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ISSUE 252 | DECEMBER 2017 www.tahawultech.com

EXAMINING SERVICE PROVIDERS’ CHALLENGES

HOT 50 AWARDS 2017

SELLING SMART SOLUTIONS How partners can redefine business through smart and connected technologies

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STRATEGIC VAD PARTNER

CONTENTS

ISSUE 252 // DECEMBER 2017

30

COVER FEATURE

SELLING SMART SOLUTIONS

Reseller ME finds out how partners can resell smart and connected solutions more efficiently.

20 SPECIALISE FOR SUCCESS

HIGHLIGHTS

04

NEWS We help you catch up on all the major news and announcements in the regional channel community.

18 STRATEGIES TO TRANSFORM BUSINESS

45 REVIEW

SONY XPERIA XZ1

Red Hat’s Frank Basinski explains why expertise in specific verticals is a must for partners.

EVENT

OPINION

Mark Ackerman from ServiceNow elaborates on how consolidation is the foundation for business transformation.

24 APPLAUDING CHANNEL ELITE

INTERVIEW

26 SOARING TO THE CLOUDS

47

HOT PRODUCTS

FITBIT LAUNCHES IONIC SMARTWATCH IN THE UAE

Reseller ME fetes IT channel firms at its sixth annual Hot 50 Awards last month.

Asim AlJammaz from AlJammaz Distribution shares insights into partners’ cloud journey.

FEATURES

36 EVALUATING SERVICES

Reseller ME examines challenges faced by service providers.

www.tahawultech.com // Reseller Middle East // DECEMBER 2017

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EDITORIAL AI prospects

Janees Reghelini Editor

E-mail: janees.reghelini@ cpimediagroup.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/ TahawulTech Twitter: @TahawulTech

FOUNDER, CPI MEDIA GROUP Dominic De Sousa (1959-2015) Publishing Director Natasha Pendleton natasha.pendleton@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9139

Published by

Registered at Dubai Production City, DCCA PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 © Copyright 2017 CPI All rights reserved While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gradually seeing a wider adoption at the workspace today. A recent report by IDC forecasts worldwide revenues for cognitive and AI systems to reach $12.5 billion in 2017, which is an increase of 59.3 percent over 2016. The research firm predicts it will grow to over $46 billion by 2020, thanks to significant corporate investment over the next several years. The growth will be driven by software primarily, followed by services and hardware. When someone mentions ‘AI’, the immediate thought that comes to mind is of a space-age looking robot taking over primary time-consuming tasks. But the actual future where we will be working alongside robots might still be a long way off. That being said, we are already seeing some version of AI in many areas today – in the form of image recognition software by social media and smartphone firms, Siri’s natural language processing and even machine learning where online retailers recommend products customers might prefer. Locally, we have seen DEWA employing robots as part of its customer happiness centre and Smart Dubai introducing its robot receptionist. What AI and related technologies bring to the table today is automation at its

highest level. Most partners believe AI is a futuristic concept and is something they don’t have to worry about for the moment. Partners, in fact, have an opportunity here to leverage these technologies to enhance operations and potentially improve business. It is one thing to have AI-related offerings for customers, but it is equally important to deploy these solutions within your own premises to increase efficiency. AI has the potential to transform the way we transact just like the way cloud brought in consumptionbased revenue models. If partners take the time to learn about and invest in AI-related technologies to cumulate and decrypt data today, they won’t have to play catch-up in a few years’ time, when it becomes mainstream. Whether AI will take over humanity is a much-heated discussion today. However, I believe we need to reflect more on what Apple CEO Tim Cook recently said, “I don’t worry about machines thinking like humans. I worry about people thinking like machines. We all have to work to infuse technology with humanity, with our values.” Partners only stand to gain if they use technology in their own operations as an enabler.

EDITORIAL Group Editor Jeevan Thankappan jeevan.thankappan@cpimediagroup. com +971 4 440 9129

ADVERTISING Group Sales Director Kausar Syed kausar.syed@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9130

Editor Janees Reghelini janees.reghelini@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9167

Sales Manager Merle Carrasco merle.carrasco@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9147

Online Editor Adelle Geronimo adelle.geronimo@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9135

Business Development Manager Youssef Hariz youssef.hariz@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9111

DESIGN Senior Designer Analou Balbero analou.balbero@cpimediagroup.com Designer Marlou Delaben marlou.delaben@cpimediagroup.com

CIRCULATION Database and Circulation Manager Rajeesh M rajeesh.nair@cpimediagroup.com +971 4440 9119

PRODUCTION Production Manager James P Tharian james.tharian@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9159 Operations Manager Shweta Santosh shweta.santosh@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9107 DIGITAL SERVICES Web Developers Jefferson de Joya Abbas Madh Photographers Max Poriechkin Charls Thomas webmaster@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9100 DIGITAL www.resellerme.com Printed by Printwell Printing Press

www.tahawultech.com // Reseller Middle East // DECEMBER 2017

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HIGHLIGHTS

Metra Computer Group acquires a stake in StorIT Distribution

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for channel partners, etra Computer enabling them to get ready Group has for digital transformation acquired by focusing on Dell EMC shares and solutions portfolio. We are entered into a anticipating tremendous strategic financing growth translating into agreement with StorIT $50M to our topline next Distribution, the regional year,” said Mohamed Eissa, value-added distributor for vice president, Metra. Dell EMC and other major StorIT brings valuetechnology vendors in the added opportunities for UAE. The exact percentage Metra partner community of the stake is yet to be Mohamed Eissa, Metra Computer in the region. Partners disclosed. can now leverage According to the firm, offering across the widespread range this partnership is “an excellent addition of solutions and vendor´s portfolio to Metra Computer’s expanding for converged infrastructure, cloud value-added distribution portfolio and computing, virtualisation, business showcases greater commitment for Dell continuity and disaster recovery, high EMC channel ecosystem.” performance computing, archiving, data “We are excited to drive business analytics and data centre solutions for jointly and deliver value-added services

We are anticipating tremendous growth translating into $50M to our topline next year.” enterprise and SMB markets. “This partnership presents extraordinary opportunities to drive our ambitious growth plans and simultaneously add immense value to our reseller channel and vendor relationships. We plan to leverage on our impressive combined legacy and unique strengths to remain ahead of the curve,” said Suren Vedantham, managing director, StorIT Distribution. StorIT will continue its operations as a value-added distributor, the company will be able to provide an even greater breadth of services and solutions to partners and customers to help them realise the promise of digital transformation across numerous technology segments, added Vedantham.

