An ITP Technology Publication


Vol. 11 Issue. 10


An ITP Technology Publication

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CHANNEL CHAMPIONS The movers and shakers you need to know (52)

Courting KSA The inside track on the ME’s largest market

Market Check We reveal the results of our Channel Confidence Survey

Network Defence Seizing the enterprise security opportunity

GITEX Mapped Companies you should visit at this year’s show



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Vol. 11 Issue. 10

Building and delivering IT solutions for the Middle East

Together we make the world smarter Come experience the future of technology – a new wave of inspiration that will change our lives for the better. Welcome to Etisalat. Welcome to a smarter world.

Visit us at Zabeel Hall, stand Z-A10.





MOHAMMAD MOBASSERI JOINS EMT DISTRIBUTION Former Comguard senior vice president is named new CEO at newly established regional VAD


egional VAD EMT Distribution, which recently set up operations in the Middle East

region has appointed Mohammad Mobasseri as the company’s new CEO for its Middle East, Africa and West Asia

Mobasseri says the initial focus will be on creating the right infrastructure for channel partners in the region.


operations, barely two months after he resigned from rival Comguard. Mobasseri joins from specialist security solutions VAD, where he was senior vice president and was the main man behind Comguard’s advancements in the IT value-added security segment. As CEO, Mobasseri said he will be directly responsible for the management and growth of business across West Asia, Middle East and Africa. He explained that as a board member and shareholder of the group’s holding company EMT Holdings, he will also be responsible for strategic


120 $107.2 100 80 $47.4

40 20 0 2017

2013 Plaftorm as a Service

Software as a Service

Infrastructure as a Service


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provide an excellent platform for vendors to increase their penetration into the marketplace. He said the company also plans to invest in expanding its channel base and strengthening the partner ecosystem by enabling solution providers with knowledge transfer, trainings, certifications, and supporting them with technical resources needed to win new deals. “The Dubai office will act as a hub for all the activities and will serve as the headquarters for West Asia, Middle East and African markets. We are confident that Dubai will complement our operations across the globe,” he said.

PUBLIC IT CLOUD SERVICES SPENDING TO GROW Analyst firm International Data Corporation (IDC) has said that the global spending on public IT cloud services will reach $47.4bn in 2013 and is expected to be more than $107bn in 2017. Citing the latest ‘Worldwide and Regional Public IT Cloud Services 2013 – 2017 Forecast’, IDC said over the 2013 to 2017 forecast period, public IT cloud services will have a CAGR of 23.5%, five times that of the IT industry as a whole. IDC stated that as one of the key technologies enabling the industry-

Worldwide Public IT Cloud Services Spending by Segment (in $ billions)


planning, investments, growth areas, geographical expansion and vendor management for the global operations. “Initially, we will focus all our energies on creating the right infrastructure that will provide us faster turnaround time to service our channel partners as well as the vendors. We plan to invest heavily in resources to establish a strong channel base and partner network across the Middle East and Africa,” he said. Mobasseri said EMT believes that with an efficient infrastructure and effective channel network it will be in a stronger position to





wide shift to the third platform, cloud computing has played a crucial role in changing the way companies consume and use IT. “The first wave of cloud services adoption was focused on improving the efficiency of the IT department,” said Frank Gens, senior VP and chief analyst at IDC. “Over the next several years, the primary driver for cloud adoption will shift from economics to innovation as leading-edge companies invest in cloud services as the foundation for new competitive offerings.”


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105 MEA tablets shipments soar

PRODUCTS 113 Galaxy gear

04 Apple signs Metra Computer

Tech giant also unveils iPhone 5S.

Regional milestone hit in Q2.

Wristwatch for Galaxy array.

07 MMD gets sales director

99 Samsung’s curved TV in UAE

107 Cyber Defence Centre opens

113 Xperia Z1

07 LG unveils the G2 smartphone

OLED TV offers high image quality.

Dubai has IT threats monitoring hub.

Sony touts new smartphone.

09 The future is private for Dell

PEOPLE 101 New head for Belkin

COMPONENTS 109 Intel touts new offerings

115 Wide angle lens

09 AccessData, Contego tie-up 11 Kaspersky signs Aptec

Youssef El-Arif is new MEA head.

New products accelerate innovation.

13 FVC expands product array

103 Huawei reshuffles ME team

111 Apple faces memory issues

15 DiData expands Citrix alliance

Vendor appoints new VP & GMs.

01 Mohammad Mobasseri is EMT CEO 97 Apple goes budget with 5C


IHS predicts tough times ahead.

Fujifilm launches FUJINON lens.

115 Data centre switch Dell’s S6000 portfolio.





28 IN-DEPTH 28








The inside track on the Middle East’s largest IT market.

We reveal the results of our Channel Confidence Survey.

Seizing the enterprise security opportunity.

Companies you should visit at this year’s show.





APPLE SIGNS METRA AS UAE AND KSA DISTIE Distributor granted rights to sell all Apple products in the two countries except the iPhone array welcomed Apple’s move to appoint a volume distributor of Metra’s stature and are optimistic it will help in reducing grey and parallel importation of the vendor’s products not just in the two countries but the Middle East Elshourbagy says the signing of Apple will add to the broadening of Metra Computer’s product portfolio. and North Africa (MENA) region. Phone maker Apple Inc, Tamer Elshourbagy, executive has appointed regional vice president, Metra Computer distributor Metra Computer Group, said Metra has always Group as its distributor for served its channel partners by the UAE and KSA markets. trying to diversify the product Under the deal, Metra is range offered to them and authorised to sell all Apple this partnership will add to products except the iPhone the broadening of the product range to resellers and retailers portfolio on many different in the UAE and KSA market. levels. “With Apple products on Industry pundits have board we have many exciting

plans being prepared that we will reveal at the appropriate time,” Elshourbagy said. The appointment of Metra brings to two the number of Apple authorised distributors in the Middle East region. Dubai-based Arab Business Machines (ABM), part of the multinational Midis Group, is also an Apple authorised distributor in the Middle East. ABM currently sells Apple products through its network of Apple authorised premium resellers, Apple authorised resellers and solution experts, and authorised retailers in Lebanon, Egypt, GCC, Jordan and Yemen. Established in 1982, Metra has operations in 11 countries with local sales offices and logistics centres. The distributor, which did $660m in sales in 2012, has 800 staff and represents more than 20-plus vendors across the MENA region.


LENOVO TO RELEASE NEW ALL-IN-ONE PC Lenovo ThinkCentre E93z to offer high performance all-in-one Lenovo has revealed details of its new business all-in-one (AIO) desktop, the E93z ThinkCentre. The 21.5 inch E93z is just 48mm thick, and comes with optional ThinkCentre UltraFlex Stand and optional 10-point multi-touch display to give a range of adjustments for maximum ergonomic comfort and productivity. The E93z runs on Windows 8, with processor options up to a 4th Generation Intel Core i7 processor and up to 1GB NVIDIA GeForce 720 discrete graphics engine. The PC has an infinity glass Full HD display, and includes HDMI In


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and Out ports plus Intel WiDi wireless display technology, with storage provided by a next generation Solid State Hybrid drive. The E93z is also Energy Star 5.2 compliant. “Experience is everything, which is why we continuously evolve our commercial AIO desktops to be like nothing else in the business space,” said Mohammed Hilili, Lenovo Gulf general manager. “As touch expands from the consumer space into our work environments, ThinkCentre AIOs are poised to support the workforce with the most intuitive touch experience available





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in the market. Simple and ergonomic design, optimised cable management and the innovative engineering design of our stands make for a cleaner and more enjoyable workspace.” The ThinkCentre E93z will be available beginning November in UAE, starting at approximately AED 3,499.

WD DEBUTS AV TRAINING IN UAE WD, a Western Digital company and storage solutions provider, recently concluded the region’s first training seminar for vendors, resellers and integrators in the fast growing AV segment of the market. The training event, which took place in Dubai, saw business owners, decision makers and technical staff attend the inaugural seminar. “WD highly values the relationships it has with its channel partners and we are pleased to be the first storage vendor in the region to engage directly with individuals and businesses that address the fast growing digital surveillance segment,” said Khwaja Saifuddin, senior sales director, Middle East, Africa and South Asia at WD. “WD’s AV hard drive range is purpose built for the CE and AV segments. These drives are optimised to thrive in 24/7 video streaming environments and offer the ultimate reliability when large amounts of video data is the order of the day,” Saifuddin said. Prior to the AV training seminar, WD also conducted a UAE focused training seminar on its full range of component products. “We believe that the right knowledge and training is critical to success and so we will continue running sessions like this in the future,” explained Saifuddin.

AED3,499 the recommended retail price of the E93z ThinkCentre.



Saifuddin says WD’s AV hard drives are purpose built for the CE sector.

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Vineeth Sebastian to spearhead Philips and AOC monitor business in MEA region


MD, the company that markets and sells Philips monitors and AOC’s range of products, has appointed Vineeth Sebastian as the new regional sales director for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. In his new role, Sebastian will focus on growing the company’s MEA business, overseeing the retail and B2B channels. In addition, he will work closely with existing and potential channel partners for both Philips and AOC brands. “I am delighted to welcome Vineeth to the team and wish him all the best for a fruitful work relationship. Our commitment to delivering outstanding display solutions and exceptional client

services is proving to be a winning formula. It’s enabling us to attract the industry’s best talent and expand our products and services for our clients. These are certainly exciting times for our company,” said Thomas Schade, vice president, MMD and AOC in EMEA. “I’m delighted to join this esteemed organisation that boosts two of the premier monitor brands in the world. The opportunities for Philips and AOC displays are significant in the region,” said Sebastian. “I look forward to utilising my vast experience gained while working with leading vendors and distributors to take this business and current organisation to the next level. In my new role, I will aim to

Sebastian will focus on growing the company’s MEA business in retail and B2B channels.

strengthen our relationships and have close contact with all our channel partners.” Sebastian has a bachelor of engineering degree in electrical and electronics from Delhi College.

LG UNVEILS THE G2 SMARTPHONE IN GULF REGION Vendor’s latest offering promises breakthrough features and battery efficiency LG Electronics has launched what it has dubbed the most powerful device in its lineup of the G series smartphones in the Gulf. According to the vendor, the new G2 smartphone exemplifies LG’s aim to bring forth more customer-centric innovations based on research of consumer lifestyle and behaviour. The consumer electronics maker said the smartphone offers users more real-life benefits such as ergonomic design, practical functions and an intuitive user experience. “Our definition of innovation today is technology that truly resonates with consumers,” said D.Y Kim, president of LG Electronics, Gulf FZE. “We have always listened and learned from

consumers in pursuit of innovation. We took this research to new heights in developing the LG G2, the most exciting and ambitious phone in our company’s history.” The G2 comes with the advanced mobile chipset, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, offering high performance, rich graphics and outstanding battery efficiency. LG claims the G2 is the first smartphone on the market to feature 24 bit/192kHz Hi-Fi playback that reproduces studio-like quality sound, far superior to a CD. LG said what makes the G2 to be the most revolutionary smartphone is the innovative features incorporated within the device. The company said the G2


eliminates the need for multiple navigation buttons in front of the handset, as the device is equipped with a single refined rear key that serves as the command centre for power and volume functions. Long-pressing on the rear-mounted volume keys allows users to launch QuickMemoTM, and the camera, making note taking and photo capturing even easier than before. The device is also equipped with a 13MP optical image stabiliser (OIS).


the recommended retail price of the LG G2 in the Gulf.

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Samsung Electronics and Dubaibased telecoms retailer Axiom has announced availability of the S4 Mini LTE in white, which is now on sale at Axiom Telecom and du shops for AED1,699. Axiom Telecom customers will also receive 10GB of data every month for a year by committing to AED250 monthly usage on du’s Emarati or Elite Super plans. The Galaxy S4 LTE Mini is a compact version of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4 handset. Faisal Al Bannai, CEO, Axiom Telecom, said: “The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini LTE provides all of the same life-enhancing features and powerful performance as the Samsung Galaxy S4, at a great value price and convenient size. The S4 Mini has been one of our most popular phones, and makes a great gift for the shopping season. We are delighted to team up with du for this exclusive deal.” The Galaxy S4 Mini has a 4.3inch HD AMOLED screen and an 8-megapixel rear camera, weighs 107g, and is 124.6mm in length - 12mm shorter than the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Al Bannai says the S4 Mini LTE provides great value price and convenient size.



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THE FUTURE IS PRIVATE FOR DELL INC After vote win, CEO spells out 5- to 10-year strategy involving tablets, emerging markets


ichael Dell has won his months-long battle to secure shareholder support for a leveraged buyout of stock that will allow him to take private the company he founded from his college dorm room. The chief executive and chairman of Dell Inc initially proposed a price of $13.65 a share, in a co-bid with Silver Lake Partners, but shareholders such as Southeastern Asset Management and billionaire Carl Icahn, fought to block the deal on the grounds that it undervalued the company. Just a few weeks prior to the deciding vote last month, prospects looked bleak for the Dell-Silver Lake camp as shareholders looked unlikely to vote in favour of the proposal, largely due to a large number of abstentions. Through deal sweeteners and boardroom antics, Michael Dell managed to secure a series of

vote postponements until he persuaded the board to change voting rules in two key ways. First, abstentions would not be counted as nay votes, and second, those who purchased Dell stock since the buyout had become public knowledge would be eligible to vote. Since those buyers were Michael Dell says his company’s new strategy mainly speculators will include tablets and tapping new affluence in such as hedge funds, emerging markets. they were likely to be accusing its members of not in favour of the deal. properly serving shareholders. Icahn mounted legal challenges But after months of to the voting changes, but was corporate and legal wrangling, unsuccessful. Last month, in shareholders approved the a letter to shareholders that current $24.9bn buyout offer. was also filed with regulators, Dell Inc, the world’s numberhe announced his intention three PC manufacturer by to no longer try to block the shipments, has been a publicly deal. He was deeply critical listed company for 25 years. of the board in the letter,

AccessData, through distribution partner ARM, has signed an agreement in the Middle East with Contego Solutions, a systems integration company. In terms of the deal, Contego Solutions will offer AccessData’s entire products portfolio including the standalone FTK and MPE+ for small to medium size labs and AcessData Lab for large labs handling massive data sets, utilising a distributed workforce, or looking to collaborate with attorneys, HR personnel or other non-forensic parties. In addition, Contego said it will also focus on AccessData CIRT platform with end point investigation and remediation capabilities. “Being prepared to respond to cyber attacks should be part of every organisation’s information security strategy. Given the scale and sophistication of cyber crime in the region, enterprises simply cannot afford not to protect themselves. Our solutions give organisations the ability to investigate security incidents and respond to cyber attacks, which ultimately helps limit financial loss and data theft,” said Simon Whitburn, senior vice president and general manager, AccessData.

BUDGET IPHONE NOT BUDGET ENOUGH: IHS Analysts pour cold water on iPhone 5C’s price tag Apple has unveiled two new iPhone models, the flagship 5S and the lower-priced 5C, but failed to address the lower echelons of the smartphone market to the extent that many analysts had expected. The iPhone 5S, which is 7.6 millimeters thick and weighs 112 grams, includes some new features including a fingerprint identity sensor built into a redesigned home button, a newly engineered 64-bit chip, and a camera that boasts 33% greater light sensitivity. The most distinctive feature of the iPhone 5C, meanwhile, is its casing, which is available

in various bright colours. Apple stressed that it had no interest in “imitating the typical, fragile plastic phone” and so built the 5C around a steel-reinforced frame that also acts as an antenna. But the unsubsidised price of both devices failed to impress


the unsubsidised cost of Apple’s newly launched iPhone 5C.


analysts. Francis Sideco, director for consumer electronics and communications technologies at IHS, said that the new devices were unlikely to help Apple expand its reach to “lower income buyers”. “At an unsubsidised cost of $549, the iPhone 5C remains at the same price point as the existing mid-range model in Apple’s smartphone line, the iPhone 4S,” he said. “In light of this pricing, the 5C appears to be a midrange product that cannot significantly expand the available market for the iPhone line to lower-income buyers.”

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Whitburn says enterprises cannot afford not to protect themselves from cyber threats.




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KASPERSKY SIGNS DISTIE ACCORD WITH APTEC Agreement to cover B2B solutions across GCC, Levant and North East Africa region


igital threat specialist Kaspersky Lab has announced a new distribution partnership with Ingram Micro’s Aptec. As part of this agreement, Aptec will undertake the distribution of Kaspersky Lab’s B2B solutions portfolio including Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business. The partnership will see Kaspersky Lab leverage Aptec’s reseller network, said to cover over 70 markets. As the authorised distributor for Kaspersky Lab corporate security solutions, Aptec expects to extend its sales, marketing and logistics expertise to expand the Kaspersky’s reach across key markets in the GCC, Levant and North East Africa in addition to West Asia.

Aptec will also work with Kasperky Lab to offer channel enablement opportunities to resellers, particularly focusing on training and education. “The appointment of Aptec is part of Kaspersky Lab’s global strategy to combine a complete range of awardwinning B2B technologies with the right channel expertise to offer customers an effective and reliable portfolio of solutions and services,” said Khalid Abu Baker, managing director, Kaspersky Lab Middle East. “We are proud to have partnered with a trusted and leading provider of security solutions,” said Dr Ali Baghdadi, president, Ingram Micro, Middle East, Africa and Turkey. “We look forward to this

MENA value-added distributor Spectrami has announced the launch of “Ace of Spades” a special reward programme for its channel partners spread across GCC markets. Spectrami said it initiated the scheme to support the growth of its solutions in the region. Ace of Spades is open to all channel partners in the Gulf region. The reward programme is based on a system that enables sales and pre-sales staff of channel partners to register and earn redeemable points on every sale of product from Spectrami’s product portfolio. Spectrami is offering a range of rewards in exchange for points, including iPods, gift vouchers, Nikon cameras, Samsung Galaxy devices and fully paid trips for couples to Europe or luxury Star Cruise packages. Anand Choudha, managing director, Spectrami, said: “We are excited about ‘Ace of Spades’ reward programme as this will not only help to push products in the market but will also compensate the efforts of hardworking individuals who are instrumental in processing the business for us.”

Baghdadi says Aptec is looking forward to leveraging state-of-the-art technology solutions.

exciting new journey as we leverage state-of-the-art technology solutions and a visionary outlook in the field of IT security and cyber warfare.”

SAUDI ARABIA IT MARKET TO TOP $12BN BY 2016 Market was worth over $1bn last year says analyst and research firm IDC The Saudi IT market, the biggest in the Middle East, topped $1bn last year with predictions it will eclipse $12bn by 2016, it was reported last month. The figures were presented by International Data Corporation (IDC) at the Saudi Arabia CIO Summit in Jeddah. Speaking at the summit, which hosted more than 150 top IT end users from across the Kingdom, IDC senior vice president and chief analyst Frank Genes said from 2013 to 2020 about 9% of new CIO investments in Saudi would focus on third-platform technologies and solutions offerings, which are built on mobile devices, cloud services, social technologies and big data. “Indeed, IDC believes at least

80% of the CIO’s strategic energy and investments must focus on strengthening the third-platform capabilities of their departments, a surefire sign that the Saudi ICT [Information and Communication Technologies] market is making very real progress,” he said. IDC data showed that demand for cloud services in MEA continues to increase. The Saudi cloud market was expected to grow at a CAGR of 49.7% and the UAE 43.7% between 2012 and 2016. It said the big four IT markets - Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the UAE and Turkey - accounted for more than 60% of total IT spending in the region. Hesham Abo El-Rejal, vicepresident at Schneider Electric, was quoted as saying that the five


main key trends in the data centre market today were virtualisation, cloud-computing, c-location emergence, increasing energy costs and environmental issues. “We have always been focusing on data centre usage effectiveness, so that we can provide solutions combining energy efficiency and data centre efficiency, in accordance with the current and future [trends] of the market,” he said.


of new CIO investments in KSA will focus on thirdplatform technologies.

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Choudha says such incentive schemes are necessary to keep the excitement [going] within the channel.




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NETAPP STREAMLINES PARTNER PROGRAM New model simplifies doing business with the company and enhances partner profitability


In a move aimed at enhancing profitability for partners, storage solutions vendor NetApp has restructured its NetApp Partner Program into a one programme model. NetApp said the shift to a one programme model has been designed to support partners to evolve capabilities without limiting them on how they do business with the company. According to the vendor, the new initiative has been structured to support partners that want to evolve their business, add or adapt capabilities without being confined to different partner programmes and their requirements. The company says the new programme overcomes the previous business model definition with its silo approach and encourages channel partners to follow the right path for business growth without barriers or boundaries. Under the new structure,

partners are now recognised for their actual capabilities and not programme membership. NetApp pointed out that a valueadded reseller is now allowed to become a service provider. In addition, service providers will be able to perform systems integration functions without changing contracts or losing benefits under the umbrella NetApp Partner Program. “We want to enable partners to go to market in the way that they want to and to be able to choose the best blend of products and services that address the changing business needs that their customers have,” said Peter Howard, VP Global Channel Sales, NetApp. “By doing this, NetApp continues our proven legacy of innovation over the years and our reputation for delivering a consistent, predictable and profitable partner programme. Partners are the business

Advani says the alliance will be beneficial to both companies.

Howard says the NetApp wants to enable partners to go to market in the way that they want to.

for NetApp.This is not a new programme, but the evolution of the same programme we have been recognised for globally for years.”

FVC EXPANDS NETWORKING ARRAY New distribution alliance with Cyan covers MENA geography Dubai-based FVC, a VAD in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), has signed a premier partner agreement with Cyan a provider of software-defined network (SDN) and packet-optical solutions. Under the accord, FVC will handle business development and channel support including training and certification of its sales, preand post-sales team to enable them to provide localised support and services to its partner base. In addition, FVC will be Cyan’s regional Premier Partner with the right to assign Cyan resellers in the MENA region.

FVC said the partnership will be supported by Cyan resources located in the Middle East. K.S. Parag, managing director at FVC said: “The distribution agreement will expand our networking solutions and enable our partners to offer cutting-edge SDN and packet-optical technology to our customers across the region. Both companies are committed to taking a leadership position in the region focused on ‘SDN for transport networks’ targeting large enterprise campus networks, cloud data centres, fixed network service providers and mobile operators.”


Ravi Mali, general manager and regional director, Middle East and Africa at Cyan, added that: “The joint value proposition will help reduce capital and operating costs, while giving customers the capability to offer new SDN-based services.”


estimated SDN global market size by 2018. Source: Plexxi

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Regional VAD StarLink has announced that it’s been signed by Bit9 Inc to sell, install and support the vendor’s offerings through its channel partners across the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region. Tony Shadrake, director, EMEA at Bit9, said: “StarLink has a very powerful advanced persistent threat (APT) story to combat modern malware that includes solutions to automatically protect against zero-day threats at the perimeter, to visualise APT movement across the network, and to automatically remediate against polymorphic and signature-less threats, all of which talk to each other out-of-the-box.” Avinash Advani, director, Business Strategy at StarLink added: “There was always one piece missing when we spoke to customers about nextgeneration threat protection. How do you stop the APT from executing if it were to get into your environment?” Advani added that this is where Bit9 comes to the rescue as from a single console an IT manager will know what is running on any system at any instant and immediately detect and stop advanced threats, zero-day attacks and malware, plus the solution works both on Windows and Mac platforms, which is an advantage.



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Systems integrator signs two-year Global Market Acceleration deal


imension Data has expanded its global collaboration with Citrix after it signed a twoyear Global Market Acceleration deal, a move that will see the two companies co-invest to drive product management, sales and marketing efforts across Asia, Australia, Europe, the Americas,Middle East and Africa. According to Dimension Data, the agreement is aimed at accelerating momentum and broadening scope across its solutions and services for client computing, cloud, networking, data centre and enterprise mobility. Dimension Data said it will develop and integrate Citrix technologies more deeply in its existing solutions and services, all designed to meet growing client demand. The systems integrator also said joint initiatives will be governed globally and executed locally to

maximise market penetration. Peter Menadue, Dimension Data’s general manager for Microsoft Solutions, said: “There has been an increase in the number of clients wanting us to help them enable their mobile workforce securely, while reducing costs and complexity of managing desktops and applications. Citrix technologies will enable us to do that. With Citrix bringing desktop solutions to market for a number of years now, it is very exciting to ramp up for even greater success across a wider range of solutions and services areas.” Tom Flink, vice president, Channels and Market Development at Citrix, said: “Dimension Data’s focus on innovation in cloud, networking and mobility mirrors our own, and makes our plans to expand our relationship an exciting opportunity for both parties. Additionally, their

Menadue says the deal will help the company to speed up momentum in the enterprise mobility space.

strong partnerships with both Microsoft and Cisco make them an ideal partner to us.”

