Nokia

24.0

38.1%

16.9

42.0%

40.3%

2. Research In Motion

11.2

17.8%

8.0

19.1%

40.0%

3. Apple

8.4

13.3%

5.2

12.4%

61.5%

4. HTC

4.8

7.6%

2.1

5.0%

128.6%

5. Samsung

3.0

4.8%

1.1

2.6%

172.7%

Others

11.6

18.4%

8.6

20.5%

34.9%

Total

63.0

100.0%

41.9

100.0%

50.4%

HTC’s Glykas says providing a wide range of products that reflect trends and expectations is key to encouraging the channel’s interest, because it helps them to define their device portfolio with the right product mix. “As you would expect, new, state-of-the-art and high-performing devices are certain to excite the channel, and the buzz that these products create in the market helps them translate the consumer interest into sales,” he says. “HTC firmly believes that every individual is different and we cannot adopt a one-size-fits-all strategy, as is reflected in our broad handset portfolio that has a device for everyone. Accordingly, we offer devices with Windows Mobile, Android and Brew MP operating systems — an approach which has been appreciated by our customers and channel partners alike.” Ashish Panjabi says HTC’s Desire and Legend, together with Samsung’s Galaxy S, will be the smartphones to watch during the next 12 months, and he expects them to do well in the UAE. Nokia’s N8 (coming this month) and its plans to adopt the MeeGo OS, will give it a competitive resurgence in the runup to GITEX Shopper. HP, too, will be a vendor to watch as it makes another attempt to storm the region’s smartphone defences. Panjabi believes that success in the year ahead will all be about apps, and that enterprise apps could prove to be where the future lies for Microsoft and HP — perhaps over and above any ambitions they retain for the device market itself.

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So in a market that has been dominated by the Blackberry — the first devices to offer a fully integrated data solution via both telecom providers in the UAE — and Apple (in spite of the late launch of its iPhones in the region, which meant early adopters bypassed official providers for parallel suppliers), other vendors could have a golden window of opportunity. A

stumble for the Blackberry wouldn’t necessarily be bad news for everybody else. “The rumour that Apple is opening a regional office will mean more targeted marketing, we hope, and better support overall for Apple users,” says Panjabi. But at the same time, he believes that if the UAE ban on Google’s market for Android Apps is lifted,

(48) // CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010 _www.itp.net_

many users will turn to Android devices as viable Blackberry and Apple alternatives. “Smartphones today are about making a statement,” he says. “At times, this is a professional statement when you come into a meeting and you put your Blackberry down on the table, or a fashion statement when you go to a dinner party and wave your iPhone 4 around. At the end of the day, smartphones do carry a high aspirational value in the minds of most consumers, and this is what we, as retailers, aspire to create in the customer’s mind when they walk into the store.” Whatever the outcome of the Blackberry talks, it seems that the smartphone market’s growth prospects still look pretty strong. „

// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

_www.itp.net_

FACT FILE (51) // THE MARKET BY NUMBERS

TWO-HORSE RACE Intel and AMD pull clear of Nvidia during Q2

.... .. ...

CPU heavyweights AMD and Intel were the big winners in the global PC graphics sector during the second quarter, as both gained market share at the expense of rival Nvidia. Overall graphics chip shipments were up 4% from the first quarter of the year, while desktop discrete GPUs fell 21%, according to the latest data from Jon Peddie Research. The fall in desktop-based units was reflective of the huge growth in notebooks. On a half-year basis, meanwhile, shipments climbed an impressive 39% on the same period last year. Intel maintained its leadership position during the quarter as it benefitted from the success of its Clarkdale processor range, as well as continued Atom sales for netbooks and strong notebook growth. Its nemesis AMD led the market in terms of gains made, however, after booking the largest increase in its history for both discrete and integrated desktop products. AMD’s progress will come as no surprise to those who have followed the vendor’s financial results. According to Jon Peddie Research, the company reported that revenue from its graphics segment increased 8% sequentially and 87% year-on-year to US$440m during the second quarter. For the record, Intel reported “revenue from client chipset and other” of US$1.68 billion for the equivalent period. While the two CPU heavyweights had plenty of reason to celebrate, the same could not be said of Nvidia. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the company suffered double-digit losses in every segment except notebook integrated, where it showed a 10% improvement in unit shipments. Total sales for the three-month period that closed at the end of July were estimated at between US$800m and US$$820m compared with the projection of US$950m to US$970m given in May. The revenue shortfall occurred primarily in the consumer GPU business, resulting from increased memory costs and economic weakness in Europe and China. The increased solution cost of discrete GPUs led to a greater-than-expected shift to lower-priced GPUs and PCs with integrated graphics. Jon Peddie says that a new category — Processor Graphics or ‘PG’ — continues to gain pace. With the advent of new CPUs with integrated or embedded graphics, it predicts that the market will see the rapid decline in deliveries for traditional chipset graphics or integrated graphics processors (IGPs).

