Page 1 JULY 2013 Vol. 11 Issue. 07

Building and delivering IT solutions for the Middle East


An ITP Technology Publication

Cloud Services The potential for cloud services reselling

Enterprise Apps Opportunities for solution providers 40


PLUS Channel KSA Awards 2013

Santosh Varghese, GM, Digital Products & Services, Toshiba Gulf

Meet this year’s winners of the KSA awards P31

Solutions Selling Yasser Eldawy, GM, TechAccess, talks about the company’s plans for 2013 P22

MOBILITY SURGE Mobile computing devices are increasingly infiltrating the workplace, creating solution provider opportunities (32)




DCG HAILS PARTIAL EASING OF SANCTIONS ON IRAN US government allows sale of mobile phones, gadgets, software and other technology to Iranian consumers


he Dubai Computer Group (DCG) has welcomed the US government’s decision to relax sanctions

on Iran that will allow American IT companies to sell mobile phones, gadgets, software and other technology used for

Rughwani says the limited easing of sanctions will benefit UAEbased companies that are focusing on sales to Iran.


personal communications to Iranians. The move announced by the US Treasury Department recently allows Iranians to get access to the latest mobile phones and newest software, which have only been available in Iran through the black market since sanctions were first imposed in 1992. Shailendra Rughwani, president of DCG, said although as an association, the DCG has not had any official information on the latest development except through media reports, this is good news for the overall IT market in the Middle East. “This means that US-based companies can directly sell into Iran. This will surely benefit UAE-based companies that are focusing on sales to Iran but have experienced challenges especially with the currency fluctuations. Hopefully with the new


WW Server Market, YoY Growth in Revenue, Q1 2013

2013 Q1

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-10.0% 2012 Q2

2012 Q3

2012 Q4



prohibit sales of technology to the Iranian government or any blacklisted people. Elizabeth Shine, a spokesperson at Dell’s Middle East operations said: “We are aware of and are reviewing the limited easing of restrictions on trade with Iran, but have not made any changes in our operations in the Middle East as yet. We won’t speculate on whether or when our approach on exports to Iran might change. We do anticipate greater clarity from the government on the parameters of the new rules, which are yet to be specified.”


years the Iranian government has been under US trade sanctions.

WORLDWIDE SERVER MARKET HIT BY SLOW DEMAND Factory revenue in the worldwide server market decreased 7.7%, year on year, to $10.9bn in the first quarter of 2013, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker. The decline is the fifth such year-on-year drop in the previous six quarters. Server unit shipments decreased 3.9%, year on year, in Q1, 2013 to 1.9m


2012 Q1

government coming into power in Iran, things will change and we can look forward to business picking up in that country,” he said. Rughwani warned DCG members to take cautious steps as the Iranian currency is still unstable and the limited easing means other sanctions still apply. “We want to appeal and urge our members to look for realistic opportunities and make sure that the products being sold comply with the US regulations,” he said. The US government first eased some technology restrictions in 2010, allowing American companies to export to Iran some basic software and free Internet services such as chat and email. According to US officials, the latest move allows vendors to sell software and hardware to Iranian citizens but the sanctions laws still


units as consolidation continued to be a strategic focus for many large and small customers around the globe. On a year-on-year basis, volume systems experienced a 3.1% revenue decline. This was only the third time in the previous fourteen quarters that volume system demand declined year on year, according to IDC.

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FRONTLINE 01_DCG hails Iran sanctions easing 01_Server market hit by slow demand 04_EIPA, DCG to partner in fighting piracy 04_Xerox targets counterfeiters 07_Trend Micro signs Computerlinks 07_IBM silent on ME redundancies 09_Jumbo is Lenovo smartphone distie



22_ SOLUTIONS SELLING Yasser Eldawy, GM, GCC, Levant and North Africa (LENA), at TechAccess talks about the company’s plans for 2013.



47_ SONY UNVEILS BUDGET XPERIA MODEL Xperia M handset poised for Q3 launch.

(32) MOBILITY SURGE Mobile computing devices are increasingly infiltrating the workplace, creating solution provider opportunities.

CHANNEL CONFERENCE The Dubai channel gathered to discuss strategies of improving business at the second CME summit.


Stock exchange statement refers to unnamed party in new handset project.

50_ APPLE GOES TO TRIAL OVER EBOOK PRICE-FIXING iMaker faces US Justice Dept accusations of collusion with publishers.



All-in-one entertainment strategy drives console wars reboot.

Samsung staggers as global market rally continues.


49_ RIVERBED APPOINTS NEW REGIONAL GM Taj Elkhayat to become general manager for MENA region.

51_ DIMMING PC SALES SPUR INVENTORY DROP Channel players are striving to keep their inventories to a minimum.



52_ SLIMMEST SMARTPHONE New Huawei Ascend P6 is just 6.18mm thick.

52_ VIDEO HDD Seagate redefines video streaming.


DHABI EVENT DISTREE has hailed the ninth annual DISTREE Middle East channel event as a success following the move to relocate to Abu Dhabi.

52_ TOUCH CAPABLE Sony strengthens VAIO array.


(45) FACT FILE >>

ENTERPRISE APPS Resellers are moving up the value chain and increasingly looking more towards enterprise applications.



Cloud services are somewhat untapped in the region, but more firms are turning to these services as they cut IT expenditure.







09_Plan to oust Michael Dell 11_Redington is Nexans distie partner 11_Apple plans bigger iPhones 13_Almasa to develop mobility channel 13_SanDisk appoints Empa for UAE 15_New VAD launches in Qatar 15_Prologix signed as Agilent distributor

Global security surge points to BOYD as growth driver, says Gartner.


Dharmendra Parmar, general manager, Marketing at FVC, talks to CME about his typical working day.

(56) GET TO KNOW >>

Andrew Horne, general manager, Xerox Emirates

Update your calendar





EIPA, DCG TO PARTNER IN FIGHTING PIRACY Local industry bodies plan to reduce software piracy levels in the UAE

Major General Dr Obaidli wants EIPA and DCG to cooperate in fighting software piracy in the UAE.


ore than two years after the Emirates Intellectual Property Association (EIPA) was established, the IP industry body has revealed that it would like to work with the Dubai Computer Group (DCG) in tackling the challenges that

the United Arab Emirates is facing with software piracy. The move by EIPA to cooperate with the DCG, a local IT trade industry association, which comes under the umbrella of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, aims to promote the use of genuine software and uphold

all aspects of IP law including Trademarks, Patents, Designs and Copyright in the UAE. In addition, EIPA is aiming to work with various industry stakeholders, law enforcement agencies and communities in the country to promote a culture of using genuine software and other computer programs. Addressing the first EIPA-DCG networking forum, Major General Dr Abdul Quddus Abdul Razak Obaidli, president of EIPA, said as an industry body that aims to protect the IP laws in the UAE, the association is delighted to establish this network of collaboration between the two local industry bodies. “We want to work together with IT resellers in not only addressing software piracy and other IP infringements, but we would also like to encourage and promote ethical business conduct,” he said.

XEROX TARGETS COUNTERFEITERS Vendor introduces programme to combat counterfeit supplies and parts Printing solutions vendor Xerox has introduced a new initiative it says offers simple ways to validate authenticity of its consumables and parts. The move says Xerox, is part of a wider effort to protect customers from counterfeit consumables and products. The company recently conducted raids in China and Dubai, as part of the new programme, Genuine Xerox Rewards aimed at helping detect fakes. According to Xerox, the raids resulted in the seizure of more than 55,000 boxes of counterfeit consumables and parts for numerous Xerox products slated


.... .. ...



for distribution in the US, Germany, Netherlands, Turkey, Russia, Brazil, and South America. Under the Genuine Xerox Rewards, Xerox says buyers should look for authentication labels as one way to safeguard against counterfeit products. Another way customers can avoid counterfeit products and supplies is to validate their authenticity, says Xerox. According to Xerox, this can be done by registering all genuine products under the Genuine Xerox Rewards, where customers can validate and redeem points for buying authentic Xerox solid ink and toner. “Counterfeit production is not


just an OEM issue. It impacts governments, resellers and customers due to lost taxes and investments in poorly made products,” said Dan Smith, head of Integrated Marketing for the MEA region of Xerox’s Developing Markets Operations.

HELP AG, PROOFPOINT TIE-UP help AG has announced a partnership agreement with Proofpoint Inc, a SaaS provider, to provide the vendor’s cloud-based email security solutions to enterprises across the Middle East region. In terms of the agreement, help AG will provide customers with a range of value-add services which include systems design and architecture based on enterprise business requirements, proof of concepts, implementation services, 24x7 local support services and quarterly health checks for the new solutions portfolio. “Cloud services promise to eliminate the hassles of the day to day management of IT thereby allowing IT departments to focus on functions that can enhance business efficiency and drive revenues. But for this to be a reality, enterprises must have both, the best cloud-based solutions coupled with qualified support that covers everything from systems implementation right to enforcement of SLAs. This ensures that customers reap all the benefits that the cloud offers,” said Stephan Berner, MD at Help AG.


annual global financial loss to counterfeiting in the imaging supplies industry.

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Berner says cloud services promise to eliminate day to day hassles of IT management.


Lin D h


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po u e n i


Clo c a 11


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Regional distributor to grow the vendor’s market coverage in the Middle East region


egional VAD Computerlinks, has signed a distribution deal with Trend Micro, a move that the company says will it address the increasing customer demand for Internet content security and threat management across the region. Under the accord, Computerlinks will provide security solutions from Trend Micro to system integrators across the Middle East. “As part of this strategic


proportion of IT decision makers in MEA with no interest in cloud deployments. Source: IDC CEMA Survey

Brother International Gulf FZE, has announced the signing of Hoshan Company Limited (HCL), a KSA-based IT solutions provider, as its distribution partner. Under the accord, HCL will distribute Brother’s entire range of printing solutions including colour and monochrome laser multi-function centres (MFCs), across the KSA. “Over the last few months, the KSA has seen a demand for more high quality printing products,” said Ghassan Odeh, CEO, HCL. “This new distribution partnership with HCL is timely and strategic as industry reports have positioned KSA as one of the major drivers of growth for the region’s rapidly growing printing industry. We are confident that working closely with our distributors in the KSA, which now includes HCL, will play a big role in our move to gain more market shares and consolidate our industry leadership for the KSA and the Middle East in general,” said Soichi Murakami, MD, Brother International Gulf FZE.

Computerlinks’ MD Lee Reynolds (left) with Trend’s VP Ihab Moawad at the signing ceremony.

agreement, Computerlinks will be able to fully leverage the benefits of Trend Micro’s complete range of security offerings. Computerlinks is now better able to address the operational security requirements of its customers, while helping them to meet their business demands for efficiency and cost

savings,” said Lee Reynolds, managing director, Computerlinks. “Increasingly, companies are looking to virtualisation and cloud computing for greater flexibility and lower operational costs,” said Ihab Moawad, vice president, Trend Micro Middle East, Africa and Mediterranean.

IBM SILENT ON MIDDLE EAST REDUNDANCIES World’s largest IT-services provider to cut global workforce by up to 8,000 in $1bn plan IBM, the world’s largest computer-services provider, has refused to reveal how many staff in the Middle East will lose their jobs as part of its $1bn plan to cut its global workforce by up to 8,000, with the bulk of redundancies taking place outside the US. Having operated in the Middle East since 1947, IBM announced in April it was planning to spend $1bn as part of its “workforce rebalancing”, with most staff cuts planned for its operations outside the US. “Last year, we had about $800m workplace rebalancing charges spread across the

year and this year we expect the workforce rebalancing charges to be closer to a billion and concentrated in the second quarter,” IBM chief financial officer Mark Loughridge said in April. “We expect the bulk of that charge to be outside the US.” So far, 2,792 employees have been made redundant, according to Alliance@IBM, the organisation representing IBM employees. Analysts, such as Laurence Balter from Oracle Investment Research in Washington, predicted staff cuts could be as high as up to 8,000, or around 2% of IBM’s global


workforce of 434,246. IBM Middle East, which has its headquarters in Dubai, refused to reveal how many staff at its operations in the region would be made redundant as part of the global cost-cutting process. “Given the competitive nature of our industry, we do not publicly discuss the details of staffing plans,” a spokesperson told Channel Middle East.


IBM’s estimated global workforce cut in $1bn plan.

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Murakami wants Brother to cement its KSA presence.

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JUMBO TO DISTRIBUTE LENOVO SMARTPHONES Distributor takes aim at UAE power retailers with the vendor’s smartphone range C manufacturer Lenovo and Jumbo Electronics, a distributor of IT, telecom and consumer electronics, have signed an agreement that will see Jumbo become the key domestic retail (KDR) distribution partner in the UAE. Under the accord, Jumbo Electronics will distribute Lenovo’s smartphone range to all power retailers in the UAE and provide after-sales support through the network of its 21 stores across the Emirates. Vishesh Bhatia, CEO, Jumbo Electronics said: “As Jumbo group, we welcome our partner Lenovo and are very excited to represent Lenovo smartphones in the capacity of KDR distribution partner. The smartphone category is growing and this strategic alliance will reinforce Jumbo’s key distribution expertise and diversification across various product categories and channel partners. Jumbo will continue


Lenovo’s Oliver Ebel (left) with Jumbo Electronics’ CEO Vishesh Bhatia after signing the deal.

to leverage its strong leadership position in retail with an effective marketing strategy, between Lenovo and Jumbo Retail, to promote the Lenovo smartphones in the UAE.” Oliver Ebel, VP and GM, Lenovo Middle East and Africa, said: “The introduction of our smartphones in the UAE complements our strategy to become the worldwide

leader in the PC plus era. The UAE is a strategic market for Lenovo where we are currently the second PC vendor with a 14.5% market share. Our goal is to become one of the top three smartphone vendors in the UAE in the coming few years and we believe our innovative devices, as well as our strategic partners, will help us achieve that.”

MEA TABLET MARKET SHOWS 184% YOY GROWTH Q1 surge stems from consumer segment, says analyst firm IDC The tablet market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region grew 184% year on year in the first quarter of 2013, to reach a total of 2.25m units, according to the latest results released by International Data Corporation (IDC). The dramatic surge stemmed mainly from the home segment, aided by steady expansion in the business sector. In particular, there was a considerable increase in demand from MEA businesses for tablets running Windows OS. “Growing demand from the commercial segment is expected in the coming years, especially

within the education sector,” said Victoria Mendes, a research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC. “Education projects like ‘Fatih’ in Turkey, the Supreme Education Council’s ‘e-bag’ project in Qatar, and Sheikh Mohammed’s ‘Smart learning’ initiative in the UAE are


units shipped in Q1, 2013 in MEA region.


expected to drive commercial tablet sales in the coming years. The banking sector and the aviation sub sector are expected to be other key spending industries.” Traditional PC vendors, although initially counting on the Windows 8 platform to grow their tablet market share, are now pushing their Android devices, alongside Windows, at competitive prices in order to capture share from lowcost tablet vendors. Multinational vendors such as Asus and Acer and regional brands are also expected to launch more Android-based tablets in 2013.