PROLOGIX INKS DEAL WITH DIGITAL LIGHTWAVE Distributor to supply channel with testing equipment for 40/100G telecom networks Prologix Distribution, a regional VAD in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region has signed an agreement with Digital Lightwave, a provider of test equipment and technologies for the telecoms industry. The partnership enables Prologix to distribute Digital Lightwave’s entire portfolio of products for portable/rackmount Ethernet, synchronous optical network (SONET) and synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH), optical transport network (OTN) and fibre channel testing. “Building a brand that is

instantly recognised as one of the leading technology providers for the telecoms industry in the MEA region is our objective at Prologix Distribution,” said Aditya Sahaya, director, Sales at Prologix LLC. “Digital Lightwave’s modular solutions allow testing advanced voice and data networks with higher efficiency, accuracy and at a lower investment,” Sahaya said. The distributor said although the deal is for the entire product portfolio, Prologix will focus on Digital Lightwave’s network information computer (NIC)


single platform instrument, which through a flexible software/firmware architecture, combines a multitude of traditional hardware-based test sets enabling the installation, maintenance and monitoring of high-speed multi-protocol 40/100G networks.


Parag says partners can look forward to providing their clients innovative offerings.

Prologix’s sales estimates in the first year.

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Dubai-based regional VAD FVC has signed a distribution agreement with Watchful Software, a provider of datacentric information security solutions. The alliance allows FVC to offer partners Watchful Software’s information security products throughout the MENA region. The agreement also covers sales and support capabilities for Watchful Software’s line of security products, including RightsWATCH and TypeWATCH. “This agreement signals the increased demand that customers are placing on VARs for information security technology offerings in light of today’s constant information threats and a strong market response to address these demands,” said João Beato Esteves, EMEA sales manager for Watchful Software. “In addition, the value-add that FVC brings to the VAR and reseller channels means faster delivery, deeper technical support and streamlined operations through online ordering, configuration tools and customer financing resources for a total business and technical solution.” “We are pleased to be taking the lead in delivering powerful and innovative security solutions,” said K.S. Parag, MD, FVC.




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BLACKBERRY AGREES SALE TO BIGGEST SHAREHOLDER BlackBerry has agreed to a $4.7bn, led by Fairfax Financial Holdings, to go private. The news came just three days after the company reported up to $995m in losses for its fiscal Q2. Will this deal help the embattled vendor to script a comeback?


Canadian smartphone manufacturer BlackBerry has agreed a $4.7bn sale to its biggest shareholder, which will take the once darling of the smartphone market private. The initial $9-per-share offer was tabled by a consortium led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. To avoid potential conflicts of interest, Fairfax chairman and CEO Prem Watsa resigned from BlackBerry’s board when plans of the company’s sale were made public two months ago. Any counter-bid must be lodged before November 4, 2013 - by which time Fairfax Financial Holdings must also have completed due diligence. “I would think a competing buyout offer is quite unlikely,” said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. “The miniscule premium, and the muted market reaction, is another indication that the market views the odds of a competing bid as slim.”

Go-private ventures are usually conducted so that companies can take a long-term view of a business that needs a strategy change. BlackBerry’s woes began when a previously businessoriented market became consumer-focused and its products failed to appeal to the tastes of those consumers. Barbara Stymiest, chair of BlackBerry’s Board of Directors, said: “The Special Committee is seeking the best available outcome for the company’s constituents, including for shareholders. Importantly, the go-shop process provides an opportunity to determine if there are alternatives superior to the present proposal from the Fairfax Financial Holdings consortium.” “We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry, its customers, carriers and employees. We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution

of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to BlackBerry customers around the world,” said Watsa in a statement. After a new platform release in BlackBerry 10 and a range of supporting handsets, the smartphone pioneer has admitted defeat and announced it will focus on an enterprise strategy, which spells the probable end of its devices unit. “BlackBerry’s supply chain relies on scale for profitability, and it will never again be able to achieve the scale necessary to make money on devices,” said Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum. “It’s likely that BlackBerry will be out of the device business entirely by the middle of next year. “The next challenge is that BlackBerry’s other businesses are all to a greater or lesser extent dependent on its devices

Watsa believes the transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for BlackBerry.

business. BlackBerry Messenger’s installed base is entirely on BlackBerry devices, and its launch on iOS and Android was aborted. It’s mobile device management business is entirely based on its ability to manage BlackBerry devices, and its cross-platform management is much less well established than those of major competitors like MobileIron and Airwatch.”„

The BlackBerry 10 platform launch has done little to reverse the vendor’s fortunes.

BlackBerry is pinning its hopes on its first phablet the Z30.


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EDITOR’S NOTES (18) // by Manda Banda




The 2013 Channel Confidence Survey paints a picture of cautious optimism.


This month Channel Middle East reveals its Channel Confidence Survey results, our annual study about the health of the Middle East IT market. The 2013 Channel Confidence Survey polled all channel stakeholders in the regional market to determine the state of business in the Middle East. The research provides an insight into how channel players see the market right now, and how they are preparing for what’s to come. Although the results painted a picture of guarded optimism, the overall business climate in the regional channel has continued to improve. However, there is still some elements of uncertainty especially in the PC segment, where sales of desktops and notebooks have continued on a downward spiral. That, coupled with the slow adoption of Windows 8, has contributed to sluggish PC sales globally. Not all is gloom, as the poll results showed that 37% of respondents indicated that they have reported double-digit growth. This goes to show that the regional channel did experience some solid trading levels in the first half of 2013. At the same time, 49% of respondents said they were very confident that trading levels in the fourth quarter of this year will be strong than the same period in 2012.

Whether the regional IT market is improving or not, the age-old channel bugbear of margin continues to weigh heavily on the markets mind. Indeed talk of margins declining in the channel has lingered long enough and it seems this will not change any time soon. Given the amount of commercial product offerings being sold in retail channels, margins will continue to get thinner as competition stiffens. From those polled, 35% said pressure on margins was the issue that posed the greatest threat to the health of their business. As much as expecting trading levels to pick in Q4, 2013, it seems the regional channel is not only also expecting profit growth in the last quarter of the year, but paying attention to the bottom line. From those polled, 94.13% said they were budgeting year-on-year profit growth during the quarter with 15.69% expecting an increase of more than 30%. The overall business climate may be improving but as channel stakeholders look to new markets, those that will be successful are businesses that exercise financial prudence, focus on the bottom line rather than top line sales and are carefully selecting which solutions to take on board and vertical markets to target.

[1] The LG G2: the smartphone to beat Barring no holds on the spec front, LG launches its superphone in the UAE

[2] Which way for street resellers? Disorganisation and mistrust between channel players can hamper channel alliances

[3] Samsung launches Note 3, Gear in UAE 4PVUI,PSFBOlSNXIFFMT out new phablet and companion watch for Gulf

Download now for iOS, Android & Kindle


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MOBILITY ACCELERATION Santosh Varghese, GM, Digital products & Services at Toshiba Gulf, talks about the mobile devices market and how reseller partners can take advantage of the opportunities in this sector.

CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST: What is the state of the mobile computing market in the Middle East? SANTOSH VARGHESE: Consumers are faced with a lot of technology products like Ultrabooks, thin basics, traditional notebooks, hybrids, detachable convertibles and tablets. Toshiba is focusing on Ultrabooks and the new ‘create and consume’ concept with its new hybrid notebooks and Ultrabooks. These will soon be adopted by the B2C and B2B customers more than the tablets and traditional notebooks. CME: How well are best-of-breed mobile solutions holding up against the PC and notebook giants? SV: New innovations in the smartphone segment is preventing the replacement cycle of PCs and notebooks. In order to increase the replacement cycles, the PC and notebook segment needs to redefine its user experience, focus on lighter weight and longer battery life. CME: What are the biggest challenges facing resellers who want to extend their specialisation into the mobile computing arena? SV: Consumers are buying cheap tablets or traditional notebooks that drive down the price point which is not helping any one across the business chain including the vendor, distributor and channel partners. CME: What do enterprise and SME clients look for when selecting a reseller to deliver and support their mobile computing platforms? SV: Enterprise and SME clients are looking for the highest standards of customer support. These clients are willing to pay to fast track services


for lesser down time. They also expect the reseller to offer valueadded services like software and hardware solutions, professional services (i.e. onsite support, data recovery) and accessories for their mobile computing platforms. CME: Are mobile devices going to replace PCs? SV: Smartphones and tablets can never replace desktop and notebooks. However, notebooks could replace desktop in the near future. Smartphones and tablets are more of consumption devices, unlike desktops and notebooks, which are more of productive gadgets that create contents for consumption on a tablet or smartphone. CME: Is the PC’s demise nearing? What’s really behind the steep drop in the global PC business? SV: What is slowing down the replacement cycle for PCs is the non-compelling change in technology and innovation. However, new technology including touch screen, gesture control and voice recognition will add more interest in the sales of PCs going forward. CME: What should PC and notebook vendors be doing to help the traditional channel grow its focus in the mobile computing space? SV: The channel should stay away from low price point-based sales and should stop overstocking to get back ends. Instead, the resellers should focus on the new concepts and offer value-added services. The B2B segment will continue to fuel sales for PCs due to replacement cycles becoming overdue for most of the corporate sector. B2B customers

look for value-added services rather than just box-moving and low prices. CME: What kind of margins can resellers expect to generate in mobile computing solutions such as smartphones and tablets? SV: With such low price points, margins will be strained across the chain. Resellers should be ready to work on squeezed margins and focus profits from the value-added services they are able to offer their clients. CME: Is a mobile computing solution increasingly an off-the-shelf sale? SV: With the vast demands and expectation from the consumers, mobile computing solutions can never be off-the-shelf sales. There is ample scope to develop a portfolio of innovative value-added services across the various devices. Different verticals have demand for solutions that can ease their computing problems. One of the main verticals is the education segment. There is a vast scope of value-added services across all mobile computing platforms for the education segment. CME: Which trends and demands will affect the mobile computing market over the next 12 to 18 months? SV: Low cost unbranded tablets will continue to impact the price points in the mobile computing products. Consumers need to understand such low cost tablets don’t provide any value for money. One can’t expect good products and technology for less than $100. The low price of traditional notebooks against the mid- and high-end products of thin basics and hybrid notebooks will contribute to the confusion in the customers’ minds.

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STRIKING A BALANCE Ehsan Hashemi, COO of Golden Systems Middle East, chats about the company’s business diversification and how it is helping resellers to jump onto the value bandwagon.

CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST: What is the state of the IT distribution sector in the region? EHSAN HASHEMI: The IT distribution sector has become increasingly vital in the region and we are seeing many distributors move away from “box-moving” and getting into the VAD space. The most critical aspect of developing a successful VAD model must be based on quality and this implies that distributors should provide superior quality services and continuity when providing solutions and to their channel partners. CME: With the role of distributors constantly changing, how have you managed to stay relevant to your partners? EH: Distributors that want to continue growing in this segment should concentrate on training, implementation, design and configuration as these are at the core of any distributor. Although many distributors are not able to add full implementation functions to their business models, they must always provide reliable service and superior. The “new age” distributor must complement its customer service with sales functions. CME: How challenging is the distribution sector at the moment? EH: Supplying products to the channel is just one aspect, but to distinguish your operation from your competitors, distributors need to get involved at every level of the business with partners. To rise to the challenge, we place a huge priority on working more closely with our vendor


and reseller partners on training, knowledge transfer, pre- and postsales support, and strong RMA programmes. We also ensure that our team is fully trained before servicing the channel. CME: As margins continue to slump and consumerisation of technology growing, how are you managing to stay afloat and remain competitive? EH: We always put great emphasis on reliability and over the past 16 years that we have been in this market, we have insisted on keeping close alliances with our partners, offering our sales people and resellers regular sales training and seminars across the region. We have also introduced the AVARDZ Loyalty Programme, a reward scheme for sales people at reseller companies all in an effort to mitigate the challenges they face in the market. CME: Is it more difficult for distributors to add value to the solutions they take to market? EH: Providing value-added offerings to partners is the most crucial factor in this competitive distribution landscape. As most distributors are jostling for increased business in an effort to return customers in a highly cutthroat market, providing valueadded services has become an imperative. The intense competition among distributors and increased customer demands has influenced the channel’s profit margins which has forced some distributors to cut back on their value offerings. CME: How are helping reseller and vendor partners with the current array that you represent?

EH: Our vendor partners treat us as an extension of their own business. Our product and sales teams go through extensive training before taking or engaging any reseller partner in the market. We ensure that our team is fully equipped by making them undergo rigorous training to get certifications. On the partner side, we hold regular demonstration workshops for channel partners and end-users to get firsthand experience on a wide range of products in our stable. CME: How can distributors sharpen their expertise to benefit vendors and resellers in the region? EH: From both the monetary and product portfolio perspective, it is important to balance exposure and specialisation. From the monetary standpoint, distributors have to make sure that they have enough capital to invest in the business in order to do a great job with the brands they represent. Essentially, they have to be fiscally sound to meet the market’s demand. From a product stand point, they need to ensure that they do not become too centralised on one brand. CME: What does the future hold for Middle East distributors? EH: The distribution industry is facing a very unique set of challenges and there is really no way to tell what the future holds for IT distribution. Nonetheless, the latest trends show an emphasis on value-added distribution and services. We feel that these trends will continue as the regional market continues to show maturity.

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IN THE DRIVING SEAT Denny Liang, general manager at networking solutions vendor TP-Link Middle East, talks about the company’s channel initiatives and how he is driving business development programmes across the region. : What is TP-Link’s channel strategy for the Middle East region? DENNY LIANG: Our channel strategy has revolved around providing better service to the market and ensuring that the company has the best distributors and partners in different countries across the region. We have also ensured that even though channel partners buy from distributors, there is need for them to have a strong relationship with TP-Link. This, we believe, has helped us to gain a better understanding of the market and respond appropriately to any needs that may arise. In the channel space, we have appointed top wholesalers as our partners in the power retailer segment and have continued to cooperate with most retailers including the likes of Sharaf DG, Emax and LuLu. With a solid channel focus, TP-Link offers end-users exceptional service.

With the high quality products and support we are getting from the channel ecosystem, TP-Link is now in a stronger position to promote its solutions in the Middle East market.

(26) // CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_OCTOBER 2013 _www.itp.net_

: What is your vision for the Middle East networking and wireless solutions market and how do you cover this massive geography? DL: It is every vendor’s dream to be number one in any market and the Middle East region is no different. Our vision is to be among the top recognised brands in the networking arena and with good products, competitive pricing and a strong channel partner network across the region, we are confident of achieving this. : What has been TP-Link’s focus for 2013 with your channel partners (distributors & resellers) in the Middle East region? DL: This year is an important year for the company and our channel partners as we have been focusing on creating awareness around the TP-Link brand, to make it one of the most recognised brands in the networking segment in the region. With the high quality products and support we are getting from the channel ecosystem, TP-Link is now in a stronger position to promote its solutions in the Middle East market. The Middle East market has a lot of potential and that is why it remains a region that is attracting a lot of vendors to come and set-up shop here. With more than 38% of the global WLAN market share, TP-Link would like to grow its share in the Middle East as well. With 4G gaining popularity in the region, we have launched the 3G/4G routers and these will go a long way in creating additional margin opportunities for our channel partners. : How many distribution partners do you have in the Middle East region and which products and solutions do they take to market? DL: Currently, we have 30 active distributors in the Middle East region. Our distributors have access to afull range of TP-Link products, which include wireless routers, adapters, range extenders, hybrid wireless solutions, ADSL modems, routers, switches, IP cameras, powerline adapters, print servers and media converters. : How have you segmented your channel business across the Middle East region? DL: We have divided our business according to the vertical segments that our products

We have divided our business according to the vertical segments that our products serve and these include the tradition channel base, power retail, SMB and ISP market. We have a mix of distributors for different market segments and countries across the region. serve and these include the tradition channel base, power retail, SMB and ISP market. We have a mix of distributors for different market segments and countries across the region. In addition, we are running channel partner programmes in the region and our partners are benefiting from the various rebates and incentive schemes that these initiatives offer. : How challenging has the Middle East networking market been for TP-Link in the last three years? DL: It’s safe to say that every time a challenge arises, there is an opportunity that will open up. There is no doubt in my mind that the Middle East has great potential. With the TP-Link brand on the up, the competition is getting stiffer and I know in the past we didn’t have enough expertise to serve our channel partners efficiently and timely. However, with the comprehensive product offerings, support from our partners and the pioneering efforts of the regional team, we have managed to turn things around and have created a brand image and profile that fits with the company’s philosophy. Our aim is to become one of the most popular brands in the networking space. : How is grey marketing affecting TP-Link’s business and how are you addressing this with your channel in the Middle East? DL: Grey imports are a headache and no one vendor involved in the IT hardware business can curb it completely. However, we are trying our best to work with local partners through various sensitisation campaigns which we are driving in partnership with our distributors. We also use serial number tracking to distinguish products bought from authorised channels

and those brought through grey. A key issue with grey is being transparent with partners, having a uniform price structure and making sure products get launched almost at the same time in all the market where TP-Link is present in. : What is your perception of the networking market in the Middle East at the moment? DL: The Middle East is one of the fastest growing networking markets worldwide. Development of the internet, geographical advantages and the purchasing power, all add to the impetus to push the networking segment further. I have every confidence that this will continue to grow in the foreseeable future, creating more opportinities for partners. : Who do you consider as your biggest competitor in the Middle East region when you speak to your channel partners? DL: I do believe that every networking brand is a competitor to us. However, we are a force to be reckoned as we bring new technologies and products to partners and their end-user clients in a timely manner. What makes TP-Link different from other brands is that we are an original equipment manufacturing company and are able to better control the quality and cost of our products. This has helped us to continue offering the market with the most reliable products. : Where do you expect the maximum growth in 2013? DL: Majority of our growth will come from the wireless and ADSL, our traditional strong product lines. We also expect more growth on powerline and switches as there is new technology developed by TP-Link that combines the flexibility of Wi-Fi with the speed and stability of powerline connections in an intelligent solution called hybrid Wi-Fi. : What can your Middle East channel partners expect from TP-Link in the 2014 and beyond? DL: Our aim for next year is to gain success with our partners with the traditional strong product lines. The company will also be bringing to market more new products and this, we believe will help us to expand and tap into new markets.„

(27) // CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_OCTOBER 2013 _www.itp.net_



The Middle East’s largest IT market continues to attract the interest of global IT multinationals. Piers Ford investigates factors that channel stakeholders need to be aware of to build successful channel businesses in Saudi Arabia.


// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_OCTOBER 2013 _www.itp.net_

he Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains the engine room of the ICT market in the Middle East, with government and corporate projects driving demand for the latest technology. The range of green-field developments and implementations is helping to create a hot bed of innovation, with a young, technologysavvy population constantly raising expectations of a state-of-the-art user experience and access to a limitless spectrum of ICT ser vices. Now, there is ever y sign that this dynamic growth is set to filter down to the SME sector, creating opportunities for regional channel partners to join the IT multinationals and systems integrators who have already established a strong foothold and identity in the KSA. Analyst IDC, which has just hosted the annual Saudi Arabia CIO summit in Jeddah, rates the Kingdom as the biggest UCT spender in a Middle Easter market worth more than $32 billion. Government investments in telecoms and e-government infrastructure alone will be worth $10 billion this year. “The overall maturity of the Saudi market is increasing due to demanding, uncompromising, and more aware customers that understand the importance of IT in driving overall business growth and stability,” said Jyoti Lalchandani, group vice president and managing director of IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. “As a result, the pressure on ICT providers to deliver is increasing like never before. To this end, the Saudi Arabian ICT market is now at a key juncture in its evolution, with an increasing number of business leaders looking towards IT to enable business transformation and continued growth.” According to Anish Kanaran, channel director for ERP and retail software specialist Epicor, there are three key influences on the market: financial, administrative and cultural. “IT adaptation automates and streamlines business processes, increases efficiency and contributes to the bottom line,” he said. “Culture is also a major influence. A ver y recent example is the adaptation of BYOD and mobile applications culture in the local businesses, which means that IT resellers


The overall maturity of the Saudi Arabia market is increasing due to demanding, uncompromising, and more aware customers that understand the importance of IT in driving overall business growth.” JYOTI LALCHANDANI, GROUP VP AND MD, IDC MEA & TURKEY

and distributors now have to focus on providing mobility solutions and ser vices.” The downside is that widespread cultural acceptance of the benefits of ICT, which is being driven down from the highest level in the Kingdom, inevitably brings with it the challenges and threats posed by cybercrime. But here, too, is a great opportunity for the channel to develop a range of responsive ser vices. “A major portion of IT investments is dominated by the government’s own investments in the creation of shared infrastructure and e-government vision,” said Khalid Abu Baker, managing director at Kaspersky Lab Middle East. “IT adoption is further fuelled by heavy internet and mobile penetration across the Kingdom as telecom operators continue to create world-class infrastructure to offer greater connectivity. “Being the largest market in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia also continues to attract

(29) // CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_OCTOBER 2013 _www.itp.net_

immense competition from multinational organisations looking to leverage the many opportunities that the Kingdom has to offer. This steady influx of trade and investment is also appealing to cyber criminals to plan and execute targeted attacks, leveraging a host of advanced technology and new attack vectors ever y day that are resulting from the mass adoption of mobile and internet technologies across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabis’s population.” Most of the current mega projects are strongly focused on the data centre and associated ICT ser vices, creating major opportunities for infrastructure vendors such as Cisco and EMC. “Twenty-eight universities will be built in the next two years, 40,000 schools in the next eight,” said Dr. Tarig Enaya, managing director of Cisco KSA, giving an idea of the

SAUDI ARABIA LEADS IT GROWTH Nobody expects the KSA to be toppled from its position at the head of ICT growth in the Middle East any time soon. The scale of infrastructure projects combined with the influence of global ICT trends will continue to create almost perfect market conditions for the foreseeable future. “The internet and social media are shrinking the world and this means that access to global trends is faster – and a traditional market like Saudi Arabia, with all its resources, is moving with the times,” said Gabriel Karam, channel sales director for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. “Cloud computing is one of the stronger contenders as a global trend being picked up by companies in Saudi Arabia. Traditionally, organisations here have preferred to manage their IT operations internally. However, there has been growing interest in outsourcing models such as hosting and managed services. “With the infrastructure investment required to support an ever-growing population, Saudi will sustain its role as an IT growth leader in the region. This is driven by mega governmental projects in education, healthcare, transportation, and oil and gas. The youth population holds the key for Saudi Arabia’s continued success as a business hub and an innovator in the Middle East, despite growing competition from Qatar and the UAE.” Raif Abou Diab, channel sales manager, Saudi Arabia, at EMC, said all the evidence points to Saudi’s continued status as the biggest IT market in the Gulf, with the latest Saudi Arabia Information Technology Report predicting a 6.6% increase in ICT spending to SAR15.3 billion this year.


Widespread cultural acceptance of the benefits of ICT, which is being driven down from the highest level in the Kingdom, inevitably brings with it the challenges and threats posed by cybercrime.

IT adoption is fuelled by heavy internet and mobile penetration across the Kingdom as telecom operators continue to create world-class infrastructure to offer greater connectivity.



scale and range of the projects under way. Flagship developments such as the King Abdullah financial district essentially involve the construction of mini cities with dozens of high-end buildings. The Riyadh Metro system, the new $7 billion King Abdullah airport and the huge infrastructure developments around the mosques in Mecca and Medina are yet more examples of projects that depend on cutting edge ICT. “These projects will improve collaboration across the ICT industr y in a big way,” said Enaya. “Businesses want smart solutions fit for campus-style implementation. Combine that with the huge consumer demand for cloud and BYOD – ever y Saudi citizen has a smart device and 60% of them are below 25, so we’re talking about a ver y demanding user base – and you can begin to get a sense of the scale of the opportunity. This is what’s going on, and we’re tr ying to build an installed base whose growth we can project across the entire KSA market.” Enaya said that a new generation of

engineering and technology-focused talent is engaged in delivering on the government’s requirement for innovation – and much of that will come through from the channel. The demand for ser vices as SMEs join the race to innovate and grab a share of the Kingdom’s prosperity will rise exponentially, introducing more competition in the channel. “While increasing competition might seem like a threat to many, at EMC we believe in the notion that it brings an impetus for vendors and partners to work harder, identify gaps in the market and keep innovating/transforming to stay ahead,” said Raif Abou Diab, channel sales manager, Saudi Arabia at EMC. “We also see new niches developing in the market, where partners of different size and experience focus on relevant segments. For customers, this means more choice as they can now choose the right partner to meet their ser vice needs and business requirements without necessarily breaking the bank.”

// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_OCTOBER 2013 _www.itp.net_


Diab expects a host of mid-market players to emerge to ser vice these requirements. Other industr y watchers suggested this will play into the hands of local ser vice providers and resellers – even in a market that the big players such as BT and some significant US militar y systems integrators have already developed. “There is more competition as multinational companies realise the potential in the countr y so the local systems integrators need to be smart about their business,” said Yakob Kafina, general manager, Saudi Arabia, at value-added distributor FVC. He said resellers and distributors need to invest in two key areas: logistics (they must have a hub in Saudi Arabia to save on time and deliver y); and people who can be trained to deliver the right level of on-theground support to customers. Two other things will help them to set

themselves apart in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said Kafina. “They need to pick on a product mix that actually offers a solution to what the customer needs, rather than focusing on just the profit margin,” he said. “Quite often, working with specialised products and solutions means additional ser vices and these can be a nice additional revenue stream with a decent profit margin. “Also, ser vice and suppor t at a local level increases the chances of repeat business from the same customer. Having the right technical suppor t available in the market can make a huge dif ference to the customer – it means they get timely and ef fective suppor t.” Gabriel Karam, channel sales director for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise in Saudi Arabia, said the local channel must address some key issues to sustain long-term business growth in the Kingdom. Green initiatives

Resellers and distributors need to invest in two key areas: logistics (they must have a hub in Saudi Arabia to save on time and delivery); and people who can be trained to deliver the right level of on-the-ground support to customers.

Innovation within the network industry in the Middle East is still at a nascent stage. Much work needs to be done to reach a stage where we see major innovation and ideas. Resellers that invest in their own home-grown resources will see a better chance of long-term success.



// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_OCTOBER 2013 _www.itp.net_

HOT TECHNOLOGIES FOR SAUDI ARABIA Data centre services, BYOD, virtualisation and cloud computing are set to be the hottest technologies in the KSA during the next 18 months, as businesses and government departments implement projects that capitalise on the benefits of streamlined performance and efficiency, and tighter infrastructure management – enabled by ICT. “This is why believe that technologies like virtualisation (particularly desktop virtualisation), cloud computing (private cloud) and disaster recovery (transforming traditional DR environments to achieving continuous recovery capabilities) will continue to dominate IT investments in the KSA, as all three technologies are helping to meet both IT and business priorities,” said Raif Abou Diab, channel sales manager, Saudi Arabia, EMC. According to Khalid Abu Baker, managing director at Kaspersky Lab Middle East, the rapid evolution of the corporate infrastructure in the KSA is creating higher levels of practical maturity and awareness. “We believe that given the heightened business focus on driving performance, efficiency and security within the public and private sectors, technology investments in the Kingdom will be dominated by expenditures in cloud and virtualised infrastructures, in addition to security technologies that help enterprises combat the risks they are exposed to as a result of the creation of centralised infrastructures. More specific and targeted solutions will become more popular, such as encryption, application control and network access control.”

that help customers to reduce their carbon footprint and energy consumption will be increasingly important. So will greater investment in training, certification and specialisation programmes that allow them to offer more consultative ser vices. “Innovation within the network industr y in the Middle East is still at a nascent stage,” he said. “Much work needs to be done to reach a stage where we see major innovation and ideas. The best way to change this is by investing in human resources to encourage innovation and skills development. Resellers that invest in their own home-grown resources will see a better chance of long-term success. “Although a large majority of the channel is still about the business of selling products, the evolving demands of customers expecting value-add ser vices has set the regional channel on the path to growth and maturity. „

(32) // CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_OCTOBER 2013 _www.itp.net_



Although the overall business climate in the regional channel continues to improve, there is still some elements of uncertainty especially in the PC segment, where sales of desktops and notebooks have continued on a downward spiral. This has been of particular concern for the volume IT distribution and components sector because a slump in PC sales tends to have a knock on effect on the components hardware business. That, coupled with the slow adoption of Windows 8, has contributed to sluggish PC sales globally, while smartphones and tablet sales have been soaring. The 2013 Channel Confidence Survey polled all channel stakeholders (vendors, distributors, systems integrators, resellers and retailers) in the regional market to determine the state of business in the Middle East. In the coming pages, the 2013 Channel Confidence Survey highlights the key findings about the state of the regional channel business and what the outlook is like in the fourth quarter and the year ahead. How did trading levels during the first half of 2013 compare with the same period last year? In a year that has seen the desktop PC, notebooks and components market come under increasing pressure as a direct result of declining sales, it comes as no surprise that majority [47.08%] of the respondents in the Channel Confidence Survey experienced single-digit growth in the first half of the year. Sluggish PC sales have impacted volume distributors and in the process affected channel


players in the components sector. However, the fact that 37.27% of those polled indicated that they have reported a doubledigit growth goes to show that the regional channel did experience some solid trading levels. A further 7.84% indicated that their busines was flat, while 5.88% said their business declined by a single-digit.

// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_OCTOBER 2013 _www.itp.net_

Single-digit growth:


Double-digit growth:


Business was flat:


Single-digit decline:


Double-digit decline:


What is your main financial priority during the second half of the year? Despite a tough business climate persisting in the Middle East channel, the priority for those companies involved in the region’s IT business remains the same. Focusing on increasing sales revenue and business profitability continue to be top of the agenda. A total of 47.06% of those polled indicated that they were focusing on generating revenues for their business, while a 33.33% said focusing on business profitability and bottom

line was a top priority in the second half of 2013. Last year 35% of companies that took the survey indicated that they were prioritising generating revenues. If events over the last three years have taught companies to better manage their businesses, then 11.76% of firms that indicated cash flow management was priority, shows just how they are moving forward to sensibly manage their businesses.

47.06% Focusing on profitability 33.33% Generating revenues:

Improving gross margin Reducing expenses



Better cash flow management : Collecting accounts receivables



How confident are you that trading levels during Q4 will be stronger than the same period last year?

Very confident:


Slightly confident: Uncertain:

The first half of 2013 might have disappointed many, but the channel community in the region is extremely confident that Q4 will stimulate growth to ensure that this year ends at an all time high. From the total respondents that took the survey, 49.02% said they were very confident



Slightly unconfident: Very unconfident:



about trading levels in Q4, while 37.25% of respondents indicated that they were slightly confident. Only 9.80% of repondents said they were uncertain. With Microsoft officially stopping support of its Windows XP OS in April, 2014, analysts are hoping commercial desktop PC sales will spur a refresh and upgrade cycle, and this is likely to gain speed in the last quarter of 2013.

If you are budgeting for a year-on-year increase in sales during Q4, how strong do you expect this growth to be? As vendors and distributors continue to urge their channel partners to focus on profitability and the bottom line, they are also rolling out programmes that are targeted at reseller partners to help them transition their businesses as the IT sector continues to see improvement in the Middle East. The good news is that most channel stakeholders in the Middle East are expecting

trading levels to increase in the fourth quarter this year. A total of 92.16% of those polled said they were budgeting for yearon-year increase in sales growth, with 15.69% expecting an increase of more than 30%. About 7.84% of those surveyed indicated they weren’t expecting an improvement in sales this year.

More than 30%: 20% - 29% :


9.80% 10% - 19% :



: - 9%: 5% - 9%5%

0% - 5% :


I am not expecting sales growth:


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If you are budgeting for year-on-year profit growth during Q4, how strong do you expect this growth to be?

More than 30%:

The sheer number of vendors and distributors developing programmes that focus on helping partners to run profitable businesses goes to show just how important this topic has become in the region, particularly, given the ongoing debate about credit availability and concerns about resellers undercutting


20% - 29%:


10% - 19%:


5% - 9%:


0% - 5%:


I am not expecting profit growth:


their competition by selling below cost. As much as expecting trading level to pick in the last three months of 2013, it seems the regional channel is not only also expecting profit growth in Q4, but paying attention to the bottom line. 94.13% of respondents indicated they were budgeting year-on-year profit growth during the quarter with 15.69% expecting an increase of more than 30%.

Which of the following issues presents the greatest threat to the health of your business? Whether the IT channel landscape is improving or not, the age-old channel bugbear of margin pressure continues to weigh heavily on the market’s mind. Indeed, talk of margins declining in the channel has lingered long enough and it seems this will not get any better given the commoditisation of IT products and the convergence between IT and consumer electronics. 35.29% of respondents said

pressure on margins was the issue that posed the greatest threat to the health of their business. This is likely to worsen given the amount of commercial products that are available in retail channels. Apart from pressure on margins, a lot of the channel players are concerned at the number of projects on offer, while uneasiness over lack of market visibility and customers delaying payments also exists.

23.53% 3.92% vailabilit y: a it d re c f % Lack o ns : 35.29 ure on margi

t vi Lack of marke

sibilit y:


ject Fewer business or pro opportunities :


19.61% ents: 11.76% mers delaying paym

ss: Ability to finance the busine

Ability to manage costs :



Which of the following issues poses the greatest risk to the health of the overall market? Reduced credit availability:


Delayed payment from customers: Unpredictable end-user demand:

Lack of skills:






Unpredictable end-user demand and over competition remain major concerns for channel stakeholders with 54.90% of participants highlighting the two issues to pose the greatest risk to the overall well-being of the market. Last year, a total of 49% of respondents indicated the two challenges

to be of major concern to the market. The shift in sentiment is likely to be down to the slowdown in the global PC market which has had a knock on effect on the components and desktop software business, and increased competition from smartphone and tablets devices. Delayed payment from customers also threatens to hit the channel hard with 21.57% of respondents citing this as a challenge to the market’s health.

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How would you assess the overall financial health of the Middle East channel at present? While the business climate is improving with channel players optimistic about trade levels, sales increasing and profitability growth, it would seem the overall financial standing of the regional channel leaves much to be desired. More than a third of those polled indicated that the financial health of the channel was no healthier or unhealthier than usual, while 17.65% of respondents said it was

unhealthy. Interestingly, 43.14% of respondents rated the channel’s financial standing in the region to be ‘healthy’. The poll results show the challenges that the regional market faces when it comes to financial transparency and the sharing of such information among channel players.

Very healthy:


43.14% No healthier or unhealthier than usual: 37.35% Healthy:

Unhealthy: Very unhealthy:



How would you currently assess the ability of your customers to meet their payments? 5.88% I am extremely concerned: 1.96% I have no concerns at all:

I have more concerns than usual:


I have fewer concerns than usual:


Failing to keep your accounts receivables continues to be one of the main reasons why so many channel organisations run into cash flow constraints. It is all well and good for distributors and resellers to talk about their revenues growing, but unless the can actually collect their payments for the sales made, their efforts are likely to be an exercise in futility. Despite the many

difficulties the regional market is experincing, a whopping 74.51% of respondents indicated that they had fewer concerns than usual about the ability of their customers meeting their payments. A further 5.88% said they had no concerns at all, while 17.65% indicated that they have more concerns than usual. This shows just how the market is cleaning its act and getting tough on unethical business conduct.

What are your company’s hiring plans this year? If ever anyone was still in doubt about the overall market outlook, the positive response to this question is a good indication that while the market isn’t completely out of the woods yet, channel companies across the Middle East are confident enough they can continue to build their workforce in anticipation for better business next year.

Like was the case in 2012 when 71% of organisations indicated that they were still actively hiring, even this year, 72.55% of respondents confirmed that they companies are still actively recruiting staff. Only 27.45% of respondents said they had put their hiring plans on hold and perhaps what’s even better is that none of the firms planned to reduce their workforce.

We are still actively recruiting:


Our recruiting plans remain on hold: We plan to reduce our workforce:



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Arun Chawla, CEO, Trigon LLC, talks about business prospects in the second half of 2013 and how the distributor is planning to reach out to channel partners across the Middle East. : How is the business outlook for the second half of 2013? ARUN CHAWLA: Keeping a positive outlook, we all expect the second half of 2013 to be better as compared to the first six months. If the market continues to understand and realise the basics of IT distribution and remain focused on top priorities, the sector as a whole can overcome the external market factors to a certain extent to achieve the desired business goals. Ever y year is a different challenge for us and it also depends on an individual company, the vision and plans it has laid down for future growth, long term view of the market and the ability to stay focused. : What support are you receiving from vendor partners whose brands you represent across the Middle East region? AC: We work ver y closely with our vendors so that planning and strategising can be agreed with regards to pricing, how to motivate and support our reseller partners, stock management and other incentives that help in building successful businesses. At the moment, we are the authorised distributor of the following vendor brands, Samsung, LG, ViewSonic, D-Link, Elo Touch, Ergotron, Acer, Mustek and Penpower. : Does Trigon have a partner, loyalty or rebate programme in the Middle East? AC: Yes from time to time, we do plan loyalty or rebate programmes to motivate

our partners and this also helps them to plan their current inventories and to place new orders based on the incentives on offer. Our main focus remains with resellers, corporate resellers, VARs, systems integrators and corporate/SME resellers. In addition, our main vertical market focus has been concentrated on the retail, government, financial, education, healthcare and hospitality sectors. : Does Trigon have subsidiaries in other countries in the Middle East? AC: Yes, we have a full-fledged sales office in Bahrain. In other countries we work through our channel partners. Plans are under way for the company to open two offices in the next four months and we are working on suitable options. The successful operation of Trigon hinges on effective management, highly dynamic, talented and qualified professionals backed by a team of sales, marketing and product managers. The team has helped the company to form strong alliances with channel partners, power retailers, consumer electronic dealers, corporate clients and the export market. : Where will majority of your growth come from in the Middle East market this year and in 2014? AC: Our business is not dependent on any single market or product as we have a wide channel network spread across the region and this helps us to maintain a positive balance growth between countries, partners

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and the product offerings. That said, our focus remains to continue to cement our presence in the reseller segment, retail, corporate and SME segment. : What new channel initiatives and programmes will you be rolling out this year? AC: Trigon remains one of the longest ser ving distributors in the region. As a broadline distributor, it has it’s uniqueness in that it caters to all four segments of the market namely channel, retail, corporate and exports. This diversity has allowed Trigon to grow it’s revenues and increase headcounts. That said, our business is not dependent on any single product offering, but rather we have a wide spread network of partners and this helps us to maintain a positive balanced growth. Our mission is to continue providing quality products and reliable ser vices based on the latest technology. This is one sure way of delivering long-term loyalty to our channel partners. We will continue to focus on our retail business and expand all our retailrelated product lines. Our aim is to continue to expand all four business units that include: resellers, power retailers, corporate and regional export business. On the partner front, Trigon is expanding its Ser vice Centre offerings by adding more vendors, products and ser vices related to value adding. We will continue to support and remain loyal to all our channel partners regardless of size, in order to build an efficient business model. „



Securing corporate networks has become an increasing complex task, but one in which solution providers are able to access a good opportunity for profit, if they have the right skills and the right solutions portfolio, writes Piers Ford.


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espite the rise of cloud computing and increased corporate interest in outsourced infrastructure and managed ser vices, the enterprise network remains a complex beast to manage– and it is only going to become more so as demand for bandwidth, capacity and real-time access to business tools and applications continues to grow. Nothing embodies this complexity as much as the challenge of securing the network. In an age of bring your own device (BYOD), holding cyber criminals, viruses and emerging threats at bay is a constant thorn in the side of the network manager. Given that no two networks are the same, the opportunity for the channel to provide customers with solutions that can be tailored to their specific circumstances, and a range of associated consultancy ser vices, is considerable. According to market analyst Gartner, the global security and ser vices market will be worth $67.2bn by the end of this year – up from $61.8bn in 2012. By 2016 it will breach the $86bn barrier. “With security being one of the top IT concern areas, the prospect of strong continued growth is assured,” said Ruggero Contu, research director at analyst firm Gartner. “The consistent increases in the complexity and volume of targeted attacks, coupled with the necessity of companies to address regulator y or compliance-related issues continue to support healthy security market growth.” Quite simply, agreed Florian Malecki, EMEA product and solution marketing director at Dell Software, businesses need 360-degree visibility, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “In addition, network managers need to anticipate the unknown, identify key assets to protect and identify potential weaknesses, empower employees and educate users,” he said. “Security should be a number one priority for any network manager.” But in a market full of choice, the range of firewalls, secure remote access tools, anti-virus and email security applications, and centralised management and repor ting tools is daunting. Network managers in the Middle East need help in separating actual from potential risks while ensuring the day-to-day security of the data flowing in


and out of the organisation. “Identifying tools that give the confidence to prioritise one risk or vulnerability above another has to be the key to any successful network security strategy,” said Brent Thurrell, executive vice president, EMEA and India, at risk identification tool specialist BeyondTrust. “That confidence is gained through a clear view of the state of the network security landscape, enabling the team to make rapid, accurate decisions and to take appropriate, necessar y action. Identifying the tools that will give that confidence is the greatest challenge facing network security teams today.” A major complicating factor is the rapid rate at which the cyber threat picture is changing, and the constant arrival of new emerging threats that are unpredictable and increasingly sophisticated. “Financial ser vices institutions and their online banking customers face a rapidly escalating threat landscape in which malware attacks and data breaches are commonplace,” said Sébastien Pavie, regional sales director, MEA at data protection solutions vendor SafeNet. The company is a single-source vendor that protects identities, transactions, data, communications and software licensing through a full spectrum of encr yption technologies and licensing management. “There is also increased concern among IT leaders over the rise in corporate espionage and Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) that originate from unauthorised local network access,” said Pavie. “Another trending threat is the blended cyber-attacks, where hackers use an array of different malware and techniques to gain access to multiple areas of a network. “With the proliferation of mobile devices and BYOD, we have also witnessed a new type of attack, targeted at smartphones, such as the recent breaches on Android devices. Also, social media hacktivism is gaining ground, with highly visible corporate profiles being hacked, especially in the government, mass media and publications sectors, as well as identity thefts from individual users of various social media platforms.” Network security, then, is not a market for resellers to dabble in. The days of

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EMERGING THREATS TO NETWORK SECURITY Complexity is the watchword for network security in the Middle East, with cyber threats at the top of the risk league table. “The GCC region has been specifically under attack in the last few years,” said Hani Nofal, director of Intelligent Network Solutions at GBM. “According to our recent Cyber Security study, 67% of polled IT professionals think that the Middle East region is a prime target for cyber-attacks. “These are far more complex, coordinated and targeted than previous attacks, which were mostly unstructured and simple. Organisations realise the changing dynamics of the threat landscape and are looking at identifying all vulnerabilities across their firm to protect systems on an end-to-end basis.” Nofal said there has been a surge in zeroday attacks, which take advantage of chinks in network security on the same day that they become generally known. They are almost impossible to defend against using signaturebased technologies that haven’t caught up with them. “To combat the threat of zero day and other various risks, companies are moving towards behaviour based technologies rather than only signature based ones,” he added. “More intelligence and security analytics are needed to pre-empt attacks and permit pro-activeness. Security Incident and Event Monitoring (SIEM) solutions contribute to this and simplify security operations. “’Sandboxing’ on-premises or on-thecloud solutions detect and prevent zero day malware from entering networks. Database activity monitoring tools are being considered by most organisations wary of critical data being lost or leaked to unauthorised people. “Some of the most prevalent risks are related to BYOD security challenges and mobile malware is increasing exponentially, adding a new dimension to maintaining security. Mobile device management and identity management (L3 to L7) will continue to gain importance due to changing business needs and compliance management. “Organisations need to increase user knowledge and implement customised and documented processes to provide a holistic defence as technology alone cannot protect them.”

commoditised anti-virus packages and a general reliance on password protection are starting to recede into a more innocent past. Corporate clients and SMEs need specialist suppliers who fully understand the daily challenge of securing the network and can provide the latest tools and expertise to deliver appropriate solutions. “Essentially, the security channel is


The GCC region has been specifically under attack in the last few years. Firms realise the changing dynamics of the threat landscape and are looking at identifying all vulnerabilities across their firm to protect systems on an end-to-end basis.

Financial services institutions and their online banking customers face a rapidly escalating threat landscape in which malware attacks and data breaches are commonplace. SÉBASTIEN PAVIE, REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR, SAFENET MEA.


largely specialised as it requires dedicated technical resources, experience and qualifications that are critical for the success of any complex implementation,” said Khalid Abu Baker, managing director, Kaspersky Lab Middle East. “Having said that, the channel has evolved fast and broadband distributors are bundling their offerings with dedicated security solutions to offer customers a onestop-shop, comprehensive solutions covering ever ything from system and hardware to networking complete with an over-arching security solution. “This is especially true for those resellers catering to the needs of the SMEs as well as star t-ups. However, it is impor tant to note that even within the broadline distribution companies, security ser ves as a distinct business unit with dedicated, qualified resources and personnel to of fer the right security solution that integrates with the overall

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solution being of fered to the customer.” Baker said that the most impor tant thing for the channel in the region is to invest in the skills and exper tise of its people, to make sure they are qualified to understand the customer’s technology needs and their business requirements. “Today, a security engineer needs to have a thorough understanding of the customer’s entire infrastructure, from the network to the applications, right down to ser vers and support hardware, to be able to position the right solutions to ensure maximum efficiency and performance across the entire length and breadth of the organisation,” he added. “We invest in certified training (Kaspersky Certified Engineers) to create the right resources to be able to successfully undertake and support a complex installation in the region that goes beyond just providing anti-malware or threat protection technologies, to providing

multi-layered solutions that cover all aspects of the customer’s infrastructure and associated end points to create a true ‘secure’ environment.” Specialist security reseller help AG is in the position of selling solutions in this intense and dynamic market. And director of technology ser vices Nicolai Solling said vendors could do more to support the channel in developing its skills set. Help AG is one of the few regional players capable of providing consultancy and implementation ser vices for certifications and standards such as the ISO/IEC 27001 standard. “It will be extremely difficult for any broadline or generalist reseller to maintain the knowledge required to be experts in security,” he said. “Even within the field of security, there are multiple areas of expertise such as solution design, technology consulting, analysis and strategic information management, as well as the overlooked area of security analysis. “As a reseller, we would like to see vendors focus much more on technical expertise, quality and customer satisfaction.


Businesses in the region need 360-degree visibility, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In addition, network managers need to anticipate the unknown, identify key assets to protect and identify potential weaknesses, empower employees and educate users. Security should be the number one priority. FLORIAN MALECKI, EMEA PRODUCT AND SOLUTION MARKETING DIRECTOR, DELL SOFTWARE

As a reseller, we would like to see vendors focus much more on technical expertise, quality and customer satisfaction. Too often the emphasis is only on selling the box. This might work in the consumer market but certainly not for enterprise businesses. NICOLAI SOLLING, DIRECTOR, TECHNOLOGY SERVICES, HELP AG

Too often the emphasis is only on selling the box. This might work in the consumer market but certainly not for enterprise businesses. To a large extent, the growth of Help AG in the Middle East region can be accredited to the simple fact that we have a solution design approach instead of focusing on a specific box. We deliver consultancy to the customer on their requirements and then identify what makes sense, together with them. “I think vendor programmes should offer benefits that encourage partners to invest in their training, certifications and demo labs. Also, instead of evaluating a partner’s capabilities of how much training or how many certifications they have achieved, vendors need to take into account customer satisfaction so that they hear from the enduser whether the partner is capable of delivering up to expectations.” „

The channel has a key role to play in helping organisations to build and maintain network security strategies that are not set in stone, but are adaptable to technology trends and emerging threats. “Consultancy is one of our core competencies and is a major contributor to our revenues and success,” said Nicolai Solling, director of technology services at systems integrator Help AG Middle East. “We regularly assist customers across the region, updating their network security policies. This is because policies need to be regularly revised or else they become inefficient since new threats continuously cropping up and evolving. New business needs often result in the development and deployment of new applications. Since these types of applications require a new level of visibility we are often called in to deliver technical controls to mitigate the risks in such applications. “As part of our ISO27000x and ADISC projects there is always a component of user-awareness training, since this supports the success of any Information Security Management implementation in an organisation – these trainings are always very popular, as they tie together what the information security department is doing and how it is impacting the users.” The degree to which corporate network managers could still benefit from education and consultancy in the region was revealed by a recent survey conducted by GBM: 62% of polled organisations allowed users to connect to their corporate network but fewer than 20% had adopted security measures to protect themselves from associated threats. “There are still many companies in the region who rely on basic security infrastructures and have few processes or policies implemented as best practices,” said Hani Nofal, director of Intelligent Network Solutions at GBM.. “BYOD policies are also being widely implemented across the region, according to our regional survey, which included more than 900 organisations in the Gulf region. Yet, implementation of strong security policies, and a general awareness of the small ways in which security can be breached by anyone in the company, at any level, is still lacking. “The study also revealed that a third of the IT professionals polled owned up to three devices, and one-in-ten owned five or more personal devices, such as smartphones and tablets. “With these kinds of figures, security becomes an even more complex issue for organisations and every individual has to be aware of the ways in which they keep their company’s data safe and secure at all levels.”