NIT inks distribution deal with Dell EMC for MEA region NIT, an Ingram Micro Company and regional value-added distributor of IP surveillance and physical security solutions in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region, has signed a distribution agreement with Dell EMC. As per the terms of the agreement, the firm is now authorised to distribute Dell EMC portfolio of servers, storage and active network devices, to its channel partners in Algeria, Angola,

I am confident we will deliver immediate beneficial impact to our reseller partners and their customers and we are committed to continually playing an important role in helping them grow and strengthen their business.” 4

Bassel Al Fakir, NIT

Bahrain, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Tunisia, UAE, Uganda and Yemen. “Our new partnership with Dell EMC provides significant opportunities for Dell EMC as well as our firm, to build

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com

unique end-to-end solutions for IP surveillance and physical security to its reseller partners in the Middle East and Africa,” said Bassel Al Fakir, managing director, NIT. “I am confident we will deliver immediate beneficial impact to our reseller partners and their customers and we are committed to continually playing an important role in helping them grow and strengthen their business.” With a broad products portfolio from Dell EMC and a large base of channel partners for MEA, the company said that this partnership further strengthens its relationship with the global technology provider. “Our distributors play a crucial role in our partner ecosystem. We are pleased to have NIT an Ingram Micro Company on board in this important market. The company is utilising its expert knowledge and extensive partner network to deliver innovative and customised solutions that meet channel partners’ specific needs and support the business growth and this is what we are looking for as well,” said Havier Haddad, senior channel director, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Dell EMC.


HIGHLIGHTS

AlJammaz Distribution partners with Cradlepoint for KSA can be quickly deployed, AlJammaz Distribution has secured and managed for announced a partnership mission-critical connectivity with the global player wherever it is needed. in cloud-managed and Cradlepoint said that software-defined network its global credentials as solutions over wired and “leaders in cloud-managed wireless broadband, networking solutions” Cradlepoint. have driven the firm’s fast According to the Saudi growth throughout EMEA, Arabia-based distributor, and now, in partnership its collaborative relationship with Al Jammaz, it hopes with Cradlepoint will to accelerate this growth in drive the distribution of Saudi Arabia. enterprise-grade branch Asim AlJammaz, AlJammaz Both firms believe that by network solutions over 4G providing highly available, highly secure LTE in the Kingdom. and mission-critical connectivity will The distributor offers connectivity, create new and exciting opportunities in application hosting, managed IT, the channel, as well as better solutions enterprise security, IoT and digital for end customers. transformation solutions. AlJammaz Asim Saud AlJammaz, vice president, said its technology solutions focus AlJammaz, said, “Cradlepoint’s worldon addressing business challenges class networking solutions are a great of customers. addition to our portfolio of connectivity Cradlepoint provides cloud-managed services. This technology ensures that networking solutions for branch, mobile our clients can be sure of enterpriseand M2M/IoT deployments under grade reliability and a tailored solution a unified software platform called to meet their business goals. We look NetCloud. Their multi-WAN devices

Cradlepoint’s world-class networking solutions are a great addition to our portfolio of connectivity services. This technology ensures that our clients can be sure of enterprise-grade reliability and a tailored solution to meet their business goals.” forward to further collaborating with Cradlepoint to enable our customers in Saudi Arabia to serve their clients better. Hubert Da Costa, vice president and GM, Cradlepoint EMEA, said, “Our preferred partnership with AlJammaz will support them as a leading distributor in Saudi Arabia and cultivate our presence in the region. We look forward to working with Al Jammaz’ highly experienced team in end-toend communication solutions, as we continue a partnership to provide highly reliable networking solutions to customers in the Saudi Arabia.”

Attivo Networks signs up Networks Unlimited as African VAD detect, quarantine Attivo Networks and remediate cyber has announced a threats by gaining strategic partnership easy access to Attivo with Networks Networks’ line of Unlimited, a valuedeception-based added distributor tools for actionable in Africa. The defence. partnership Through its strong aims to extend partner network, comprehensive Networks Unlimited next-generation said it is committed deception-based to delivering total cybersecurity customer satisfaction defence to customers through fast and across the South and efficient product and Sub-Saharan region, Anton Jacobsz, Networks Unlimited service delivery, easy said both firms. support access, prompt dispatching This agreement with Networks of relevant information and optimised Unlimited makes it possible for distribution operations customers operating in the South Anton Jacobsz, managing director, and Sub-Saharan region to fortify Networks Unlimited, said, “Deception their security defences to immediately

technology is a unique and modern approach that solves the problems organisations are facing in the current cyber climate. These platforms offer the capability to exercise deceptionbased detection throughout every layer of the network stack, enabling efficient detection for every threat vector. Utlising high-interaction decoys and lures and deception solutions effectively deceives attackers into revealing themselves, thereby closing the detection deficit.” Ray Kafity, vice president, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Attivo Networks, said, “We are extremely glad to partner with Networks Unlimited and expand our deployments in South and Sub-Saharan Africa to help organisations efficiently deceive and captivate the most sophisticated of attackers.”

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HIGHLIGHTS

Avaya’s Abou-Ltaif: ME business strong pre-filing Avaya’s regional president Nidal Abou-ltaif has said that the company’s looming emergence from Chapter Nidal Abou-ltaif, Avaya 11 bankruptcy protection has given it a stronger understanding of its customers, and that its Middle East business had been strong in the run-up to the filing. Avaya CEO Jim Chirico earlier announced that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (the Court) has confirmed its second amended chapter 11 plan of reorganisation. As a result, the firm expects to emerge from its restructuring process before the end of this year. The move follows the firm’s decision to file for Chapter 11 protection in the US Bankruptcy Court in January in a move to address issues with its capital structure. Nidal Abou-ltaif, president of Avaya International, said that the last 10 months have been challenging for the firm, but have proven to be an important learning experience. “It’s been a long, tough journey, but has made us stronger and opened our eyes to our customers’ needs,” Abou-ltaif said. “It’s helped us to pay more attention to our partner programmes, and helped us to understand our customers’ businesses better by working with their finance and compliance departments.” Abou-ltaif said that the firm’s Middle East business had been “very healthy” in the run up to the filing, and that it had performed well given the political challenges it had faced. “Some markets were down, others were up,” he said. “Given the turbulence in the region and its emergence from the oil price collapse, things had been going well.” Centerview Partners LLC and Zolfo Cooper LLC are Avaya’s financial and restructuring advisors and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is the company’s restructuring counsel.