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Billionaire investor Carl Icahn and his Dell-bid partner Southeastern Asset Management Inc are preparing a shortlist of candidates for CEO of Dell Corp, Reuters reported last month. The Icahn-Southeastern consortium is engaged in a proxy battle for control of the world’s third-largest PC maker after a decline in earnings led its founder and CEO-chairman, Michael Dell to make an offer to shareholders for their stock. The founder’s intent was to take the company private and abandon manufacturing in favour of enterprise services, in an IBM-style business model. A shareholder backlash over the perceived paucity of the DellSilverlake offer gave rise to other bids including that from Icahn and Southeastern, who have also assembled a list of 12 directors to replace the current Dell board. Citing two sources, Reuters said the Icahn-Southeastern list included a number of high-profile tech leaders such as Cisco Systems Inc director Michael Capellas, former IBM Corp services head Michael Daniels, Oracle Corp President Mark Hurd and Hewlett-Packard Co PC chief Todd Bradley.

Michael Dell intends to take the company private.

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REDINGTON GULF IS NEXANS DISTIE PARTNER Distribution partnership to address the East Africa region


exans, a manufacturer of cables and cabling systems, has signed a distribution agreement with Redington Gulf, a valueadded distributor (VAD) in the Middle East and Africa region. In terms of the agreement, Redington Gulf’s Value Division will distribute Nexans’ entire range of structured cabling solutions through its strong channel network across East Africa. “East Africa is a very important market for Nexans. With so much development taking place, there is big demand for LAN infrastructure. We have been looking for a reputed and experienced VAD with a strong local reseller network to help us fuel our growth and increase our market

share in the region. Redington, with its extensive experience, market knowledge and strong technical expertise, was our partner of choice,” said Tarek Helmy, regional director Gulf, Middle East and Africa at Nexans Cabling Solutions. “We are looking forward to the opportunity of presenting cabling solutions from Nexans to our channel in East Africa. Nexans will complement our existing offerings within networking, servers, storage and convergence in East Africa. Redington Value will run awareness campaigns for Nexans in East Africa and also conduct enablement programmes across East Africa to build the channel for Nexans,” said Ramkumar B, senior vice-president, Redington Gulf, Value Division.

Ramkumar says Nexans complements the existing offerings.

MIDDLE EAST SEES 8M MORE MOBILE SUBSCRIBERS Surge represents 9% YOY sector growth for region, according to Ericsson report Telecoms vendor Ericsson this week announced the findings of its Mobility Report, which revealed that Middle East telecom operators gained 8m new mobile subscribers during the first quarter of 2013, representing 9% year-onyear growth, to reach 284m customers, region wide. Regional mobile penetration stood at 109% in Q1, according to the report, which also highlighted that one in every 16 mobile subscriptions globally during the same period was from the Middle East. Ericsson also estimated that around 700m mobile subscriptions will be added in the Middle East and Africa by the end of 2018.

The Ericsson report’s findings also predict that mobile-data traffic will continue to grow significantly in the coming years, a trend driven mainly by the demand for video. Globally, data traffic is expected to grow twelvefold by the end of 2018. Increasing usage is expected to be driven by continual growth in the amount of content available as well as improved network speeds that come with HSPA and LTE development. Anders Lindblad, president, Ericsson Middle East, said: “LTE rollout has already started in some parts of the Middle East, while it is still in the early stages in other parts of the region. However, with


the findings of the report, LTE is clearly the technology of the future for the Middle East region. Globally, LTE services will be available to about 60% of the world’s population in 2018 and we expect LTE subscriptions to exceed 1bn in 2017, driven by more capable devices and demand for data-intensive services such as video.”


regional mobile penetration in Q1, 2013.

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Apple Inc is said to be considering expanded screens for iPhones as well as alternative colours and budget models, Reuters reported last month, citing four sources. Analysts have largely attributed the success of Apple’s South Korean rival Samsung Electronics to the market leader’s ability to cover wider consumer bases with a variety of models. Since the announcement of Samsung’s flagship smartphone the 5-inch Galaxy S4 in March, the company has announced two variations of that model alone: the S4 mini and the S4 Zoom. According to Reuters’ sources Apple is working on at least two bigger handsets for 2014, a 4.7 inch model and a 5.7-inch model. “They constantly change product specifications almost to the final moment, so you’re not really sure whether this is the final prototype,” said one source. In the coming months, Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 5S and a cheaper plastic-based handset in a bid to capture emerging-market consumers. The cheaper phone will reportedly come in a range of colours rather than the traditional black or white iPhone offerings and Apple is said to have discussed a price as low as $99 for the handset. A perceived lack of innovation and a wobbly iPhone 5 launch have shaved value from the Cupertino-based firm, which was the world’s most valuable company less than 10 months ago.


estimated budget iPhone for emerging-markets consumers.

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ALMASA TO DEVELOP THE MOBILITY CHANNEL Distributor plans to boost independent mobile devices retailers in the UAE


ollowing the launch of Almasa Mobility earlier this year, Almasa IT Distribution has revealed an ambitious plan aimed at developing independent mobile solutions retailers across the UAE. The move comes as the Middle East has continued to witness unprecedented growth of tablets and smartphones. Research firm IDC recently reported that tablet shipments will surpass desktops in 2013, and will outpace notebooks next year. Parvez Ahmed, managing director, Almasa IT Distribution, said: “The motivation is very obvious as the tradition IT channel is consolidating and being consumers ourselves, we have seen the uptake of smartphones and tablets grow rapidly over the past 18 months. The merging of the traditional IT channel and independent mobile devices retailers has given an opportunity for both set of partners

to cross sell mobile devices with IT products and vice versa.” Ahmed said what the company has done since the division was setup, is to acquire distribution rights and signed as the official Asus tablet solutions distributor. “This has gelled well for us as we represent the vendor on the IT side of the business. We have a full-fledged mobile unit with a support team to develop this segment further,” he said. He pointed out that key to the company’s progress in the mobile devices segment will be the long term development of independent retailers (IRs) in the UAE. “This is a big market especially in other Emirates like Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. “We see an opportunity for Almasa Mobility and we have invested in three vans. Every day the three sales executives travel up country to supply our offerings.”

Argyrides says the alliance broadens Empa’s offerings to channel partners.

Ahmed says Almasa is focusing on the long term development of independent mobile devices retailers.

KASPERSKY LAB, WESTCON PARTNER FOR GCC Alliance covers enterprise solutions for GCC and Yemen Cyber security specialist Kaspersky Lab today announced the appointment of value-added distributor Westcon Middle East as its authorised distributor for enterprise products and solutions across the GCC region. Westcon is expected to leverage its network of over 1200 resellers to reinforce the growth of Kaspersky Lab’s enterprise business. In addition, Westcon will also extend Kaspersky Lab’s corporate solutions directly to corporate customers with large networks. The agreement will cover

Kaspersky Lab’s portfolio of corporate security solutions through a network of channel partners in the markets of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Yemen. In addition, Westcon has pledged to invest in on-ground pre-sales, technical and maintenance resources to effectively support both new and existing Kaspersky Lab customers in the GCC and Yemen. “Being closer to customers and partners remains imperative for Kaspersky Lab’s business growth and success,” said Tarek



Kuzbari, managing director, Kaspersky Lab Middle East. “We believe that the deal with Westcon will not only help us expand our channel presence in GCC but also help us achieve targeted growth in the region.”


proportion of companies with no interest in using new app control technologies. Source: Kaspersky Survey

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SanDisk Corporation, a manufacturer of flash memory storage solutions, has signed a distribution agreement with Empa Middle East to increase flash memory growth in the region. Under the accord, Empa will provide the UAE channel with the vendor’s flash memory products. The vendor says the agreement comes at a time when demand for smartphones, tablets and ultra-thin notebooks is on the rise in the region and is fuelling the growth of flash memory. “This relationship will further strengthen our position in the UAE storage market,” said Sreedhar Sreekumar, SanDisk’s regional sales manager, Middle East & Africa. “Empa will primarily focus on the reseller channel in the UAE. Our relationship with Empa reinforces our objective to expand our product visibility and is a significant development in the channel.” “This collaboration is one more step toward Empa’s commitment to offering the best products and solutions to our channel partners,” said Nicholas Argyrides, managing director of Empa Middle East.

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VAD to help grow Agilent’s general-purpose instruments business in GCC


EA VAD Prologix Distribution has announced it has signed an agreement with electronics and communications vendor Agilent Technologies Inc to become a ‘Premium Distributor’ for the GCC. “The Middle East, and GCC in particular, is a strategic market for Agilent and we are looking to expand our footprint in this region,” said Augustin Kodiyan, sales and marketing manager, Agilent Technologies International. “We needed a partner with a strong distribution network, technical expertise and reputation to help us grow our business and create a strong impact for our brand.” “This partnership bundles Agilent’s state-of-the-art test solutions with the extensive reach and market understanding of Prologix to address the specific needs of our customers,”

said Aditya Sahaya, sales director, Prologix LLC. The GCC agreement will cover Agilent’s portfolio of basic test and measurement products including oscilloscopes, power supplies, frequency counters, function generators, digital multi-meters, modular products, data acquisition and handheld products. “Agilent Technologies is a global technology leader that invests heavily in research and development to offer the broadest range of innovative measurement solutions in the industry,” said Sarwan Singh, managing director, Prologix LLC. “With a wide range of application areas for Agilent’s products, we believe that we can tap into the growing need in this region for high-quality test and measurement equipment. The company’s array of products adds a new dimension and strengthens our existing product array.”

Sahaya says the deal strenthens Agilent’s reach in the GCC.

SUPER MICRO APPOINTS STORIT AS MENA Agreement covers partner network expansion, training, certification MENA storage VAD StorIT has signed a distribution agreement with UK-based HPC specialist Super Micro Computer, Inc. According to the terms of the partnership, StorIT will promote and distribute Super Micro’s range of highperformance computing solutions across the Middle East and North Africa region. “StorIT is the first ever distributor to bring HPC solutions to the reseller channel in the Middle East,” said Suren Vedantham, group managing director,

StorIT Distribution FZCO. “Super Micro is a great fit to our existing products portfolio, it is in line with our strategy to boost the ability of our reseller channel partners to offer end-to-end high performance computing solutions to endcustomers in the region. “Our partnership with Super Micro will enable our reseller partners to successfully address the rapidly evolving opportunities in the areas of big data, cloud computing and enterpise IT systems. By leveraging our strong channel network across


MENA, we plan to grow Super Micro’s business and market share across this region. We look forward to working closely with their team to ensure that our resellers have the right tools, resources, training and support to sell Super Micro’s solutions effectively.”


countries that StorIT serves in the Middle East region.

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A new value-added distributor, Qatar Distribution Company for Technology (QDIST) has launched operations in Qatar. The VAD is focused on networking solutions, CCTV surveillance solutions, structured and low current cabling and fire alarm systems, with partnerships with Optronics, B3, GVD, Axis, Everfocus, Avaya, Fike and GKB. QDIST says that is offering value-added services including warehousing capabilities, and pre- and post-sales technical support team. The company also plans to add a distributor partnership with one of the biggest service centres for uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Mohamed Fayek, distribution business manager, QDIST, said: “The launch of our operations in Qatar marks an important milestone in the long-term growth plans of QDIST, which is part of our vision to become the country’s leading value-added distributor, targeting electrical low voltage (ELV) and networking solutions. QDIST has quickly emerged as one of the largest technology distribution companies in Qatar, which underlines the success of our strategy that focuses on maintaining high availability of products, delivering competitively priced solutions, offering superior technical support and maintaining a widereaching distribution network. “Moreover, our partnership with Optronics is an important manifestation of our commitment to deliver premium-quality products and solutions. With the Optronics portfolio, we are strongly positioned to cater to the growing demand for high-quality fibre optic and copper networking products.”

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DISTREE HAILS ABU DHABI EVENT The ninth annual DISTREE Middle East channel event was hailed as a success and saw senior executives from the retail community in Africa, Turkey and CIS grace the inaugural Abu Dhabi event.


DISTREE Middle East has said its decision to expand the geographic reach for the annual regional channel event that brings retailers and vendors under one roof has been a success. The event saw more than 600 senior executives mainly from the consumer electronics retail channel hold over 2000 one-on-one meetings with their peers from the vendor and distributor community. According to DISTREE, senior executives from leading ICT and CE retailers in Africa, Turkey and CIS graced the 2013 Middle East event held in Abu Dhabi. Farouk Hemraj, CEO and co-founder at DISTREE Events, said: “We truly believe that our role as an event organiser is to provide a platform that empowers vendors and retailers

to not just talk business, but also share market information, strategy and business insight. The evolving content of our conference programme is based on continuous feedback from our delegates.” DISTREE says this year’s event provided the ideal business platform for vendors looking to launch, build or manage retail channels across the region, bringing them face-to-face with top retail buyers and senior channel executives. Hemraj said: “In addition to established brands looking for an efficient way to meet face-toface with existing retail partners, DISTREE Middle East also helps new brands launch routes to market in the region.” More than 65 brands participated at the event, from

Hemraj says the event helps new brands launch routes to market in the region.


tier-one vendor brands to new players in the market, such as CAT Phones, a manufacturer of rugged mobile devices. “DISTREE Middle East has become a must-attend event on our calendar,” said Ashish Panjabi, COO at UAE-based retailer Jacky’s Electronics. “The roundtable discussions with our peers, forums for meaningful dialogue with the vendors, and panel discussions create opportunities for us [retailers] to share and learn from each other and help us to work better with vendors to find solutions to some of the market challenges we face.” Srinath Nagarajan, business head, Mobility at HCL, said: “This is the second year we have attended DISTREE Middle East and it has lived up to its

Delegates visit vendor stands at the Abu Dhabi event.

Retailers attend one-on-one meetings with vendors at the event.

promise. It is a great platform for us to engage with the key retailers across the region.”„

Panjabi says DISTREE MEA has become a must-attend event.

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EDITOR’S NOTES (18) // by Manda Banda



The potential for reselling cloud services is untapped in the region, but more businesses are turning to these services as they look at ways of cutting IT expenditure.