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John Spoor, regional manager, Middle East and Africa at WatchGuard, outlines how the company is cementing its channel alliances as it looks to raise the tempo in the Middle East security segment. : Briefly outline what WatchGuard’s channel focus has been in the Middle East this year? JOHN SPOOR: We have cemented our dedication to the Middle East this year by opening a new region office in Dubai. The main focus this year has been expanding our partnerships throughout the region. We look at many different aspects when deciding about potential partnerships and one of the issues is looking for businesses that are skilled and knowledgeable in specific products or services. : How has WatchGuard split its channel coverage in the region? JS: We are in the early stages of developing new channel relationships in the region. WatchGuard looks to create relationships with partners throughout the region, rather than focus on capital cities. In terms of specific skill sets, as explained before, we look for channel partners with a selection of different skills. For example, partners with specific skills and knowledge in cloud and BYOD services are an asset. : How is the company helping its channel partners in Middle East to capitalise on the numerous IT security opportunities? JS: WatchGuard is different to many other companies in the security space because we pride ourselves on being 100% channel. To elaborate, WatchGuard has never and will never have anything to do with the sale side of business. We confidently allow our partners to support this area and we guide them by sharing any business leads that come our way. We also reinvest into our partners by hosting events,

sharing information and attend regular update meetings with them. : What channel programmes and initiatives is WatchGuard rolling out in the regional channel this year? JS: Every quarter we launch a range of initiatives and promotions to reward the channel and drive incremental revenue. This quarter we are running a programme called Red Gives Gifts which incentivises the sales person working for the partner. You can potentially earn up to $2000 for selling one of our enterprise class boxes. : Out of the various IT security offerings the company has, where do you see most of your business growth coming from in 2013? JS: We have seen positive growth throughout all our product ranges, but we have had a lot of interest in our Unified Threat Management (UTM) solutions. This year has seen many high profile data breaches both globally and in the region. Due to this, businesses are becoming more aware that it only takes one weak link in a network for a hack to gain entry. Our UTM services provide security protection throughout the whole network. : What are your channel partners finding challenging in the regional market at the moment? JS: Although we are definitely seeing an improvement in the regional market conditions, customers are still hesitant to invest heavily from a capital point of view and operating expenses are far more attractive to the finance managers.

: How many distributor partners does WatchGuard have across the Middle East region? JS: We have f distributors in MENA, two in the UAE, one in Egypt and one in Morocco. We are continuously providing high level training to our partners to ensure that they are capable of supporting our customers to the required standards. Expert and professional partners much meet required minimum standards which they are then rewarded by providing higher levels of discount. : Who do you consider your fiercest rival in the regional market when you poll your channel partners? The UTM market is extremely competitive and there are excellent companies out there. However, we prefer to focus on our own strengths rather than worry about what the competition are doing. : What new channel programmes, rebates schemes or initiatives can your channel partners expect from WatchGuard this year? JS: In 2014, we will be launching ‘Security Pays’ in the region, which is our credit card incentive scheme for our Professional and Expert partners. Every time a WatchGuard box is sold we will reward the salesperson by putting credit on the card. : What will be key for WatchGuard in the Middle East in 2014? JS: We will be developing our services and sharing new products with the market and continue to help solve security issues for businesses of all sizes. „

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Products and solutions that demand attention! In Japan, the gong signifies a big announcement and is also used to start a sumo wrestling contest. At GITEX 2013, OKI will be heralding in a new era of digital printing with our state-of-the art range of business and enterprise class printers. Together with our High Definition LED Multi-Function, Colour and Mono products and tailor-made solutions, we’ll also showcase a 'brilliant' breakthrough in technology that will take graphic art printing that one step beyond. Now that’s enterprising.

Visit us @ GITEX on Stand Number B4-1A. PRINT SMART, PRINT OKI.

DWTC TO HIGHLIGHT BIG DATA Event organiser to host first ever Big Data Conference on October 22 at GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK 2013 he Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), organiser of GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK 2013, recently announced it will host its first ever Big Data Conference on October 22, during the technology conference itself. DWTC said the move was in response to industry figures that show a ramp up within regional business strategies of attention to analytics and business intelligence (BI). The transition from a buzzword to a mainstream concern is forcing business leaders to quickly adapt, with social interactions, mobile devices, facilities, equipment, R&D,


simulations, and physical infrastructure all contributing to a profitable growth of big data, DWTC argued. According to IT-focused market intelligence firm IDC, over 40% of CIOs in the Middle East have reported that they are scoping investments in analytics and big data technologies in 2013. This represents a significant spike in interest. At a recent IDC summit of the Middle East region’s CIOs, just 12% claimed to have implemented analytics/big data technology projects in 2012. IDC also found that 58% of CIOs believe governance, regulation, compliance requirements and reporting, as well as a need for greater

Loh says firms that are not harnessing big data to reinvent their operations will clearly miss out.

transparency, are forcing investments in big data and analytics technologies. As a result of this growing awareness, IDC says investments in business analytics solutions across the region are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 20% over the next five years. Worldwide, IDC estimates that spending on big data technology and services will likely grow from $3.2bn in 2010 to $16.9bn in 2015, representing a CAGR of 40%, or about seven times that of the overall ICT market. From a global perspective, IDC reports that the digital universe will have grown by a factor of 300 between 2005 and 2020. This equates to an increase from 130 exabytes to 40,000 exabytes, or 5,200 gigabytes for every human being. From now until 2020, the amount of data stored around the world will almost double every two years. The share of the digital universe held by emerging markets, including the Middle East, is currently on course to grow from 36% to 62% between 2012 and 2020. IDC reports that only a fraction of the digital universe has been explored, but by 2020 as much as 33% could contain valuable information if analysed. Accordingly, the Harvard Business Review recently proclaimed the role of data scientist as one of the 21st century’s most lucrative jobs. Part of GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK’s GITEX Trends segment, the Big Data Conference is structured to help CIOs cope with the unending data deluge, arm their organisations with the wherewithal to mine it for

IDC says spending on big data technology & services will grow from $3.2bn in 2010 to $16.9bn in 2015.

strategic advantage and, crucially, alchemise what is ostensibly a big problem into a big business opportunity. Key big data talking points include how CIOs and businesses are adapting; how to develop a winning strategy; ways to secure competitive advantage; how to gain insight from data; and pressing security and compliance issues in the Middle East. “Businesses and organisations that are not harnessing big data to reinvent the way they operate will clearly miss out on both innovation and profit,” said Trixie Loh, senior vice president, Dubai World Trade Centre. “[The] Big Data Conference is a concise, extremely powerful examination of latest developments and challenges. Featuring leading experts, analysts and businesses, this is our most focused look yet at how big data is making waves, and we look forward to an action-packed day of lively debate, illuminating insight and constructive troubleshooting.” Running under the theme, “Let’s Create, Disrupt and Re-imagine Together”, the 33rd edition of GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK 2013 runs from October 20-24 at DWTC. (49)

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SPECIALISATIONS Fady Iskander, channel and commercial regional manager, Middle East at Symantec, discusses the company’s plan to get channel partners to specialise. : What has been your company’s focus and business strategy for the Middle East channel in 2013? FADY ISKANDER: Significant investment has been made on a strategic level to ensure that the channel base in local markets across the Middle East region is fully supported. Symantec has put teams together based on a geographical focus by aligning sales, pre-sales and channels on specific regions that span across the Middle East, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. Partners’ technical specialisations continue to be adopted across the Middle East, with 159 specialist partners across the region. How is the company helping its channel partners to take advantage of the improving business climate in the Middle East? FI: Symantec’s Partner Program aligns with longterm trends in channel partner markets by continuously updating educational and training materials, as well as specialisation programmes. Symantec’s channel programme in the Middle East provides partners with superior value, market differentiation and sustainable revenue opportunities through several schemes that reward partners for their total contributions. : What channel initiatives is your company rolling out in the Middle East? FI: Symantec’s goal is to improve existing products and services, and at the same time develop new, innovative products and services that solve important unmet or underserved needs. Symantec is looking at expanding our channel enablement programme to include sales skills as well as pre-sales skills. : What is the state of the Middle

East IT channel at the moment? FI: The Middle East market has no different requirements for Symantec solutions just like other markets around the globe. The data generated by Middle East users is expanding more than ever, and this information needs to be secured and protected. The opportunities are extensive for both security and protection. : What role are your distributors expected to play to help strengthen your reach in the Middle East market? FI: Symantec distribution partners are our vehicle to the market place as they have become increasingly focused on customers, enabling partners to address specific customer needs through a strategic relationship that offers IT solutions. By investing in themselves and their capabilities through Symantec specialisations, partners have been able to successfully differentiate themselves. : What would you say will be your major highlight at this year’s GITEX Technology Week? FI: Following the growth in security threats in the Middle East over the past year, Symantec will be showcasing the Symantec Security Operation Center (SOC) to demonstrate its managed security services and global intelligence network that monitor cyber threats worldwide. consumer products. : What role is expected from your distributors going forward given that cloud adoptions are picking up in the Middle East? FI: Symantec has a wide range of cloud-based offerings for businesses in the region, allowing them to consume services directly, build their

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own cloud for internal operations or external reach, or extend into third-party clouds safely and efficiently. Symantec is enabling its distribution partners to provide software and services to effectively meet those needs – whether they are in the cloud, on-premise or hybrid, Symantec’s solutions deliver. : What can your channel partners expect from Symantec in the next 12 months in the Middle East region. FI: Symantec is focused on giving our partners greater control and flexibility within our channel programme and the opportunity to plan for better achievement of goals and targets. We set a great foundation with specialisations in 2012, and we are building upon that with nextgeneration specialist programmes and resources. : What technology or business trend is your company tracting in the next two years? FI: Symantec has recognised that endpoint security is no longer enough for businesses in the Middle East and organisations need to employ an in-depth security strategy that includes a mix of aware, educated end users, strict policies and procedures around testing security vulnerabilities, securing information and responding to issues that may arise; and having up to date technologies. In addition, Symantec unveiled a range of new specialisations to current programmes for partners to develop expertise in these include: Mobility Specialisation, Partner Management Console for MSPs and SMB Specialisation. „

50 Meet the Middle East’s channel movers and shakers you need to know. By Manda Banda


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he year 2012 was marked by an ever-accelerating pace of technology innovation from next-generation smartphones and tablets to mind-bending breakthroughs in cloud computing, virtualisation and networking. It was also a year that saw soaring big data technology investments propelled by the social networking revolution. A record number of systems integrators in the region added new mobile, cloud, virtualisation and networking services and products to their portfolios. With new technology ramping up the market, this year’s ‘Channel Champions Top 50’ list has devoted even more of those executives pushing the innovation envelope. This year’s list includes not only the 50 most influential executives taking technology to new heights, but dwells deeper into understanding these executives in their quest to promote innovation in the regional channel and thereby making game-changing contributions. And no channel management is complete without a strong partner base. The Channel Champions Top 50 executives making the channel leaders list in 2013 are the who’s who of channel management – heading up the partner programmes that resellers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region depend on to run their business. This year’s honourees are navigating a maze of business model and technology shifts, and trying to make sure their company’s channel partners succeed. While the market and technology landscape continues to evolve, the main objectives of the Channel Champions Top 50 list have remained unchanged. As pointed out, the year 2012 was a year in which the technology and business transformation propelled by advances in cloud computing, virtualisation and networking made it more critical than ever for courageous executives to step up with game-changing contributions to partners. It was also a year that saw the global PC market slump with mobile devices (tablets and smartphone) sales soaring. With that in mind, This year’s honourees are navigatthis year’s list aims to shine ing a maze of business model and the spotlight on not only the technology shifts, and trying to make sure most influential executives their company’s channel partners in in the MENA channel today, the Middle East succeed. but on the channel pioneers, sales and services leaders, the channel strategists, as well as the innovators, mavericks, next-gen channel leaders and up-and-comers. This year’s list sees Lenovo emerge so strongly in the PC plus era to displace HP from the number one spot in the global PC market, a position HP held for the past seven years. So, how did we choose these top 50 executives? Before compiling this list of the who’s who in channel management, we set ourselves a few ground rules as a starting point. All the executives featured in this year’s list are in full-time employment with vendors and distributors, the very companies that resellers engage with on a daily basis. For the purposes of uniformity, the Channel Champions Top 50 this year, like was in 2012, features executives from the UAE although almost all have much broader responsibilities covering the MENA geography and markets in Eastern Europe, parts of Western Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. While we have only managed to publish 50 executives from the regional channel, we are also aware of the fact that there are more ‘channel champions’ beyond this list. Nonetheless, the compilation offers a solid guide to the movers and shakers shaping the regional IT channel. In the pages that follow, Channel Middle East features the Channel Champions Top 50 for 2013.


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CEO, BDL Saudi Arabia

Executive VP, Metra Computer Group

Chairman & CEO, Mitsumi Distribution

BDL’s Dell pedigree, as well as its expertise in Acer, HP, Asus and IBM, makes it a valuable player in the systems and hardware business. Ismail has brought stability to BDL’s KSA operation, a major factor reseller partners look at when selecting to work with a distributor.

Eissa holds the reins at one of the region’s largest IT hardware distributors, with sales of more than $660m in 2012. Despite the challenges Metra has faced in its home market in Egypt, Eissa has been helping the company build a solid foundation for growth in the Gulf.

Even though Mitsumi has its headquarters in Dubai, majority of its business comes from the company’s Africa. Shah is aiming to repeat the success the company is enjoying in Africa here in the Middle East by partnering with tier one IT vendors.




CEO, Trigon

Printing Category Manager PPS, HP Middle East

General Manager, Mindware

Trigon’s strategy to remain focused on its core business offerings has aided the company to maintain its value-addition element. Under Chawla’s leadership, Trigon has developed a strategy that gives less focus on revenue growth and more emphasis on giving partners hardware solutions that enhance profitability.

Following the merger of HP’s IPG and PSG to form the new Printing and Personal Systems (PPS) Group, Verton is now the man who is the primary channel face in-charge of the printing category business inside PPS. Verton has ensured that channel initiatives are articulated to channel partners.

Mindware has continued to expand its array adding a number of top-tier brands. Under Gay’s guidance, Mindware has marshalled partners to focus more on running profitable businesses. With the longevity Mindware has enjoyed in the channel, Gay is keen to see the company bolster its systems and hardware array.


DJILLALI LAHIANI Channel Business Partner Dev Manager, Lenovo MEA & Pakistan




Regional General Manager, Toshiba

General Manager, Acer Middle East

Director, Channel Programs & Operations, Dell Middle East

Despite facing stiff competition and a dip in PC sales, Toshiba has consolidated its offerings with innovative solutions in the notebook, tablets and hybrid space. Varghese has been leading the company’s channel charges across the MEA region ensuring that the Toshiba brand remains relevant to partners.

Although Nemati has only been in this role for just under 10 months, the former HP channel sales manager for IPG has managed to galvanise Acer’s channel business. He has focused his attention on renewed and improved support, and making sure that channel partners are informed, motivated and running profitable businesses.

The stage is set for Coulston as Dell readies a blitz of game changing channel initiatives. After a string of acquisitions in the last three years, Coulston is the main executive assigned with the responsibility of integrating the various partner programmes from the acquired firms into the umbrella Dell PartnerDirect Program.

Although it faces increasing competition in the core PC business, Lenovo has overtaken HP to become the world’s largest PC maker by units shipped in Q2, 2013. Lahiani has overseen some pretty significant changes over the last couple of years as the company has been transformed from a little-known maker of PCs into the number one global PC brand, displacing a half dozen would-be challengers. With the gains in the now-fading global PC business, Lahiani and his channel colleagues will be keen to impress as Lenovo prepares for the next wave of computing.

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Business Development Manager, Kingston MEA

CEO, Gulf Shadow Computer Systems

COO, Golden Systems Middle East

It might be known for its extensive memory array, but Kingston boasts an extensive range of components and peripherals. Harb is responsible for business development and making sure that Kingston is meeting its channel targets across all product lines in the MEA region.

Shoman has helped Gulf Shadow to diversify its business from a pure components play to building a broadline products distribution operation that has a strong leaning in mobility products. He has continued to lead the company as it transforms from components into a value-added distribution business.

In the 17 years that Golden Systems has been serving the regional channel, Hashemi has played a pivotal role in the company’s growth and harbours ambitions to take the company into new geographies. He has spent the last 12 months helping the company to develop its mobility business.




Managing Director, Empa

Deputy Vice President, FDC International

Channel Sales Manager, Seagate

Empa might be well-known for its solid components business in the regional channel, but ever since Argyrides took over his role two years ago, he has been steering the company towards a value-added distribution model. He has over the last year signed strategic vendors in the networking space.

FDC partners in the region had been crying out for RMA facilities and enhaced after-sales support and that has been Kewalrami’s focus over the last year as the company grows its operations in the Middle East. He has also been behind FDC’s regional expansion plans across the MENA region.

Al Ajouz has focused Seagate’s partner efforts to cementing the vendor’s image in the traditional reseller and system builder space. Aside from strengthening Seagate’s components business, he has also been building its branded business, that is driven mainly through the retail channels.


TAHA KHALIFA Regional Director, Intel MENA




Vice-President, Asbis META

Regional Sales Manager, AMD META

Sales Director – Branded Business,WD

Over the last decade, Asbis has been building its mobility business in MEA. Tantawi has pioneered the distributor to diversify its business and lessen the company’s dependence on the components business. Asbis is one of the few distributors that supplies CPUs from the two main players Intel and AMD.

In a year that saw a sharp decline in PC sales leading to the components sector being affected, El Deeb has played a crucial role in helping partners to cope with the challenging market conditions. He has also been involved in streamlining the company’s distribution network across the region.

As an experienced channel executive, Wani is using his vast knowledge and understanding of the regional channel to advance WD’s branded business. Under Wani’s watch, WD has ramped up and refined its retail strategy to reinforce the company’s offerings to consumers.

Although Intel continues to dominate the MENA CPU market, it’s the mobile device segment where the company wants to replicate the success it has enjoyed in the PC sector. Khalifa’s first year as regional director for MENA has seen him tighten alliances with key integrators and regional telecoms operators. Intel generates more revenues from collective sales from PC integrators and resellers than it does with its biggest OEM partners, making the channel the largest customer base. With that in mind, Khalifa wants to replicate Intel’s clout in PCs in the mobile devices market.

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CEO, Focus Softnet

Managing Director, IFS

General Manager, Infor Middle East

For a vendor that initially started as an accounting solutions provider serving the SME market, Focus Softnet has been compelled to upgrade its platforms to ERP status due to a shift in the market. Hyder has been guiding the company’s channel base to increase its trained resources.

Niche ERP solutions vendor IFS has continued to actively compete against larger rivals because it has maintained focus. Fleming has been instrumental in developing IFS’ channel business, ensuring that the solutions the company offers are based on core business process areas.

Infor offers enterprise apps and services, and it is Hibbert’s duty to ensure that the vendor’s solutions are helping resellers in the region to improve operations, drive growth, and help businesses to quickly adapt to changes around them. He continues to guide partners to offer deep industry-specific apps.




Regional Director, Sage Software

BPO Manager, IBM ME & KSA

Distribution Manager – MENA, VMware

Fernandes is responsible for Sage’s software business in the Middle East, which boasts CRM, ERP, accounting and other business apps software offerings. He has played a crucial role in appointing and educating partners, and streamlining Sage’s channel model across the Middle East.

As head of IBM’s Business Partner Organisation (BPO), Zohny is not only the channel face for the IT giant, but is the driving force behind IBM’s channel progression. His duties include leading partner engagement models and ensuring that the broader ISV channel is able to provide support to clients.

VMware has one of the most comprehensive software offerings. With a distribution background, Kumar has focused on helping VMware build a sustainable two-tier distribution business where IT distributors are playing a greater role in how the company works with resellers across the region.


SHERIF HAMOUDAH Head - Ecosystems & Channels, SAP MENA

DAVID POSTEL Channel Manager, Red Hat Since the arrival of Postel at Red Hat some nine years ago, the vendor has been pushing deeper into the reseller channel. Red Hat has made a series of investments as it ups the tempo in the region. Postel is the main driver of the company’s channel recruitment and training initiatives.



Vice President, Oracle MEA

Partner Strategy & Development Lead, MEA HQ, Microsoft Gulf

As one of the largest business apps vendors in the world, Oracle has one of the most solid public cloud services. Al Thehaiban leads Oracle’s MEA charges, helping partners to delve deeper into the vendor’s software and hardware offerings.

Microsoft maybe going through a transition as it transforms into a company delivering devices and high-value cloud services, but that has not detracted Hussein to be the face for Microsoft’s channel across the region. He has played a pivotal role in getting partners to specialise.

Business apps vendor SAP has continued to bolster its strong standing in the business software market in the region, largely due to the company’s continued efforts to refine its partner engagement model. With cloud-based services, SaaS and other managed business apps gaining speed, SAP has managed to hone its channel focus. Hamoudah may have taken on this role recently, but he is no stranger to the IT and telecoms industry. He will put his 25 years of IT experience to steer SAP’s channel partners to capitalise on the emerging opportunities.

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Business Development Manager, Bitdefender

Business Unit Manager – Security & Storage, Aptec

Regional Sales Director, Blue Coat

As the business development manager for the region, Muasher has not only confined himself to sales, but has been at the forefront of helping the company and its channel partners to grow and develop the business in the region. He has also overseen the company’s expansion strategy.

It remains to be seen how much will change for Aptec now that it’s part of Ingram Micro. Haridas has a wealth of experience when it comes to dealing with the security and storage channel. With more than 15 years of IT experience, Haridas has a deep understanding of the security and storage markets in the region.

Moore has overseen some pretty significant changes during his first year in a role that sees him manage Blue Coat’s regional business and partner network. With the recently unveiled Business Assurance Technology vision in place, Moore wants the new security approach to empower businesses in the region.




Channel Manager, EMC

MD, MEA & APAC, Computerlinks

Channel Development Manager, Trend Micro

There are a few, if any, vendors in the region that boast the storage breadth of EMC. Under Haddad’s watch, the vendor has continued to make significant inroads in the SMB and enterprise markets, leading partners on the cloud and virtualisation journey.

As one of the few VADs that has a solid security and storage business, Computerlinks has under the headship of Reynolds continued to expand its product breadth and coverage in the region. Reynolds has played a crucial role in enhancing the company’s technical capabilities beyond IT security offerings.

The ever evolving IT threats landscape has not only made an already competitive market tougher, but has also highlighted the need for prudent channel management. Kajaria fits into her role quite well having gained extensive experience in managing partners that serve the consumer and corporate sectors.

Omar Barakat



Channel Development Manager, McAfee MENA

Regional Channel & Alliance Manager, Symantec MENA

Regional Director, Dell SonicWall

Barakat has targeted his channel endeavours on boosting partner margins for partners playing in the SMB and enterprise markets. With McAfee having recently refreshed its endpoint security, Barakat has his work cut out as the vendor is trying to make gains on its chief rival Symantec.

Stability is a major factor that resellers consider when selecting a vendor and Itani has certainly provided that for Symantec. He has stirred up the channel as the company transitions from the sale of shrink-wrapped software and software licences business in favour of the SaaS model.

Dell SonicWall has continued to bolster its IT security solutions ever since it came under the umbrella company Dell Corporation. Under the guidance of Sheikh, he has made growing the partner base a priority and remains committed to improving pre- and post-sales infrastructure for regional partners.

AMAN MANZOOR Consumer Sales Director, Kaspersky Lab Middle East Kaspersky has continued to ramp up its MEA consumer and enterprise business during the past couple of years and that has brought a stronger focus on the regional channel. Not only has Manzoor been instrumental at mobilising partners, he has alsohelped to shape and refine the vendor’s regional channel strategy. Given the management changes that have recently taken place at Kaspersky, Manzoor will be keen to continue impressing channel partners in his new role, as the company continues to augment its business in the Middle East.