INTEL RETAINS MARKET CROWN CPU giant extends its lead in the graphics card sector

_WORLDWIDE GRAPHICS CHIP MARKET BY VENDOR UNIT SHIPMENTS DURING Q2 2010 Intel 55%

AMD 24%

Nvidia 20%

VIA/S3 1%

SOURCE: Jon Peddie Research

RIVALS POUNCE AS NVIDIA SLIPS Intel and AMD take advantage of rival’s slump in form

_WORLDWIDE GRAPHICS CHIP MARKET BY VENDOR SHIPMENT GROWTH DURING Q2 2010

+33%

+8% -32%

Intel

AMD

-5%

Nvidia

VIA/S3 SOURCE: Jon Peddie Research

>>

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// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

_www.itp.net_

PEOPLE (53) // APPOINTMENTS AND AWARDS

::::

TRINITY TARGETS MEA EXPANSION Incoming sales and marketing chief keen to facilitate vendor and reseller relationships

C

omponents and electronics distributor Trinity Middle East has appointed Anwar Al Atyani as its new sales and marketing director for the Middle East region. Al Atyani is a veteran of the regional channel business having served in the IT market for more than two decades. He has worked in a series of roles that have seen him deal with brands such as Asus, Canon, Microsoft and Sharp in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the UAE. He latterly served as business development manager at Microtop Computer, which builds its own range of PC products as well as distributing a variety of components and peripherals brands. Al Atyani says his main objective is to help Trinity expand its business in the Middle East and Africa by identifying new

channels and enlarging its sub-distribution network. He will also explore new vendor opportunities as the company looks to ensure it has a range of products to suit its customers’ needs. “Our vision is to extend the size of the market we serve in the Middle East and Africa region, open new channels and develop relationships with new distributors through our experienced area sales managers,” he said. “We will support our partners to ensure their success.” Trinity has been in the IT business for over 15 years and specialises in serving the Russian and CIS markets in addition to the Middle East. It offers optical storage devices, hard drives, motherboards, monitors and servers from brands such as Asus, BenQ, Gigabyte, Hitachi, LG, Samsung, Seagate and Sony.

COMGUARD AT THE DOUBLE

D

istributor Comguard has announced that it recently

scooped a brace of awards from Kasperky for the progress it has made in developing the vendor’s business in the region. Dubai-based Comguard landed the ‘EEMEA Enterprise Project of the Year’ and ‘EEMEA Partner Excellence of the Year’. Although it did not specify Al Atyani says Trinity is looking to step up its engagement with resellers in a bid to stand out from the competition, which includes providing effective after-sales services. “Trinity works closely with the channel and follows up with strong support to ensure the best possible business outcome for all customers. My plan is to visit partners and ensure that we are meeting their needs and providing the best support for the channel,” he said.