It’s been said that the recent explosion in cloud services is a manifestation of IT’s decelerating rate of change. That deceleration is a good thing. As revolutionary changes are replaced by those merely evolutionary, consumers are better able to agree on the services they need. That agreement makes it possible and presents an opportunity to smartly repackage services with the goal of selling them back at a lower cost. Even in areas where early adopters have been thin on the ground, the market is now steadily on the rise. In Saudi Arabia, for example, analyst and research firm IDC expects the cloud computing market to grow annually by almost 50% into 2016. Systems integrators are already in a prime position to manage the deployment of multiple cloud services purchased through multiple vendors, while value-added resellers (VARs) can take advantage of demand to sell, install and maintain cloud appliances on customer premises. However, despite the on-going buzz around

the cloud computing model, the channel is being slow to capitalise on the potential of reselling cloud services in the region. Rarely has a market been so ready for lift off. VARs, on the other hand, are challenged by the prospect of narrower margins, different cash flow models, and different marketing and sales models. Most industry watchers agree that SIs and VARs have to address these challenges and new methodologies quickly if they are to jump on the bandwagon successfully – and this while the cloud model is evolving at a tremendous pace. There is no doubt about the scale of interest in cloud computing at the moment, as businesses in the region warm up to the idea of having their IT infrastructure outsourced to third party service providers. Ultimately, SIs and VARs that will succeed are those that have built a recurring revenue model, have a multi-tenant monitoring and management platform, and can keep their services running uninterrupted. I can be reached at

[1] Huawei’s ultra-thin Ascend P6 China-based vendor claims ‘world’s slimmest’ handset

[2] Data at the edge: remote sites and business continuity Comm Vault argues ME IT needs to address the data protection gap at outlying branches

[3] E-commerce orgs need multi-channel models Interactive Intelligence calls for adoption of multi-channel models in e-commerce sector


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ITP TECHNOLOGY PUBLISHING IS PRODUCING THE ONLY OFFICIAL PREVIEW AND DAILY NEWSPAPER FOR GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK 2013 The only official pre-show publication for GITEX Technology Week, the GITEX Preview highlights the key events taking place at the show and allows visitors to plan their visit in advance.


The only official daily newspaper at GITEX Technology Week, the GITEX Times will be available in English and Arabic and is distributed from purpose built stands by the entrances to the exhibition halls.










Increase your marketing exposure before, during and after the exhibition by contacting our team today. "%7&35*4*/( (FPSHF)PKFJHF  Tel: +971 4 4443203, GSM: +971 50 5025532, Email:

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20-24 OCTOBER 2013





AL OTAIBA UPS CHANNEL FOCUS Khalaf Al Otaiba, CEO, Al Otaiba Distribution, talks about the company plans to diversify its business in MEA.


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CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST: How has business been for Al Otaiba Distribution as the company continues to diversify its business? KHALAF AL OTAIBA: As you probably know, we are the sole agent and the exclusive master distributor for Sitecom, Sweex, Innergie, id America, Rocking Residence, Yarvik, Hawking, Planex with partners across MEA markets and beyond. The MEA markets were severely affected by the Arab Spring, which forced many companies to either stop supplying to their partners or reduce the size of business. We were not affected due to a wider reach in Africa, CIS and the Indian sub-continent. CME: What is the company’s focus in 2013 and what can your partners expect from Al Otaiba this year? KA: I would say the focus with our partners is to enhance the consumer knowledge of the brands we represent, increase market share and move into new markets within the MEA region. CME: Does Al Otaiba have any expansion plans here in the region? KA: For the time being, we have no immediate plans to expand our operations outside the UAE and we will continue to work closely with reseller partners to serve markets where we don’t have in-country presence. However, we are also working with our channel partners on market feasibility and development with a view to expand our operations and improve our market share. This is being done all in an effort to remain relevant

to the channel ecosystem and the business we are in. The GCC is a big focus for us and we have plans to engage resellers on the corporate sector and new key accounts. CME: What home and small office networking solutions is Al Otaiba supplying the regional channel at the moment? KA: Sitecom being a networking brand has good offerings that cater to home users and SMBs, and protect against all kinds of viruses, trojans, malware, ad-ware, fishing, spam and hacking. A key aspect about Sitecom is that all the products we distribute come with 10 warrant years. Apart from the offerings, Sitecom also provides state of art technology solutions, free home and office installation, and has a call centre offering postsales support in nine languages including Arabic. CME: Is it easy to play in both the retail space and volume distribution at the same time? KA: No, it’s not easy, however, in our group we have Al Otaiba Technologies dedicated to retail with two active showrooms at Computer Plaza Al Ain Centre in Bur Dubai. This division has an independent management and sales team. CME: What partner programmes or initiative is Al Otaiba Distribution rolling out to channel partners in the UAE market? KA: In the UAE market, Al Otaiba Communications is the active partner and supplier to power retailers, hypermarkets, traders and

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resellers. We have three partner tiers namely Silver, Gold and Platinum for the traditional dealer channel. Each partner tier has its own benefits although the most important thing for all our partners is that they all have an opportunity to grow their business with us. CME: How do you rate the UAE and Middle East IT channel in terms of business opportunities this year? KA: I believe that opportunities are beginning to emerge for savvy channel partners in the UAE. The MEA markets are growing rapidly and the need for IT products and solutions is massive. IT budgets are increasing especially for government led ICT spending. This plus improved consumer spending in the retail space is spurring growth in the UAE IT market. CME: Where will majority of your company’s growth come from in MEA region? KA: A huge chunk of our growth will come from the GCC region, but that does not mean we don’t supply our partners in Sri Lanka or Nigeria. In 2013, there will be a lot of IT projects in KSA and we hope to push Sitecom to be a top selling brand in each country we supply. Aside from IT projects, Partners can also expect to see enhanced pre- and post-sales support covering credit terms, stock rotation, marketing development funds and technical support. We will also look at one of the pain points for our partners and offer them price protection schemes and understand their business sales cycles.


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. For nomination enquiries:

For sponsorship enquiries:

Mark Sutton

George Hojeige

Ajay Sharma

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

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

Sales Manager Ph.:+971 4 444 3398 Mob:+971 50 419 5067 E:

For more information

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Yasser Eldawy, general manager, GCC, Levant and North Africa (LENA) at TechAccess talks about the company’s plans for 2013 and how it is aiding partners to jump onto the solutions-selling bandwagon. : Talk us through what TechAccess’ focus is for this year? YASSER ELDAWY: TechAccess has been in the Middle East and North Africa region for more than 12 years focusing on the enterprise market segment and supplying the channel with end-to-end enterprise solutions. Our charter hasn’t changed much in the last 12 years as it basically focuses on developing a sustainable and profitable business for both our resellers and vendor partners. A key focus for 2013 will be to develop our partners, adding more focus to growth markets such as Qatar and Kuwait and to further enhancing our existing channel base. We hope to take value addition to the next level by educating our partners about the latest technological trends and identifying their solutions need. : How is the company helping SIs, VARs and solution provider partners to grow their expertise in the value segment? YASSER ELDAWY: We work very closely with our partners to understand their operational difficulties and then align ourselves to meet their business requirements. We also try and understand their focus areas and position them with our solution centre, technical support and services team with a view to helping them develop competencies in selling

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solutions. Another aspect we look at is training and making sure that our partners have the right certifications to enable them to sell and implement solutions. : What channel programmes are you rolling out this year in the Middle East region? YASSER ELDAWY: TechAccess launched its Partner Loyalty Program in 2011. The programme is the first of its kind in the partner community designed to empower our partners to choose how they wish to be rewarded from a breadth of unique reward offerings on both business and leisure options. The Partner Loyalty Program winners for 2012 were recently announced and rewarded with prize options ranging from conferences in Oxford and Cambridge University to a complete holiday package in Maldives. Due to the tremendous response to the loyalty initiative, we have decided to continue with the TechAccess Partner Loyalty Program in 2013 and beyond. We want our partners to “Prepare themselves to be rewarded the TechAccess Way!” : Which technology areas are top of TechAccess’ agenda in 2013? YASSER ELDAWY: The integrated hardware and software stack is a key selling point for us

and we are currently pushing it in the market. We are also focusing on storage solutions and cloud computing as they are gaining rapid momentum in the market. We conduct trainings and workshops to highlight the integrated stack and various other solutions in our state of the art solution centre. Our in-house Technology Centre is equipped with the latest demo equipment and applications supported by our vendors. It offers customers an overview of technology and industryspecific solutions as well as custom demonstrations to understand how technology fits with their strategic business planning. : With more businesses in the Middle East region focusing on cloud services and other managed offerings, how is TechAccess helping its channel partners to stay relevant in a rapidly changing marketplace? YASSER ELDAWY: The key challenge here is not only to help our partners acquire the relevant technologies, but to also “educate them continuously” about the newer technologies in the marketplace. This is part and parcel of the value addition that we offer to our partners and an integral part of our sales story is training resellers so that they can identify their customers’ IT requirements intelligently.

: What are your channel partners finding challenging in the Middle East region at the moment? YASSER ELDAWY: Credit is the most important issue as it directly impacts on the ability of our partners to get new business. Partners with strong financials are able to address more business and grow faster. We work together with our partners and provide them with flexible terms so that they are able to win and grow their business in the market. : Has the regional distribution segment recovered from the economic challenges that the market experience four years ago? YASSER ELDAWY: The transition during the tight market climate had been the same for most players. Tech Access has worked hard to maintain the momentum, especially in KSA where business remained stable. GCC and LENA are now towards the growth trend and we are now concentrating on capitalising on the opportunities that the current economic conditions bring forward.

The integrated hardware and software stack is a key selling point for us and we are currently pushing it in the market. We are also focusing on storage solutions and cloud computing as they are gaining rapid momentum in the market. We conduct training to highlight the integrated stack and various other solutions in our solution centre.

computing along with the benefits that it can add to their businesses. They will only be able to capitalise on the opportunities once they have good understanding of the different dynamics in the cloud space. „

: What will be the key revenue growth areas and driver for TechAccess in 2013? YASSER ELDAWY: We see tremendous growth in highlighting the integrated hardware and software solution stack and storage solutions to our channel. We plan on extending our channel base and focus on SIs and capture more SMBs. Our focus is to achieve success as a VAD in the region by adding services and solutions to our channel. We believe this will bring a sustainable level of growth not only to our business but to our vendors and partners as well. : How should solution providers capitalise on the opportunities emerging in the market especially in the cloud and security segment? YASSER ELDAWY: Cloud computing is a transformational technology phenomenon that will change the way IT services are provisioned and consumed by businesses. It is still a very new concept in the region and we are working closely with our partners on exploring the opportunities that this area will bring forward. We are continuously educating them regarding public and private cloud

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The second Channel Middle East Conference held in Dubai recently examined business growth prospects and the need for innovation in the regional channel as the business climate improves.

xecutives from across the Middle East IT channel gathered at the Ritz Carlton, DIFC, Dubai, for the second Channel Middle East conference. Representatives from industry names such as Jacky’s Electronics, Emax, Aptec, Aastra, eHosting DataFort, Acer and Kaspersky Lab took to the stage to delve into channelspecific topics such as export headaches, cloud managed services and the consumerisation of IT. But despite the discussions on challenges and pitfalls, the underlying message was guarded optimism, as the channel takes to its feet following post-crunch leanness. “[The Middle East IT channel] has had an excellent five months,” said Meera Kaul, managing director, Optimus Technology & Telecom, in her keynote address, The State of the Channel. “Almost all the projects that were shelved last year have been inked. Small- to mediumsized companies have [regained] their confidence in the economy, and that sentiment is priceless.” Kaul noted that close to 70% of CIOs have indicated they will be increasing IT spend this


EDITOR’S NOTE: We would like to thank all the speakers, panellists and delegates that attended the second Channel ME Conference. Special thanks go to the Event sponsors presenting partner Du, Platinum sponsor; HP, Gold sponsors; WD and Cyberoam and technology partner Gulfware.

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year and while live SMS polls conducted by Channel Middle East at the event suggested a reticence in the channel towards all-out celebration, most expected to see some sort of growth in the coming months. Kaul was more buoyant: “This kind of growth is the kind of growth we saw before the financial crisis. The UAE is possibly seeing better revenues and better traction in IT projects being awarded than even the bigger economies such as Saudi Arabia.” A large part of the renewed swell has been brought about by GCC governments as they expand infrastructure around e-Government delivery, LTE network expansion and IT security in response to last summer’s wave of high-profile cyber attacks. The private sector’s activities have also been a boon to open source vendors and their channel partners as governments consider ways to shave costs. The regional shift, not only in the public sector but in SMEs and enterprises, from bare metal setups to managed services, has led to a boom in the channel for segments such as storage and virtualisation. Kaul also made mention of an increase in demand for analytics, but took care to point out that this did not mean big data. “[The Middle East IT channel] is not really doing big data or Hadoop yet; what we are doing is real-time analytics,” she explained. “There are a couple of vendors in the market that have come up with product portfolios for small business and enterprise.” The restored activity in the channel is attracting new players. Kaul observed that a number of international vendors have toured the region, holding meetings with prospective partners, but she also pointed out that vendors

are starting to notice a requirement in the channel for pre-defined partnership programmes to be phased out in favour of more flexible schemes. Security has had a big year and is expected to grow further, given the perceived threat level in the region, but Kaul stressed the ongoing issue of the skills gap that has plagued this niche business. “Security has always been big; the more infrastructure we develop, the more data we [create], the more network security will become truly essential,” said Kaul. “There is a huge play for the channel in these sectors. “[But] the channel has to step up not only in

ITP’s senior group editor, Mark Sutton (left), moderates a discussion on credit in the IT channel.

terms of products and services, but also in terms of skill sets. One problem [in the security segment] has always been that regulation and implementation, in terms of the skill set, never match.” Devices, and the ballooning demand for them and the apps they host, has led to a culture that is by now familiar to all: that of “bring your own device” (BYOD). The channel, Kaul urged, needs to act quickly to be ready for the shift of this area to B2B. “Work is no longer a location; work is an activity,” she said. “We are surrounded by 350m connected individuals [in the GCC]. More than 50% of people in the Gulf own

smartphones. We need to look at the potential of what we have around us.”