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The potential for reselling cloud services is somewhat untapped in the region. Pierre Olivier Descoteaux (CCED) general manager - Vendor Acquisition & Cloud Computing at Ingram Micro Services, outlines what Aptec is doing in the cloud arena and the opportunities for partners in the Middle East region. here is no doubt about the scale of interest in cloud computing at the moment, as businesses in the Middle East relax their traditional approach to ownership of their IT infrastructure and engage with the possibility of outsourcing elements to third party service providers. Major vendors are responding by moving cloud delivery architectures into the region. Even in areas where early adopters have



been thin on the ground, the market is now steadily on the rise. According to market research firms Gartner, Forrester and IDC, the Middle East is somewhat trailing behind in terms of overall cloud adoption. However, the firms say the potential for cloud growth in this region is expected to be spectacular due to the number of SMBs operating in the region, the importance that this technology plays and the

costs saving benefits that cloud proposes. In Saudi Arabia, for example, analyst IDC expects the cloud computing market to grow annually by almost 50% into 2016. Pierre Olivier Descoteaux (CCED) general manager - Vendor Acquisition & Cloud Computing at Ingram Micro Ser vices, said SaaS with solutions like Business Email and Collaboration is currently one of the fastest growing segments in the cloud IT

industr y, if not the fastest. Descoteaux said this is also one of the easiest segments to serve if you are going to venture into the cloud with limited knowledge and resources. He explained that IT software companies such as Microsoft, Adobe, Salesforce and SAP with cloud distributors like Ingram Micro have made it extremely simple for resellers to deploy SaaS in less than 48 hours. “I believe that resellers are very well positioned to take advantage of this exceptional opportunity. As a matter of fact, in the North America region, we have seen a growing number of hosting providers and resellers embrace this model in the past few years and their success has simply been phenomenal,” he said. Descoteaux said at the end of the day, the benefits are for SMBs that can finally take advantage of a Fortune 500 grade software once reserved only for large enterprises. While there is no doubt about the impact of the cloud computing model on the traditional channel, partners that embrace this model stand to earn double-digit margins on their bundled offerings. Descoteaux concurred and said traditional hardware distribution is used to see 1% to 2% margins on products where as cloud, because of its delivery model, its bundled capabilities and its overall attraction in the market can bring in margins as high as 15% for the distributors. “The biggest investment that companies serious about cloud will have to make is hiring trained dedicated cloud resources. Companies need to make sure they get the necessary skill sets to support their cloud efforts,” he said. “Also, restructuring the compensation plans for the sales team is a must if you will venture in the cloud.” Aside from the investment aspect, Descoteaux said diversifying your portfolio of IT offerings including cloud ser vices, professional ser vices and training is the way to go for any VAD or volume distributors. “These lines of business are important since they attract new customers and generate additional revenues from the existing customer base,” he said. “In addition, they generate well above the usual 2% margin structure that the distributors are used to seeing.” Building value in the cloud services arena has proved a challenge for most partners. What are the main challenges facing VADs

with ambitions to enter the cloud services market in the region? Descoteaux said education of resellers and vendors on the cloud value proposition for the channel remains the number one stumbling block in the Middle East. “Ingram Micro is investing heavily in its cloud practice around the world to make sure that we follow best practices and have the right people driving the business from a marketing, sales and operations point of you,” he said. “We have made an effort to create a separate business entity that is focused solely on cloud and hiring experienced associates that have previously worked in a cloud environment.” He reiterated that for the cloud business to continue gaining momentum in the regional channel, there is need for all involved (vendors, distributors and resellers) to change the whole mindset around the cloud computing model. Descoteaux said building a recurring revenue model is a major driver any VAD, SI or VAR with aspirations to capitalise on the cloud boom needs to do. He said the three main opportunities to achieve this lie in managed services, cloud virtual desktop infrastructure and cloud software services. He said in terms of sales, Ingram Micro has reviewed compensation packages for its team and has developed a specific compensation plan for the core team which is incentivised to work together with the cloud team. Given that customers perceive cloud-based computing as a more streamlined, economic model, how is Aptec building service portfolios that are guaranteed to generate attractive revenue streams? Descoteaux explained that Ingram Micro’s Aptec is focusing on three main pillars when building its cloud portfolio in the region. He said the first pillar is to look at what makes the basis of cloud computing and what companies need to start venturing into the cloud. Therefore, he said the company has decided to focus on security solutions, virtualisation and business email as a service, which consists of the logical first step when thinking of deploying any cloud solutions. Experts say channel partners can engage in reselling integrated managed services and hybrid managed/cloud services, focusing on networking and telecommunications, IT infrastructure, applications and security.

In North America, we have seen a growing number of hosting providers and resellers embrace the cloud model in the past few years and their success has simply been phenomenal. PIERRE OLIVIER DESCOTEAUX (CCED) GM VENDOR ACQUISITION & CLOUD COMPUTING, INGRAM MICRO SERVICES

Descoteaux agreed and said what is the most important aspect for any players with cloud ambitions is to acquire the necessary training, selling, marketing and positioning skills. “Partners will need to know what the true value proposition of cloud is and learn how to position it in a conversation with CEOs and CIOs. They will also need to educate their customers on the differences between Capex and Opex model, and how cloud can bring better ROI,” he said. He pointed out that supporting customers with collateral material and work session will also make the customer trust that the partner knows what they are talking about. Looking ahead, Descoteaux said the adoption of cloud computing will drastically pick up in the Middle East region in the next 12 to 18 months starting from solutions around SaaS like Microsoft Office 365 and McAfee Email Filtering and then going into infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and eventually more complex solutions like ERP and CRM in the cloud.



As any seasoned GITEX Technology Week participant will know, planning is everything. Without a proper plan that helps you to recognise which organisations will be of interest to your business, the whole essence of participating at the region’s most prestigious information and communication technology (ICT) exhibition may be an exercise in futility. Channel Middle East has selected a few channel players it believes you should make a point of meeting when the Middle East’s largest ICT extravaganza kicks off this month. (69)

ETISALAT The UAE’s number one telco Etisalat has prioritised a number of areas in the past year. One area of particular focus has been the company’s reinvigorated business offerings with the business ultimate, business prepaid and expanded business data roaming packages. In addition, Etisalat has been expanding its managed services and end-to-end solutions offerings through investment in machineto-machine (M2M) systems following the launch of the

M2M Control Centre recently. This sophisticated, cloudbased platform offers unique capabilities allowing enterprise customers to launch, manage and rapidly scale connected M2M device deployments to suit their business needs. At this year’s GITEX Technology Week, Etisalat will be showcasing solutions that have been tailored to fit with the telecom provider’s theme of ‘Smart Solutions for a Smarter World’.

Etisalat will be exhibiting its ‘Smart Solutions’ at this year’s show.


Where to find them:



Intelligent document recognition and management solutions maker IRIS has focused most of its efforts in 2013 cementing its channel presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The company has also been expanding its product array as it help partners to start providing cloud-based offerings.

11 Berrihi says IRIS’ products have been rapidly accepted in the Middle East region.

Mohamed Berrihi, channel sales manager, Benelux, Middle East, North Africa and Turkey at IRIS, said the company’s mission is to increase its customers’ productivity and knowledge by helping them better manage their documents, data and information. Berrihi said IRIS has developed products and technologies for intelligent document recognition and has been gaining market share in the regional channel. He said with the rapid acceptance of IRIS’ document management, mass scanning and indexing offerings, the company will be demonstrating these products to solution providers at GITEX Technology Week. He said IRIS professional solutions enable firms to find in one company the innovative expertise and solutions to manage documents and infromation.

Where to find them:



HALL 4 D4-3

Dubai-based mobile devices maker Touchmate will be showcasing why there continues to be plenty of buzz surrounding the mobile devices market. The company which has its roots from reselling IT hardware, has over the last four years transitioned and established itself as a manufacturer of smartphones and tablets. Vasant Menghani, CEO and founder, Touchmate, said the main focus area for the company is mobility products especially tablets and smartphones in 2013. Menghani said the company has been growing its mobility offerings and accessories range. He said every IT player in the regional channel knows the importance of GITEX and for a brand like Touchmate, the platform is an ideal avenue to showcase offerings that have

Touchmate will be showing its broad array of tablets and the newly unveiled smartphone models.


been developed by a company that has its roots in Dubai. “We have over 1100 IT and mobility products, 35 different models of tablets and recently launched six different smartphone models. We firmly believe that GITEX is the perfect platform to show products, meet all players in the IT, retail, hypermarket and IT megastores sector,” he said.

Where to find them:

HALL 8 B8-25



The regional channel is fundamentally evolving and waking up to customers’ requirements, however, there is still a deficit between the capability to deliver and meet the market requirement for technology solutions. Channels have to work to bridge the gap and deliver on higher value.


Choudha says GITEX provides the perfect platform for . Spectrami to meet with partners

Anand Choudha, MD, Spectrami said the company’s channel initiatives have revolved around two areas of engagement namely consolidation and actuating a high level of channel enablement. “We do work on a multi staged model around consolidation and actuation which involves but not limited to engagement, enablement, inside sales, marketing, go to market, first deal support, sales and technical incentives among others to ensure partners have a certain degree of enablement to deliver on services around solutions,” Choudha said. He pointed out that GITEX is without doubt, the biggest IT event of the year across MEA region and what it means is a massive influx of visitors including potential and existing customers, channels and vendors.

Where to find them:

As a relatively new entrant in the regional distribution space, EMT Distribution is bringing simple and effective solutions to help firms implement the private cloud in the Middle East region. In addition, the company has been adding security add-ons for virtualised environments such as backup software and security software for virtualised networks. The company said the channel is very specific about what they want to sell. According to the Dubaibased distributor, resellers are being introduced to so many new products and technologies on a daily basis. The company said since channel partners interact with end-users on a daily basis, they are aware of what new products will sell and in the process sustain the effectiveness of the whole channel. EMT will be utilising GITEX

HALL 1 A1-2

Newly launched EMT Distribution will be making its debut at GITEX 2013.


Technology Week to introduce four new products into the market with very unique selling features. The regional distributor said the products will address a niche set of customers that are already expressing their need for specific technologies in the cloud and virtualisation security space.

Where to find them:

HALL 2, B2-6

MODECOM MEA If tablets, PC accessories and peripherals are your thing, then head over to Modecom’s booth as the vendor has one of the largest product ranges in MEA. A renowned brand in Eastern Europe, Modecom’s focus area has been to develop the distribution network in the MEA region. The company has signed Jumbo IT Distribution to supply its range of products in the UAE market. “We also appointed in Egypt, Tunisia and Oman along with forging alliances with partners in more

than 15 other countries who are sampling our products,” Afzar Sultani, sales director, MG Group. Sultani said at this year’s GITEX Technology Week, Modecom will unveil new tablet and phablet ranges. “A total of eight models with four models having in-built 3G, calling and SMS function will be launched. Phablets with Quad core processors, up to 16GB storage, 5MP cameras, GPS and powerful batteries will also be on display.


Sultani (far right), says Modecom will unveil new tablet and phablet models.

Where to find them:


HALL 8 B8-15

RITTAL MIDDLE EAST Physical infrastructure for IT networks and data centres, and physical security solutions encompass Rittal Middle East’s offering to channel partners in the region. With new technologies coming into the Middle East, the channel is expected to grow in terms of technical and sales competency and most importantly, develop a stronger services and support model. At Rittal, the company is focusing on making the channel competent enough to explore opportunities in the data centre and networking arena. “IT racks and data centre solutions are the key focus at this year’s GITEX Technology Week. We will be displaying new generation TS IT racks, fully

loaded with all the popular accessories,” said Joseph Najjar, MD, Rittal Middle East. Najjar explained that GITEX in the Middle East is a synonym to CeBIT in Germany as the exhibition offers an ideal platform for showcasing Rittal’s products and communicating the same to the industry. “GITEX is very important for us and our regional partners because it is a perfect stage for launching new products and solutions. GITEX can help built brand awareness and consolidate Rittal’s brand equity too. Since this is the only IT fair where Rittal participates directly, it’s an important event that offers growth stimulus for us,” he said.


Najjat says Rittal will be exhibiting its new generation TS IT racks.

Where to find them:

HUAWEI ENTERPRISE MIDDLE EAST data centre, networking, video conferencing and IP telephony offerings. Dong Wu, vice president, Huawei Enterprise Middle East, said the company’s enterprise business group is continuing to invest significantly in the regional partner network. “For starters, we are training our partners thoroughly on our solutions and helping them understand how to help organisations Wu says Huawei Enterprise do better business. This will continue to refine its partner training, and our support el. engagement mod services, are provided free to our channel partners,” he said. “We also recognise that Huawei Enterprise Middle East every partner is different and is a company worth checking out our engagement programme of at this year’s GITEX Technology rebates, rewards and training Week given the channel will be different for each one momentum the company has depending on the market.” garnered in 2013. Wu said the company provides Although the China state-of-the-art demo equipment headquartered vendor is known which is available to partners at for its telecoms equipment, it no cost. has been investing heavily in


Where to find them: ZABEEL HALL STAND Z-E20

HALL 1 A1-7

LASERFICHE Enterprise content management (ECM) solutions vendor Laserfiche has been a participant at GITEX Technology Week for over a decade now. This year, the company promises to showcase a range of solutions offerings for regional partners and their enduser customers. Sean Tang, vice president, International Business, Laserfiche, said: “We want to show the MENA customers that Laserfiche is a cost-effective, proven, and user-friendly option to improve their approach to records and

information management. We will be introducing Laserfiche 9 at this year’s GITEX and visitors to our stand will have the opportunity to see a product suite that enables transactional content management through tighter integration between ECM and business process management (BPM) capabilities.” Tang said Laserfiche 9 places information at users’ fingertips. Tang said GITEX is important to Laserfiche’s business in the region because the ICT fair offers the company the opportunity to gain visibility in the region.

Laserfiche will be pushing its BPM and enterprise content management solutions.

04 Where to find them: HALL 7, A7-20




high-performance protection against a wide range of emerging and advanced threats. Surender Bishnoi, general manager at Cyberoam Middle East, said Cyberoam has been a regular participant at GITEX Technology Week leveraging the platform to drive sales and build measurable business results. Bishnoi said GITEX with its extensive technology convergence in the industry provides vendors a suitable platform to promote and market their products and services. “Cyberoam has witnessed exceptional growth in the region in 2012 and the company is set to take the brand to the next level,” he said. He added that the week-long exhibition provides the perfect Bishnoi says Cyberoam has in th grow al opportunity for Cyberoam witnessed exception the Middle East region. to highlight its products and technology.

Unified threat management solutions vendor Cyberoam has spent most of 2013 expanding its channel ecosystem. The security solutions vendor earlier this year launched several products geared to meet futuristic business needs products and next generation firewalls that provide enhanced security tools for comprehensive,


If you are looking to get up to speed with what the African continent has to offer your reselling, IT trading or export business and what you can do in Africa, then you could do better if you visited Mitsumi IT Distribution’s booth. The Pan-Africa distributor has ramped up its North Africa regional operations by opening offices in Morocco and Algeria. From its headquarters in Dubai, the company has already outlined a plan that will see it strengthen its presence in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region. Having made its GITEX Technology Week debut in 2012, chairman and CEO Jagat Shah, said the company is one of the largest technology and CE distributors in Africa and will this year promote its value, telco and PC products during GITEX. “Our

Where to find them: HALL 1 C1-8

02 Shah says Mitsumi is looking forward to meeting resellers that want to develop their business in Africa.

top focus will be tablets for which we have signed an exclusive master distribution rights across Africa,” he said. Shah said being at GITEX will help Mitsumi to showcase products and solutions from 19 global IT vendors that include HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Riverbed, Tripplite, Dell, Acer, Toshiba, WD, Sandisk and Microsoft.

Where to find them: HALL 8 A8-10

INGRAM MICRO’S APTEC As one of the longest serving IT distributors in the Middle East market, Ingram Micro’s Aptec is making its 33rd appearance at this year’s GITEX Technology Week. Like previous appearances at the show, Aptec promises plenty of marketing awareness campaigns and several channel initiatives at the 2013 fair. Dr Ali Baghdadi, president, Ingram Micro, ME, Africa and Turkey, said as a VAD, Aptec offers its partners a full range of support from pre-sales consulting and help in design and configuration of solutions to providing the ability to use its demo centres for proof of concept and testing. Baghdadi said GITEX is a key ICT event and plays an important role for all companies

actively participating in the regional ICT sector. “As a Middle East-based distributor, this is our market, and visibility at GITEX is a key factor for our continued success in the region. It gives us the opportunity to share our successes with our partners (both vendors and resellers) and discuss new ways to expand this success with new partnerships,” he said. He explained that GITEX has always been a platform for Aptec to bring new vendors and reseller partners and the company is hoping this year will be no different. “This is an excellent platform that allows a regional VAD like us to showcase some of the latest IT offerings from our vendors as well as network with our reseller partners,” he said.


Baghdadi says GITEX is a key factor for Aptec’s continued success in the region.

Where to find them: HALL 4 A4-3



Protect before you connect Authorized Middle East Value Added Distributor

StorIT Distribution fzco P.O.Box 17417 Jebel Ali FreeZone, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 4 881 9690 | Fax: +971 4 887 1637 Email: |


CHANNEL ALLIANCES Peter Lambrecht, vice president, Sales IT and Finance for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Emerson Network Power, talks about how the company is strengthening its channel alliances in the region. : What has been your company’s focus and business strategy for the Middle East channel in 2013? PETER LAMBRECHT: The focus for the Middle East channel business in 2013 has been strongly orientated towards addressing the SME segment of the IT market. Partnering with Mindware in UAE, Saudi, Jordan, Lebanon and Qatar has received great reseller response and growth in the region.

This initiative has been running in the US for a number of years now with great success. For the second consecutive year it has been selected as the best partner programme in the US. With the imminent launch across EMEA, the Middle East will be one of the first regions to join the strategic IPP initiative. In addition to this launch, we are planning to run a number of promotions and initiatives to benefit our local reseller base.

: How is the company helping its channel partners to take advantage of the improving business climate in the Middle East? PL: Emerson Network Power encourages partners to expand their portfolio and explore up-selling opportunities. Our top priority is working closely with partners to provide them with the necessary support in delivering any solution required by the market, be it for small, medium or large applications ranging from UPS installation, thermal management, DCIM as well as racks and solutions.

: What is the state of the Middle East IT channel in terms of business opportunities and potential for the solutions you offer to the market? PL: The Middle East IT channel offers a major opportunity for Emerson Network Power to aggressively enter the market. The careful selection of a major player in the market as our partner, coupled with our technically advanced products, quality and having the right distribution channel and support will see Emerson Network Power achieve double-digit growth over the next five years.

: What channel initiatives is Emerson Power rolling out in the Middle East region? PL: The main initiative planned for the Middle East region is the launch of our Innovation Partnership Program (IPP). The programme is designed to enable resellers to address key customer challenges in terms of IT applications while maximising their revenue and opportunity potential. As part of the programme, partners receive access to extensive training, information and a full suite of configuration tools.

: What role are your distribution and reseller partners expected to play going forward? PL: Mindware as out distributor is as a strategic partner with local market knowledge, the technical skills and ability to provide access to their very broad reseller base. They are helping us present our complete offering for the SMB market to the IT reseller base across the Middle East region. We rely on Mindware’s network of vendors to evaluate all opportunities in which we can jointly deliver on cloud-related initiatives in the region.

: What would you say will be your major highlight at this year’s GITEX Technology Week? PL: The launch of the Innovation Partnership Program (IPP) is without a doubt the highlight of this year’s GITEX event, coupled with the introduction of the optimised 19-inch DCF rack system and the Liebert APS UPS which have proven to be strategic additions to our IT reseller’s portfolio. GITEX is the ICT event for excellence in the region where ICT professionals meet. We as technology providers are very enthusiastic about participating in this great event. : What can your channel partners (distributors & resellers) expect from Emerson Network Power in the next 12 months in the Middle East region? PL: The launch of IPP clearly marks a milestone in the relationship between Emerson Network Power and Mindware. As part of Emerson’s ongoing commitment to its partners, we offer new tools to ensure the partners’ success will result in the launch of new interactive material, a new online configurator and a wealth of additional marketing promotional tools and resources. : What technology or business trends is your company tracting in the next two years? PL: At Emerson Network Power, we constantly invest in technology advancements to be able to meet the growing demands of a dynamic market where business uptime is not negotiable. For this reason you can expect a series of IT related evolutions in the course of the coming year. „




SUB-DISTRIBUTION BELIEF The IT distribution sector has been severely affected by the slump in global PC sales, but there are some distributors that have managed to stay ahead of the game. Somkant Mishra, general manager at Ezy Infotech explains how the company has curved a niche in the market with its sub-distribution business model.


The sub-distribution model in the Middle East IT channel has often been viewed as a dying model with limited growth opportunities for the players involved at this level. However, focus and prudence in selecting key regions has seen this segment of distribution dramatically pick up for savvy players that have carefully selected the brands they represent and the markets to target. Since inception in August 2007, Ezy Infotech FZE has concentrated on taking care of the bottom line than pushing the top line. The company says even though the existing situation on the ground at the time of setting up the company was not very encouraging, it has successfully managed to build a solid business from working with vendors that wanted to grow their market share in CIS, North Africa and the Levant region. “The business model we currently have is more on a sub-distribution arrangement, than a full-fledged distribution model,” said Somkant Mishra, general manager at Dubaibased Ezy Infotech Mishra says there are nough opportunities to FZE. ustain business in the Mishra ub-distribution segment. said

although the company has signed up with Lenovo for the Pakistan market only, going forward the company wants to see, what value-add it can bring for any manufacturer or vice versa before agreeing to work together. Mishra said the company has always fulfilled the numbers desired by vendors over the years. “We have been successful in growing the market share for some of the brands we work and have worked with, in the region,” he said. “The current political and economic situation in the region has forced many companies to make some changes as far as their operational structure is concerned and we are not an exception.” He pointed out that the company has been relatively conservative considering the many variables that companies with a sub-distributor have to consider. “At the moment our core objective has been to avoid any bad debt as well as keeping pace with the changing market and business dynamics,” he said. Mishra said the company has been tracking the business changes taking place in the region as this has a bearing on product buying patterns. “We work closely with resellers to ensure that they are supplied as per end-user requirements. We initially were more focused on the components and peripherals business, but have gradually moved to embrace the finished products,” he said. Mishra said since Ezy Infotech

doesn’t have direct vendor alliances the support it gets from vendors comes in terms of backend rebates after achieving the agreed numbers and targets set. So is there room for companies that have a sub-distribution model to grow their business to profitability? What is the value proposition that Ezy Infotech is offering its channel partners? “To be honest, I sincerely feel, there are adequate opportunities to sustain and grow our business in the long run, if we conduct it in a structured, efficient and speedily manner,” he said. Mishra said in terms of channel initiatives, the company has been more product-centric for different channels and it continues in the same manner. “We have not been offering everything to everyone and that is what has made our model to succeed where others have failed,” he explained. He added that traditionally the company has been quite strong in the CIS and North Africa region although changes in customs laws in CIS and instability in North Africa has affected business. The overall market conditions are challenging and at present the Middle East PC market like elsewhere around the globe is witnessing a squeeze in sales. Mishra said despite these market hardships, business in the GCC, Levant and typical with the traditional re-exporters in UAE has remained solid and that’s where the company has been focusing its effort this year.


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“Despite these challenges, we have focused more on enhancing our re-export channels and that has paid off for us as we were able to cushion ourselves from the market uncertainty,” he said. “The channels we are catering to and partnering with are mostly intereated in buying for re-export to Africa, CIS and Western Asia region,” he said. Mishra explained that in terms of channel initiatives, the company has been more product focused for different channels and will to continue for the rest of this year to cement its business. “Even though we have partnered with resellers that have a trade mentality, we haven’t been offering anything and everything to them because that model is a recipe for disaster,” he said. He said that is why the company has not been exposed or affected by resellers running away with unpaid debts because it has been relatively conservative when forging alliances with them. Looking ahead, Ezy Infotech is currently working on some incentive programme, which is yet to be implemented. “We need to see the viability before we can roll out this initiative to all our channel partners,” he said. „




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OPENING UP TO THE MARKET Cerebra Middle East’s value-add offerings continue to have appeal to regional resellers. But what prospects are in the pipeline for the regional VAD as it prepares to open up to opportunities in the MEA market?


Although Cerebra Middle East, a subsidiary of Cerebra Integrated Technologies Ltd, has only been operational in this region for just under two years, it is not new to the IT distribution business. Despite the prevailing market conditions that existed two years ago, the India headquartered distributor decided to set-up operations in the Middle East region when the market was still experiencing difficulties. “We stepped into the Middle East at a time when the storm was at its peak and we saw this as an opportunity rather than a challenge. While the markets were in recession, the channel needed extended support, which they were struggling to find. Cerebra’s understanding of the need of the hour, and our sheer flexibility of operation, ensured a smooth business flow for many of our channel partners,� said Asit Ahuja, CEO and managing director, Cerebra Middle East. Ahuja said having been in the


market for 25 years as a group with its base in India, the company has weathered many storms and the strategy to support the regional channel throughout the recessionary period really worked well for partners and Cerebra. He said the past two years have been a time to gain foothold in the regional markets and the company has been extremely successful in forging the right partnerships both with vendors and the broader value-focused channel community. “During this time, we have established ourselves as a key player in the data centre space but also gained a substantially large customer base in the region and we are already in expansion mode with plans to establish a new office in the offing,� he said. With business in the regional market beginning to steadily improve albeit at a snail pace, Ahuja said the key focus this year has been on channel growth and enablement. He added that Cerebra has been working closely with its channel partners to bring to them best in class data centre solutions. “Cerebra has also launched its Security Solutions Business Unit this year with some very exciting vendor partnerships. We will not only be rolling out an exciting partner programme in the near future, but will also add further value to the channel by providing vertical specific solutions,� he said. With Cannon Technologies, Fujitsu, FalconStor, Fibrenetix, Milestone, Tandberg Data, Stardot,

Brickom and GData, Cerebra represents some of the best-ofbreed companies that develop data centre and IT security solutions. “We currently have divided our business into two divisions namely ICT and Security. We are not vertical or solutions specific, however, as we expand our vendor portfolio we plan to onboard resources with domain expertise across various verticals and solutions,� he said. “Our industry specific portfolio covers storage, infrastructure and security solutions for the oil and gas, banking, healthcare, telecoms, media, education, retail and hospitality verticals.� With credit remaining a huge challenge in the channel, the situation has been compounded by long gestation periods in projects finalisation. Ahuja said the channel community is also facing challenges from the resource perspective which is a direct result of downsizing that the region has witnessed over the last couple of years. “We at Cerebra understand these issues and are looking at the MENA market with a long term strategic perspective,� he said. “Our approach has always been to go that extra mile to support our channel partners with terms that help them to overcome the limited credit facilities.� On the partner front, Cerebra is readying to launch its partner programme dubbed C-Connect, in early 2014. “We already run a lot of channel initiatives together with our vendors and are in the process


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of formalising vendor specific partner schemes,� he said. “We are also in the process of setting up a subsidiary company in KSA. We plan to do the same in Qatar in early 2014. We will also explore the possibility of expanding our team into North and Central Africa,� he said. He added that a key focus from Cerebra’s perspective is knowledge transfer in order to ensure that the channel is capable of implementing solutions. Ahuja remarked that the Middle East IT Channel is fast catching up with the rest of the world in providing best-in-class disaster recovery (DR), business continuity (BC) and security solutions to their customers. “Most channel partners are quite self-sufficient today with the required skills and expertise to be able to provide these solutions and support their customers with exceptional service,� he said. With all signs indicating that the mid-market holds so much potential for growth in the region, Ahuja said Cerebra along with its vendors is focusing on highly affordable solutions tailored at businesses in this segment. “We believe these solutions will also be extremely attractive to companies even in the enterprise sector,� he said. „





With volatility in some markets in the region, Nasmatel has continued to augment its SI business. The Oman-based SI is looking to diversify its business offerings. Ali Al Lawati, CEO, Nasmatel outlines the company’s expansion strategy for the region.