Anwar Al Atyani will look to identify new sales channels for Trinity

details of the project that it won the enterprise award for, Mohammad Mobasseri, Comguard’s senior VP, said Kaspersky had honoured it for the way the deal was executed. “Comguard provided the desired security solution for complex project scenarios, while recommending the best suited product,” he said. “The technical strength that the product team locally provided enabled us to execute this project with professional ease. With a range of value addition initiatives, like product training, road shows, market

FRESH BLOOD AT FUJITSU Rolf Schwirz quits post at SAP to take over from Kai Flore as CEO of infrastructure and services vendor

I

nfrastructure hardware vendor Fujitsu Technology Solutions has named Rolf Schwirz as its new CEO. Schwirz joins the company from SAP, where he was heading the software firm’s ‘mature markets’ business in EMEA. His switch to a hardware-centric company comes after an extensive period of working in the software market. Prior to his time at SAP, Schwirz spent 12 years in various

roles at Oracle, including stints as sales chief of its German operation and senior VP for western continental Europe. Schwirz will report directly to Richard Christou, corporate senior executive VP at Fujitsu Limited. Christou has been overseeing affairs since the departure of former CEO, Kai Flore, back in June. “I believe Rolf has the breadth of experience in both

>>

product and services to bring real added value and leadership to Fujitsu,” said Christou in a statement announcing Schwirz’s arrival at the company. The company says that Schwirz will take up his new position by November at the latest. Fujitsu employs more than 13,000 people around the globe and continues to heavily push its ‘Dynamic Infrastructures’ approach. The strategy is built on its ability to offer PC and storage hardware, as well as data centre solutions and managed services.

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strategies and ad campaigns, the channel has grown significantly across the region.” Comguard also works with security firms such as ArcSight, Borderware and Cyberoam.

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// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

_www.itp.net_

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS (55) // RETAIL CHANNEL NEWS

HANDSET TRADE-IN SCHEME Technocare claims new programme will benefit vendors and the channel

T

elecoms specialist Technocare has launched a new web-based service that it claims will provide an easy platform for mobile phone users to trade in old handsets. The Dubai-based outfit, which is part of the Koohiji Group of Companies, says the UAE-wide ‘foneswap programme’ will also benefit channel players that wish to get involved in the service. Technocare lists a number of handsets on its website to provide customers with easy value assessment of phones depending on the model and its working condition. Payment is made within 48 hours, with options that include direct to bank credit, cash collection from any UAE Exchange outlet or vouchers from retail stores. Customers can take their phones to more than 100

participating retailers in the UAE or use Technocare’s free home collection service managed by FedEx. The company claims that vendors and retailers can utilise the initiative for marketing initiatives, such as encouraging customers to upgrade their phones in return for rebates on other product purchases. Pramod Kattel, general manager at 150-strong Technocare, says that having focused on reverse logistics and customer care activities for the past decade, the launch of the foneswap programme enables the company to offer complete life-cycle management, right the way from warranty management to end-of-life recycling. “The replacement and upgrade market in the UAE is one of the highest in the world with industry

estimates suggesting figures of over two million handsets a year,” he said. “Adding the foneswap programme to our business portfolio now makes it possible to interact directly with the customer through the web program.” Technocare insists foneswap is “one of the most cost-beneficial trade-in programmes” as it offers up to AED400 (US$110) for a working handset that could be as old as three years which is brought in without add-ons such as charger, original box or manual. The used handset trading business is becoming extremely competitive. Earlier this year, electronics retailer Emax said it was offering cash to mobile phone users who recycled their old handsets at special collection points within its stores. It claimed the programme was the

first of its kind in the region, with the company willing to accept any mobile phone — in working or nonworking condition — and pay customers instant cash in return, as well as arrange for the unit to be recycled. Users can access a website to check the possible value of their old mobile phones.

The ongoing rise in handset sales is creating a huge replacement market

121,000 square foot facility can train up to 175 people at

LG SPENDS $15M ON TRAINING HUB

full capacity and is projected to train 3,000 to 5,000 people

New facility unveiled in Jebel Ali

E

lectronics vendor LG has opened a new US$15m training centre in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone. The

a year. It is the company’s second operational opening this year, following that of its regional office in the UAE in May. The company said the new Dubai learning centre was in recognition of the importance LG places on the Middle East market. “The LG MEA Learning Centre is a major long-term investment into elevating the knowledge and skill sets of LG employees and our partners across the Middle East and Africa,” commented KW Kim, CEO of LG MEA. LG has had an office in the Middle East for more than two decades and now employs 1,900 people across the region.