EXPORT BUSINESS With some parts of the Middle East experiencing political and economic upheaval over the last two years, this session discussed ways on how resellers can develop and build their export markets by strategising on the risks and rewards of different geographic markets. Shailendra Rughwani, president, Dubai Computer Group (DCG), said from what the members are telling the association, a lot of the markets in the region have either closed

because of the prevailing US trade embargo or business has slowed down. Rughwani said this has compelled many to explore opportunities in other regions like Africa and the CIS. “Africa continues to offer opportunities to Dubai-based resellers,” he said. Nicholas Argyrides, managing director at regional distributor Empa agreed and said the Middle East region is not the most stable of regions at the moment and not all markets are address by the channel. Argyrides said certain emerging markets like Iraq are still very unstable while the established ones like KSA have been stable and offering growth to resellers that serve the Kingdom. With some markets in the Middle East under US trade sanctions, it has become important for Dubai-based distributors and their channel partners to comply with the US regulation requirements. Farida Alkaff, legal counsel and compliance manager, at Aptec – an Ingram Micro company, said distributors and resellers of US-made technology equipment just like vendors are required to follow the same US trade requirements to restricted countries. Alkaff said many US-based vendors are under pressure to step up awareness campaigns around US trade regulatory requirements to embargoed countries. “There is definitely awareness in the channel. However, what has to be tackled especially by distributors is whether enough due diligence is done to ascertain that products sold to resellers will not end-up in an embargoed country,” she said. Alkaff said most US-based IT vendors conduct regular workshops on compliance with their authorised distribution partners to raise awareness around the US trade requirements and drive the message to the entire channel community. “There are severe consequences for any company that is authorised to resell American-made IT products and ends up exporting the equipment to an embargoed country,” she said. Dave Brooke, executive director and general manager, Dell Middle East, agreed and said in terms of the US trade export regulations, there are three countries namely Iran, Syria and Sudan in the Middle East, where sales of American-made goods are banned. “If we know of any products going to these willingly and knowingly, that is typically in breach of export regulations and the impact is significant not

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A little – There has been some shake out, still challenges linger on - 76.47% No – too many firms still don’t have proper controls - 0.00% Don’t know - 5.88%

A lot – there is a big improvement over the past few years - 17.65% CME 2013 Conference Audience Survey/Textello

only to the vendor or partner but even the individual in many instances is personally liable and is subject to the US law. This is hugely important for anyone in the regional channel to understand,” he said. Brooke explained that from an industry perspective, if the channel wants to attract new vendors to the Middle East, the compliance profile of the industry end-to-end is a significant part of whether the region can draw new IT investments to build on the existing ventures here. “If we believe that this is the right thing, we have to be compliant as an industry and it is not about one individual, it’s not about vendors, partners or distributors, it’s about the industry,” he reiterated.

MULTI-CHANNELS With the expanding routes to market, vendors and distributors are always looking for ways to maximise their reach to the partner base. Ashish Panjabi, COO, Jacky’s Electronics, said with the emergence of online stores, it has become imperative for those involved in the IT supply chain to not only understand these various options available to customers, but identify appropriate channels to reach out. Panjabi said in the Middle East, the concept of online stores complementing offline ones has not full matured as most online stores compete purely on price rather than the overall customer experience and service. “This has to be complementary as not everything that endusers want will be bought online,” he said.

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Panjabi said products that are already known to consumers will be bought through online channels while those that require some deeper understanding will always compel consumers to visit offline stores in form of retail outlets, showrooms or high street stores. Vasudevan K.S, director, Global Business, Navo, said the rise of the multi-channels has brought with it major disruptions in the IT channel as all players are grappling to understand how to correctly position their businesses in the mind of the end-user. Vasudevan said the market is evolving and with social media taking centre stage, consumers are more informed about products and services and where these can be sourced from without any hassles. “In the current market scenario, there is a role for each channel player. Selecting where to buy a product is a matter of convenience but resellers and especially retailers should have the capability to address any concerns a client might have from an experience that started

from an online shopping experience,” he said. Vasudevan said clients still need a physical store when it comes to after-sales services and support. Syed Ibrahim Anwar, managing director, MENA & CIS, at regional distributor acti International, said the diversification that is happening in the Middle East channel as a result of multi-faceted routes to market has its own challenges for the distribution sector. “As most consumers do their research online, it is vital that we as distributors are able to offer terms that make both high street stores and power retailers to want to continue doing business with us. “The overall service experience should be the goal of distributors as they find their own relevance in this changing IT landscape,” he said. Dr Roger Hage, vice president at Aastra said certainly from a [B2B] perspective, vendors are becoming more client centric and are looking at ways of improving their business communication. “We have been training our channels to not only provide much need presales and technical support, but to also understand the changing market around them,” he said. Hage said through such interactions, partners are able to identify opportunities and tailor them to suit their business goals and offerings. Panjabi reiterated that in the Middle East, the rise of the multi channel is still in its nascent stage and not at the same level as the more mature markets in Western Europe and North America. “In the US, all online stores are supported by vendors and distributors. In the region, most vendors view e-commerce sites as threats to their traditional channel business,” he said. He said there is need for all stakeholders in the regional channel to support the multifaceted routes to the market as not doing so will create a gap between the channel and the end-users it serves.

WHAT IS YOUR MAIN FINANCIAL PRIORITY DURING THE SECOND HALF OF 2013? 40% Focusing on profitability 2 Better cash flow management 1 CME 2013 Conference Audience Survey/Textello


20% Generating revenues 1 Improving gross margin 1


CLOUD MANAGED SERVICES Building value in the market for managed services has proved a challenge for many partners in the region, however, this is an area with significant growth potential. Partners that have taken the long-term outlook on the market, acquired the needed business acumen to add value to the product and solutions they pitch, and continue to remain relevant to their end-user customers are poised to reap the benefits in cloud managed services. Pierre Olivier Descoteaux, general manager, Cloud Computing, at Aptec – an Ingram Micro company, said Ingram in the US has been building its cloud offerings for the past two years. Descoteaux said there are three main areas where resellers that want to get involved in reselling cloud manged services should focus on. According to Descoteaux, the areas are: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), business applications as a service and online backup. “We will be implementing the cloud model we have developed in the US through Aptec in the region. We will also be adding local vendors,” he said. Descoteaux urged resellers to partner with established cloud services providers such as Aptec instead of building the infrastructure from stratch. Dong Wu, vice president, ME Enterprise Business Group, Huawei, said channel partners looking at venturing into cloud managed services reselling should first look at

what their clients require. Wu said very often, providing IT services requires a partner to have consultancy skills, being able to manage complex systems integration environments and executing those services at the highest level. “Our own experiences have shown us that service providers are best suited to provide such high level services,” he said. Yasser Zeineldin, CEO, at managed services provider, eHosting DataFort, said resellers wanting to jump onto the cloud services reselling bandwagon should realise that it’s not easy to become a cloud provider. “Becoming a cloud service provider requires a different mentality and a strong focus on services and not products,” he said. Zeineldin explained that resellers that are already playing in the services space will find transitioning into the cloud services arena a lot easier than those partners that are product inclined. He said infrastructure investment remains the key challenge for resellers that would want to place in cloud services. “What we are seeing in the Middle East is that private cloud services are gaining momentum in the Middle East with IaaS, platform as-a-service (Paas) and software as-a-service (SaaS) leading the way.

CREDIT INSURANCE Companies in the Middle East are gradually realising the value of credit insurance, but the percentage of trade covered by such insurance is infinitesimally small.

Ali Nemati, general manager, Acer Middle East, said credit, market share, total addressable market and growth work hand-inhand. Nemati said for any forecast to be considered accurate, all relevant variables must be factored in. He said because the IT business in primarily a distribution business that relies heavily on credit terms, there was need for the forecasting companies such as IDC and Gartner to start speaking with credit insurers in the region. “This gathering is the first step is getting together all channel players [vendors, distributors, resellers], forecasting firms to start addressing the challenges that credit insurers face, actual market size and the addressable market covered by insurance providers,” he said. Nemati said in the past, high street dealers especially in Dubai have suffered at the hands of vendors from product stuffing. “It’s easy to blame distributors but when the market knows the total available credit versus the total addressable market, then all stakeholders will be able to come up with mechanisms to tackle these challenges,” he said. Nemati said it’s crucial for all stakeholders involved in the channel to ensure that growth in the IT sector must be profitable. “We will be opening channels between forecasting companies, vendors and the broader channel community to address the issue of managing a profitable channel,” he said. Mahan Bolourchi, head, Risk, Information

// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_JULY 2013 _www.itp.net_

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More than 150 senior channel executives from the UAE attended the second Channel Middle East Conference 2013, which was held at the Ritz Carlton, DIFC in Dubai. The conference addressed the issue of innovation in the channel amid an improving business climate in the Middle East. Delegates also took time to catch up with colleagues and peers at the conference.

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No – we have not been affected at all - 66.67% Don’t know - Not relevant to our business - 0.00% Yes – we have been indirectly affected by the dip in PC sales - 16.67% Yes – but we have diversified our offerings - 16.67%

Meera Kaul, MD, Optimus, delivering her keynote address.

CME 2013 Conference Audience Survey/Textello

and Claims at credit insurance provider Euler Hermes, said the company’s global exposure in the credit insurance industry globally stands at 770bn euros. “From this we clearly see the appetite that is in the market especially in emerging and news markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East,” he said. Hermes said Euler Hermes remains the largest credit insurance provider in the UAE and KSA. “The biggest challenge that we face in the region is the lack of corporate governance especially in the SMB space, where smaller resellers don’t even have audited books,” he said.

BYOD The meteoric rise of “bring your own device” (BYOD) IT policies promise many benefits such as greater innovation, better work-life balance and improved productivity, but how does it affect the IT channel industry? Khalid Wani, sales director – India, Middle East & Africa at Western Digital, said as a lot of technology is moving to the cloud,

organisations [big or small] are adopting BYOD because workers are increasingly becoming mobile. Wani said this is welcome news for savvy solution providers as it provides an opportunity for them to provide services and solutions. Shahood Khan, managing partner, Techmicro, concurred and said BYOD has changed the work culture and how organisations engage with their employees. Khan said devices have become more affordable and feature rich allowing employees to strike a balance between work and personal lifestyles. Tarek Kuzbari, managing director, Middle East and Turkey at Kaspersky Lab, said although BYOD has gained a lot of momentum over the last 18 months, the concept itself is not new to the IT industry. “We used to have all these terms like bring your own laptop, bring your own phone etc. What has helped the market is giving this trend a name and in doing so, the industry has quickly caught on,” he explained.

Kuzbari said despite the many benefits that BYOD brings to organisations, many in the Middle East are still concerned about security and that is a huge opportunity for channel partners in the region. Aside from security, Khan said the main verticals leading the BYOD adoption in the region are education and services oriented industries such as insurance, logistics and transportation sectors. With margins on hardware continuing to decline, experts say the BYOD trend should encourage channel partners to provide solutions in client environments that have embraced this concept. Khan said although resellers might miss out on the initial hardware sale of the devices, the opportunities to help companies develop comprehensive BYOD strategies and offerings is huge. “There are so many areas in which channel partners can contribute to their own business by jumping onto the services opportunities that emerge,” he said.. „

HOW CONFIDENT DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GROWTH PROSPECTS FOR THE CHANNEL IN 2013? 50% Undecided – it’s too volatile to predict this market Very confident – market is ready to take off CME 2013 Conference Audience Survey/Textello

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Somewhat confident – there are a few growth opportunities Not confident – there are still major challenges







The third annual Channel KSA Awards ceremony was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Riyadh to honour vendors, distributors and channel partners in the KSA channel.













Winners at this year’s Channel KSA Awards that saw more than 200 senior channel executives attend the event.

The achievements and success stories of the KSA channel, vendors, distributors and resellers were celebrated at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Riyadh. More than 200 IT executives and leaders from across the Kingdom from the vendor, distributor, reseller, systems integrators and retailer community converged under one roof to recognise stellar performances and achievements of the KSA channel in 2012. Although the market has shown some improvement, there are still challenges that linger not just in the KSA but the regional IT sector as well. That said, the ongoing success especially in the IT retail sector in the KSA and across the Middle East can be attributed to the solid alliances between vendors, distributors,


resellers, retailers and SIs and the continuing investments made by all in growing the KSA’s IT capabilities. These awards highlighted the latest developments in the IT channel sector and the success stories in the KSA channel. With award categories for vendors, distributors, resellers, system integrators, retailers and individuals, the KSA Channel Awards serve as the ultimate platform for honouring those involved in developing the Kingdom's IT channel sector.„











Adel A. Qahwash, GM, Al Jammaz Distribution MARKETING EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

Amrow Hijazi, Marketing Director, PPS, HP Channel executives exchange views at the 2013 awards ceremony and gala dinner held in Riyadh.


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Tamer Ismael, CEO, BDL Distribution

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With low price points for the PC segment, margins will be strained across the chain, hence the need for channel partners to look for value-added services rather than just box moving.” SANTOSH VARGHESE, GENERAL MANAGER, DIGITAL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, TOSHIBA GULF FZE

As consumers continue to drive the adoption of smartphones and tablets, the market for mobile computing solutions has never been better. In a highly competitive market though, how do vendors differentiate themselves from their competitors, and provide a compelling proposition to channel partners? Manda Banda reports.

he rapid growth of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) has got most regional channel players to focus on this sector, with many unveiling mobility strategies and new business divisions. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) phenomenon has taken the midmarket by storm, and has brought with it some actionable, cost-saving opportunities. By allowing employees to bring their own devices to connect to a company’s IT infrastructure and network, physical hardware costs are significantly reduced. It seems like a no-brainer. According to recent results released by International Data Corporation (IDC), the tablet market in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region grew 184%, year on year, in Q1 2013, to reach a total of 2.25m units. The dramatic surge stemmed mainly from the home segment, aided by steady expansion in the business sector. In particular, there was a considerable increase in demand from MEA businesses for tablets running Windows OS. “Growing demand from the commercial segment is expected in the coming years, especially within the education sector,” said Victoria Mendes, a research analyst for personal computing, systems, and infrastructure solutions at IDC. Traditional PC vendors, although initially counting on the Windows 8 platform to grow their tablet market share, are now pushing their Android devices, alongside Windows, at competitive prices in order to capture business from low-cost tablet vendors. Multinational vendors such as Asus and Acer, as well as other far-Eastern and regional brands are also expected to launch more Android-based tablets in 2013. In the smartphone segment, Android and iOS, have continued to rank as the top two smartphone operating systems worldwide, accounting for a combined 92.3% of all smartphone shipments in Q1, 2013, according to IDC. Santosh Varghese, general manager, Digital Products and Ser vices, at Toshiba Gulf FZE, said new innovations in the smartphone segment are preventing the replacement cycle of PCs and notebooks. Varghese said in order to increase the replacement cycle, the PC and notebook


segment needs to redefine its user experience, focus on lightweight machines and longer batter y life. “Smartphones and tablets can never replace desktop and notebooks,” he said. “Notebooks could replace desktop in the near future, while smartphones and tablets are more of consumption devices, unlike desktops and notebooks, which are more of productivity gadgets that create content for consumption on tablet or smartphones.” Osama Rasoul, sales manager, Borderless Networks Architectures at Cisco, said there is no doubt that mobile computing trends offer benefits for employers, such as greater innovation, a better work-life balance and

ENHANCING PRODUCTIVITY To help deal with the issue of productivity, Cisco is helping enterprises through the Cisco Unified Workspace. This is an integrated and strategic approach to the enterprise workspace, focused on helping employees access all of the people and resources they need to do their jobs effectively from wherever they are, on whatever device they choose. “Cisco offers a series of ‘smart solutions’ that have been fully tested and validated and can help CIOs and IT leaders increase business efficiency and remove the cost and complexity associated with mobile computing while increasing employee satisfaction and productivity,” said Osama Rasoul, sales manager, Borderless Networks Architectures at Cisco. Shadi Hijazi, marketing manager, Dell Middle East said the Dell’s resellers in the region have understood the trend towards mobilisation already, to varying extents, and have been taking the necessary steps to enhance their specialisation. “Our reseller partners are shifting to mobile computing and those engaging in the deployment of cloud services in many cases need a support system. This includes training and helping them to offer and showcase the right technology that consumers look for in their pursuit of reliable mobile computing,” he said. Hijazi said the needs of mobile computing customers are flexibility, portability and valueadded services that can support machines and software on the move. Rasoul said that the best thing any vendor or reseller can do in the changing market is to understand the logic that underscores the move towards mobile devices. “Are customers changing their tendencies to reflect mobile technology’s ability to do more,” he asked? “Mobile computing products should try to be as multi-capable as possible.”