Having recently expanded its operations from Oman to now have a full-fledged subsidiary in Dubai, UAE, systems integration (SI) company Nasmatel is on a mission. The SI is looking to expand its operations to other markets across the Middle East. At the same time, the Oman headquartered company is looking to strengthen its industry vertical offerings while developing deeper domain expertise. Ali Al Lawati, CEO, Nasmatel, said the company had initially operated only in Oman but has recently expanded to open an office in Dubai. Al Lawati said the goal is to ultimately operate in the MENA region and then globally. “Nasmatel as an IT solutions provider has a very wide and varied set of offerings. Technology areas such as data centre, IT systems infrastructure, telecoms and networking, audio visual systems, physical security and structured cabling are all core focus areas for us,� he said. Al Lawati said because of such a diversified array of offerings, Nasmatel is able to cut across different industries such as oil and gas, government, banking and finance and the utility sector. He said with the regional IT landscape in 2013 beginning to see deals being closed, Nasmatel is also preparing itself to seal a couple of deals. Al Lawati said one area where there is a lot of interest is the managed security services. “There is a lot of interest in these services across the region.

However, local regulations are proving to be quite prohibitive in helping managed security services to mature and be widely adopted in the region,� he said. Al Lawati added that there is a lot apprehension that organisations’ security managers have raised in the region when it comes to these services. “We have a local partner whose core competency is providing managed services to the Middle East region. As an SI, Nasmatel is able to collaborate in delivering high valued services to the regional and local markets,� he said. With vendors and valueadded distributors encouraging their resellers partners to jump onto the services bandwagon, Al Lawati, said the company has benefited immensely from providing services and currently has offerings that cover the whole IT lifecycle which ideally begins from early conceptual design, front-end engineering, supply and installation, commissioning and maintenance, and design improvements. He said the company has both in-house capabilities and strategic partners to provide professional consultancy services to various industry verticals. “One such strategic partner is TechXact, which provides professional consulting services for data centre technologies. For service delivery, Nasmatel has engineers certified in each of their disciplines such Cisco Certified Internetworking Experts (CCIEs), Infocomm certified CTS Audio Visual

experts, to telecoms experts. With vendor expertise and competencies (certifications) that include Cisco Silver Certified partner which include advanced echnology specialisations in Routing and Switching, Unified Computing, Telepresence Express and Advanced Data Centre Architecture specialisation, Nasmatel has one of the most comprehensive Cisco certification credentials on board. Al Lawati said Nasmatel also delivers cabling solutions from Siemon and several audio visual solutions such as Cyviz, Crestron, Samsung and Biamp. “We are Platinum partner for Extron Electronics. Our personnel are all trained, experienced and certified in both branded solutions offerings as well as industry best practises,� he said. Aside from the solid certifications, Nasmatel has, Al Lawati said skilled resources are always a scarce commodity. “Finding the right resources is not just about find personnel with the right certifications and experience, it is as important as finding people that match the working environment. Competitive environments don’t make things easier. Professionals consider monetary benefits foremost however that is not the only criteria for staying on. Factors such as company benefits, career development and a conducive working environment make a compelling case to stick around,� he explained. As Nasmatel looks to





strengthen and grow its business in the core competencies which include IT Compute and Storage Systems, Telecommunications and Networking Infrastructures, Audio Visual Technologies, and Data Centre and Structured Cabling, Al Lawati said majority of growth will come from audio visual solutions as these offerings have proven to be quite consistent for the past couple of years.„


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Mohammed Suleman, general manager at Saudi-based Enterprise Objectives, a valueadded reseller (VAR), on the company’s strategy to take the business to the next level.



Aiming to be among the top VARs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Enterprise Objectives has over the last few years, been building expertise by partnering with best-of-breed technology vendors. To achieve this vision, Enterprise Objectives knows that it has to have the right skills sets and training development schemes, complementary vendor offerings and certifications that instil peace of mind at end-user level. To this end, Enterprise Objectives has partnered with major IT vendors that include: Microsoft, McAfee, Acronis, Tandbergdata, HP, Dell, Autodesk, Double Take, AVG, Wacom, Adobe and Kaspersky. Mohammed Suleman, general manager, Enterprise Objectives, said from inception, the company has enjoyed enterprise level channel relationships with global IT multinationals. “Since its incorporation, Enterprise Objectives has been helping its clients with system designing, network configuration, operations planning, report designing and data repair,� he said. Suleman said today, Enterprise Objectives is one of the leading IT solution providers in the Saudi Arabia market with solid strategic alliances forged with internationally recognised IT vendors that complement its business vision for the region. “We offer an extensive range of IT infrastructure, solutions and services ranging from consulting, resource deployment and

integration to after-sales support,� he explained. According to Suleman the company’s experience and expertise spans across multiple sectors and includes government, banking and finance, telecommunications, retail and, oil and gas. He pointed out that through a combination of local market presence, international level of skills, a network of business partners and the access to the worldwide resources from the vendors, Enterprise Objectives has consistently brought to its customers unparalleled IT business solutions. “We have been investing in regular training initiatives for our employees. The team is well equipped to address the ever-evolving, industryspecific IT demands in every market and verticals we serve,� he said. Suleman said as a specialist VAR focusing on a range of IT solutions, Enterprise Objectives is enthused by the recent IT budget allocations announced by the KSA government. “The IT landscape in the country is promising huge investments backed by government increased infrastructure spending,� he said. However, Suleman said, due to stiff

competition the margins are getting thinner thereby making the solutions selling business a cut throat operation where differentiation is key if one is to succeed in the marketplace. Apart from differentiation, Suleman said IT security and managed security services are critical subjects to any organisation and Enterprise Objectives is looking at developing this business further. “Managed services needs to be managed by a team of qualified professionals. As corporates in the region are investing and identifying the right partners that can manage their security, we have a dedicated team that caters to this exciting segment and we strongly feel that the market will demand more of these services going forward,� he said. Suleman said along with managed services offerings, Enterprise Objectives also offers consultancy, pre- and post-sales training, software maintenance services, networking projects, domain registration and email management services. He reiterated that as a services company, Enterprise Objectives doesn’t lack any skills sets, although the company is always looking to improve its workforce by providing extensive trainings to staff. “I do believe that 3ULEMANSAYS retaining RETAININGCERTIFIED)4 PROFESSIONALSIN+3!IS certified ACHALLENGE and




skilled IT professionals in the KSA is a challenge. It’s always challenging but by providing the right working atmosphere backed by a compensation plan that is above the market standards helps us retain the most qualified employees,� he said. Suleman said success in taking business solutions to maket is as much about the people providing them and these are critical factors clients look at when considering outsourcing business processes. He said with the business outlook improving not only in Saudi Arabia but the Middle East as a whole, value backed services will be key in differentiating the leaders from followers. “At the moment, price wars along with delayed payments are making it difficult to have a healthy cash flow,� he said. Suleman said as the company aims high to take its business to the next level, it wants to assure its customers that it will remain transparent and dedicated to what it does. “We will get better as we look forward to growing our business in the region,� he said.„



MICROSOFT RAISES MOBILE STAKES Ian Fogg, analyst and director, Mobile and Telecoms at market research firm IHS, discusses the pros and cons of Microsoft’s plan to acquire Nokia’s mobile devices and services business, and licence Nokia’s patents.

This is a high risk but high potential rewarding strategy for Microsoft. Outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is locking in Microsoft and his successor to the “devices and services” strategy he announced last year by buying one of Microsoft’s key hardware partners. Also, it is the end of the beginning for Nokia’s Windows phone strategy which its unveiled in 2011. However, there are enormous challenges ahead. All of the problems facing Windows phone continue to exist and Microsoft must re-double its efforts to speed up mobile innovation with the new vertical structure. But competition in the mobile space is fierce. The new company has a long road ahead to establish Windows phone as a viable competitor to Androidbased handsets and Apple’s iPhone. In Q2, 2013, Nokia shipped just 7.4m Windows phones compared with 31.2m iPhones and 185m Android smartphones. IHS forecasts that unless Microsoft speeds up Windows phone innovation, by 2017 Windows phones will comprise just 5% of overall smartphone shipments globally. So what does Microsoft need to succeed? To succeed with Windows phone and change this forecast, Microsoft must increase both the quality and quantity of third party Windows phone apps. It must spend

Fogg says the deal provides a neat escape route for Nokia from its struggling handset business.

tremendously on marketing and channel incentives to drive Windows phone awareness with consumers and ensure the phones are widely ranged by mobile operators. Microsoft must also increase the pace of Windows phone feature innovation, end the disjointed experience of multiple maps and camera apps on Lumia smartphones, improve multitasking and add key enterprise features such as VPN support which is frankly astounding that this is still omitted. Microsoft must also accelerate Windows phone support for new hardware: as of this announcement there are still no Windows phones shipping with 1080P high definition (HD) screens or quad core processors.

Android handset makers on the other hand, have been shipping such quad core models for over a year and 1080P screen devices since early 2013. Microsoft is right to buy Nokia’s non-smartphone business alongside Lumia smartphones because this provides a route to up-sell prospective feature phone owners with Windows phones. As all mobile phones become smart, Microsoft will be well-placed to drive the transition. The deal provides a neat escape route for Nokia from its struggling handset business. In February 2011, then Nokia CEO Stephen Elop made the courageous decision to switch Nokia’s smartphone strategy to using Windows phone. In the process, Elop killed Nokia’s

Symbian and MeeGo smartphone operating systems. Since then, Nokia smartphone shipments have collapsed from 24.2m in Q1, 2011, to 6.1m in the same quarter in Q1 2013. With hindsight, Elop’s decision to use the Windows platform was the wrong decision for Nokia because the company has struggled to establish Windows phone volumes. And, while Nokia expected it would be impossible to differentiate handset designs using Android, its handset maker rivals have successfully built sophisticated user interfaces and custom apps on top of Android that makes a Samsung smartphone feel very different to one from HTC or Sony. But in 2013 it would be much harder for Nokia to switch to Android. Its former subsidiary Vertu has launched an Android smartphone. But for Nokia to switch to Android would have required large investments, patient shareholders, a new management team, and Nokia would have had to accept being a smaller part of the smartphone market. Selling to Microsoft is a more natural continuation of recent Nokia strategy rather than a u-turn in direction. Unless Microsoft can speed up the pace of innovation with Windows phone software, user experience and third party app quality, I don’t expect any changes increase in its overall Windows phone forecast. „



ADVANCED IT THREATS: UNCOMMON INDICATORS Anthony Perridge, channel director, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region at Sourcefire, a developer of network security hardware and software, shares insight on how to identify and stop advanced IT threats. We all know that advanced attackers have the resources, expertise and persistence to compromise any organisation and at any time. Attackers fundamentally understand the nature of classic security technologies and their applications and exploit the gaps between them. They relentlessly drive their attacks home, frequently using tools that have been developed specifically to circumvent the target’s chosen security infrastructure. Once they penetrate the network they go to great lengths to remain undetected, using technologies and methods that result in nearly imperceptible indicators of compromise to accomplish their mission. The challenge for defenders is that traditional security technologies are focused on detecting strong indications of compromise, such as known malware and other threats, but can’t capture or analyse weaker indications of compromise. Plus, these technologies are only able to make a determination at a single point in time. If that one shot at identifying and blocking a threat is missed, most IT security professionals have no way to continue to monitor files once they enter the network and take action if they turn out to be malicious. Eventually they realise a breach has happened, but if you are like most organisations it can take months or even years to discover according to the latest Verizon 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report. To regain control against

most likely occurred. The ability to alert and automatically take action can speed response and help mitigate damage.

Perridge says to regain control against stealthy attacks, IT security professionals need a new threat-centric approach to managing security.

stealthy attacks, defenders need a new threat-centric approach to security to address the full attack continuum – before, during and after an attack – with continuous visibility into indicators of compromise and retrospective security to quickly contain and stop the damage. Examples of activities that could indicate compromise include a system attempting to communicate back to a known bad (blacklisted) IP address, trying to access a part of the network, a device or a database it hasn’t before or creating a process that it wouldn’t under typical circumstances. In isolation each of these activities isn’t a detection or prevention event, but when correlated with malware intelligence and other behaviours, even seemingly benign or unrelated, they

may suggest a compromise. To be able to identify indicators of compromise once a threat has entered the network, you need to take a two-tiered approach with tools and processes that combine trajectory capabilities, big data analytics and visualisation to enable the following: Tier 1 Automated analysis and response: Identify technologies that use trajectory capabilities to track system-level activities, file origination and file relationships and then leverage big data analytics for root cause and forensic analysis. When combined, these technologies can highlight and pinpoint subtle patterns of behaviours and weak indicators, suggesting a compromise has happened and a breach has

Tier 2 Actionable intelligence: Visualisation technologies are also important so that you can quickly understand the chain of events leading up to and following a possible compromise. This allows you to apply context based on your expertise, perspective and knowledge of activities happening at that moment in your environment to make an even more nuanced determination of suspicious activity and indentify indicators of compromise. If you identify an indicator of compromise you can see what’s occurring across your environment at that moment, look back at preceding events and then control activities that could be risky. If you determine a breach has occurred, by locating the point of origination and understanding the scope of the exposure you can stop the attack and remediate. While detection and prevention are essential to any security defence strategy, defenders also need the ability to quickly tie together unrelated events to identify a threat that has evaded defences. With decisive insight from trajectory, big data analytics and visualisation capabilities, defenders now can see that blip on the radar, hone in, understand it and take action.„



LEADING THE PUBLIC WEB INTO BIG DATA Mark Little, vice president, Middleware Engineering at Red Hat, explains how large-scale elastic architecture for data-asa-service (LEADS) will enable enterprises to leverage all of the public data on the web. Data, both public and private, is growing at an unfathomably rapid rate. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, the volume of data in existence worldwide will have grown by more than the volume of data contained in all of the books ever written. For instance, on YouTube alone, 35 hours of video are uploaded every minute, furthermore unstructured data is growing at a rate of 80% year-on-year. As companies large and small capture massive volumes of customer data, as the regulatory framework around data retention tightens, data storage has evolved from a routine IT process to a major business issue. In some sectors, such as meteorology, seismology, power distribution and financial services, gathering huge volumes of data are integral features of the business. These businesses have grown into big data and they have pockets deep enough to cover the cost of the necessary IT infrastructure. But businesses are now engaging with their customers across multiple channels: on the web, across mobile devices, through social media and face to face. The benefits of capturing and securely analysing data should be obvious to all, yet according to a recent IDC report less than 1% of data is analysed and more than 80% of it remains unprotected. Why then is so little analysed and why does so much go unprotected? Put simply, big data is too big for most for all but the largest companies. Traditional storage models are not scalable enough, while the processing power required

Little says the investment needed for storing and processing even a small portion of the Internet is exorbitant.

to quickly make sense of an almost limitless long tail of potentially useful information is beyond all but those with the deepest pockets. The objective of LEADS is to build a decentralised DaaS framework that runs on an elastic collection of micro-clouds. LEADS will provide a means to gather, store, and query publicly available data, as well as process this data in real-time. In addition, the public data can be enriched with private data maintained on behalf of a client, and the processing of the real-time data can be augmented with historical versions of the public and private data. Clearly, the financial investment needed for crawling, storing, and processing even a small portion of the internet is very high, making such a task prohibitively expensive for SMEs and start-up companies. The monetary cost of the

infrastructure is among the critical factors determining how to store big data. As noted, this problem is especially acute for SMEs that have limited resources. Therefore, any new solution should offer pricing competitiveness with, or lower than, conventional data centres to appeal. The LEADS platform will be designed from the ground up to account for privacy, security, energy-efficiency, availability, elastic scalability, and performance considerations. The project will be validated on use-cases involving the crawling of web data and its exploitation in different app domains. In selecting technology partners the European Union, which is behind this initiative, needed to avoid proprietary providers from the outset. Choosing between products that purportedly offer a big data solution can be a large

enough hurdle to scare even the most robust IT managers. All of the main proprietary storage vendors have a solution in the big data space, typically a package comprising their own hardware with preconfigured software. Using open source for LEADS avoided the project becoming locked into a particular hardware vendor or the high software licensing costs associated with proprietary operating systems, middleware and applications. It also has all the advantages of continuous testing, refinement and innovation. Furthermore, open source technology can work alongside existing storage infrastructure. An open source scale-out solution for unstructured data is used so that it can grow as required, creating an infinitely large pool of data. It’s a solution that spans seamlessly into the cloud. By accessing cloud-based storage resources, capacity can then be turned on or off according to demand. This is particularly useful where customer demand is challenging to predict. Of course, predicting demand, particularly in recent years, is a major headache. Make no mistake, data growth is becoming the biggest challenge for enterprises to manage their own data centre hardware infrastructure. The economic downtown forced many IT managers to defer infrastructure and technology upgrade cycles. LEADS provides an economical approach to processing large amounts of data by sharing the collection, storage and querying of public and private data.„

Come and visit Dell SonicWALL at Gitex, booth number D1-21



TABLET SHIPMENTS TO SOAR IDC says smart devices market to grow 27.8% YoY

.... .. ...

Market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) has revealed that the worldwide smart connected device market, comprised of PCs, tablets, and smartphones, is forecast to grow 27.8% year over year in 2013, slightly lower than the 30.3% growth in 2012. According to the analyst firm, the growth will be driven by tablet and smartphone shipments, while it lowered the PC outlook by 10% in 2013. Citing its Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, IDC said it expects tablet shipments to surpass total PC shipments (desktops and portable PCs) in Q4, 2013. One positive sign, IDC noted, is that PC shipments are still expected to be greater than tablet shipments for the full year, but the research company forecasts tablet shipments will surpass total PC shipments on an annual basis by the end of 2015. IDC also pointed out that smartphones will continue to ship in high volumes, surpassing 1.4bn units in 2015 and accounting for 69% of all smart connected device shipments globally. In terms of shipment value, IDC said the worldwide smart connected device market will again exhibit double-digit year-over-year growth of 10.6% in 2013. IDC said the worldwide smart connected device value is expected to be $622.4bn in 2013, of which $423.1bn will come from the sub-$350 smartphone and sub-$350 tablet segments collectively. "At a time when the smartphone and tablet markets are showing early signs of saturation, the emergence of lower-priced devices will be a game-changer," said Megha Saini, research analyst at IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker. "Introducing new handsets and tablet devices at cheaper price points along with special initiatives like trade-in programmes from Apple and BestBuy will accelerate the upgrade cycle and expand the total addressable market overnight." IDC expects the lower-cost devices to drive interest globally and help to spark uptake among first-time buyers in commercial sectors like education. In addition, IDC said a new round of device cannibalisation is also expected to kick in, but this time with large-screen (5-inch) smartphones beginning to impact the smaller (7-8 inch) tablet market. "The device world has seen several iterations of cannibalisation impacting different categories, with the last few years focused on tablets cannibalising PC sales," said Bob O'Donnell, program vice president, Clients and Displays.

MOBILE DOMINATION Smartphone market continues on growth path


Desktop PC - 8.6% Portable PC - 11.6% Tablet - 14.6% Smartphone - 65.1%

Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, September, 2013.

SMART DEVICES SURGE Smartphones and tablets make largest contribution



180.9 196.6




Portable PC

Desktop PC

1,013.2 406.8 227.3






Smartphone Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker, September, 2013.

GFI LanGuard® grants you three wishes: » Patch management » Vulnerability assessment » Network auditing





Mobile app stores will see strong growth: Gartner

Market will see highest peak in 2017

.... .. ...

Research firm Gartner Inc has revealed that mobile app stores will see annual downloads reach 102bn in 2013, up from 64bn in 2012. According to Gartner, total revenue in 2013 will reach $26bn, up from $18bn in 2012. The company said free apps will account for 91% of total downloads in 2013. Gartner said that in-app purchases (IAPs) will account for 48% of app store revenue by 2017, up from 11% in 2012. "We expect strong growth in downloads through 2014, but growth is forecast to slow down a bit in later years," said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. "The average downloads per device should be high in early years as users get new devices and discover the apps they like. Over time they accumulate a portfolio of apps they like and stick to, so there will be moderate numbers of downloads in the later years." "Free apps currently account for about 60% and 80% of the total available apps in Apple's App Store and Google Play, respectively," said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner. "iOS and Android app stores combined are forecast to account for 90% of global downloads in 2017. These app stores are still increasingly active due to richer ecosystems and large and very active developer communities. However, we expect average monthly downloads per iOS device to decline from 4.9 in 2013 to 3.9 in 2017, while average monthly downloads per Android device will decline from 6.2 in 2013 to 5.8 in 2017. This relates back to the overall trend of users using the same apps more often rather than downloading new ones." Gartner pointed out that research had showed that IAP contributes to a significant amount of Apple's App Store revenue from iPhones worldwide. Other platforms have not reached such high levels as the iPhone, but analysts expect they will also see IAP contributions increase in the future. "We see that users are not put off by the fact that they have already paid for an app and are willing to spend more if they are happy with the experience, said Blau. "As a result, we believe that IAP is a promising and sustainable monetisation method because it encourages performance-based purchasing, as users only pay when they are happy with the experience, and developers have to work hard to earn the revenue through good design and performance."


2012 – 89.6% 2013 – 91.0% 2014 – 92.0% 2015 – 93.0% 2016 – 94.0% 2017 – 94.5%

Source: Gartner, September, 2013

MARKET DOMINATION Largest contribution coming from free downloads

MILLIONS OF DOWNLOADS 127,704 92,876 57,331 6,654


11,105 free downloads

free free 2013 Paid for 2012 Paid for downloads downloads downloads downloads

Paid for downloads 2014


211,313 167,054


free 2015 Paid for downloads downloads


free Paid for 2016 downloads downloads


free 2017 Paid for downloads downloads Source: Gartner, September, 2013




APPLE GOES BUDGET WITH IPHONE 5C Tech giant also unveils new premium iPhone 5S


pple has unveiled two new iPhone models, confirming months of speculation that both a more sophisticated and a lower-end version of its popular smartphone were in the works. As rumour had it, Apple took the wraps of the iPhone 5S, a souped-up, more enterprise-ready version of the prior-generation iPhone 5. The tech giant also introduced the iPhone 5C, a cheaper iPhone that comes in a variety of colours and more notably, marks Apple’s entry into the lower-end smartphone market. Both of the phones feature Apple’s latest mobile software, iOS 7, and are available starting last month. The unsubsidised contractfree iPhone 5S is priced at $649 for the 16GB, $749 for the 32GB and $849 for the 64GB model. The unlocked contract-free iPhone 5C will start at $549 for the 16GB and $649 for the 32GB model.

The iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C represent Apple’s latest, not-sosecret weapons for competing with smartphone rivals including Samsung and, more recently, Microsoft, which upped its own devices game with its $7.2bn acquisition of Finnish smartphone maker Nokia last month. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will completely replace the iPhone 5. Apple will not sell the iPhone 5 at a reduced price, as it has with other oldergeneration iPhones upon the launch of a new model. “In the past, when we introduced a new iPhone, we lowered the price of the old iPhone,” Cook said. “This year we aren’t going to do that. This year, we are going to replace the iPhone 5 with not one, but two new designs.” The iPhone 5C, which, featurewise, is on par with the prior-

Both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will run iOS 7, the newest software.

generation iPhone 5. It runs Apple’s A6 chip, has a 4-inch Retina display and an 8-megapixel iSight camera. Both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will run iOS 7, Apple’s newest mobile software. The operating system features a revamped user interface that replaces the usual bubbly textures and patterned backgrounds on iOS interfaces with a flatter, cleaner design.