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eHDF strengthens MSS portfolio with new offerings avail of the services within eHosting DataFort (eHDF) our own data centres, on has expanded its Managed the cloud, or on premise,” Security Services (MSS) said, Yasser Zeineldin, portfolio with advanced CEO, eHosting DataFort. services that include SIEM, eHDF’s RTTM services Real Time Threat Monitoring takes a comprehensive (RTTM), Remote Managed approach to log collection Security Services, Advanced and analysis, incident Threat Protection (ATP), PCI classification and Security Services, Incident notification and provides Response (IR), etc. This also Yasser Zeineldin, eHDF a better visibility to threat includes eHDF’s new Cyber posture. Defense Centre (CDC), which The company also offers Vulnerability was launched earlier this year and lends Management (VM) to their clients. a new dimension to MSS. This fully managed service includes The firm’s MSS portfolio provide an the provision of licenses, scanners integrated platform and is supported by and skilled resources to manage the a team of security experts. It addresses Vulnerability Management lifecycle and the need with easy-to-deploy solutions, integrate it into the SIEM solution. The and is the fastest and safest way for organisations to maintain the security and launch of the company’s Cyber Defense Centre (CDC) has expanded customers compliance of their critical business data. options with Remote Managed SIEM “Our advanced technologies will Services. It also comes with enhanced match customers’ ongoing needs delivery options of either using it within for security, analytics and incident eHDF’s data centre, on customer management cost effectively and is premise or on the cloud. further strengthened with the option to

TP-Link MEA signs Etihad Specialized as Neffos KSA distributor TP-Link Technologies channels and specialised has partnered with Etihad IT verticals. Specialized Trading, a He said, “We sister company of Assr have picked them Al Jawal to distribute its because of the firm’s Neffos smartphone array good track record and in the Kingdom of Saudi professionalism in the Arabia (KSA). Saudi market, wellAccording to the vendor, qualified and well-trained the partnership with Etihad sales force, and superior Specialized Trading opens penetration and reputation Conrad Yang, TP-Link up opportunities for the in the market.” two companies to develop Yang added that by the mobile business with independent partnering with Etihad Specialized retailers, mass market and specialised Trading to distribute the Neffos range IT markets in Saudi Arabia. of smartphones and accessories, Under the accord, Etihad TP-Link is reinforcing its commitment Specialized Trading will supply about developing the mobile devices independent retailers in Saudi Arabia business in-country across the region. with TP-Link’s entire range of Neffos “The partnership with the devices and accessories. distributor is a natural progression for Conrad Yang, country manager, us given that Assr Al Jawal is already TP-Link MEA, Saudi Arabia, said working with the Neffos brand in the appointing Etihad Specialized Trading UAE,” he said. as the Neffos authorized distributor Etihad Specialized Trading has in the Kingdom paves the way for a thriving wholesale, telecoms, the company to develop and grow e-commerce, B2B, KDR and POS its mobile devices business with all business in KSA.

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com


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HIGHLIGHTS

Huawei CBG unveils first ‘Experience Store’ in ME

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uawei Consumer Business Group (CBG) has announced that its first ‘Experience Store’ in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is now open at The Dubai Mall. The store offers consumers a full retail experience, which includes access to Huawei’s latest products and services under one roof. All new products will now be available for pre-booking and sale at the same time as its global launch. The firm said that the opening of the first brand store in the Middle East and Africa represents its commitment to the region and the next step in its mission to deliver “breakthrough technologies, provide exceptional customer service and set new industry standards in innovation.” Gene Jiao, president, Huawei Consumer Business Group, Middle East and Africa said, “The new Huawei ‘Experience Store’ is definitely a milestone in our history in the region. Its strategic location within the city of Dubai allows us to reach consumers in and around

the region. The Dubai Mall is the iconic place for high-end technology brands to showcase the latest products with cutting edge technology. Ultimately, in line with our global consumer centric strategy, our goal is to provide a better choice and a more comprehensive experience for our regional consumers.” The new experience store will be Huawei’s main hub for it is regional fans and consumers to get hands-on the latest products from their brand of choice, according to the firm. The store is open daily from 10am – 11pm, Sunday to Saturday, and is located next to the metro link corridor on Level 2 of The Dubai Mall.

StarLink signs partnership with ForeScout and Extreme Networks StarLink has expanded its distribution agreement with ForeScout Technologies into Turkey and announced a new partnership with Extreme Networks for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. ForeScout provides enterprises and government agencies with the ability to instantaneously see traditional and IoT devices when they connect to a network, control device access based on security posture and policy, and orchestrate system-wide response. In addition to its expansion into Turkey, ForeScout currently works with StarLink in the Middle East and Africa. Hamed Diab, regional sales director, Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META), ForeScout, said, “StarLink will play a fundamental role in our META expansion strategy and help businesses and governments reduce security risks and make informed decisions.” Extreme Networks is a global provider of enterprise networking solutions and can deliver a fast IT infrastructure.

Mark Smith, regional sales director MEA, Extreme Networks said, “We are eager to work with StarLink as our new distributor, as the partnership will significantly strengthen our position as the industry leading solution in the MENA enterprise networking market. We expect StarLink to play a pivotal role in our regional growth strategy, enabling us to reach more resellers with end-to-end software-driven solutions that will drive their customers’ digital transformation initiatives.”

We expect StarLink to play a pivotal role in our regional growth strategy, enabling us to reach more resellers with end-to-end softwaredriven solutions.”

Finesse partners with Image InfoSystems

Finesse has entered into a strategic alliance with Image InfoSystems to implement Value Added Tax (VAT) systems for enterprises in the region with a special focus on banking and financial institutions. The impact of VAT regulations and the required regulatory compliance for the financial services industry is expected to impact almost every aspect of the organisation’s technology landscape. Finesse has tied-up with Image InfoSystems, providers of ExpressTXR, a high-performance transaction processing platform, to provide regional organisations with the necessary capability to comply with the regulations. Mohan Das P, managing director, Image Info said, “Image InfoSystems offers its experience and expertise, embodied in the product ExpressTXR, to provide the capability and the platform for organisations that generate and process millions of transactions every day, to meet with the challenges posed by regulatory requirements, offering the breadth of functionality and the ease of adaptability, to enable them to make path breaking transitions as seemingly every day mundane tasks.” Sunil Paul, co-founder and COO, Finesse said, “A major part of the VAT Implementation is to make the processes and IT systems compliant so that all the provisions of law are incorporated. Finesse is thrilled to partner with Image Infosystems to bring easy into the entire seemingly daunting implementation. We look forward to working together in this area.”

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HIGHLIGHTS

SPECTRAMI signs distribution deal with Micro Focus, PhishMe

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and challenges within alue-added the new hybrid model distributor for enterprise IT – from SPECTRAMI mainframe to mobile has been to cloud. We look appointed as forward to working an official distribution with SPECTRAMI to partner for Micro Focus, enable and support our the enterprise software partners in driving true company, following its digital transformation for merger with Hewlett customers.” Packard Enterprise’s According to the (HPE) software business firm, the combined Micro in September this year. Focus organisation will Marwan Shanti, be entirely focused on channel director, building, selling and Emerging Markets, Micro Anand Choudha, SPECTRAMI supporting software to Focus, said, “Our mission solve the most complex technology is to provide a best-in-class portfolio problems for customers, in key areas. of enterprise-grade scalable software “With the addition of Micro Focus with built in analytics, and build highin our portfolio, we will be able to quality products, putting customers at offer wide range of enterprise-grade the centre of our innovation. Through scalable software to customers our partnership with SPECTRAMI, we through our extensive network of are uniquely-placed to help customers channel partners, working closely and partners address opportunities

alongside with Micro Focus’ global sales and support team to ensure channel partners receive strong pre-sales, marketing, implementation and post-sales support,” said Anand Choudha, managing Director, SPECTRAMI. The distributor has also announced a partnership with PhishMe, the global provider of human-focused phishing defence solutions. The firm said that the partnership will combine its expertise and in-depth knowledge across a wide range of technology solutions, with PhishMe’s platform, to help protect organisations from advanced security threats. Jim Hansen, chief operating officer, PhishMe, said, “Through our partnership, we can help organisations in the Middle East, Germany and neighboring countries leverage the power of human intelligence to proactively respond to and neutralise sophisticated cyber-attacks.”