>>

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// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

_www.itp.net_

PRODUCTS (57) // MARGIN-MAKING OPPORTUNITIES

[] CORDLESS PHONES

[] SMARTPHONES

THE MAGIC TOUCH

MINIATURE MARVEL

Acer introduces super-slim smartphone device

Gigaset pins market hopes on new compact device

Smartphone users who wish to combine personal and professional life in a single device need look no further than the neoTouch P300, according to its manufacturer Acer. The super-slim handset, which features a 3.2-inch WQ WQVGA touch screen and a full QWER QWERTY keyboard, offers both 3G+ and a WiFi connectivity. It comes w with Internet Explorer 6 Mobile with w Flash support, making it easy for users to enjoy high-quality hig browsing and media vviewing. The neoTouch P300 provides back-up and p automatic automa wireless, as well as web-based synchronisation web-b with Acer’s range of A netbooks and notebooks. netbo

Small and sleek is how Gigaset Communications describes its Siemens Gigaset SL400A, the tiniest cordless phone it has built to date. The device is packed with a raft of features, including a colour display, hands-free operation and Bluetooth and Mini-USB interfaces. “This new p phone is the result of extensive ve research integrated with years of accumulated experience in producing top quality cordless phones,” said Hassan Palandoken, VP sales MEA and India at Gigaset. _WEBSITE: www.gigaset.com

_WEBSITE: www.acer.com _WEBS

ENVY OF THE MARKET PC heavyweight confirms regional release of new laptop HP has launched its new luxury ENVY notebook in the Middle East, as it bids to bolster its position at the top of the regional PC charts. Featuring AT Mobile Radeon discrete graphics for gaming, videos and 3D images, the Intel-powered device comes with a slot-loading optical drive and a low-light HD webcam. The 14.5-inch display, meanwhile, is made with special protective glass. “When creating the new ENVY we focused on designing a premium experience to satisfy the most demanding customers,” insisted Salim Ziade, general manager of HP’s Personal Systems Group. The notebook has just been launched at a starting price of AED5,999 (US$1,630).

NOTEBOOKS

[]

[] NOTEBOOKS

_WEBSITE: www.hp.com

BACK OF THE NET Vendor scores with latest mini-mobile PC model The success of the netbook PC market is forcing laptop makers to come up with new models to tempt consumers and LG is hoping its X140 device will do just that. Running on Windows 7 Starter OS, the 10.1-inch netbook, which costs AED1,799 (US$490), packs a 1.83GHz Intel Atom processor, a 2GB memory and a 320GB SATA hard drive. It also features LG’s Smart POP connectivity application. “LG is now focusing strongly on how to t make consumers feel at ea ease ase while using netbooks, and to this end, we will continue to invest our products with the best consumer-oriented features and LG’s smartest stt software,” said HS Paik, president of LG Gulf. _WEBSITE: www.lge.com.ae a ae

>>

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// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

_www.itp.net_

EXPERT’S VIEW (59) // TOP TIPS FROM MASTERS OF THE CHANNEL

MAKING SENSE OF INTEL’S SHOCK MOVE FOR MCAFEE Intel is ponying up US$7.7 billion to take over antivirus software vendor McAfee. It’s a move that has caught the market by surprise, and one that raises several questions, says Graham Titterington, principal analyst for software at advisory firm Ovum. McAfee partners should benefit from access to more resources and an enlarged R&D operation once the vendor’s acquisition by Intel is fully approved.

The active involvement of a company with the influence and resources of Intel in the information security arena will have a major impact on the future of computing. McAfee’s products extend beyond IT security into governance and aspects of systems management, and so this acquisition will increase Intel’s exposure to the CxO level executives in the world’s largest organisations. McAfee is much more than an antivirus vendor these days. The acquisition will take Intel more into the governance and risk compliance area, which McAfee has been growing and building up a lot over the last few years. It gets them deeper into the GRC functional areas and I think that is a longer term development goal behind it.