UAE phone retailer resolves authorised dealer issue with Ministry of Commerce UAE mobile phone retailer Axiom Telecom has reopened a branch in Riyadh that had been shut down by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce due to allegations that it had falsely claimed to be the authorised dealer for Samsung in that country. According to Arabic-language site Akhbaar24, a number of other


Outlets Axiom has in Saudi Arabia.

complaints had been made about the store, including the provision of false offers to consumers, and a failure to service or replace products under warranty. It was also reported that the store was closed after the Ministry of Commerce made a number of failed attempts to get in contact with management at the firm. In a written statement, Axiom admitted that it had not registered itself as an official agent for Samsung and BlackBerry in Saudi Arabia, but that it was now updating its files with the ministry. “Axiom Telecom is a company with a strong reputation, and we are

always committed to correcting any mistakes, issues or concerns as they arise,” the statement said. “We are also fully committed to improving our co-ordination with the Ministry of Commerce moving forward. Axiom Telecom appreciates the Ministry’s effort in trying to improve overall customer service since we all have the same objective. “Axiom Telecom has official distribution contracts with many brands across the GCC, including Samsung and BlackBerry, among others. Axiom Telecom has 120 outlets in KSA, and recently qualified for a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licence.


The new notebooks are equipped with 4th-gen Intel Core i7 processors.

aipei-based PC maker MicroStar International Co Ltd (MSI) recently teamed up with Grand Stores to unveil the Taiwanese company’s latest range of premium gaming notebooks. The series is made up of MSI GT60 3K Edition, MSI GT70 Dragon Edition, MSI GS70 Stealth, MSI GE60, MSI GE70 and MSI GE40 Dragon Eyes. The new, lighter notebooks are equipped with the latest fourth-gen Intel Core i7 Quad Core processors and an upgraded version of MSIexclusive gaming features such as Super Raid 2 (with a disk reading speed at 1,500MB/s according to MSI); the high-efficiency Cooler Boost; and the Matrix Display with VGA, Mini-Display and HDMI video ports for multitasking without the need of adaptors. Also featured is Killer the DoubleShot, which is said to boost networking speed for “ultimate smoothness” in online games. “MSI is known for [its] groundbreaking innovations and in this series, [it] has significantly enhanced the performance of its flagship gaming models.higheststandard technology, richer gaming functions and friendlier user experience,” said Dr Omar Ghanayem, director, Technology Division, Grand Stores.





:: DTK


Curved OLED television designed for high image quality, immersive viewing experience


amsung has launched the first curved TV in the UAE, the new Curved OLED TV. The 55 inch Curved OLED TV, which has a concave curve facing the viewer, is designed to give high picture quality from any angle. The Curved OLED TV boasts 20% richer colour reproduction and 50% sharper contrast compared to other high definition products offering a crisp and clear viewing experience. State-of-the-art technology such as the Multi View feature also sets the Curved OLED TV apart and gives viewers the opportunity to watch two different programs simultaneously on the one screen. The television also offers exclusive features such as Multi View and Evolution Kit. Multi View allows two viewers to watch two completely different fullscreen Full-HD content, even in

3D, on the same display. This innovative feature is enabled by Samsung’s 3D Active glasses. The set also includes Samsung’s Curved OLED TV also incorporates the latest Samsung Smart TV features like the new Smart Hub interface, which organises entertainment and content into three The Curved OLED TV is priced at convenient panels: Social, AED32,999 ($8,984). Apps as well as Photos, Evolution Kit, we believe that the Videos and Music. Curved OLED TV truly pioneers The Curved TV has an metallic a new era of TV viewing. We frame and a single cable for all are proud to be able to bring connections, to minimise clutter. this ground breaking product to Vinod Nair, general manager the UAE market, offering our CTV Business of Samsung consumers the most immersive Gulf Electronics commented: experience available combined “Samsung is dedicated to with flawless picture quality.” developing innovative TV The Curved OLED TV is solutions, beyond what consumers available in 55-inch across all could expect or even imagine. UAE retail outlets and is priced at With its curved screen and its AED32,999 ($8,984). compatibility with Samsung’s


Said to be ‘world’s first UHD with 4K 50/60p input’ Panasonic has introduced in the Gulf, its Smart VIERA TX L65WT600, which it claims is “the world’s first Ultra HD TV with a 4K 50/60p input designed based on HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2a specifications”. Offering up to 60 frames per second 4K playback, the new WT600 is part of the next generation of home entertainment screens. The model is THX 4K certified, the screen is 65 inches and it comes with 2,000Hz Back Light Scanning (BLS) technology designed to maintain image sharpness, even in fast action scenes. The WT600 offers access to a

wide range of 4K content to make the most of the screen’s support for richer images. Panasonic said this content includes games and internet content. “As an industry first, the WT600 has a built-in 4K H.264 (MPEG4) decoder, which not only enables the playback of 4K video files via USB and SD card, but it enables the playback of 4K content directly from the Internet,” Panasonic said in an emailed statement. “Photo enthusiasts can access their photographs via an SD card with the 4K Photo Viewer SD, or use 4K Swipe and Share to wirelessly transfer photos from their

mobile phone or tablet.” With 4K Intelligent Frame Creation, the WT600 is designed to deliver smooth panning of up to 120 frames per second, even with Ultra HD sources. The TV also analyses complex scenes with movement from a variety of directions and optimises each object independently.

WT600 has built-in 4K H.264 (MPEG4) decoder.

The new Swift-Tab II S8 comes with 16GB built-in storage.

ubai-based DTK Computer, a distributor of IT products has launched its new 8-inch Android tablet, the Swift-Tab II S8. Aimed at both business and consumer users, the device is loaded with all the basics: Internet browsing, telephony, e-reading capabilities and multimedia features. The tablet is powered by a dual core 1.2GHz Cortex A9 processor with 1GB LP DDRII (low power memory), said to be able to decrease the operating temperature of the device. The Swift-Tab II S8 runs Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and comes with 16GB built-in storage supporting up to 32GB via micro SD card. The display is an IPS HD multi-touch capacitive panel with a screen resolution of 1024x768. The device also comes with an HDMI port and the main camera is 5megapixels. The model includes built-in Micro USB 2.0, a headphone jack, speakers, microphone and a leather case. “The new DTK series of Swift tablets addresses customer needs for increased demand and on touch screen technology, ” said Nimer Al Attal, MD, DTK Computer Middle East.


Your savings may come from products and components that are second hand, non-genuine or incorrectly con多gured. It is why you may not get a valid software license or a full Cisco warranty. To get best value, please contact prior to any purchase, and we will gladly assist you.



NEW COUNTRY MANAGER FOR BELKIN Youssef El-Arif takes reins as company pushes Linksys ecosystem


lectronics manufacturer Belkin has announced the appointment of Youssef El-Arif as country manager for the Middle East and Africa region. El-Arif, whose primary focus will be extending Belkin’s reach in the region, joined the company’s Dubai operation in 2009 as a national account manager. In January 2012 he was appointed sales manager and became responsible for the development of the brand and expanding its presence in the MEA region. As MEA manager, El-Arif will oversee a regional market of over 381m people across 17 countries, according to Belkin. “I am very happy about this exciting new role and to head a powerful brand in such a great and promising region,” said El-Arif. “Belkin has successfully

established its presence in this region for the past many years and is perceived not only as a multi-category brand, but also as a superior and trusted brand in this industry. I now look forward to working closely with my team and our partners in this region to take the Belkin business forward.” Earlier this year, Belkin completed the acquisition of Cisco’s ailing home-network equipment maker Linksys, which Belkin saw as an opportunity to “significantly broaden” its consumer base. “This acquisition enabled the Belkin brand to create the premier ecosystem for mobile devices and smart homes and continue providing customers with distinct networking solutions,” said Belkin in an emailed statement.

El-Arif says Belkin is perceived not only as a multi-category brand, but also as a superior and trusted brand in the industry.

“As country manager, Youssef will be working closely with the Linksys team to further develop the brands together and expand them within the MEA region.”


Years El-Arif has spent working for Belkin in the ME.

IRAQ’S ASIACELL APPOINTS NEW CEO Ooredoo-owned Iraqi operator announces new CEO to replace Dr. Diar Ahmed Iraqi mobile operator Asiacell has named Amer Al Sunna as its new CEO. Al Sunna, who was previously managing director at Asiacell, replaces outgoing CEO, Dr. Diar Ahmed. Al Sunna joined Ooredoo Group as CEO of wi-tribe Jordan in August 2010. The following year he was appointed as chief operating advisor of wi-tribe Philippines, before becoming MD of Asiacell in February 2013. Al Sunna has 20 years of experience dedicated to the improvement of customer experience in telecommunications through a number of executive positions at various high profile organisations.

Sunna, who holds a BSc. in Electrical Engineering from Jordan University, was the CEO of three specialised telecoms and Internet services companies owned by VTEL Holdings in the CIS region and was the group COO at Orange. Asiacell, which is listed on Iraq Stock Exchange and recently completed the largest IPO in the Middle East since 2008, has more than 10.5m subscribers in Iraq and its network covers almost 97% of the country’s populated areas. “Amer Al Sunna will be a great asset to Asiacell and we are confident he will hit the ground running,” said Faruk

Mustafa Rasool, chairman, Asiacell. “We are positive that his vast experience, knowledge and understanding of the issues important to our business and telecom industry will help continue the success of our operation and ensure our success well into the future”. Ahmed, who held the CEO role for about six years, will continue to work for Asicacell as chief advisor to the chairman.


Asiacell’s subscribers across Iraq.



Fernandes will help Sage to forge strategic partnerships in the Middle East region.

Business management software maker Sage Middle East has appointed Reggie Fernandes as the new regional director for the Middle East region. Sage says Fernandes’ core responsibilities will include driving overall operations management while achieving growth by expanding Sage products and services offerings across the GCC. “I am delighted to be given greater responsibility and new challenges,” said Fernandes. “My role will include driving operations across the Middle East and forging strategic partnerships to improve business. Sage has all the right blend of products, resources, skill sets and partners to become one of the leading providers of business management software in the region.” Fernandes joined Sage Middle East in March 2008 as sales manager for the Gulf Region bringing with him over 20 years of experience in the industry. Prior to taking up the new role, Fernandes was director, Gulf Operations, a position he held since 2010.



HUAWEI RESHUFFLES ME TOP TEAM Vendor appoints new VP and country GMs for UAE and Kuwait


elecoms equipment vendor Huawei has announced reshuffles to its Middle East executive team as part of a wider global focus on rotating senior leadership within the company. The latest reshuffle has seen Huawei appoint Pan En as the new vice president, Solution Sales and Marketing for Huawei Middle East. According to the company, Pan will be responsible for driving new technology portfolios in the Middle East and overseeing key customer relationships. The company said Pan brings more than a decade of experience with Huawei including previous stints in North Africa and most recently as GM of Huawei’s Kuwait operations. “The ICT industry in the Middle East is advancing at a rapid pace with rising investments

being made in communications infrastructure, matched by a robust consumer market eager for world-class technology,” said Shi Yaohong, president of Huawei Middle East. “Huawei has helped meet that demand for more than a decade by expanding our regional footprint while fostering a Middle East leadership team that combines global technology expertise with extensive localmarket knowledge. These latest appointments reflect that wider vision for the company as Huawei anticipates further organisational growth in the years ahead.” “Huawei has a strong legacy within the Middle East supporting operators, enterprises and consumers as they enjoy some of the world’s most advanced communication services,” added Pan.

Pan is the new VP, Solution Sales and Marketing at Huawei ME.

Meanwhile, Peng Xiongji has become the new general manager of Huawei UAE, while Terry He is the general manager for Huawei’s Kuwait operations.


Years of experience Pan has gained at Huawei in MENA.

RED HAT HAS NEW VP OF GLOBAL ALLIANCES Scott Musson joins from VMWare to drive collaboration with SI, ISV, OEM partners Open source solutions provider Red Hat, has announced it has named a new vice president of Global Strategic Alliances. Scott Musson, previously of VMWare, will be responsible for Red Hat’s global alliance, system integrator and independent software vendor (ISV) relationships, and will manage Red Hat’s strategic relationships with HP, IBM, Dell and Cisco. Under Musson, Red Hat’s Global Strategic Alliances team will work to develop joint business plans with partners and develop assets around Red Hat technologies. Musson joins Red Hat from VMWare, where he most recently

served as senior director of Global Strategic Alliances responsible for developing and executing a strategic and technical alliance collaboration model. Before joining VMWare, Musson held posts at NCR, HP and Dell. “Scott and his team will continue to develop and nurture our key strategic alliances as we deliver our award-winning solutions to the channel,” said Mark Enzweiler, vice president of Global Channels and Alliances, Red Hat. “Scott’s proven ability to lead and his far-reaching expertise will benefit Red Hat as we work to offer the best resources, tools

and assets our channel partners need to succeed.” “I’m honoured to join a passionate team that has built strong relationships with and continues to show commitment to their partners,” said Musson. “Red Hat’s leadership in key technology areas, including cloud, big data and application infrastructure and modernisation, offers some exciting opportunities to make an impact.”


Musson’s stint at virtualisation firm VMware.



Management changes are part of Microsoft’s transformation into a devices and high-value cloud services company.

Software powerhouse Microsoft has announced a shakeup in its channel organisation, replacing worldwide channel chief Jon Roskill with 17-year Microsoft veteran Phil Sorgen, who had been overseeing the software giant’s US Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners Group. Sorgen starts his new job as corporate vice president of the company’s worldwide partner group from 1 September, the company said in a statement. “Our partner ecosystem is a key asset to Microsoft and carries tremendous strategic importance to the company,” said Vahé Torossian, corporate vice president of worldwide SMS&P. Sorgen has been a member of Torossian’s extended leadership team for several years and has been involved in multiple global initiatives that have shaped the worldwide SMS&P business. “Phil’s rich leadership experience in working with our customers and partners in the makes him an ideal fit to help our partners drive new opportunities,” Torossian said.

.Box: 17543, Dubai, UAE

Tel: +971 4 870 3333

Fax: +971 4 870 3330



MEA TABLET SHIPMENTS SURPASS LAPTOPS Regional market milestone finally hit in Q2, IDC figures show he size of the Middle East and Africa (MEA) tablet market exceeded the region’s portable PC market for the first time in the second quarter of 2013, according to the latest results from International Data Corporation (IDC). Second-quarter tablet shipments were up a staggering 208%, year on year, reaching a total of 2.79m units. IDC credited Google Inc’s Android operating system as a “major contributor” to the surge, after 2m Android devices shipped during the period. Windows adoption continued to be sluggish during the quarter, primarily as a result of vendors shipping more Android-based tablets in order to gain market share in the region, according to IDC. “The launch of the iPad mini


could not prevent iOS from rapidly losing share to Android devices, with cost being a key factor in consumers’ choice of tablets,” says Victoria Mendes, a research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey. “However, Apple’s new product launch, which is expected before the end of this year, will definitely spur some growth for the vendor in the region.” While Apple’s shipment total of 682,000 units for the quarter was lower than expected, the vendor maintained its top position in the rankings, followed very closely by Samsung, which shipped a total of 627,000 units. Lenovo, though far behind, entered the market in third place, shipping 140,000 units. Lenovo, together with other

Tablet adoption continues to grow, as shipments surpass portable PCs.

Far-Eastern vendors like Asus, which took fourth place with a total of 107,000 units, and Acer, which grabbed the remaining top-five slot, seem geared up to increase their market shares.


YoY increase in tablet shipments for Q2, 2013. Source:IDC

KSA INVESTMENT IN HEALTHCARE IT TO RISE CGM expects to see boom in spending on healthcare IT systems Investment in healthcare IT is expected to show strong growth in Saudi Arabia this year, as the Kingdom increases budgets for major new projects in the sector, according to CompuGroup Medical (CGM). The IT healthcare solutions provider says that the Kingdom’s IT expenditure is expected to grow by 6.6% overall this year, to SAR15.3bn ($4bn), while healthcare spending is set to grow 10.3% to SAR98bn ($26.1bn). CGM expects a large proportion of the growth in healthcare budgets to be accounted for by investment in IT systems, with more IT

systems and solutions required to maintain the healthcare boom. CGM adds that KSA is well-positioned to leverage technology to optimise national healthcare capabilities given its status as the largest information and communications technology (ICT) market in the Gulf. This keeps pace with the global trend of highlighting IT solutions to achieve development in various fields. “There are several elements that are driving the growth of IT healthcare solutions in the Kingdom, such as a large and affluent population that is willing to support the adoption of leading medical systems and


practices, a robust ICT sector, and increasing government focus on improving the quality of life of residents and citizens. Industry should capitalise on such an ideal environment to boost IT healthcare research and development and strive to sustain the growth of this important niche segment,” said Thomas Reitmayr, vice president, Business Development, CGM CEE. “Numerous factors indicate that the Saudi healthcare sector will continue with its rapid growth in the coming years, the most telling of which is the growing desire among the current population to improve their well being,” added Mehmet Bilginsoy, GM, CGM.

Kodak intends to emerge as a technology leader serving the growing commercial imaging markets, says Perez.

Eastman Kodak is expected to start trading again soon, after a judge gave the company permission to leave bankruptcy protection. The company, which was founded over 100 years ago with operations primarily in photography and photographic film, will now refocus on digital imaging and printing. Kodak filed for bankruptcy in January 2012, after seeing its business slowly drained by the rise of digital photography. The company has sold off various business units and patents, and will now concentrate on business offerings, including high-speed digital printing technology and flexible packaging for consumer goods. “The Court has confirmed Kodak’s Plan of Reorganisation. This critically important milestone marks the final step in the Court process,” said Antonio M Perez, chairman and chief executive officer. “Next, we move on to emergence as a technology leader serving large and growing commercial imaging markets with a leaner structure.”



MICROSOFT BUYS NOKIA’S DEVICES BUSINESS Software giant to pay $7.1bn in cash for devices business and Nokia’s patents icrosoft Corp and Nokia Corp have announced that the boards of directors for both companies have decided to enter into a transaction whereby Microsoft will purchase substantially all of Nokia’s Devices and Services business, licence Nokia’s patents, and licence and use Nokia’s mapping services. Under the terms of the agreement, Microsoft will pay 3.79bn euros to purchase substantially all of Nokia’s Devices and Services business, and 1.65bn euros to license Nokia’s patents, for a total transaction cost of 5.44bn euros ($7.1bn) in cash. Microsoft said it will draw upon its overseas cash resources to fund the transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to approval by Nokia’s shareholders,


regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. Microsoft said in a statement that building on the partnership with Nokia announced in February 2011 and the increasing success of Nokia’s Lumia smartphones, it aims to accelerate the growth of its share and profit in mobile devices through faster innovation, increased synergies, and unified branding and marketing. “It’s a bold step into the future – a win-win for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies. Bringing these great teams together will accelerate Microsoft’s share and profits in phones, and strengthen the overall opportunities for both Microsoft and our partners across our entire family of devices and services,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive officer.

Ballmer says the deal is a winwin for employees, shareholders and consumers of both companies.

“In addition to their innovation and strength in phones at all price points, Nokia brings proven capability and talent in critical areas such as hardware design and engineering and supply chain.”


Approximate cost that Microsoft will pay for Nokia’s devices business. Source: Microsoft

FIRST CYBER DEFENCE CENTRE OPENS IN DUBAI McAfee says centre will collect data on potential threats that are growing in the region The first cyber defence centre in the Middle East has been opened by IT security company McAfee. Based in Dubai, the centre aims to collate information on potential threats, the perpetrators and their motivation, as well as general data that can help governments, institutions and companies prevent, and quickly respond to, cyber attacks. McAfee EMEA president GertJan Schenk, said the Middle East has become a region with the greatest threat of cyber crime in the world. “Over the last year it’s one of the highest [regions for threat] we’ve seen in the world,” Schenk said.

“With all the geo-political events in the region, that clearly drives a lot of cyber crime and cyber warfare activities.” Schenk said the region was ripe with cyber crime because Dubai was one of the most critical Internet exchanges in the world and much of the world’s economy was linked to the Middle East through trade, travel and oil and gas. An attack on Aramco infrastructure in Saudi Arabia during the Islamic holiday Eid last year highlighted the region’s increasing risk. The incident led many companies and institutions to seek greater security intelligence and software, motivating McAfee to


establish a base in the region. “We’ve also seen the intensity of cyber criminals has grown significantly in the Middle East region,” Schenk said. MENA regional director Hamed Diab said cyber crime had developed over the past decade from individual hackers to more sophisticated organisations, often funded by governments, with specific motivations. “Security is no longer an option, it’s a must,” he said. The centre, with 10 staff, has been collecting intelligence for the past nine months and will attempt to proactively warn institutions when they are perceived to be under threat.

Vodafone will invest an additional $9.3bn in its operations in the next three years.

UK mobile group Vodafone has agreed to sell its 45% interest in its US joint venture, Verizon Wireless, to Verizon Communications Inc for $130bn. The deal, which is one of the biggest in corporate history, consists of $58.9bn in cash; $60.2bn in Verizon shares; $5bn in Verizon loan notes; and $3.5bn in the form of Verizon’s minority interest in Vodafone Italy. Verizon will also take on $2.5bn of Vodafone net liabilities relating to the US Group. Vodafone shareholders will receive 71% of the proceeds of the deal in shares and cash, amounting to $84bn. Vodafone intends to invest at least some of the remaining funds in an “organic investment programme” that will see the company spend $9.3bn in its network over the next three financial years. Vittorio Colao, CEO, Vodafone Group, said that the deal would “greatly enhance Vodafone’s longterm prospects” through Project Spring, a programme of organic investments in 4G, 3G, fibre and broadband enterprise services across all of the telco’s markets.



NOTEBOOK LCD SHIPMENTS PLUMMET Sector saw a 23% drop as most brands cut orders says market analyst firm IHS n another troubling sign for the notebook market, eight of the nine leading mobile PC brands reduced their LCD panel purchases in Q3, 2013, causing global market shipments to decline by 23% year over year. Analyst firm IHS Inc, said worldwide notebook PC LCD panel shipments in July 2013 amounted to 14.9m units, down from 19.3m during the same month in 2012. Referencing its ‘LCD Panel Supply Chain Tracker Notebooks’ report, IHS Inc said eight of the nine leading brands reduced panel orders, with Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba all cutting demand compared to the same period in 2012. Among the top tablet panel buyers, only Apple raised its shipments on an annual basis, as it ratcheted up orders to meet MacBook Air


demand, the report stated. According to IHS, top notebook vendors Acer, Lenovo, HP, Dell and Toshiba all slashed their orders by double-digit percentages in July compared to June, causing the sequential decline in panel shipments at the start of Q3, 2013. “Notebook brands during the third quarter typically increase their purchases of LCD panels as they prepare to launch new mobile PC models for the second half of the year,” said Ricky Park, senior manager for large-area displays at IHS. “However, many key brands this year have accumulated large panel inventory surpluses because of weak sales in the first half. This has caused the major notebook vendors to reduce purchases in the third quarter, leading to major declines in notebook PC panel market

Eight of the nine leading brands reduced panel display orders at the start of Q3, 2013, says IHS.

shipments both on a sequential and an annual basis.” IHS said the drop in panel orders at the start of Q3, 2013 followed a terrible second quarter for the overall mobile PC market. The research company noted that worldwide mobile PC shipments in the second quarter this year shrank a steep 5.1% compared to the first three months of the year.

INTEL TOUTS NEW MOBILE PRODUCTS Chip-maker’s initiatives to simplify, accelerate developer innovation Intel Corporation executives recently outlined the company’s plan to deliver a steady cadence of new mobile hardware and software technologies. At the recently held Develop Forum, the chip-maker told thousands of developers and industry leaders that advances in Intel technology will help break down barriers around complexity, bringing new opportunities for innovation, collaboration and speed-to-market. The vendor used the event to unveil a new family of 22nm multi-core SoCs for tablets, twoin-ones, all-in-ones, desktops

and other compute devices, new Chromebooks using processors based on the Haswell microarchitecture and the availability of fourth generation Intel Core vPro processors for business users. Doug Fisher, corporate vice president and general manager, Software and Services Group, said: “As mobility becomes more personal and personalised, Intel is innovating to address this shift by creating a set of new services, user experiences and designs for consumers and also IT managers and business users to choose from. Our strategy is to help

ensure Intel architecture offers the best experience across all devices, operating environments and price points.” Fisher also outlined the growing business opportunities that multiple ecosystems present to the developers as users demand a consistent experience across all their devices. He announced a series of Intel software tools, technologies and initiatives that will help developers create crossplatform experiences. “The Intel XDK new software tool that is part of Intel’s new HTML5 development environment, will aid developers create HTML5 apps,” he said.