HIGHLIGHTS

ISS, Xerox Emirates sign SAP Professional Services deal ISS has recently signed a partnership agreement with Xerox Emirates to implement SAP Professional Services. Under the agreement, ISS will enable Xerox Emirates’ SAP Application Upgrade to EHP7 version. ISS is a SAP Gold Partner in the MENA region. The firm offers a range of products and services across SAP Platform. Services include ERP, S/4 HANA Business Suite, LoB Solutions, analytics, mobility, cloud and SoH. It is also a SAP value added reseller, SAP Services Partner and SAP PCoE Certified partner with presence in Bahrain, UAE, Kuwait, KSA and India. “Xerox is a very prestigious account for us and we are committed to bring them success and we see them as a long-term partner,” said Ravi Pincha, CEO, ISS Middle East.

According to the ISS, the SAP Professional Services deal with Xerox Emirates also include the integration of multiple in-house systems such as Salesforce, VAT implementation and BI reporting from core ERP. This will help Xerox to utilise additional features such as Fiori and other features provided by SAP in EHP7 enhancement package. It will also enable the firm to manage VAT from year 2018 and seamlessly integrate multiple systems in their current environment. The project implementation duration is estimated at three months followed by HyperCare. “We chose ISS over the other vendors as ISS offered us optimum solution to our issues which will help maximise our SAP utilisation and benefit us immensely with minimum further investment,” said Sarvesh Anand, Financial Controller, Xerox Emirates.

SonicWall unveils new Partner Enabled Services programme said the company. The SonicWall has announced first competency is the launch of a new implementation services, lineup of professional including compliance security services to help audit prep, and remote customers implement and and onsite implementation operate security solutions services for SonicWall that protect them from products. Next one is cyber-attacks. The new Bill Conner, SonicWall solution services, such professional security as security health checks, wireless services, distributed by SonicWall’s new security deployments, campus networks partner enabled services programme, are designed and delivered in partnership and distributed network solutions. The third competency is architecture with the firm’s extensive network of services, which are offered for complex channel partners. or large-scale solutions and customer “SonicWall technology and the new environments, such as DPI-SSL professional security services delivered deployment or SuperMassive firewall by our channel partners present a implementations. powerful defence against advanced Each of the service offerings are malware and ransomware that threaten designed to ensure SonicWall customers enterprises of all sizes,” said SonicWall receive the best possible network president and CEO Bill Conner. security solution design. The new services span three critical The SonicWall Partner Enabled competencies required to meet the Services Programme is available to needs of businesses seeking to protect SecureFirst Partners in North America themselves in an increasingly complex and EMEA from this month. and dangerous cyber threat landscape,

Saudi e-commerce market surpasses $8bn: report

Saudi Arabia’s business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce spending hit $7.9 billion (29.7 billion Saudi riyals) in 2016, a recent report has revealed. The typical shopper in Saudi Arabia spends an average of 4,000 riyals online per annum. The Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) report has estimated that the typical shopper in the Kingdom spends an average of 4,000 riyals online per annum, driven by favourable internet offers, home delivery convenience and a greater range of products. “Saudi Arabia’s young population, increasing broadband and smartphone penetration rates, and the government’s growing focus on e-commerce are key factors that are driving this shift toward online buying in the country,” the report said. E-commerce markets in MENA, India and Central Europe make up only 2.5 percent of global e-commerce spending, the report notes, yet they account for a highgrowth potential in the industry. According to consultants A.T. Kearney, the MENA region’s online retail industry is set to have a market size of $20 billion in 2020. A Reuters report last month quoted an industry analyst in saying that online sales in Saudi Arabia alone are expected to rise to $13.9 billion by 2021 from around $8.7 billion this year. And as the e-commerce market in the Middle East continues to grow, Amazon’s Souq.com and Alabbarbacked Noon.com are now battling for the top spot, following Noon’s official launch in the UAE earlier this year. The site’s KSA launch has been forecast before the end of 2017, according to chief executive Faraz Khalid.

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HIGHLIGHTS

ITC sign alliance with Aiuken Cybersecurity to build MSS offering

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As part of this agreement, audi-based ITC will leverage the benefits telecom and of its complementary areas ICT service of ICT expertise to monitor provider customers’ infrastructures Integrated 24/7 and to better prevent, Telecom Company (ITC), detect and respond to has signed a partnership cyber-attacks. Aiuken agreement with Aiuken Cybersecurity said it will Cybersecurity, a Spanish bring to the partnership its firm specialised in Juan Miguel Velasco, Aiuken end-to-end global expertise cybersecurity solutions. in cybersecurity to help The partnership with prevent cyberattacks on ITC customers in Aiuken will help to promote ITC Saudi Arabia. Security Operations Center (SOC) Through this partnership, both firms offerings of Managed Security have agreed to take ITC’s SOC to the Services (MSS) and cybersecurity next level in-line with the latest global solutions portfolio. industry standards by deploying the The solution provider said that this most advanced worldwide security tools step comes as a quick response to the and highly qualified security experts. Saudi government’s strategic initiative Aiuken Cybersecurity’s CEO Juan of establishing the new ‘National Miguel Velasco, said, “It is a great Cybersecurity Authority’. According honour for us to sign this MSS alliance to the firm, it is positioning itself as a with ITC for the Saudi market, as part key player in achieving the objectives of our expansion for the Middle East of the Authority in terms of protecting and Asia markets. ITC gives us the the government and business strength and market position to deliver organisations’ infrastructure network, high quality cybersecurity services for data and their business continuity as enterprise customers in the Kingdom, well as assisting in the implementation based on the SOC facilities at ITC and of compliance policies, security the best-in-class Aiuken Cybersecurity procedures and raising awareness of services and products.” cybersecurity in the Kingdom.