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Far from talk of the PC’s demise, AMD is expecting the PC category to make a resurgence. Consumers will see PC manufacturers bringing a variety of new form factors, features and price points. MANISH PUNJABI, REGIONAL MARKETING MANAGER, MENA, AMD

improved productivity. Rasoul explained that resellers should be looking at new ways of offering mobile computing solutions to their customers now, as this trend is going to become a more prevalent issue for enterprises. “The main challenge that resellers face is identifying the right mobility and security solution for their customers, as the requirements for each business can differ greatly. Resellers need to work closely with technology vendors to be educated on the vast array of mobility solutions available and the specific benefits that they can bring for their customers. Rasoul said the consumerisation of IT and the rise of BYOD in the Middle East has compelled enterprises regardless of the vertical industr y, to adopt necessar y mobile computing solutions in order to manage and secure devices and data.


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He said depending on the vertical and market focus, companies tend to reap different benefits. For instance, said Rasoul, ser vice-oriented companies may experience the greatest impact on employee productivity and customer satisfaction as a result of implementing mobility solutions. “We are actually witnessing that enterprises across all verticals are looking at new ways of utilising mobile computing solutions to make their processes easier for the customer and consumers. The key challenge for enterprises is how they can do this securely and cost effectively,” he noted. Whether or not these mobile devices are replacing desktops and notebooks or merely delaying PC purchases is beside the point. What is clear in the Middle East and elsewhere around the globe is that tablets and smartphones are in demand, and new PCs are not. Shadi Hijazi, marketing manager, Dell Middle East, said the mobile computing explosion has meant big changes for the PC industry, but the future of the computing industry is going to be hybrid involving all innovations in the field of mobility covering smartphones, notebooks, desktops, and tablets. Hijazi said that for decades PCs constituted almost the entirety of computing sales, but that’s obviously not the case anymore. “The new distribution of personal computing sales to smartphones, tablets,

notebooks and desktops will constitute a more accurate portrayal of their role in people’s personal and professional lives,” he said. Hijazi said, contrary to talk of a “post-PC age” nearing, the growth of tablets and other mobile computing devices is exciting for the technology industry, but there is a robust and relevant market for desktop PCs and notebooks going forward. “Notebooks and desktops will not vanish from the market. That’s why we are still focusing some of our computing lineup on the Ultrabook class of mobile machines,” he said. At chip maker, AMD, the company is optimistic the PC segment will make a comeback in the Middle East region. Manish Punjabi, regional marketing manager, MENA at AMD, said far from talk of the PC’s demise, the company is expecting the PC category to make a resurgence. “With our new APUs in the market, codenamed ‘Richland’, ‘Kabini’ and ‘Temash’, consumers will see PC manufacturers bringing a variety of new form factors, features and price points,” he said. Punjabi attributed the recent slowdown in the PC business to the slow performance of the global economy. “Tablets have lengthened the replacement cycle of notebooks and consumers have delayed their purchases knowing that the launch of new APUs is around the corner,” he said. Toshiba’s Varghese concurred and said what has slowed down the replacement cycle for PC products is the non-compelling change in technology and innovation in these products. However, Varghese said new technology including touch screen, gesture control and voice recognition will add more interest in the sales towards the PC segment. “The channel should stay away from low price points-based sales and stop overstocking. Instead, resellers should focus on the new concept and offer valueadded ser vices. The business-to-business [B2B] segment will continue to fuel sales for PCs as replacement cycles are overdue for most corporate firms in the Middle East,” he noted. Varghese said with low price points for the PC segment, margins will be strained across the chain hence the need for channel partners to look for value-added ser vices rather than just box moving.

The best way to conceptualise the growth of the mobile computing market is to understand how modern PCs, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices are all intertwined as parts of the lifestyle of the modern computer user. Dell’s Hijazi said there are specific roles in our lives that each type of machine fills best, and these roles are often complimentar y. “A typical consumer may want a tablet computer that can double as a desktop for when they are tr ying to be productive in multiple venues and modern technology can accommodate that. “Alternatively they may want computing power that can handle gaming and visual rendering at home and there are different technology offerings that are available to meet that need,” he said. Hijazi said the future of the computing market is going to be about having the right tools that are available for the job. “When we can create multiple machines in one, then that makes for a versatile all-inone offering. Regardless of how the breakdown of products falls, we can expect positive results from the computing market, a large part of it will come from mobile devices going for ward,” he said. Varghese added that low cost “unbranded

Resellers should be looking at new ways of offering mobile computing solutions to their customers now, as this trend is going to become a more prevalent issue for enterprises. OSAMA RASOUL, SALES MANAGER, BORDERLESS NETWORKS ARCHITECTURES, CISCO

tablets” will continue to impact the price points in the mobile computing products. “The low price of traditional notebooks against the mid- and high-end products of thin form factor devices and hybrid notebooks contributes to the confusion at end-user level,” he said. “For power retailers in general, it also means they have to remain agile. To stay in business, they need to remain profitable and this means they need to cut the cord sooner when a particular retail location looks like it may not succeed. This is a lesson most in Europe and the US refused to acknowledge earlier, and if they had, many of them would still be in business today.” „

ENTERPRISE APPEAL As mobile computing solutions are increasingly off-the-shelf sales, is there still ample scope for using these solutions as a lever for developing the much-needed valueadded services for the corporate sector? Manish Punjabi, regional marketing manager, MENA at AMD said CIOs can view mobile computing as an opportunity to outsource equipment costs to employees as part of BYOD initiatives. “CIOs can implement device-agnostic security systems in order to get out of the device-provisioning business and into service provisioning,” he said. He said the variety and range of mobile computing devices available in the market is a challenge that resellers face in finding that appeal to enterprise clients. “There are over 50 brands of tablets available in the UAE alone. In bigger markets, the number doubles. Tablets are low-margin, high-volume business where resellers don’t receive any support from the processor and OS partners as is the case with PCs,” he said. Varghese explained that with the vast demands and expectations from the clients, 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,” he said.

Notebooks and desktops will not vanish from the market. That’s why we are still focusing some of our computing lineup on Ultrabooks.” SHADI HIJAZI, MARKETING MANAGER, DELL MIDDLE EAST

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The potential for cloud services reselling is somewhat untapped in the region, but more and more businesses are turning to these services as they look at ways of cutting their IT expenditure, Piers Ford reports. 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. Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Siemens, EMC, NEC are all recent entrants to the cloud services market. Virtustream has forged a relationship with Etihad and Etisalat to provide cloud services across the Middle East. And Huawei has established a mobile cloud centre in Dubai. Even in areas where early adopters have been thin on the ground, the market is now steadily on the rise. In Saudi Arabia, for example, analyst IDC expects the cloud computing market to grow annually by almost 50% into 2016. Systems integrators are already in a prime position to manage the deployment of multiple cloud services purchased through multiple vendors, while value-added resellers can take advantage of demand to sell, install and maintain cloud appliances on customer premises. “Cloud is the next big IT disruption to happen after the PC and Internet era,” said Boby Joseph, CEO at value-added distributor StorIT. “The total scenario is not yet very clear but is in the same stages as when the Internet or PC started gaining momentum.



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A systems integrator with an eye on the market will have to invest in key new technologies – Hyper V, Azure, AWS and cloud management platforms, as well as assessment techniques to gauge the readiness of applications and infrastructure for the cloud. BISWAJEET MAHAPATRA, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, GARTNER.

“But compared to these past disruptions, cloud brings in a total change in how platforms and applications are delivered to the end-user. And this will add up to new pressures in the channel.

“Businesses that are adopting cloud at the moment are those that need to use applications which are difficult to maintain and upgrade, with a lower security significance where the data is of a very temporary nature.” Joseph cited email and CRM as examples, followed by file and content sharing applications. Business applications such as spread sheets, word processing and document sharing are also catching up, but other applications are still slow in the cloud sector – matching the relatively slow speed of private cloud adoption. The Middle Eastern market can be divided into multiple segments, according to Biswajeet Mahapatra, research director at Gartner. Large enterprises which have done virtualisation are looking at the possibility of shifting to the private cloud, for example. They are less keen on the public cloud due to the nonavailability of required options and confusion on the legal front in relation to data privacy and security. Smaller players, on the other hand, are open to public cloud adoption with its costeffectiveness and pay-as-you-go options. Mahapatra said a systems integrator with an eye on the market will have to invest in key new technologies – Hyper V, Azure, AWS and cloud management platforms, as well as assessment techniques to gauge the readiness of applications and infrastructure for the cloud. It will also need to acquire the skills to use tools for porting and managing applications in the cloud.


The demand for cloud services from enterprises in the region has not reached appreciably high levels and SMBs are cost sensitive and these services have yet to appeal to them.

Systems integrators are now trying to accommodate their customers by providing services rather than solutions consisting of hardware and software.





“Systems integrators are now trying to accommodate their customers by providing services rather than solutions consisting of hardware and software,” said Anurag Verma, telecom operations and managed services lead at technology solutions provider Smartworld. “These integrators are focusing on how to overcome the loopholes in order to provide continuous services to customers. Another challenge is the need to comply with standards, as customers have to deal with their Governance Risk Compliance (GRC) policies as well as rules and regulations. Integrators need to deploy robust infrastructure with the latest technologies in order to facilitate their customer, mainly focusing on automation –which consists of computing, data storage and virtualisation.” At Gartner, Mahapatra said the main challenge for VARs is that they are not able to understand

the market and don’t have the right solutions and ecosystem for early adoption. “There is a demand, and there are technologies and various options available to meet it,” he said. “But the problem is that they do not have enough market clarity to cater to the industry’s needs.” Mahapatra said that VARs aspiring to succeed on the cloud services front must position themselves clearly. Do they simply want to be an applications aggregator? Do they want to have specialised applications hosted in a client’s data centre and be a services and solutions provider? Do they want to be a hosting provider through their own data centre, with additional services? Or do they want to be consultants? “They can also build some point solutions and provide them on the cloud, but these have to be focused,” said Mahapatra. “So the main thing

Building a recurring revenue model is a major driver for any SI or VAR with aspirations to capitalise on the cloud computing boom. According to industry pundits, the three main opportunities to achieve this lie in managed services, cloud VDI services and cloud software services. 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. Comguard’s Mobasseri said the critical mass in the regional market is yet to evaluate cloud services. He said it is apparent that it will need a persistent push from VARs to sell it. “It is easier for systems integrators who can customise the solution for customers, based on needs, budget, and bandwidth, as well as utilising existing investment and IT infrastructure. Mobasseri reiterated VARs must change their current service offerings to be successful in this new market. “They need to offer more cutting edge technology services and embrace the trends to avoid being left behind. They need to serve as ‘advisors’ to their end-users to be able to direct them with the best suited cloud based services. Industry pundits say as hosted desktop initiatives move to the top of many organisations’ wish lists this year – primarily as the result of VDI becoming an IT tool to support heterogeneous user devices and preserve application security – channel partners should be quick to capitalise on this cloud infrastructure services opportunity. Forrester Research expects that by the end of 2014, a hybrid channel partner revenue model will have emerged based on a mix of managed services, cloud VDI services and cloud software services – as clear an indication as any of the imperatives that SIs and VARs must face up to in the year ahead.

which they need to do is a self-assessment, see their strengths, check their largest customer base, have discussions with them on their pain points and then develop solutions for them.” At Xerox, which has enjoyed some success in the region with its Infrastructure as a Service

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CLOUD SERVICE EVOLUTION Dan Smith, head of integrated marketing for Xerox’s developing markets operations in the Middle East and Africa said the vendor has witnessed an increased demand for cloud services across the region. In 2013, for example, Gartner expect spending on public cloud services across the Middle East and Northern Africa to reach $462.3 million. “Reseller numbers for cloud infrastructure services, cloud software services and cloud VDI services are projected to rise dramatically,” said Smith. “Cloud computing is a growing trend in the region as SMBs look to capture opportunities here. “For decades, increasing IT capacity meant capital expenditure – adding servers, building out the infrastructure, and ramping up to meet seasonal needs without any easy way to scale back down. Now, cloud computing changes that dynamic, enabling IT capacity to expand and contract with the rapidly changing needs of the business.” According to some observers, this will trigger a sea change in the channel itself – with many players focusing solely on the cloud. “Vendors will make products for cloud service providers,” said Boby Joseph, CEO at StorIT Distribution. “Service providers, typically telecom or big hosting providers, might provide the platform or the raw cloud itself with various connectivity mechanisms. Distributors will bulk sell these products and VARs and SIs will integrate them into the customer’s premises. “VARs will mostly manage the customer relationship through the distributors. So the traditional model of the channel will remain and will enhance the management of customer relationships, service delivery and integration at decentralised and local levels, making for a more effective business relationship between the customer and the product or service provider.”