Avoiding a channel clash I would have thought that it was not going to have that much impact on partners because they are significantly different

>>

businesses, so the partners in each case aren’t likely to have that much overlap. A security specialist that might be partnering with McAfee isn’t suddenly going to start integrating chips onto circuit boards, so I wouldn’t have thought it would have a great deal of impact there.

Monopolistic concerns?

If anything, the acquisition is going to result in bigger opportunities for the channel partners because what is good for the two vendors is good for their partners, and bad for the partners of competitors in so far as there being any change at all. However, I wouldn’t expect any dramatic or sudden changes to happen. For McAfee partners, it could mean an enlarged operation, more resources, and you would expect there to be some sort of speed-up in R&D development, because what is the point in having a big company if you are not going to make a few investments?

Many major IT vendors have been buying IT security vendors for several years. The difference is that Intel is thought of as a hardware vendor enjoying a near monopoly in its core markets — although it is also a large software supplier as well. We can assume that Intel’s objective is to incorporate more security features into its chips. For users, this will be welcome, but there is a risk of monopolistic concerns damaging the market. The situation brings echoes of 2002 when Microsoft, in conjunction with Intel, proposed a secure computing platform under the auspices of the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance, and Microsoft’s Palladium project. Competitive concerns largely stifled this vision which got scaled back to some encryption features that we see today in Windows 7. Effective security has to work at the platform, network and business levels, and a secure chip cannot address all of these alone.

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More opportunities?

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// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

_www.itp.net_

DAY IN THE LIFE (61) // INSIDE THE CHANNEL WORKPLACE

IN SAFE HANDS

> What is the hardest part of your job?

In this section of Channel Middle East, we pack our bags and head to work with a member of the channel community to find out what a typical day on the job entails.

Name: Ali Yekrang Company: Secureway Job title: Renewal Team Leader Years in the role: 3+ Years at the company: 2+ Previous companies: AVL (audio video distributor)

> How would you summarise your role? My role is to manage and guide a team who are directly in touch with partners in the region. I do my ultimate best to ensure a constant growth in our channel, not only in the number of partners but also in the frequency of orders. This requires monitoring and mentoring team members, and direct communication with key partners.

between the team members, where we discuss and prioritise the opportunities we have in hand. Usually team meetings don’t take any longer than 15 minutes and everyone leaves the meeting with a list of tasks dedicated to them for the day. I believe the daily meeting helps remind and ‘internalise’ the team strategy, and encourages implementing action plans.

> What does a typical day entail for you? For me, a typical day starts with a morning coffee around 9:15am. Helping team members to prepare reports and communication with the partners is my routine job until the evening. However, when we are approaching the quarter end, things pick up at a faster pace as the time is limited and we need to serve all partners. There are even days when we stay late and finish our day with a team dinner party jobs are done. after all the jo

> What What’ss the first thing you do when you get in the office each day? > What’s yyour favourite part of the job? Most days we start with a short informal meeting

The most ple pleasant moments of my job are when w I’m recognised for my efforts. efforts Sincere comments coming from management, colleagues and an channel partners boost my morale mo and encourage me to improv improve my skills. Similarly, I do my best to support my team whenever wh they make the right de decisions.

>>

The hardest part of my job is when I have to deal with a partner which complains about the support and service from our department, which is fortunately quiet rare. As we are dealing with a significant number of partners, such complaints are inevitable. I personally intervene on these occasions and take responsibility for the issue. To minimise such complaints we meet on a weekly basis to talk about and discuss the obstacles faced during the week and come up with solutions. Weekly meetings also help us review our targets and achievement strategies.

> What’s been your most memorable moment in your current role? I have always been open to new opportunities and challenges to learn more and grow faster. There have been many memorable moments in my role, particularly when I raised the efficiency of my department a few months after I took on the responsibility. However, I’m sure many more memorable moments are yet to come.

> Where do you see yourself in five years? I find IT channel management an interesting role where I can utilise my technical background and management skills to create opportunities and generate revenue - hence I’m trying to learn as much as possible from my managers, as well as my colleagues. I believe that the more I grow in this field,

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the more I can add value to the company that I work for.