Canon Middle East expands partner programme in KSA

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anon Middle East has expanded its partner programme and eServices in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to facilitate innovation, drive business growth and deliver success for partners and customers. The firm has also announced a strategic partnership with Alkhorayef Printing Solutions (APS), a part of the Alkhorayef Group, a prominent player the Saudi printing market. These announcements were made at a partner event in Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya, which brought together over 28 resellers, to whom Canon demonstrated the capabilities of its portfolio of large format printers. Aligned with the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision of improving the nation’s competitiveness and developing local businesses and capabilities, Canon’s

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new partner programme helps resellers and partners unlock additional value and enhance competencies and business benefits. The eService programme, a first from Canon in the Middle East, offers partners the opportunity and flexibility to sell, lease, or rent a large-format printer to an enduser, and introduces the concept of ‘Printer-as-a-Service’ to the Kingdom.

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com

Spusht Technologies showcases portfolio at CET Middle East Spusht Technologies, a Dubaibased systems integrator, has announced its successful participation at the 12th edition of CET Middle East in Dubai. With over 16 sessions by 24 thought-leaders, the event is known for its leading knowledgebased conferences, seminars and exhibitions. The 300 plus attendees were treated to speakers from across verticals hailing from companies such as SAP, Microsoft, Nokia, Majid Al Futtaim, du and Souq.com The topics that were discussed ranged from real-life case studies on digital transformation to omnichannel engagement. The forum provided attendees actionable takeaways to enhance customer experience. Additionally, it shed light on best practices and emerging trends in the region. Cynthia Vedantham, marketing director, Spusht Technologies, said, “CET Middle East was a great networking ground for us. We interacted with decision-makers such as the CEOs, CIOs and IT heads from across verticals. We had the opportunity to showcase our offerings and expertise and discuss ways to work together.” Vedantham expects the interactions at the event to generate new opportunities and alliances for Spusht over the next few months. The strategic partnership with Alkhorayef Printing Solutions extends the reach of Canon’s brand, products, solutions, and services in the Kingdom. With the strength of APS’ vast experience in the industry, Canon will streamline the delivery of its technology-led solutions for customers in the Kingdom, to meet their printing and imaging requirements. Shadi Bakhour, business unit director, B2B, Canon ME, said, “Canon has always been committed to developing our channel ecosystem in the Kingdom and partner with them at every stage of their need.”


HIGHLIGHTS

IKEA partners with TAKELEAP for VR shopping

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AKELEAP, a Dubai-based technology agency specialising in artificial intelligence, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), has partnered with IKEA to develop a VR shopping POPUP concept throughout the Middle East. The VR shopping pop-ups have taken place in malls within five cities across three countries, including Jordan, Kuwait and Morocco. Visitors to the pop-ups can create their own virtual living room by placing IKEA products in the scene using VR technologies to facilitate the home furnishing experience. Users can choose from pre-set room layouts to match the dimension of their living space, then purchase the products on site if they wish, removing the need to visit a traditional IKEA store to visualise and purchase products.

“The growth of virtual reality, artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies are reshaping many markets across the Middle East, and e-commerce is no different,” said Salman Yusuf, managing director at TAKELEAP. “Technology is advancing at increasing speeds and will quickly redefine the future of the business. We are thrilled that IKEA has become a first-mover in developing this technology and look forward to our partnership for years to come.” Customers can now choose their favourite items in as little as “20 minutes” while having a “realistic” view of what the furniture is like. With a 1:1 scale, users can

understand the real size of their products while recognising the colour and texture of fabrics. In Kuwait, TAKELEAP will also introduce another VR activation to give users a full 360 virtual tour of IKEA Kuwait store, aiding in the process of finding items around the outlet.

Bulwark, Arcon collaborate at Oman cybersecurity summit

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ulwark Technologies along with vendor, Arcon, a Privilege Identity and Access Management (PIM/PAM) and monitoring solutions, joined hands to participate in the recently concluded two-day Regional Cybersecurity Summit, in Sheraton Hotel, Muscat. Considering cyber resilience as the key, and continuing the success of the previous editions, ITU Arab Regional Cybersecurity organised the sixth Annual Regional Cybersecurity Summit, hosted by ITA Oman represented by Oman National CERT in collaboration with White Paper Summits (WPS) and Nispana Innovative Platforms. This edition covered a range of topics, highlighting the current trends and future threats, which are affecting the organisations and business effectiveness. The summit provided a platform for over 350 plus attendees from across the Middle East to form new partnerships, discuss new policies

and identify latest ecosystem of the technologies to organisation and the combat cyber region, as a whole.” threats. Nikhil Sanghavi, Jose Thomas Arcon’s business Menacherry, development and managing sales director, director, Bulwark Middle East, Technologies said,’’The company said, “Enterprises is focused on and government risk predictive entities are giving technologies and high priority for user behaviour securing the data analytics that allows and information organisations to and increase their detect threats in cybersecurity a real-time. Arcon spending in 2017offers a proprietary 18 as cyberattacks unified governance have become more framework, which Jose Menacherry, Bulwark Technologies rampant. Through addresses risk participation in the across various Regional Cybersecurity Summit in technology platforms. The Regional Oman, Bulwark aims to meet potential Cybersecurity Summit provided a customers to assist organisations great platform to discuss the latest proactively and identify potential threats affecting the organisations threats and attacks before they and address the complete security happen, and enhance the security solutions for future prevention.” www.tahawultech.com // Reseller Middle East // DECEMBER 2017

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HIGHLIGHTS

DCG hosts team building ‘Desert Safari Retreat’ event

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ubai Computer Group (DCG) has concluded a mega event, DCG Desert Safari Retreat, last month. The event was aimed at building team spirit among the association’s members. The event gathered more than 600 executives from channel firms for fun-filled dune bashing and related experiences. According to Dharmendra Sawlani, president, DCG, the objective of this event was to bring together the frontline staff of channel firms on a single platform to network and socialise. He said, “In the past, we have had many owner-to-owner interaction events, but an event of this scale and type was never held before. These are the people who deal with each other daily. This event allows them to connect better and take the business forward in a better way. Doing it in a social setting gives them the freedom to let their hair down and network.” One of silver sponsors for the event, D-Link Middle East’s director for sales and marketing, Sakkeer Hussain, said, “It was great to enjoy ourselves with all our IT reseller partners at DCG’s Desert

Safari event. It helps us to strengthen our relationships with our channel community and discuss ways to advance business operations efficiently.” Ashok Kumar, vice president, DCG and MD, New Trend Computer, said, “This is the first time DCG has organised an event of this scale. We have had great success with networking events for partners and owners in the past. The Desert Safari was an initiative to build team spirit within the channel firms’ staff. We had a fantastic time and it was wellreceived by all attendees. We hope such initiatives will give all stakeholders a chance to boost confidence and business by getting to know one another well.”