(IaaS) model – one of the most popular cloud computing trends among early adopters – head of integrated marketing, Dan Smith, said systems integrators might find it easier to move to cloud services because they already have a bedrock of configuration and customisation skills. VARs are challenged by the prospect of


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Businesses that are adopting cloud at the moment are those that need to use applications which are difficult to maintain and upgrade, with a lower security significance where the data is of a very temporary nature.



narrower margins, different cash flow models, and different marketing and sales models. “One of the ways to raise margins is to accommodate partners’ smaller margins,” said Smith. “The current competitive market has forced vendors to bring down their prices, so resellers can profit from cloud offerings. They can also offer a financial engineering solution to partners’ cash flow dilemma, by offering to ‘buy back’ their partners’ portion of the subscription revenue stream, giving partners their cut up front. As for their marketing programme, they should be targeting customers in their line of business – decision makers rather than IT experts in the organisations.” Most industry watchers agree that SIs and VARs have to address these challenges and new methodologies quickly if they are to jump on the bandwagon successfully – and this while the cloud model is evolving at a tremendous rate. “We understand that the switch over to cloud

is not going to happen instantly. My suggestion to SIs is to split their focus in to two parts; one would be ‘on-premise’ model and the other should be ‘cloud solutions’. This will help them gradually switch over to managed services or cloud and at the same time they will be able to serve their existing customers efficiently. It is important to hire a dedicated pre-sales and postsales team that is trained to promote cloud solutions,” said Mohammad Mobasseri, senior VP at specialist VAD Comguard. Recurring revenue, reduced capital costs towards the installation, refreshment and upgrade of hardware and software, and the need for fewer staff for maintenance and operations are all benefits that need to be fully explored and appreciated. Mobasseri agreed and said it is a harder step to put forward for VARs but it might work if VARs get to see more advantages of offering cloud services.

One of the ways to raise margins is to accommodate partners’ smaller margins. The current competitive market has forced vendors to bring down their prices, so resellers can profit from cloud offerings.


SNB MIDDLE EAST EXPANDS NETWORKING & IT SECURITY PORTFOLIO Signs on three new vendors SNB Middle East, a new generation value added IT distributor with a specific focus on Data storage, security and surveillance, networking and IT Security, has partnered with three world-class vendors to expand its networking and IT security portfolio. The company has signed regionwide partnership agreements with broadband wireless - vendor Proxim Wireless, Network Infrastructure, Network Security & Management Solutions - vendor Enterasys Networks, and Information Rights Management Security software - vendor Seclore Technology. “The addition of three new vendors to our networking and IT security portfolio enables us to offer solutions that complement each other perfectly,” said Sanjay Raina, Director – Networking & IT Security. “At SNB we position ourselves as a vendor representative company, and not just an IT distributor. Therefore our emphasis is on adding value to the brands we represent, while enhancing our offerings to our customers.” Raina, a veteran in the UAE’s distributor community, maintains that SNB is focused on providing crucial support for resellers through marketing initiatives, channel enablement, pre & post-sales support, skill enhancement and training through dedicated solution centers. SNB Middle East is already working with Allied Telesis, a leader in IP/Ethernet network solutions that also offers a wide range of access, aggregation and backbone solutions for service providers. Their products range from industry leading media gateways which allow voice, video and data services to be delivered to the home and business, right through to highend chassis-based platforms providing significant network infrastructure. New addition Proxim Wireless provides Wi-Fi, Point-toPoint and Point-to-Multipoint 4G wireless network technologies for wireless internet, video surveillance and backhaul applications. Their end-to-end product portfolio enables partners to custom-build wireless solutions that fit a customer’s

Sanjay Raina, Director – Networking & IT Security, .SNB Middle East

specific needs, regardless of the application. Proxim’s broadband wireless equipment is used by enterprises, service providers, carriers, government entities, educational institutions, healthcare organizations, municipalities and other organizations that need high-performance, secure and scalable broadband wireless solutions. Enterasys Networks, a premier global provider of wired and wireless network infrastructure and security solutions, is also part of SNB’s portfolio. Through SNB the vendor provides a broad range of enterprise networking and security solutions by technology and industry. Their solutions enable organizations to reduce IT costs while improving business productivity and efficiency through a unique combination of automation, visibility and control capabilities. SNB’s vendor portfolio also comprises Seclore Technology - an information security software company with solutions in the area of Enterprise Information Rights Management. Seclore’s solutions can be used to protect unstructured information by defining usage rights, ie. who can access information, for what purpose (edit, view etc.), when (date and time) and where (which machines). Raina adds, “My aim is to drive the networking and IT security business at SNB Middle East, in line with the company’s vision to provide channel partners with best-in-class products and performance oriented solutions. This is what we are striving to achieve through a pro-active approach and continuous improvement in the way we conduct our business. Our goal is to provide a portfolio of complementing products to offer our channel consolidated solutions to meet their every networking and security product need.”

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TAPPING ENTERPRISE APPS As solution providers look to increase the value they can offer to clients and to move up the value chain, they are looking more and more towards enterprise applications, writes Piers Ford. f the global enterprise applications market is going through a sluggish period, somebody forgot to tell businesses across the Middle East. Here, according to analyst IDC, software spending grew by 9.5% in 2012 – more than in any other region. And with applications forming almost 50% of the enterprise software market, there is clearly a huge appetite for the latest solutions to specific business challenges. This is partly being driven by the need to service an increasingly distributed workforce; enterprise applications are going mobile, fast. According to Forrester, 66% of employees around the world use at least two mobile devices for work, helping to stimulate demand for the enterprise app store and leading many organisations to consider the value of personalised application clouds. These businesses are looking for vendors



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that are prioritising mobile application development or creating device-agnostic applications from scratch in HTML5. There is also a growing trend for companies to move away from internally developed, customised code to more accessible, intuitive development platforms. The rise of Microsoft’s Share Point as a Web-based application development infrastructure, capable of providing an almost limitless range of centrally-managed intranet, document management, collaboration, social-networking, enterprise-search and extranet applications, provides considerable evidence of this shift. Many large organisations still have substantial ERP-based ecosystems. But the demand for specific Software as a Service (SaaS) applications that can be bolted on via the cloud in increasingly mobile environments, is creating new opportunities

for vendors and resellers to shine in a market that was previously too expensive or complex for them to enter. “The enterprise applications market in the Middle East is upgrading to new technologies as most enterprises are gearing up to allow access on mobile devices,” said Ali Hyder, CEO of ERP vendor Focus Softnet. “Governments and large businesses are continuing to invest in enterprise applications for IT modernisation, and verticals such as healthcare and education will continue to grow significantly faster than others.” In addition, said Hyder, many companies are looking to lower total cost of ownership by taking advantage of a shared cost model in the adoption of business applications. Indeed, there is a sense that many specific enterprise applications are practically being developed by the business community itself rather than IT

wake of the success of pioneers such as Salesforce, the cloud CRM system. Madhu SJ, head of business for the Middle East and Africa at enterprise solutions provider Ivy Mobility, said the applications market is looking at a golden two-year window. As businesses look for unique applications to help them meet specific mobile challenges, van sales, field service, asset tracking and warehouse solutions are emerging as ripe for mobilisation. “Mobility apps cannot replace ERP, but they complement each other,” said Madhu. “ERP is restricted to the office and results in data entry duplication. When you add a mobility solution at the front end in the field, and push the data back to the ERP, it increases the efficiency significantly while reducing the cost.” So where does the reseller sit in this

A lot of application-type resellers are becoming more specialised in these areas – e-healthcare, e-education, e-government – and their big challenge is how to make organisations talk to each other, and the consumer, seamlessly.

The interesting thing is that the adoption of applications is no longer just the remit of the IT function. Other areas of the business are making decisions about the applications to buy and invest in.



teams and specialists. “The interesting thing is that the adoption of applications is no longer just the remit of the IT function,” said Brent Lees, senior product marketing manager at IT performance software vendor Riverbed. “Other areas of the business are making decisions about the applications to buy and invest in.” Government initiatives across the region are playing a key role in driving this trend, particularly on the mobility front. In May, for example, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the m-Government project, which aims to have all services enabled for smartphones by 2015. “There’s no doubt that today, government is a leading influence on applications development, and it is investing most of its resources in education and healthcare,” said Taj Elkhayat, Riverbed general manager,

MENA. “A lot of application-type resellers are becoming more specialised in these areas – e-healthcare, e-education, e-government – and their big challenge is how to make organisations talk to each other, and the consumer, seamlessly.” The focus is likely to be increasingly on niche applications that will complement the underlying ERP and enterprise application infrastructure, with Microsoft emerging as the dominant supplier of enabling technology. “Share Point is gaining major traction in the region, and most of our customers already have some kind of agreement with Microsoft,” said Elkhayat. While the major ERP vendors have become more price-point centric and are shifting their perspectives around mobility and cloud-based delivery, ERP Packages remain a complex sale. Smaller suppliers are in prime position to capitalise on demand for business-as-usual type applications, which are evolving in the

THE STATE OF THE APPLICATIONS ENTERPRISE According to IDC, the global business software market grew by 3.6% in 2012, a significantly slower rate than that of the previous two years. However, the Middle East and Africa bucked this trend, growing by 9.5%. Enterprise applications continue to be the dominant force in the market, accounting for nearly 50% of sales, with CRM, data access, analysis and delivery, collaboration and security and system and network management showing consistent growth of up to 7%. The enterprise social software market is also a star performer, expanding by nearly 25% last year. Not surprisingly, given the market penetration of Share Point, Microsoft leads the enterprise applications league table with 13.7 %, followed by SAP, Oracle, IBM and Adobe. But it’s the ‘others’ section of the sector which commands attention. Between them, the household names command less than half the market. The rest of the field is open to the mass of niche and hybrid software vendors moving nimbly to exploit the cloud and the relentless drive towards mobile. For the channel, that means the time is right to seek out vendors and developers who can fill the gaps they identify in their customers’ enterprise software strategies. “Mobility are technologyare more perishable than a fruit,” said Mahdu SJ, who leads Ivy Mobility’s Middle East operation. “No customer wants to block their money into one technology where, by the time it is executed, it has become passé. Mobility vendors whose apps are device-agnostic, network-agnostic and back-end-agnostic, with SaaS and cloud options, will have the edge.”

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emerging model? According to Ali Hyder, enterprise customers are no longer content to simply implement solutions from global vendors just because it is what they have always done. “They want to see value from the application,” he said. “They look at how well the partner understands their requirements, as well as the standards of service quality that the reseller will be able to maintain. “The channel is directly involved with various industry verticals and is in a better position to understand customers’ requirements and identify gaps in where business applications will work for them – then identify the solutions to fill them.” The logical progression of this model is that some resellers have an opportunity to become niche systems integrators, enabled by the cloud – particularly as concerns about security and overseas hosting are resolved. But they could also face competition from an unexpected quarter: telcos.

“A lot of telcos are moving into the hosted applications space, offering enterprise applications as services,” said Taj Elkhayat at Riverbed. “They are working on bespoke development projects as well as partnering with the big software vendors – effectively competing with resellers and becoming systems integrators who bundle their own managed services. “It’s an easier decision for them to make: whether or not to move into application-based services. They only have one neck to choke, and it’s an opportunity for them to leverage their existing know-how. They can monetise resources that they already have.” Regardless of their origin, resellers who move into the enterprise applications market and can differentiate in specific niches, can forge a profitable business, with most of the revenues flowing once the customer is locked down and features are added into the contract. “It’s a highly services-centric market,” said Elkhayat. “Typically, the services element of

BOOSTING MARGINS IN ENTERPRISE APPLICATIONS Value-added services are the tipping point for revenues in the enterprise applications market, with successful resellers realising that tailoring and customisation mark the route to meeting the specific needs of their clients. In mobility, for example, the development culture has always acknowledged that this is not an environment where one size fits all. Resellers need to find seasoned vendors that have a complete range of modules that can be stitched together in the right combination and delivered in a timely way. “I always advise them to look at the gaps in the customer’s strategy,” said Riverbed general manager, MENA, Taj Elkhayat. “Get closer to them, agree the right SLA and come in with the right upgrades.” The margin, said Mahdu SJ at Ivy Mobility, depends on the partnering model and will be directly proportionate to the services offered. “The margins are generally good for resellers if they are providing services along with licence sales,” said Ali Hyder at Focus Softnet. “If their role is limited to licence sales then revenues will be lower, as a huge part of the revenue in the applications market comes from services.” Vendors must do their bit to help resellers develop services and skills, he said. “Vendors can help the enterprise application channel grow by providing proper training, holding certification programmes and offering pre-sales support, on-site support and other supporting tools and resources wherever they are required.”


// CHANNEL MIDDLE EAST_JULY 2013_www.itp.net_

The enterprise applications market in the Middle East is upgrading to new technologies as most enterprises are gearing up to allow access on mobile devices. ALI HYDER, CEO, FOCUS SOFTNET.

No customer wants to block their money into one technology where, by the time it is executed, it has become passé. Mobility vendors whose apps are device-agnostic, network-agnostic and back-end-agnostic, with SaaS and cloud options, will have the edge. MAHDU SJ, HEAD OF BUSINESS, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA, IVY MOBILITY

any contract is worth up to twice the price of the application. So if a reseller can get closer to the customer and do more to keep them satisfied, they will generate more profit. “Of course, that’s a doubled-edged sword because if they fail to meet their SLAs, gross profit is eroded – and it is easy for the customer to close the agreement and move to another supplier.” Focus Softnet is about to launch a mobile store for partners to develop and earn revenues on applications for different modules and vertical markets. “There is ample scope for developing valueadded services with the scope increasing in mobile/tablet integration with enterprise applications,” said Ali Hyder. “There is a lot of potential for the enterprise applications market with the demand for SaaS/cloud services increasing, and more mobile apps coming up on various enterprise applications. User experience on the mobile interface and mobile security are the most important factors that will decide which apps take the lead in the next 12 to 18 months.”




SOLVING DATA CENTRE CHALLENGES Chetan Parekh, regional sales manager – Systems and Technology Group at Gulf Business Machines, talks about the strategies used to solve the issues related to data centres and the benefits of automated systems.