> How much time do you spend out of the office each week? Currently, I’m mostly in the office as I need to keep a constant communication with the channel in the region, from small partners in Bur Dubai to enterprise suppliers in Riyadh. On many occasions I need to take care of co-ordination and follow up with top management and accounts to ensure flawless support to our partners.

> What do you get up to during your lunch hour? Due to fact that there are simply not enough hours in a day, my lunch is often limited to a sandwich at my desk - though we try as much as possible to eat out together as a team. In fact, we have an ongoing challenge to find the best burger in Dubai! Would you like your channel job to be featured in our ‘Day in the Life’ section? If so, e-mail: andrew.seymour@itp.com

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// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

NEXT MONTH (62) // INSIDE THE NEXT ISSUE

The online home of Registered at Dubai Media City, PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 210 8000; Fax: +971 4 210 8080; Web: www.itp.com Offices in Dubai and London ITP Technology Publishing CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Managing Director Karam Awad General Manager Peter Conmy Publishing Director Natasha Pendleton

EDITOR’S CHOICES

EDITORIAL

NEWS

Senior Group Editor Mark Sutton Tel: +971 4 210 8225 e-mail: mark.sutton@itp.com Group Editor, Channel titles, ACN, NME, Comms MEA Andrew Seymour Tel: +971 4 210 8320 e-mail: andrew.seymour@itp.com

BAN OF BLACKBERRY SERVICES

ADVERTISING Advertising Manager Kausar Syed Tel: +971 4 2108 361 e-mail: kausar.syed@itp.com

UAE telecoms regulator confirms plan to ban Blackberry services

STUDIO Group Art Editor Daniel Prescott Senior Designer Michel Al Asmar

NEWS

MOST READ NEWS STORIES:

REASSURING DISTRIBUTORS Toshiba insists it has no plans to trade directly with key retailers

1

Du and Injazat partner for managed network services 2 Official ACN Awards 2010 website now live 3 Global security spending rises

PHOTOGRAPHY Director of Photography Sevag Davidian PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Group Production & Distribution Director Kyle Smith Production Co-ordinator Basel Al Kassem Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Image Editor Emmalyn Robles Distribution Manager Karima Ashwell CIRCULATION Head of Circulation and Database Gaurav Gulati

COMMENT & OPINION

MOST READ CME STORIES:

1

ANALYSIS OF THE BIG REGIONAL ICT ISSUES

CHANNEL Are vendors signing too many sales partners? KNOWLEDGE Intel-McAfee heralds a shift in security strategy TELECOMS Qtel may pay the price for its actions APPLICATIONS Time to call time on the term VDI

Dell dips into distribution for new executives 2 Lexmark signs distributor to front retail efforts 3 Wipro Arabia is new Microsoft LAR in Saudi

MARKETING Head of Marketing Martin Chambers Event Manager Preeta Panicker ITP DIGITAL Assistant Editor Vineetha Menon Sales Director Ahmad Bashour Tel: +971 4 210 8549 e-mail ahmad.bashour@itp.com Group Sales Manager ITP.net Nathalie Akl Tel: +971 4 210 8520 e-mail nathalie.akl@itp.com Internet Development Manager Mohammed Affan Content Manager Asad Azizi Web Advertising Manager Meghna Jalnawalla Creative Director Craig Willers ITP GROUP

COMING UP

Q3-Q4 2010

MONTH OF OCTOBER

EVENTS

CONFIDENCE BOOST

EUROPE 5th-7th October 2010

Just how does the regional channel view its prospects in light of the year so far? We reveal the results of our 2010 Channel Confidence Survey.

The Canalys Channel Forum The inaugural Canalys Channel Forum will take place in Spain over three days in October, with a focus on getting to grips with channel hot topics and identifying the trends that are shaping the distribution and reseller sectors. Dirk Meyer,

FACING FACTS

President and CEO of AMD, is one of a number of

In today’s volatile market, channel companies need to take fact-based decisions about their organisations if they are to succeed in the market.

high-profile executives speaking at the event.

Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Serafin Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors K.M. Jamieson, Mike Bayman, Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Mary Serafin

Circulation Customer Service Tel: +971 4 286 8559 Printed by Atlas Printing Press Controlled Distribution by Blue Truck Subscribe online at www.itp.com/subscriptions The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication, which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the readers particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

UAE 17th-21st October 2010 GITEX Technology Week This year’s edition of GITEX will again serve as a

Channel Middle East is audited by BPA Worldwide. Average Qualified Circulation 7,567 (6 month audit Jul to Dec 2008).

platform for manufacturers, distributors and IT

CHARTING THE CHANNEL

companies to build partnerships and showcase

As the market moves into the final quarter of the year, we take a look at some of the major trends and dynamics that are impacting the channel business in the Middle East.

the latest solutions driving the market. This year’s

_www.itp.net_

event, which is likely to pull in around 3,000 exhibitors, will have a more celebratory feel than usual as GITEX is marking its 30th anniversary.

Published by and Copyright © 2010 ITP Technology Publishing, a division of ITP Publishing Group Ltd. Registered in the B.V.I. under Company Registration number 1402846.

OFFICIAL SHOW CATALOGUE 18 - 22 October 2009 Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre Dubai, United Arab Emirates

POWER UP YOUR BUSINESS

OFFICIAL SHOW CATALOGUE 17-24 OCTOBER 2009 www.gitexshopperdubai.com

ORGANISED BY

ORGANISED BY

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VENUE

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TELECOMMUNICATIONS PARTNER

// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_SEPTEMBER 2010

_www.itp.net_

GET TO KNOW (64) // CHANNEL CHAMPIONS UNCOVERED

Niranjan Gidwani, Deputy CEO, Eros Group > Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s your career history in the industry to date?

> What product should the channel look out for this year?

> Which company, other than your own, do you most admire?

I am a mechanical engineer with an MBA by background. I started working in an engineering MNC in Mumbai, then shifted to HSBC, moved to a division of Xerox in India, and then I joined a large transnational group in Hong Kong. From there I was transferred to Dubai in early 1992. I have had exposure to handling a dozen global brands in consumer electronics, appliances, photo products and FMCG, and the experience of handling 40-plus countries.

The new range of notebooks based on Intelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new processor architecture, coupled with Windows 7, will offer consumers a media-rich computing experience. Tablets or Pads will begin to flow from various vendors, creating new sales opportunities.

As a brand, I greatly admire Samsung because of their grit, determination and drive, and Apple because of the manner in which every product launch is a huge success. In the distribution space, my most admired group in the region is Al Ghanim of Kuwait. I admire any company that follows and implements good HR practices.

Eros Group recently promoted its senior VP, Niranjan Gidwani, to the position of deputy CEO. As he begins the task of settling into his new role, we grilled him on his challenges, mistakes and achievements.

> What is the biggest mistake you have ever made? There are two mistakes I have made in the past. The first is allowing costs to progressively rise without being able to increase margins. And the second is being lax in terms of giving credit. I believe the majority of companies have failed because of these two mistakes.

> What is your proudest career moment to date? My proudest career achievement has been, along with my team and my group CEO, driving between 15% to 35% year-on-year growth for the past four consecutive years, despite the global meltdown. I also feel proud to be associated with a group which is slowly but surely picking up more and more brands for quality distribution. Additionally, I have built an OEM brand from ground zero upwards and taken it to over 40 markets on a shoestring budget. That has been a herculean task.

> What would you improve about the channel Besides improving operational efficiencies, which is an ongoing exercise, I would focus on raising the bar in terms of quality of commitments, and in terms of our group genuinely walking the talk.

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> What is the biggest challenge facing the Middle East channel? My personal view is that the two biggest challenges facing the technology channel are giving unfettered credits and still running a business on a very old distribution model where volumes are just dumped at ridiculously low margins and an eye is only kept on the top line.

> What sort of interests do you have outside of work? I am an avid reader, and read motivational books, fiction novels and good management literature. I am very fond of good music. I keep myself reasonably fit by going for long, brisk walks thrice a week, going to the gym once a week, and doing a bit of deep breathing and meditation. I love to travel and to try different kinds of cuisines.

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Channel Middle East - Sept 2010