Mohammed Owais, WD’s sales director for distribution and channel, and also a silver sponsor for the event, said, “Channel is an integral part of our business. DCG focuses on ways to enhance the channel business and address key issues. We find it fruitful to associate ourselves with DCG as there is immense value for us as a vendor. This event has given us an opportunity to network with our partners and understand better the challenges that they face daily.” With Toshiba on board as the Gold Sponsor, the event boasted prominent partners such as AOC, ASBIS, Canon, D-Link, Western Digital, Xcel Host and XFX as Silver Sponsors. Reseller Middle East was the event’s supporting partner. DCG also hosts IT symposiums and conferences regularly to promote unity and accelerate the channel businesses within the region. The association also helps to control reseller runaway incidents by emphasising on knowledge sharing and organising awareness events. The group expects to have many similar kinds of events in the coming year as well.

McAfee to buy Skyhigh Networks

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McAfee will complement cAfee will be each other’s portfolio acquiring and mission, allowing Skyhigh customers to modernise Networks, a their cybersecurity cloud data environments and protect storage security player, for their data as it moves to an undisclosed amount, as the cloud. per an announcement Gupta will join Young’s made by both firms to leadership team to run combine businesses in an Christopher Young, McAfee McAfee’s new cloud open message to their business unit. Skyhigh’s respective stakeholders. existing organisational structure will remain McAfee CEO Chris Young’s and Skyhigh generally intact, ensuring continuity for Networks CEO Rajiv Gupta’s messages, customers and partners. At the same elaborated on the company’s combined time, Skyhigh will benefit from McAfee’s value upon transaction close, expected global scale and integrations to McAfee’s shortly after completing certain broad and deep product portfolio. regulatory approvals and satisfying “Skyhigh Networks had the customary closing conditions. foresight five years ago to realise that The purchase comes less than eight cybersecurity for cloud environments months after McAfee was spun out of could not be an impediment to, or technology giant Intel. According to afterthought of, cloud adoption,” Young the agreement, Skyhigh Networks and

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DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com

stated. “They pioneered an entirely new product category called cloud access security broker (CASB) that analysts describe as one of the fastest growing areas of information security investments of the last five years – where Skyhigh continues to innovate and lead. Skyhigh’s leadership in cloud security, combined with McAfee’s security portfolio strength, will set the company apart in helping organisations operate freely and securely to reach their full potential.” “Becoming part of McAfee is the ideal next step in realising Skyhigh Networks’ vision of not simply making the cloud secure, but making it the most secure environment for business,” Gupta said. “McAfee will provide global scale to further accelerate Skyhigh’s growth, with the combined company providing leading technologies and solutions across cloud and endpoint security.”


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APPOINTMENTS

INDUSTRY APPOINTMENTS Broadcom completes Brocade acquisition, names new GM

Jack Rondoni, Broadcom

Broadcom has completed its acquisition of Brocade Communications for $5.5 billion, which was announced last November, making it a stronger player in the data centre products market. “We are pleased to complete this transaction, which strengthens our position as a leading provider of enterprise storage and networking solutions and enables us to better serve our OEM customers,” said Hock Tan, president and chief executive officer, Broadcom. “We have a track record of successfully integrating and growing companies we acquire, enabling us to offer customers a leading portfolio of best-in-class franchises across a diverse set of technologies. We intend to invest in and grow the Brocade business to further enhance its capabilities in mission-critical storage networking.” Tan has also announced the appointment of Jack Rondoni as general manager of Brocade business unit. Rondoni said, “We are very excited to join the Broadcom team and provide compelling benefits for customers and new opportunities for Brocade’s employees.” He added that the firm provides scale, resources and related capabilities to help the firm grow and reinforce its position in storage area networking. “We share a common culture of innovation and execution, and we look forward to the exciting new growth opportunities we will have as part of the team.”

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DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com

An overview of the latest people movement within the IT channel business.

HPE CEO Meg Whitman to step down, Antonio Neri to succeed Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has announced that CEO Meg Whitman is stepping down from the role and will remain on its board of directors while Antonio Neri, current president of HPE, will become president and CEO, effective 1st February, 2018. “Now is the right time for Antonio and a new generation of leaders to take the reins of HPE. I have tremendous confidence that they will continue to build a great company that will thrive well into the future,” CEO Meg Whitman said. “I’m incredibly proud of all we’ve accomplished since I joined HP in 2011. Today, Hewlett Packard moves

Antonio Neri, HPE

forward as four industry-leading companies that are each well positioned to win in their

The world of technology is changing fast, and we’ve architected HPE to take advantage of where we see the markets heading.”

respective markets.” Under her leadership, the company has rebuilt its balance sheet, reignited innovation, strengthened operations and improved customer and partner satisfaction. It also made strategic moves to focus and strengthen its portfolio, most notably its split from HP Inc. Whitman has also led the subsequent spin off and mergers of HPE’s Enterprise Services and Software businesses, as well as strategic acquisitions including Aruba, SGI, SimpliVity and Nimble Storage. Neri, 50, joined HP in 1995 as a customer service engineer in the EMEA call center. He went on to hold various roles in HP’s Printing business and then to run customer service for HP’s Personal Systems unit. Neri was appointed president of HPE in June 2017. In addition to leading the company’s four primary lines of business, as president, Neri has been responsible for HPE Next, a programme to accelerate the company’s core performance and competitiveness. “The world of technology is changing fast, and we’ve architected HPE to take advantage of where we see the markets heading,” said Neri, “HPE is in a tremendous position to win, and we remain focused on executing our strategy, driving our innovation agenda, and delivering the next wave of shareholder value.”


OPINION // SERVICENOW

Strategies to transform business

Mark Ackerman, sales director, Middle East, ServiceNow, elaborates on how consolidation is the foundation for IT and business transformation.

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n every type of business, growth is good. However, there is what might be considered ‘good growth’ and ‘bad growth’. Good growth makes an enterprise more agile, responsive, and competitively successful, and tends to spur further growth. Bad growth, in contrast, can hobble agility, responsiveness, and competitive success, and lead to stagnation or worse for that enterprise. A hallmark characteristic of bad growth is the proliferation of multiple redundant and incompatible versions of the same or similar resources. What’s needed to address the ‘bad growth’ challenges is an effective strategy for consolidation and modernisation, and a technology platform that enables execution of

Mark Ackerman, ServiceNow

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that strategy. At the highest level, your strategy will consist of four primary elements, which can be summarised by the acronym ‘ARCH’. • Assess your current IT Service Management (ITSM) and business resources to determine their real business value and costs • Retire those resources not meeting your business needs • Consolidate and modernise those resources worth keeping • Host your most valuable and critical resources on a common platform that enables easy and effective migration, modernisation and management Assess what you’ve got Once you have identified one or more compelling use cases, you need to assess and quantify the true business

value and costs of current resources carefully. This information is necessary to determine which resources should be consolidated, which should be migrated to a more robust platform, and which should be retired. Wherever possible, this information should be expressed in dollars or some other metric that enables consistent, ‘apples-to-apples’ comparisons of all resources under consideration. Retire what’s not delivering value Your assessment efforts will enable you to rank your incumbent application based on the value they are delivering to the business and the costs required to realise that value. This ranking is a critical element of your next major step: retiring the applications that cost too much, deliver too little, or both. This step is essential, as it will help

“Once you have identified one or more compelling use cases, you need to assess and quantify the true business value and costs of current resources carefully. This information is necessary to determine which resources should be consolidated, which should be migrated to a more robust platform, and which should be retired.”