One of the major issues facing many corporations is the nonavailability of power in the data centre. Previously, more focus had been given to finding solutions to the expensive power and cooling costs for data centres or how to support the infrastructure installed on the ground and how the level of utilisation of the servers can drive server sprawl and extremely high software costs. These operational expenses can consume up to 70% of the IT budget leaving much less for the purpose of projects that deliver new business value. These inefficiencies not only affect the cost models adversely, but also impact the timely delivery of IT projects. In order to solve the most important data centre inefficiencies, three important costs need to be curtailed: The low utilisation levels in servers resulting in server sprawl, the higher cost of software licences and finally the high cost of managing these systems. The first two can be managed by consolidating and virtualising, while the third aspect of the cost can be solved by simplified management and control. Today, businesses are demanding more from their IT department and want to deliver projects faster. Rapid provisioning of IT assets is a

Parekh says businesses are demanding more from their IT departments and want fast delivery of projects.

necessity more relevant than any time before. Since the Middle East region is going through a growth explosion, IT needs to be an enabler and not a road-block to the requirements of the business. Automation can facilitate rapid provisioning and


significantly reduce the system management time and costs. Integrated systems should be included at the factory based on best practices. One of the key benefits of this is that the system once delivered to the customers would need just a few hours rather than weeks

.... .. ...




to be up and running. This translates to faster provisioning and lesser time to market for customers. Furthermore, ordering pre-integrated systems can cut down months off a typical procurement cycle. The trend of smart cities has gained popularity due to automated systems. Automated systems have impacted our daily lives, even outside of the impact they have on IT teams. For example, seeing a city’s traffic in a consolidated, realtime view can help anticipate problems, alleviate congestion and decrease emergencyresponse times. Intelligent transportation systems enable advanced analysis of the many factors that make up traffic flow, and give planners and responders a comprehensive look at the state of their city’s roadways on ground level. The start-up investments for these new systems can be as low as AED130,000 ($35,000). GBM works extensively with customers to help them plan and design their requirements through consultative engagements. „ Note from the author: The opinions expressed in this article are Chetah Parekh’s own views and may not in anyway represent GBM’s perspective, position, strategies or outlook of its business in the Middle East region.

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The Middle East’s leading technology website

Cyber Sense




In association with





GLOBAL SECURITY SURGE Gartner points to BYOD as growth driver

.... .. ...

Worldwide security software revenue totalled $19.2bn in 2012, a 7.9% increase from 2011 revenue of $17.7bn, according to research company Gartner Inc. Gartner attributed the surge to the evolution of new threats and working practices, such as bring your own device (BYOD). "The 2012 security market saw a continuation of increasing demand for consumer and enterprise security tools as McAfee's high growth of 37% boosted the overall market's growth rebound in 2012," said Ruggero Contu, research director at Gartner. "Although overall, the 2012 security market continued to grow, not all regions experienced the high double-digit growth of, for example, Eurasia, which was driven by greenfield projects and buoyant economies. As expected, Western Europe remained the laggard due to economic uncertainties and fragility and also due to the impact of dollar-to-euro conversion." While it retained its number-one position in the consumer and enterprise security spaces in 2012, Symantec managed only single-digit growth of 2.6% to reach $3.75bn in 2012. Second-placed McAfee showed significant growth of 37% in 2012 to reach $1.7bn. This was driven by a combination of organic growth, acquisitions and the indirect impact of a 2011 revenue write-down following Intel's acquisition of McAfee. In third place, Trend Micro, which spent much of 2012 accelerating the diversification of its business with cloud and virtualisation platform security and advanced threat protection (ATP) offerings, recorded an overall security revenue decrease of 2.7%, with negative growth impacting its consumer and enterprise businesses. "Security continues to be a top priority across all technology categories in the SMB market. The rise of midmarket demand presents a new challenge for participants in the security space, as SMB requirements are different from those of larger enterprises," said Contu. "Security buyers from SMBs are increasingly considering security as a service as an alternative for deploying security technologies, particularly for areas such as email and Web security, which is leading to more market consolidation and more competitive pricing as established players acquire pure-play cloud-based specialists across the security landscape."

TOP FIVE SECURITY SOFTWARE VENDORS Symantec topped the list in 2012


Symantec - 19.6% McAfee - 8.8% Trend Micro - 6.1% IBM - 5.0% EMC - 3.7% Others - 56.8%

Source: Gartner, May, 2013

SYMANTEC STAYS ON TOP As IBM closes in on third place Trend Micro



1,226 1,680










Trend Micro 10,865.2

10,008.7 931.3 953.6 716.1 717.6









Others Source: Gartner, May, 2013.


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SONY UNVEILS BUDGET XPERIA MODEL Xperia M handset poised for Q3 launch in the Middle East region ony Mobile Communications has announced the launch of its Xperia M smartphone, which according to the company, is aimed at delivering a premium user experience at a lower price point. While price has not been confirmed, specifications suggest a budget device. The Xperia M carries a basic dual-core processor and a 4-inch FWVGA touch-screen display with LED illumination. It includes Sony’s own audio enhancement technology ClearAudio+, xLOUD and 3D Surround Sound. A dual SIM version of the handset (Xperia Mdual) is also going to be introduced. The single camera is a 5-megapixel model with autofocus and HDR. Also featured is Sony’s Battery STAMINA Mode, which is said to improve the standby time of the smartphone by “four times or more”, by automatically


shutting down battery-draining apps whenever the screen is off and starting them up again when the screen is back on. One-touch functions with NFC and screen mirroring allow the display of content on a TV or the sharing of music and photos between devices. Both the Xperia M and Xperia Mdual will be available in the Middle East from Q3 2013 in black and white, but with Purple and Yellow variations to follow. Spyridon Gousetis, director of marketing, Sony Mobile Communications, Middle East and Africa, said, “The Xperia M and Xperia Mdual are ideal options for users looking to enter the world of Xperia smartphones. Packed with Sony’s proven innovation and engineering expertise, Xperia M and Xperia Mdual are perfect for users who want premium technology and experiences often only associated with high-end models.”

Sony says its Xperia M smartphone is aimed at delivering a premium user experience at a lower price point.

MICROSOFT SHOWS OFF XBOX ONE All-in-one entertainment strategy drives console wars reboot Microsoft Corp unveiled its new Xbox One console last month, technology that is promised to merge gaming, TV and Web, as well as respond to voice and gesture control and monitor users’ heart rate, according to online reports. It changes everything,” Xbox executive Marc Whitten told journalists at the company’s Redmond, Washington campus. “This is rocket-science stuff.” Microsoft has chosen to deliver an all-in-one entertainment system that will bridge the gap between gaming, video-on-

demand and social media. Microsoft announced a deal with the US NFL to combine match coverage with interactive gaming elements such as a Fantasy Football app, which will allow viewers to create and manage fantasy sides while watching the real-world event. In addition, Steven Spielberg is set to produce a TV series based on popular Halo franchise, games that are exclusive to the Xbox platform, indicating a shift from console maker to content generator for Microsoft’s Xbox division.


Analysts responded positively to the move from games centre to an entertainment offering that could appeal to the whole family. “The Xbox One really looks to advance the state of video game technology and entertainment in a way that we haven’t seen before,” said Brian Blau of Gartner. “The Xbox One is a real advancement, one that will transform the way we experience TV, games, music, movies and more. From what we can see so far Microsoft has met and far exceeded expectations for the Xbox One.”

.... .. ...




Razer has announced a new laptop, which it says is the thinnest ever gaming notebook. The Razer Blade is just 16.8 mm thick, but has been designed to be more powerful than traditional desktop replacements, the company said. The Razer Blade has a 14-inch backlit HD+ LED screen with native resolution of 1600 x 900, and runs on a 4th generation Intel Core processor, with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M GPU and 8 GB of fast 1600 MHz DDR3L memory. The notebook comes with either a 128GB, 256GB or 512GB solid state drive, and Qualcomm Killer Wireless-N highperformance wireless networking adaptor offering five times the wireless connectivity speed of comparable wireless adaptors. The laptop has an all allaluminium chassis, a customdesigned trackpad with support for multi-touch gestures and a backlit gaming-grade, programmable keyboard. The Blade also comes with Dolby Home Theatre v4 and a 1.3MP built in HD webcam. The notebook promises a six hour battery life, and weighs 1.876kg. “We’ve designed and built the thinnest, most powerful 14-inch laptop in the world,” says MinLiang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director.

The Razer Blade is just 16.8mm thick.

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UAE operator selects new COO and CCO AE telecom operator du has appointed Farid Faraidooni as chief operations officer and Fahad Al Hassawi as chief commercial officer, effective from June 1. Prior to taking on the new roles, Faraidooni was chief commercial officer, while Al Hassawi was chief human resources and shared services officer. Osman Sultan, CEO, du, said: “We are entering our next phase of business, and in preparation for this we are focusing on providing challenging opportunities for the next generation of Emirati leadership to step up and guide our company to further success.” Ahmad Bin Byat, chairman, du, said that in their new roles, Faraidooni and Al Hassawi would “drive our company through this exciting new phase of growth”. “This year, we will focus on maximising shareholder returns


and share equity while meeting stakeholder expectations, improving productivity and profitability. As both Farid and Fahad demonstrate, we are proud of our Emiratisation programmes and are keen to nurture and reward UAE national talent, by providing them with stimulating, challenging opportunities to work in the private sector.” In its Q1 results, du posted a net profit before royalty of AED752m for the first quarter of the year, representing an increase of 12.86% compared to the same period last year.



du’s net profit before royalty for Q1, 2013.

Farid Faraidooni is now chief operations officer at du.

RIVERBED APPOINTS NEW REGIONAL GM Taj Elkhayat to become general manager for Middle East & North Africa Riverbed Technology has appointed a new general manager for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Taj Elkhayat, who previously held roles with Juniper Networks and Microsoft, will join the application performance company, with responsibility for expanding business in the region. “I’m pleased to be joining a growing company such as Riverbed with such innovative products. Riverbed is a known technology leader in the region that continues to define the market with a broad set of application performance

solutions,” said Elkhayat. “I am excited for the opportunity to increase awareness and drive adoption of our solutions in the Middle East and North Africa through the development and execution of a segmented go-tomarket strategy.” Elkhayat has 12 years of regional sales, channel and executive management experience, including Juniper Networks where he held the position of regional director, partner, alliances and commercial sales for Middle East and Africa. “As we work to further extend our position as the leading


provider of performance solutions, Elkhayat’s leadership and extensive experience in IT and the channel will play a key role in guiding our growth in the Middle East and North Africa market,” said Willem Hendrickx, senior vice president of EMEA sales, at Riverbed.

Microsoft’s chief information officer, Tony Scott, has resigned after five years in the role, according to online reports last month. Several tech sites reported that Microsoft employees were informed of Scott’s departure, but the news leaked when his LinkedIn profile was updated to list him as the former CIO at the Redmond-based software giant. Microsoft then reportedly told GeekWire, “Tony Scott decided to depart Microsoft to focus on personal projects. While at Microsoft, Tony was a strong IT leader passionate about taking Microsoft’s technology to the next level and using our experiences and learnings to help customers and partners. We thank Tony for his contributions and wish him well.” Scott, appointed in January 2008, served as a key driver in the movement of Microsoft’s internal application suite to the cloud. GeekWire reported that Microsoft’s general manager of IT, Jim Dubois, will step into Scott’s shoes until a replacement can be hired.


Elkhayat’s regional sales, channel and executive management experience.

.... .. ...




Scott served as CIO at Microsoft for over five years.

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LENOVO PLANS SMARTPHONE JV Stock exchange statement refers to unnamed party in new handset project n China’s Lenovo Group has announced it was pursuing a joint venture with an unnamed party to bring a new smartphone to market, Reuters reported last month. In a written statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange the world’s number-two shipper of PCs said: “As at the date of this announcement, no material terms concerning the Potential Transaction have been agreed and the Company has not entered into any definitive agreement in relation to the Potential Transaction.” Japanese media previously reported that Japan’s NEC Corp would collaborate with Lenovo on a smartphone project, with a spokesperson for the Japanese company admitting that its mobile phone business was in a “difficult state”.


Lenovo has already been estimated by one industry research company to have grabbed the number-one spot from HP regarding global PC shipments, although this was for a single quarter’s business. Nonetheless, the Chinese manufacturer’s growth and acquisitions of Brazilian electronics maker CCE last year, Germany’s Medion in 2011 and IBM’s PC business in 2005, have led to speculation that troubled HP might be dislodged from its market-leading spot in the end of the year. In the midst of a boom in demand for smart mobile devices, Lenovo has already been building Android-based smartphones and tablets and is now the second largest smartphone maker in its domestic market. However Lenovo urged

‘BLUE’ UPGRADE IS WINDOWS 8.1 The Windows 8 operating system update codenamed “Blue” is to be called Windows 8.1 and will be available in the fourth quarter of this year in time for the winter shopping season, tech site CNET reported last month. Tami Reller, chief marketing officer, Windows Business

Lenovo has already been building Android-based smartphones and tablets and is now the second largest smartphone maker in China.

shareholders to be cautious. “Shareholders and potential investors should note that the Potential Transaction may or may not proceed and are reminded to exercise caution when dealing in the securities of the Company,” it said in its HKSE statement.

told a JP Morgan-sponsored tech conference in Boston, Massachusetts that it would be “easy to get from the Windows start screen”, which may be a reference to the reintroduction of the much-missed Windows Start button. Reller added that the release would represent “more substantial” changes than what is delivered in weekly updates. A preview version of 8.1 is


expected to be available in time

Cupertino iMaker faces US Justice Dept accusations of collusion with publishers

conference on June 26 in San

for Microsoft’s Build developers’ Francisco. On general release

Apple Inc faces legal action initiated by the US Justice Department that alleges collusion with US publishers to break’s control over eBooks and raise prices, Reuters reported last month. “This case will effectively set the rules for Internet commerce,” predicted David Balto, who previously served as a policy director for the US Federal Trade Commission. The Justice Department first filed its action in April 2012 against Apple, Pearson Plc’s Penguin Group, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers Inc, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc, Hachette Book Group Inc


.... .. ...



and MacMillan. However, Apple will now stand alone in a trial that commenced last month, after the publishers agreed to drop their practice of blocking discounts on wholesale orders and share a $164m payout that will benefit consumers. The US government is seeking an order to block similar practices by Apple in the future, rather than pushing for damage payments. “I believe that the government will be able to show at trial direct evidence that Apple knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books,” US District Judge Denise Cote, said in a preliminary hearing on May 23.


Apple entered the eBook market in 2009 with the launch of its iPad tablet. At that time Amazon dominated the industry, selling titles at a loss in order to promote its Kindle reader. Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, told his biographer that, “we told the publishers, ‘We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway’”. Apple claims it had no knowledge of collusion between publishers before it entered the marketplace, and argues that upon the launch of its iBookstore, prices have decreased from an average of $7.97 to an average of $7.34.

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the OS increment will be free for existing users of Windows 8. Microsoft came under sustained criticism by industry analysts and users for its drastic departure from a familiar interface. Public responses from the Redmond-based software giant did nothing to quell the distaste for the new OS, which attempted to bridge the gap between tradition computing and the emerging tablet segment. Characterising the company’s stance as “principled but not stubborn”, Reller said, “You need to have a vision.”




DRAM REVENUE RISES IN Q1, 2013 Samsung staggers as global market rally continues he market for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) has continued its upward mobility as industry revenue grew sequentially for the second straight time during the first quarter, driven by a rise in average DRAM prices, according to a DRAM Dynamics Market Brief from information and analytics provider IHS. DRAM revenue rose to $7.1bn from January to March period this year, up from $6.7bn in Q4 of 2012 and from $6.4bn in the third quarter. IHS said revenue was the highest in nearly two years, exceeded only by the $8.1bn set during the second quarter of 2011. The strength of the DRAM market was largely due to a rally in the commodity segment after shipments had failed to keep up with demand, causing an undersupply of the memory type.