Research and analyst firm IHS iSuppli has revealed that mobile devices will account for more DRAM chips than traditional PCs by 2015. According to IHS, mobile devices are expected to use about $11.6bn worth of DRAM chips compared to $9.9bn for traditional PCs. IHS said the same will be the case for NAND flash. Although it’s making inroads in the PC market, thanks to cheaper SSDs and ultrathins, mobile kit still uses up most NAND in the market. IHS iSuppli said the trends are a telling sign of the arrival of the “post-PC” era. “The post-PC era is already a reality in the electronics supply chain,” said Dale Ford, senior director at IHS. “This new era doesn’t mean that consumers and companies will stop buying and using traditional PCs. What this does mean though is that PCs are not at the centre of the technology universe anymore. PCs are no longer driving the action in the global electronics supply chain, a development that has tremendous implications for the future of the high-tech industry.” IHS said the share of traditional PCs in DRAM revenues dropped under 50% in 2012, for the first time in a generation. The company said back in the 80s’ and 90s’, PCs used to use up to 85% of DRAM production. IHS said the trend is set to continue as the PC share of total DRAM sales will drop to 30% in 2014, down from 38% this year. The research firm said the market will further drop to 28% in 2015 and by 2017, total DRAM sales will account for 22% of the global market.


Monday 21st October 2013, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai Now in their 9th year, the ACN Arab Technology Awards will acknowledge the best implementations, innovations and vendor contributions to the Middle East ICT sector in the past 12 months. To nominate your company’s achievements, please visit or contact one of our team for more information.

NOMINATION DEADLINE: WEDNESDAY 21ST AUGUST, 2013 For nomination enquiries:

For sponsorship enquiries:

Mark Sutton

George Hojeige

Senior Group Editor Ph.:+971 4 444 3225 E:

Sales Director Ph.:+971 4 444 3203 Mob:+971 50 502 5532 E:

For table bookings and other information:

Daniel Fewtrell Head of Marketing Ph.:+971 4 444 3684 E:

For more information




LCD TV PANELS MARKET SLOWS DOWN First half inventory levels close with surplus glut of large-format LCD panels used in the television and IT sectors arose at the end of the first half this year as production consistently outpaced shipments. According to research firm IHS Inc, a total of 47.7m square metres of LCD panels for use in televisions and public information displays were produced globally during the first six months of 2013. IHS said in comparison, shipments amounted to only 46.8 square metres. Citing its ‘LCD Fab and Inventory Management Tracker brief, IHS said shipments the total IT panel production exceeded shipments by 2.6%. “The large-sized LCD panel market in the first half of 2013 suffered from slow demand, primarily driven by an underperformance of sales in China, the world’s biggest LCD TV


market,” said Ricky Park, senior manager for large-area displays at IHS. “In all, TV set makers proved unable to generate growth during the first half of the year despite a slew of holidays—including the Lunar New Year and Labour Day— plus last-minute promotions put up just before the end of the Chinese government’s subsidy programme in May to encourage new consumer purchases.” IHS pointed out that the same lacklustre demand was in evidence for panels in the IT sector, where consumers and businesses alike showed little enthusiasm for buying new monitors or laptop PCs. IHS said the slow demand and high inventory of the first half resulted in a price drop for panels during that time frame. The open-cell price of 32-inch high-definition, 60-hertz TV panels fell by 7.5%, while

IHS says the large-sized LCD TV panel market suffered from slow demand.

that for IT panels was down approximately 4%, said IHS. “The current excessive inventory levels portend badly for the rest of the year,” said Alex Kang, senior analyst for large-area displays at IHS. “Production is projected to exceed shipments again in the Q3, and the second half overall is forecast to be negatively affected by the inventory.”

APPLE FACES THORNY MEMORY FUTURE IHS predicts tough times ahead for iPhone maker Apple may be the most influential technology company in the world, but even its formidable status may not help as it tries to outinnovate Samsung, its primary rival, IHS has cautioned. IHS’ warning comes in the wake of Apple’s decision to migrate the production of key semiconductors from Samsung to pure-play foundries. According to the analyst firm, any major innovation by Apple would likely demand greater memory capabilities and the company has no memory making capabilities. IHS said Samsung is the memory market

leader of both dynamic random access memory (DRAM) as well as NAND flash, both of which are essential components in nearly all of today’s consumer electronics, including smartphones and tablets, where Apple enjoys great success. “While the argument can be made that Apple sees some benefits by not sharing critical prototype design information with Samsung, the fact remains that Apple limits its options by not doing business with Samsung, which places Apple at a disadvantage,” said Mike Howard, senior principal analyst,

DRAM & Memory, for IHS. “The difficulties presented by this challenge become even more acute considering that the memory industry continues to consolidate, especially in DRAM. The recent closing of Micron’s acquisition of bankrupt Elpida means there are now just three major DRAM developers and four NAND developers left. As Apple’s memory suppliers get bigger because of consolidation, they are likely to gain more bargaining leverage. This is a trend all memory buyers will face, and Apple, even with its heft, is not exempt.”



A new generation of thin hard disk drives (HDD) measuring 5.0 and 7.0 millimetres thick are expected to enjoy fast sales growth in coming years, as mobile computers including ultrathin PCs and tablets drive up demand by a factor of more than 25 from 2012 to 2017, said analyst company IHS. Referencing its ‘Storage Space Brief’, the market research firm said said lighter and thinner, HDD models will form a new class of ultraslim drives that are forecast to eventually displace the much thicker 9.5 millimetres drives that currently rule the HDD components industry. The company said shipments of the thicker 9.5 millimetres HDDs for notebook PCs will deteriorate to 79m in 2017, down from 245m units in 2012. “Use of these new thin HDDs and hybrid HDDs will proliferate because these devices are smaller in size and have the capability to improve overall storage performance – important variables in an age that emphasises smaller form factors as well as optimal speed at affordable prices,” said Fang Zhang, storage systems analyst at IHS. “Both the thinner HDDs along with hybrid HDDs could even start finding acceptance in ultrathin PCs and tablet PCs – two products that now mostly use solid-state drives (SSD) as their storage element. Hard disks have lost market share to SSDs, which offer better performance and can be more easily used to achieve a thinner and lighter form factor crucial to tablets and ultrathin PCs.” IHS said it expected the total SSD shipments to climb nearly 90% to 64.6m units, while HDD shipments will decline 5% to 545.8 million units.

THE EW WINNERS IN Find out who oe earned arne ed recognition recogn nition at the CommsMEA Awards



Windows 8 Does Microsoft’s new OS create security risks?

Vol. 11 Issue. 01

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MARK SUTTON Senior Group Editor Tel: +971 4 444 3225 Email:

GEORGE HOJEIGE Sales Director Tel: +971 4 444 3203 Mob: +971 50 502 5532 Email:

BASEL AL KASSEM Deputy Production Manager Tel: +971 4 444 3388 Email:

Subscriptions Help Desk Tel: +971 4 444 3559 Email:


Saudi Arabia retains much potential, but challenges persist //p30 Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a quiet behind the scenes kind of company. A lot of people donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know us as weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re often branded as other things but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ďŹ ne with us.â&#x20AC;? ANDREW SUKAWATY, INMARSAT//p35

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GOING VIRTUAL Guiding customers through a maze of choices with VDI

PARTNER UP Channel experts on developing comprehensive partner programmes

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Vol. 11 Issue. 02

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Security Adding physical solutions

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Satellite solutions that allow companies to work from anywhere p25





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Aligning bu business usiineess and IT strategies in the Middle East for 28 years NOVEMBER 2012

January 2013 | Volume 26 Issue 1



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12 JANUARY 2013

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Vendor unveils wristwatch for Galaxy range

New range for ‘aspiring photographers’

Samsung Electronics has introduced the Galaxy Gear, designed as a wristwatch companion for its Galaxy range. The connected device delivers notifications and previews of calls, texts and emails and allows the user to accept or ignore the message via the watch device. A Smart Relay function pushes the message onto the smartphone display should the user decide to use the main handset. Samsung has also integrated the Galaxy series’ S Voice app into the Gear. A built-in speaker enables hands-free calls directly from the watch without the need for touching the screen. S Voice also allows the drafting of messages, creation of calendar entries, setting of alarms and weather checks on the Gear. With the Memographer feature, a 1.9MP camera can record both photos and video on the move and share the material on social networks. Voice Memo can turn audio dictation into texts on the Galaxy parent handset.

Canon Middle East has unveiled a new addition to its EOS series - the EOS 70D. Designed for “aspiring enthusiast photographers”, the EOS 70D is aimed at intermediate users who are anxious to improve upon their current results. The camera combines new, “world-first” Canon imaging technology with creative and wireless sharing features – delivering “a responsive, all-purpose camera ideal for capturing the moment with stunning images and Full HD video”, according to Canon. The EOS 70D features a new 20.2 MP APS-C CMOS sensor, designed and manufactured by Canon. It’s the first Digital SLR to feature Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, which is said to deliver smooth and accurate autofocus (AF) when shooting Full HD movies and fast AF acquisition when shooting in Live View mode.



XPERIA Z1 Sony’s new phone has smart accessories Sony Mobile Communications has introduced its latest premium handset, the Xperia Z1, a waterproof smartphone with a 20.7MP camera. Xperia Z1 is the latest addition to Sony’s premium Z series. The 5-inch display features Sony’s BRAVIA TV technology and TRILUMINOS Display for mobile, a combination geared towards providing a wider palette of rich and natural colours. It also includes X-Reality for mobile, Sony’s super-resolution technology, which is designed to analyse each image and optimise the quality to deliver sharper videos. Xperia Z1 also integrates Sony’s ClearAudio+ system, which works to automatically optimise audio without the need to adjust individual settings. Inside the phone is built with power in mind. It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor with a 2.2 GHz quad-core CPU and 4G connectivity. _WEBSITE:





SPECIAL EDITION White and gold Q10 available in the UAE BlackBerry recently launched a new special edition of its Q10 smartphone in the Middle East. The gold and white BlackBerry Q10 Special Edition is only being released to select markets, including the Middle East. The handset has a white body with gold-coloured stainless steel frame, accompanied by a gold-accented headset and protective leather sleeve. The special edition smartphone will also feature an exclusive range of unique BlackBerry PIN numbers. The BlackBerry Q10 smartphone combines a large 3.1-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen and BlackBerry’s best physical keyboard with the power of the BlackBerry 10 operating system. The BlackBerry Q10 Special Edition smartphone is available at the official BlackBerry retail store in Dubai Mall. _WEBSITE:


Wednesday 4th December 2013, Dubai




TELECOMS INDUSTRY NOMINATION DEADLINE EXTENDED: Thursday, 10th October 2013 The 8th annual Comms MEA Awards will celebrate the telecoms industry professionals and operators that have shown outstanding performance and results across key market segments in the past 12 months. To nominate your companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s achievements, please visit or contact one of our team for more information

For sponsorship enquiries please contact: Philip Sims Sales Manager T: +971 4 444 3233 M: +971 55 308 6066 E:

George Hojeige Sales Director T: +971 4 444 3203 M: +971 50 502 5532 E:

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For table booking and other information please contact:

Roger Field Editor T: +971 4 444 3419 E:

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Samsung releases Galaxy Note 3

ZOTAC hails new graphics card

Samsung Electronics has had a busy period. As well as throwing down the gauntlet to the wearable tech market in the shape of the Galaxy Gear companion wristwatch, the South Korean juggernaut also recently unveiled the Galaxy Note 3. Samsung has sought to lighten the chassis with the Note 3; it weighs 168g, as opposed to the 180g of its predecessor, the Note 2. The Note 2’s 5.5inch screen size is also improved upon: the Note 3’s display is a 5.7-inch Full HD Super AMOLED. The Galaxy Note 3 is powered by a 2.3 GHz Quad-Core processor, 3GB of RAM, 3,200 mAh battery and runs on Google’s Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS. The enhanced new Multi Window allows users to open the same app in two windows and move content between applications via Drag and Drop mode.

Graphics card manufacturer ZOTAC International revealed it has amplified its GeForce GTX 780 with a new Triple Silencer Enhanced Cooling system designed for “superior quietness”. The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 780 AMP! Edition is aimed at demanding gamers and is said to deliver “an extra performance edge for superior smoothness” without sacrificing maximum visual quality or noise levels. “Our engineers spent extra time fine-tuning the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 780 AMP! Edition to perfection,” said Carsten Berger, senior director, ZOTAC International. “We took that extra time to push the base clock past 1GHz for up to a 16% performance boost and topped it off with our brand new Triple Silencer enhanced cooling system.”



Fujifilm launches FUJINON XF23mm lens Fujifilm announced the launch of the FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R lens for its mirror less cameras that include the X-Pro1 and X-E1. Designed to deliver full-frame resolution and performance, the FUJINON XF lenses represent the pinnacle of Fujifilm’s optical design technology, with top quality all-glass construction which includes an aspherical lens element. With a focal length equivalent to 35mm in the 35mm format, the FUJINON XF23mmF1.4 R is suitable for a wide range of applications including portraits, landscapes and general photography. The lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.4, which allows a user to shoot subjects in low light conditions. These advanced optical engineering techniques combine to deliver full-frame sensor resolution and noise level performance in the highly detailed APS-C sized X-Trans CMOS sensor in Fujifilm X-mount cameras. _WEBSITE:





DATA CENTRE SWITCH Dell introduces the S6000 portfolio Dell Networking has expanded its S-series portfolio with the new S6000, said to be “the industry’s highest-density 1RU 10/40GbE switching platform for highly-virtualised data centres”. A fixed form-factor design, Dell claims the S6000 doubles density and throughput while “consuming up to 50% less power than previous generation top-of-rack switches”. Deployed as 32 40GbE ports or 96 10GbE ports plus 8 40GbE ports in 1RU, the S6000 is designed to support new, more flexible network architectures for high-density compute racks in top-of-rack position, or provide network connectivity for multiple racks in efficient end-of-row or middle-of-row configurations. _WEBSITE:



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READY FOR BUSINESS Channel Middle East finds out from a market personality about their role, their routine and what inspires them to come into work each day. Name: Nora Yazane Company: Brams FZ LLC Job title: General Manager Years in the role: 6 months Years at the company: 6 months Previous companies: Pictet & Cie (Swiss private banker)

> How would you summarise your current role? As a general manager, I would say that my main role is to help the company grow in the most efficient way and to ensure that our clients and partners are happy to work with us.

> What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office each day? The first thing I do when I step into the office is to check my mail box and go through all the emails I received during the night from our offices in Europe and Africa. Then based on this, I establish a to do list for the day with priority points.

> What does a typical day entail for you? There is no typical day for me which makes my job very exciting. Every morning when I wake up, I try to think about the tasks I need to do for the day but, statistically speaking, I achieve less than 50% of my to do list. It is impossible to predict what comes up each day, what calls or emails from my

team or our clients that need to be tackled. I do what I have to do and I don’t have any specific routine.

> What skills or qualities does one need to do your current job? To achieve anything in my current role it is very important to be versatile, self-taught, resourceful and patient. The advantage of being a GM in a start-up is that you have to have knowledge in a lot of areas. For example, I am in charge of finance, accounting, legal, administration, management, negotiation with suppliers and partners, business, electrical and phone connection etc. Bottom line is that to do my job one needs to be a sort of ‘chameleon’ and learn things quickly.

> What’s your favourite part of the job? On any given day I have to work in many areas and as such don’t have a particular favourite. The advantage of being in this position is that you have to have knowledge in a lot of fields. Since I have to wear so many hats and be hyperactive, I just have fun by doing many different things each day. This job definitely suits me.

> What’s the hardest part of your job? I am 29 and a woman. It is sometimes very tough to be seen and heard in a man’s world but I am used to this. In my last job I had to work with 95 men on a trading floor and it was (and still

is) obvious that sometimes I have to shout to get heard.

> What criteria do you measure your performance on? I measure my performance using qualitative and quantitative indicators. On top of the revenues that I check on a daily basis, I also compare the present situation of Brams versus the situation when I first joined. I also measure employee mood when I look over my desk and see how hard they work, their commitment is palpable and I am proud of the team I work with.

> What’s been your most memorable moment in your current role? The warm welcome I received from Google in Dubai and the high intensity discussions I always have had with the Brams team here in the region. They were tough, but they yielded some crucial insight that helped us hone our skills and develop systems to increase our efficiency and performance. I was also very delighted to discover the power of Google’s enterprise technology.

> Where do you see yourself in five years? I am currently managing three persons and I hope that in five years, I will have successfully grown Bram’s operations throughout the GCC. By then, I hope we will have offices in all of the Middle East countries’ capitals. I aim to grow Brams and to recruit people that want the kind of entrepreneurial adventure that you find here.

> How much time do you spend out of the office each week? I spend an average of eight hours outside the office to manage administrative tasks related to our activity and to get to meet and know our clients better.

> What do you get up to during your lunch hour? I make sure to get up and go for a walk, eat and catch up on some news to keep abreast with what is going on in the market.„ Would you like your channel job to be featured in our ‘Day in the Life’ section? If so, e-mail:


The online home of Registered at Dubai Media City, PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 444 3000; Fax: +971 4 444 3030; Web: Offices in Dubai and London ITP TECHNOLOGY PUBLISHING CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Managing Director Karam Awad Deputy Managing Director Matthew Southwell General Manager Peter Conmy Editorial Director David Ingham





Senior Group Editor Mark Sutton Tel: +971 4 444 3225 e-mail: Editor Manda Banda Tel: +971 4 444 3617 e-mail:

Fairfax-led consortium to pay $4.7bn for smartphone pioneer




APPLE’S NEW IPHONES DISAPPOINT Analysts criticise price points, lack of innovation

1. Z30: The last BlackBerry 2. The LG G2: the smartphone to beat 3. We cracked Apple’s finger scanner 4. UAE firms targets for cyber crime 5. Samsung launches Note 3 MOST READ CME STORIES:


1. Apple signs Metra Computer 2. Kaspersky signs accord with Aptec 3. NetApp restructures partner program 4. MMD gets new sales director 5. Alcatel-Lucent expands channel team

CHANNEL: Which way for street resellers? NETWORKS: 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet NETWORKS: SaaS gains traction IT BUSINESS: BC equals business excellence


Q4 2013




DUBAI, UAE 5th – 12th October 2013

As resellers look to increase the value they can offer to clients, they are looking more and more towards SoHo and SMB networking solutions. Where do the best opportunities lie in this sector?

GITEX SHOPPER AUTUMN 2013 GITEX Shopper delivers a leading platform for industry innovation and an impressive track record of attracting the biggest names in the consumer electronics and IT sector in the Middle East.

GITEX REVIEW We take a look at channel stars that made their mark at the 2013 edition of GITEX Technology Week.

MANAGED SERVICES The potential for managed services is somewhat untapped in the Middle East region, but more and more customers across the region are turning to these services. This feature examines the leading players in the managed services space.

DUBAI, UAE 20th – 24th October 2013 GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK GITEX delivers a leading platform for industry innovation and an impressive track record of luring the biggest brands in the ME IT sector.

Sales Director George Hojeige Tel: +971 4 444 3203 e-mail: Group Sales Manager Kausar Syed Tel: +971 4 444 3361 e-mail: STUDIO Head of Design Daniel Prescott Senior Designer John Marsland PHOTOGRAPHY Senior Photographer Jovana Obradovic PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Group Production & Distribution Director Kyle Smith Deputy Production Manager Basel Al Kassem Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Image Editor Emmalyn Robles CIRCULATION Head of Circulation and Database Gaurav Gulati MARKETING Head of Marketing Daniel Fewtrell Events Manager Michelle Meyrick Junior Marketing Manager Natasha Bhatia ITP DIGITAL Sales Director George Hojeige Tel: +971 4 444 3203 e-mail: Business Development Manager Josephine D’Sa Tel: +971 4 444 3630 e-mail ITP GROUP 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 4 444 3000 Printed by United Printing Press Controlled Distribution by Blue Truck Subscribe online at 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.

Channel Middle East is audited by BPA Worldwide. Average Qualified Circulation 7,165 (Jan – June 2013)

DUBAI, UAE 28th – 29th October 2013 BIG DATA WORLD MIDDLE EAST 2013 Now in the second year, Big Data World helps attendees understand their customers through analysing a vast array of data types.

Published by and Copyright © 2013 ITP Technology Publishing, a division of ITP Publishing Group Ltd. Registered in the B.V.I. under Company Registration number 1402846.

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> What product or technology should the channel watch out for this year? Technology is always evolving rapidly in our industry and change is the only constant. This year we will see a new trend of business with more integration between commercial and lifestyle products such as the mobile devices, smart devices, smart medical gadgets and more devices that make our life easier.


Years Youssef has spent working in the regional IT sector.

> What is your proudest career achievement to date?


> What’s your career history to date? How did you end up working in Dubai? I came to Dubai back in 1993 and kick started my career in the travel industry. I worked in this sector for eight years. In 2002, I joined Genius Computer Technology as the sales director and one of my many responsibilities was to develop the MEA region. In 2005, I was promoted to the position of GM, a position I held until recently when I joined Promate.

> If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be? Promate is a lifestyle IT brand and is made for retail. We also cater to the channel market and support our partners relentlessly. Tackling price-related issues, improving product knowledge and awareness is a difficult task that requires one to constantly follow up with all the stakeholders in the channel, hence one needs to understand the entire market.

During my 13 years in the IT industry, I have been able to achieve several business objectives. On a personal note, I consider winning the ‘Retail Business Development’ award as one of my proudest achievements to date. Another was to help my previous employer set-up distribution channels.

I admire Apple and Samsung because they have done a tremendous job in helping to change and influence the IT industry.

> Which IT company, other than your own, do you most admire and why? I admire Apple and Samsung because they have done a tremendous job in helping to change and influence our industry. Their innovations have opened the IT industry to a new era in lifestyle technology.

> What is the biggest challenge facing the Middle East IT channel today? There are several challenges including market instability, varied import and customs laws across the region and the channel’s reluctance not to put too much pressure on importation of fake products.

> What is the best piece of advice you have been given?

> What do you like best about the company you work for?

I was once counseled that to succeed in IT, one has to clearly define the go-to-market policy. This was one of the best pieces of advice I got and I still use it today.

The atmosphere at Promate is very energetic and as a ‘young’ company, it has a lot to offer its employees, channel partners and consumers alike. I like the fact that the company thrives on creativity and is devoted to finding solutions to the digital entertainment and personal computing demands.

> What is the biggest mistake you have ever made since working in the IT market? In our business we don’t accept ‘big mistakes’ to happen because it costs us a lot in terms of time, money and business. Overcoming difficult situations is what makes one to succeed or fail in a job.

> What sort of interests do you have outside of work? Spending quality time with family and friends is important for me. I love music, watching movies and doing off-road driving.

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Making the Future of Your Business Possible When you partner with Emerson Network Power for critical infrastructure needs across your enterprise, you benefit from more than products to support and protect your technology infrastructure. Developing such a wide range of technologies gives us in-depth industry knowledge and a “big-picture” understanding of how all systems must work together within any critical environment. We deliver this knowledge through Emerson Network Power’s Centers of Expertise, distinct areas of world-class products and services that help you determine what you need and where, depending on your application. All so that you can keep your business moving forward for your customers.

AC Power Sustaining critical operations that simply can’t go down. We deliver a full range of uninterruptible Liebert® and Chloride AC power systems plus STS devices, providing from individual products to integrated power protection solutions, that keep network closets, computer rooms and data centers up and running Thermal Management Maintaining precise temperature for reliable equipment performance. We deliver “rack-to-roof” cooling, the most comprehensive range of Liebert® precision cooling solutions, which protect mission-critical applications from even the slightest increase in temperature, adopting cutting-edge technologies to achieve the highest efficiency. Racks & Integrated Cabinets Optimizing technology and performance needs for indoor IT applications. We deliver standard and customized integrated cabinet solutions that meet unique and specific needs, from Knürr and Liebert® rack solutions for computer rooms of all sizes to integrated racks that include self-contained air conditioning, UPS and cable management in a sturdy, lockable cabinet. Power Switching & Controls Safeguarding facilities from operational disruption due to electrical power interruption. We provide ASCO® power-transfer switches, generator paralleling switchgear/power control systems, and touch screen SCADA for monitoring and control of the utility service and on-site backup power generators, helping ensure continuity of supply to essential and mission-critical communications, data-processing, life-safety, and other critical loads. Backed by the largest manufacturers, direct field based project management and service technicians in the industry. Infrastructure Management & Monitoring Managing and monitoring critical environments at multiple sites around the clock. We make it easy in today’s ROI-driven business environment, with comprehensive infrastructure management and monitoring systems for both IT and facilities. Solutions and services that provide continuous oversight of data centers, computer rooms and network closets, as well as wireless, wireline and enterprise telecom applications. Services Delivering assessment, testing and reliability programs backed by the largest global services organization in the industry. We encompass engineering, installation, startup services, project management, training, and total on-site operations management, preventive and predictive maintenance and energy consumption monitoring.

Make the Future of Your Business Possible Emerson Network Power offers a unique combination of industry expertise, technology and resources to ignite your sales and boost your business including a broad portfolio encompassing UPS, Thermal Management, Racks, PDUs and an industry-leading Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) platform. Visit us at Gitex 2013: Mindware stand Hall 3, A3-8 to discover the best opportunities for cross-selling, upselling and generating greater margins!

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Channel - October 2013  

Channel Magazine, Building and delivering IT solutions for the Middle East and the gulf. Volume 11 - Issue 10 [128pages]

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