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com


your IT and business teams to focus on the applications that matter the most to the business. These are the applications your company should consolidate. Consolidate – on the right platform How best to consolidate will depend on specific business needs and goals, and on the consolidation features available to you. Those features, in turn, depend upon the specific characteristics of your candidate consolidation platforms. At a very minimum, the platform should: • Support both ITSM and business resource consolidation, for maximum business value • Already be known, validated and approved by IT decision-makers and their teams for rapid adoption and effective support by IT • Be cloud-based, and should include integrated support for multiple consolidation-enabling features • Integrate with your applications and information sources, and support modern, open Web standards to ease and speed resource consolidation efforts • Include extensive, easy-touse, pre-built templates for consolidation-related tasks, to minimise ‘time to success’ • Enable business users to create applications quickly and easily, with the full guidance and support of IT but with no direct IT intervention required

• •

Include specific features that let IT decision-makers sleep well at night Be offered by a proven, committed provider of enterpriseclass, cloud-based solutions, and supported by comprehensive professional services and a broad ecosystem of helpful knowledge, partners and users

Host with the best platform – and platform vendor When choosing the right platform for your organisation, below are some questions you should ask every vendor you consider: • Does the vendor offer a written service level agreement (SLA)? • Is the offering based on modern, cloud-based technologies for maximum flexibility and economy? • Are upgrades to the vendor’s technologies straightforward and non-disruptive to your business operations? • Does the solution make it easy to create and tailor applications and their interfaces to meet specific business requirements and user preferences, to maximise adoption and minimise training? • Is the offering proven in the real world at enterprises with requirements at least as demanding as those at your organisation? • Is the offering known to and supported by IT decision-

makers at your organisation and elsewhere? Does the solution incorporate support for mobility, social networking and other features that make applications more usable and popular? Is the solution supported by a broad ecosystem of partners, users, and readily available knowledge, online and in person, at user groups and industry events?

The right combination of justification, planning, execution, and platform can reduce or eliminate redundancies, incompatibilities, and complexities associated with those resources, as well as associated hardware, software, and maintenance costs. It can also make management processes and delivery of IT-enabled services more consistent and efficient, and enable new, innovative, high-value business applications. And as these extend beyond IT, they can also extend the value of IT consolidation platform investments. All of these benefits can, in turn, increase IT’s support of and relevance to the business, and IT’s overall business value, while improving IT’s perception across the enterprise. Achieving these benefits, however, relies upon the careful selection of a platform that can support the features and functions needed to succeed with consolidation.

www.tahawultech.com // Reseller Middle East // DECEMBER 2017

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OPINION // RED HAT

Specialise for success

Frank Basinski, director partner programmes and enablement, EMEA, Red Hat, explains why the channel must focus on becoming adept in specific verticals.

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ncreased vertical focus has been happening for a while at the channel’s cutting edge, and IDC believes that 2017 is the year it becomes mainstream. The analyst house predicts that by 2018 at least 20 percent of partners will have restructured to create vertically focused customer-facing sales and solutions organisations. However, is it as black and white as this, and what are the main obstacles partners are facing in creating the crossover between industry and technology? Thanks to the rise in third-platform technology and a dramatically shifting customer landscape, partners are focusing more and more on their vertical offerings and expertise. New research commissioned by Red Hat underlines this, with over half of the resellers, VARs, SIs, MSPs, CSPs, ISVs and consultants surveyed in the UK, French and German channels having extended their product and service portfolio towards specific vertical industries in the past 12 months. The key driver for partners, is that customers are increasingly looking for guidance and solutions from the channel to help facilitate their digital transformation and to achieve a holistic, cross-sector business approach. These new demands are spelling out a clear message for partners and it is this: like those who sat on the sidelines with digital transformation, those not investing in vertical

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specialisms will soon find themselves missing out on valuable business opportunities, plus risk exposing their lack of cross-sector services to existing clients. Vendors similarly will prioritise collaboration with vertically driven partners in order to increase profitability and expand their own portfolio; with partner programs and certifications weighted heavily towards nurturing this level of industry depth. So, what can they do to not only weather this, but increase business prosperity and opportunity? Know the industry lingo The challenges associated with creating vertical specialisms very much depend on the starting point of the partner. System Integrators are

Frank Basinski, Red Hat

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com

already ahead of the playing field, whilst others are at varying points in the journey. That being said, most partners have figured out that if they specialise in vertical (or horizontal) solutions they will have a significant advantage, and avoid a business model only set up to compete on price. A vertical approach allows partners to be more relevant and form stronger relationships with their customers. Speaking the language of the customer shows a deeper understanding tailored to the market their end customers are operating in. Partners immediately step up from being an infrastructure provider to becoming a trusted advisor – a key differentiator at a time when competition is only intensifying.

“The key driver for partners, is that customers are increasingly looking for guidance and solutions from the channel to help facilitate their digital transformation and to achieve a holistic, cross-sector business approach.”


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OPINION // RED HAT

Primarily, we are seeing this trend play out across our partners’ sales infrastructure. This allows partners to build a valuable proposition and unique IP, differentiating themselves from the competition. However, it is important for partners to concentrate on providing a solution focused approach rather than a product one. Devoteam, one of our Premier Business Partner is a great example of how and why partners benefit from an industry-centric approach. For one of the largest financial services organisations in the UK to achieve its digital transformation, Devoteam had to first understand its main business stakes. This meant becoming experts on disintermediation, new regulations, end customers new uses and omnichannel strategy. Only by taking this approach with all its clients is Devoteam able to consistently

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provide services and technology that fit to their clients’ business and industry challenges. Leverage third platform technologies In its report, IDC also predicts that harmonious to the adoption of vertical specialisms in the channel will be the increased investment in third platform technology, with new ecosystems and alliances emerging around cloud, social, mobile and Big Data. Take advantage of repeatable solutions To invest in their industry expertise, while carving out a USP against their competitors, repeatable solutions are just one potential strategy partners can look at. Repeatable solutions mean identifying an industry specific issue, building out a solution to tackle this

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com

and recognising that this solution can offer the same value proposition for other customers in that space and can be replicated quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively. We have seen some of our partners utilise this strategy to great effect. The fact is that vertical specialisation is happening naturally and digital transformation will only intensify this. We continue to encourage all our partners to invest in building up their industry expertise or to take a close look at what might already exist within their organisation’s and bundle this up into a vertical offering. Ultimately, following a vertical specific approach, supported with tailored expertise and solutions, will ensure that partners fully understand the challenges end-users come up against on a regular basis, which can be the key to unlocking new business opportunities and keeping existing clients satisfied.