In a bit of welcome news for the industry amid continuing weakness in DRAM’s core PC market, demand from the server and mobile segments offset the ongoing decline in PC demand, resulting in a shortfall of available DRAM. The inadequate supply of DRAM, in turn, pushed the price of the bellwether 4-gigabyte DDR3 module from $16 in December to $23 in March—a huge increase unusual for its timing and magnitude. The jump in commodity prices helped the market continue the steady recovery that started in the fourth quarter, and the latest expansion indicated the industry had passed its lowest point and was returning to growth. The rally in pricing did not benefit all companies equally, however, favouring only those with high exposure to DDR3. Idaho-based Micron Technology, for

DRAM market strength due to rally in commodity sector, says IHS.

instance, enjoyed a stunning 40 percent rise in revenue as takings surged to $998 million from $714 million. Micron had the largest relative DDR3 output among all DRAM suppliers, and the current market dynamics vastly improved its financial position. Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics suffered a bad beating as its share of the DRAM market tumbled to 36%.

DIMMING PC SALES SPUR INVENTORY DROP Channel players are striving to keep their inventories to a minimum With the outlook for the PC market growing increasingly uncertain because of rising consumer interest in smartphones and tablets, computer manufacturers and distributors are striving to keep their inventories to a minimum, according to an IHS iSuppli Supply Chain Inventory Brief from information and analytics provider IHS. According to the report, PC distributors hold the smallest levels of inventory among all players in the PC supply chain, carrying just 30 days’ worth of stockpiles in Q4, 2013 primarily

consisting of completed PCs. Original design manufacturers (ODMs) held the second smallest levels of inventory among all players in the PC supply chain, carrying just 32 days of inventory (DOI) of computers. ODMs account for the vast majority of mobile PCs produced worldwide every year said IHS. “ODMs and distributors are striving to keep a minimal amount of computers in stock partly because once-dominant PCs have now been upstaged in the minds of consumers by mobile devices like smartphones and tablets,” said Sharon Stiefel,


analyst for semiconductor market intelligence at IHS. “Global PC shipments fell last year for the first time in 10 years, while shipments of smartphones and tablets continued to boom. Because of this, companies are attempting to minimise future risk by keeping inventories of unsold products at low levels.” According to IHS PC manufacturers and distributors are likely to only have stock that can move quickly to the consumer. The research company said shelf life is short for computers given that PC models change frequently.

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AMD UNVEILS 5 GHZ PROCESSOR AMD has unveiled what it says is the most powerful member of the AMD FX family of CPUs, the, the AMD FX-9590. The 8-core CPUs deliver new levels of gaming and multimedia performance for desktop enthusiasts. AMD FX-9000 Series CPUs will be available initially in PCs through systems integrators. “At E3, AMD demonstrated why it is at the core of gaming,” said Bernd Lienhard, corporate vice president and general manager, Client Products Division at AMD. “The new FX 5 GHz processor is an emphatic performance statement to the most demanding gamers seeking ultra-high resolution experiences including AMD Eyefinity technology. This is another proud innovation for AMD in delivering a 5 GHz processor.” “AMD continues to push the envelope when it comes to desktop capabilities and power performance,” said Wallace Santos, CEO and founder of MAINGEAR. “In unveiling the world’s first 5 GHz 8-core CPU, AMD continues to lead the way in innovation while providing our customers with a best-in-class experience. We are thrilled to be part of this exciting launch.” The new 5 GHz FX-9590 and 4.7 GHz FX-9370 feature the “Piledriver” architecture, are unlocked for easy overclocking and pave the way for enthusiasts to enjoy higher CPU speeds and related performance gains. Additionally, these processors feature AMD Turbo Core 3.0 technology to dynamically optimize performance across CPU cores and enable maximum computing for the most intensive workloads.

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New Huawei Ascend P6 is just 6.18mm thick

Seagate redefines video streaming

Huawei has unveiled the world’s thinnest smartphone, the Ascend P6, which is just 6.18mm thick. The new handset is 3mm thinner than the next slimmest handset, the HTC One. Stand out features of the handset include a 5MP front-facing camera, for taking self portraits, and Automated Discontinuous Reception (ADRX) and Quick Power Control (QPC) battery optimisation and power saving technology that the company says will give 30% better battery life compared to smartphones of similar size. The Ascend P6 runs on the Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 operating system, powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core processor developed by Huawei.

Storage solutions vendor Seagate Technology has unveiled its Seagate Video 3.5 HDD, which the company claims is “the industry’s first 4TB, 3.5-inch hard disk drive engineered specifically for use in video applications such as digital video recorders, set-top boxes, and surveillance systems”. The Video 3.5 HDD is purpose-built for video solutions and can store up to 480 hours of highdefinition content, according to Seagate. Engineered to enhanced performance and operation in three key areas of importance to manufacturers - high capacity and streaming capability, reliability and acoustics - the Video 3.5 HDD is aimed at satellite and cable providers and surveillance system builders. _WEBSITE:




SUPER LENS Canon launches USM Extender Canon Middle East has added a new category to its range of highperformance supertelephoto lenses, with the introduction of its EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x to the company’s L-series. The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x features a flexible 200-400mm focal range with a fixed f/4 aperture and 4-stop optical image stabiliser. It also includes a built-in 1.4x extender, which, according to Canon, is a commercial first. The reach of the lens is boosted by its internal 1.4x extender, which is engaged or disengaged at the flick of a lever to provide an extended focal length of 280mm to 560mm. With a fixed f/4 aperture the use of high shutter speeds to capture fast-paced action or a low-light scene is possible. _WEBSITE:


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TOUCH CAPABLE Sony strengthens VAIO array Sony MEA has launched new additions to its VAIO range: the VAIO Duo 13 and VAIO Pro 13/11. The new slider PC, VAIO Duo 13, and mobile VAIO Pro 13/11 complete the company’s summer 2013 VAIO line-up. According to Sony, the VAIO Pro 13 is the lightest touch-capable Ultrabook in its respective class. By using carbon fibre throughout the case, the touch-enabled VAIO Pro 11 achieves a weight of approximately 0.770 kg, while the VAIO Pro 13 weighs about 1.060 kg. VAIO Pro 13’s and 11’s uni-direction carbon-fibre bodies and Hexashell designs provide additional durability. The Pro 13 and 11 are also designed to offer a wide key pitch and stroke to allow for a natural typing experience. _WEBSITE:



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UNDERSTANDING IT’S VALUE 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: Dharmendra Parmar Company: FVC Job title: General Manager, Marketing Years in the role: 6 years Years at the company: 12 years Previous companies: Zahra Technology

> How would you summarise your role? I head the central marketing team at FVC, overseeing the marketing activities for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. I manage a team that has three key objectives which include: increasing awareness of FVC and its position in unified communications, advanced networking and application delivery, planning marketing activities to create awareness of our solutions and generating leads for our partners, and assisting our resellers with their marketing programmes.

> What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office each day? The first thing I do in the morning is to prioritise activities for the day. This is followed by quick reading of our industry publications to keep myself updated. I generally keep the first 30 minutes in the morning email-free, unless there is something that needs immediate attention.

> What does a typical day entail for you? A typical day consists of meetings with our various stake holders, including vendors, reseller partners, our PR agency and other marketing agencies. It may include being at one of our own customer/partner events or simply planning or following-up with our teams across the region. A large portion of my meetings across the region are conducted over telepresence.

> What skills or qualities does one need to do your job? An interesting blend of skills helps me succeed at my job. Besides having the obvious marketing skills, it is important to understand the value proposition of our solutions to be able to communicate these messages clearly to both our channel partners and our customers. Some of these messages require simple business language, while others need to be technical. Combine this with the fact that we represent vendors in three separate areas of technology across 45 countries. This means that it is critical to understand our audience across different geographies and technologies and address them appropriately.

> What’s your favourite part of the job? The best part of my job is that I


always have new and innovative solutions from our vendor partners to promote. Being involved with emerging technologies makes it very interesting and exciting.

> What’s the hardest part of your job?

Many years back, I changed my role from being a sales person at this company to being put in charge of setting up a marketing department from scratch. While the marketing team has grown, the transition itself has been the most memorable for me.

The hardest part is to align our own marketing strategy with the varying strategies of each of the vendors we represent. With the large number of vendors that we deal with, this is no easy task.

> How much time do you spend out of the office each week?

> What criteria do you measure your performance on?

> What do you get up to during your lunch hour?

The main criterion is helping to drive revenues by running marketing activities with a clear ROI. The second is awareness of our organisation, which is not always easy to measure directly.

> What’s been your most memorable moment in your current role? .... .. ...




I generally travel a few days a month on average across.

Unless I am out for lunch with a business partner or with my team, or at an event, my lunch consists of a quick home-made sandwich to keep it light.„

Would you like your channel job to be featured in our ‘Day in the Life’ section? If so, e-mail:

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Hong Kong allows NSA whistleblower to board plane for Russia




VIVA KUWAIT SIGNS $270M FINANCING DEAL Funds will be used to upgrade its network and expand in Kuwait

1. Huawei’s ultra-thin Ascend P6 2. Data: remote sites and BC 3. E-commerce need multi-channels 4. Disties and the great mobility surge 5. One third of email in cloud by 2017 MOST READ CME STORIES:


CHANNEL: Disties and the great mobility surge WEB: E-commerce orgs need multi-channel models IT BUSINESS: Software makers need more flexibility NETWORKS: Education revolution

1. DCG hails easing of Iran sanctions 2. Cerebra unveils new business unit 3. Prologix opens new business division 4. Redington Gulf, Nexans partner 5. Acer to up the tempo


Q3 2013



TOP 20 SIs

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA 8th – 9th September

We lift the lid on the most powerful systems integration players in the Middle East and find out what is propelling their businesses to new heights?

SMB BUSINESS APPS The SMB business apps market particularly in the Middle East region is highly competitive, but where do the best opportunities lie for channel partners? How are resellers distinguishing themselves in this segment?

CHANNEL FINANCING SCHEMES As one of the most controversial issues in the channel, credit and financing models have witnessed major changes when it comes to distributor engagement.


2013 DIGITAL SECURITY SUMMIT 2013 The 2nd annual Digital Security Summit will highlight the security risks and threats prevalent in the KSA and focus on the solutions required in preventing future attacks.

DUBAI, UAE 23rd – 25th September 2013 TRADE CREDIT INSURANCE SUMMIT The Trade Credit Insurance Summit is the first of its kind in the region and aims to look the entire trade credit insurance industry and political risks.

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 Deputy Marketing Manager Shadia Basravi 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 Group Sales Manager Vedrana Jovanovic Tel: +971 4 444 3569 e-mail Internet Development Manager Mohammed Affan Web Advertising Manager Meghna Jalnawalla 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 7,181 (July – Dec 2012)

DUBAI, UAE 30th – 1st October 2013 BIG DATA 2013 The only event to address matters concerning big data, its storage, usage and more.

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? I hate to apply the current buzzword – the cloud, but it is a huge enabler and any size of organisation can take advantage of it to offer greater value to their customers. I expect to see the cloud host a large number of new services such as mobile print (literally printing from a smart phone on almost any print device), the enablement of DR and BC as a service, and apps.

> What is the best piece of advice you have been given? People “buy” people first. I have worked in so many countries and yet this simple statement is the most universally consistent.


> What’s your career history to date? How did you end up working in Dubai? I have been working in Xerox for over 20 years, of which 17 have been working in operating companies in different countries that include Hungary, Russia, Egypt and India. Before I joined Xerox I worked for AST Research and Toshiba Information Systems. I started my career as an army officer. I came to Dubai for two reasons; first for the opportunity for growth in the GCC countries and second, because Xerox Emirates is a joint venture between Xerox and The Mohammed Hareb Al Otaiba Group and it is a new experience for me.

> What is the biggest challenge facing the Middle East IT channel? There are two in my view. The first is as I have mentioned earlier, counterfeit goods (particularly toner and ink for printers). The second is security of data and networks. In the Middle East this challenge is as significant as anywhere and as shared/ remote data centres become more common, the challenges will increase.


.... .. ...




A lot of grey market activity is not strictly illegal, but it does ruin the livelihoods of many businesses, not to mention tarnish the reputation of global brands. > What is the biggest mistake you have ever made since working in the IT market? I once signied a $130m services contract without the right implementation team in place. I am happy to say, the client, a large private bank, is still a customer and the services are still being delivered.

> If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be? The one aspect of the channel business that is destructive is the grey market, whether that be for equipment, supplies, spare parts or software licences. Unfortunately, a lot of grey market activity is not strictly illegal, but it does ruin the livelihoods of many businesses and tarnish global brands.

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Years Horne has spent working for Xerox in different countries around the globe.

> Which IT company, other than your own, do you most admire and why? I admire companies that have reinvented themselves in a genuine sense, IBM and EMC are two examples. Reinventing a small company is challenging enough, but to mobilise an entire organisation that is huge.

> What is your proudest career achievement to date? In 1998, the financial crisis that devastated the Russian economy resulted in the need for a total rethink of the business model and the reconstruction of a business that was more or less cut in half. I was proud to be a member of the leadership team, and architect of the recreation of our channel business in Russia.

> What’s your favourite thing about the company you work for? Empowerment and working with Xerox people all over the world. Everywhere there is a passion for the business that always keeps you motivated.

> What sort of interests do you have outside of work? I enjoy participating in triathlons, playing golf, cooking, travelling and reading biographies.

When it comes to IT or Mobility Distribution, we have a chip n our shoulder ! With a geographical presence across the entire MENA region, India, Europe & USA and with the best of Brands, Global brings over a decade of expertise and experience in IT and Mobility Distribution solutions to its trusted partners worldwide.

US$ 1 Billion turnover 20 countries

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20000 business partners Global footprint

Our subsidiary companies Active IT Distribution - Dubai | Tech Forte JLT - Dubai | Techforte System LLC - Dubai | ActionIT GMBH - Germany | Global Retail Distribution Gmbh - Germany | Europeripherals BV - Netherlands Innoco Technology Group Inc.- USA | Global Infonet Distribution Pvt. Ltd - India | VSM Technologies Pvt. Ltd - India | E-Micro Data Technologies Pvt. Ltd - India | Global IT Retail - India

Channel - July 2013  

Channel, Building and delivering IT solutions for the Middle East. July 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 7 An ITP Technology, Dubai UAE [60pg]

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