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EVENTS // HOT 50 AWARDS

APPLAUDING CHANNEL ELITE Reseller Middle East fetes leading regional IT channel firms at its sixth annual Hot 50 Awards last month.

n the sixth edition of Reseller Middle East’s Hot 50 Awards, players across vendors, distributors and systems integrators, were applauded for their diligence and innovation in the regional channel industry at Privé Lounge, Nikki Beach Resort, Dubai. With over 150 attendees, the exclusive event served as a platform for industry stakeholders to network and celebrate the successes of the year. Players that are committed to the channel business and have catered to the evolving customer demands innovatively were recognised as part of the elite Hot 50 club. Chosen carefully by Reseller Middle East’s editorial team, the winners have developed and shaped the regional IT channel business over the last year.

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DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.resellerme.com

This year, the awards also introduced its inaugural edition of Marketing Megastars, honouring marketing individuals for their creative efforts behind elaborate marketing campaigns to raise awareness and reach about their respective brands. The winners included Sandra Skairjeh, Micro Focus; Manish Bhardwaj, HPE Aruba; Neethu Paul, Epicor Software, Carlos Robles, Gulf Business Machines, Mallika Sharma, Exclusive Networks and Akshat Gaur, Redington Value Distribution. Over the last six years, the Hot 50 Awards has grown to be a ceremony that the regional channel industry looks forward to annually. The complete list and images of winners are available in the accompanying Hot 50 supplement.


INTERVIEW // ALJAMMAZ DISTRIBUTION

SOARING TO

THE CLOUDS

Asim Saud AlJammaz, VP, AlJammaz Distribution, shares insights into partners’ cloud journey and how its recently unveiled cloud marketplace can aid them to accelerate business. Cloud has been a popular term over the last couple of years. How have cloud solutions enabled reseller partners to accelerate business growth? Only few regional channel partners have played effectively in the cloud space. Most of them are still focusing on the traditional business or selling licenses on the cloud rather than on-premise with similar revenues and margins. Also, the end-user did not move to cloud, however in 2017 we have seen many customers looking to do so and exploring the related options, costs and values. We believe vendors and distributors could have played a stronger role in enabling the channel partners into cloud offerings and services. What changes do you foresee in this market segment over the next year? What are the driving factors for cloud solutions within the region? Over the next year, there will be increased cloud requirements from end-users, enterprises will need to have some of their services over the cloud. We will also see SMBs moving to the cloud. To drive the demand for cloud solutions, vendors need to invest locally as many government firms and enterprises require the cloud service to be hosted within the same country. Distributors need to change their business models in the cloud and focus on enabling partners.

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How can partners best prepare to maximise the opportunities in this space? Value-added resellers and systems integrators need to associate with the right distributor partner who will help them to provide cloud services. They need to also identify the right vendor who can invest in the regional market and partner with operators who can provide local computing and storage cloud solutions. Partners should not resist market changes, they need to adapt to new trends and become a leader in it.

AS A VALUE-ADDED DISTRIBUTOR, OUR ROLE IS TO INSPIRE, ENABLE AND EMPOWER OUR CHANNEL PARTNERS WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY TRENDS AND PROVIDE THEM WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS AT THE RIGHT TIME TO BE SUCCESSFUL AND RIDE THE MARKET TRANSFORMATION WAVE

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.resellerme.com

Can you elaborate on the objective of AlJammaz’ recently unveiled cloud marketplace? As a value-added distributor, our role is to inspire, enable and empower our channel partners with new technology trends and provide them with the right tools at the right time to be successful and ride the market transformation wave before they get disrupted by new players. We have been always trying to evolve and transform along with the market and emerging trends. We believe in the omnichannel business model where partners can complement each other with vendors. The buyer today will be the seller tomorrow and our new cloud platform allows the channel partners and vendors to do that. This way they can sell and buy each other’s services online. It also makes it easier for resellers to provide a mix of hybrid cloud between different vendors and solutions either onpremise or over the cloud in one invoice. What are the features most beneficial to resellers within this marketplace? We will cover many services from infrastructure as a service, application as a service, storage as a service, backup computing, IoT platforms, local and international computing and storage clouds, cloud professional services, omnichannel capability where channel partners can provide their own services to other channel partners and vendors, white label fully managed market place and many other services.


www.resellerme.com // Reseller Middle East // DECEMBER 2017

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INTERVIEW // ALJAMMAZ DISTRIBUTION

“We believe vendors and distributors could have played a stronger role in enabling the channel partners into cloud offerings and services.”

Today, we have over 15,000 cloud services available for business, this will reach 100,000 plus soon. This is where we as a value-added distributor and our channel partners can play a role to guide the end-user around what to trust and what to use from this portfolio of cloud services. We will be testing and qualifying the right cloud vendors, having the contract with them that protect reseller partners and endusers on their behalf. We will provide the right catalogue of trusted, business accelerating solutions to our channel partners who can then offer it to their end-users. Channel partners can effortlessly join our network and play a significant role in the digital era. What are the criteria for a partner to join the marketplace? Today 99 percent of channel partners are still focusing on regular systems integration and services they have been always doing. Most of them are aware that business is changing, customer requirements are evolving, and vendor go-to-market strategies are being redefined. However, they are not sure how to transform and play a role or be able to focus and identify the opportunity. The biggest reasons for this include lack of tools to provide these services, need for high investments to offer cloud marketplace platform, lack of technical expertise on how to sell and promote different cloud and hybrid cloud solutions and

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sub-standard vendor engagement. We are here to change that, we are providing an easy, no cost cloud marketplace that the channel partners can white label under their brand, and offering tested and qualified solutions and applications, which partners can start selling immediately. We are also backing them with the technical expertise and training programmes on how they can sell, promote and deliver cloud solutions to their customers to assist them in their digital transformation journey.

Can you elaborate on other plans from AlJammaz that partners can expect around cloud solutions in the coming year? We have big plans together with some of our partners on how we can help them to provide different solutions from private cloud to public cloud. With emphasis on cybersecurity, we help partners deliver a comprehensive solution set to their customers. We have restructured our operation last year to be able to provide end-toend solutions and address customers’ problems by creating Solutions business unit in different areas. Our Data Centre business unit provides complete solutions within data centres from building to managing it with all the complementary tools to create a private, public or hybrid cloud. The IoT and Connectivity Solutions business unit offer partners with all solutions required in an IoT-led environment such as hardware, software or platform to manage the project. The SMB business unit provides end-to-end solutions for the SMB market, channel partners do not need to search every vendor to know what he can offer for the SMB space. Other business units include Collaboration and Wireless, Cloud and Digital Distribution, Infrastructure and Test Systems, Cybersecurity, Physical Security and Retail and Consumers.

“Most of them are aware that business is changing, customer requirements are evolving, and vendor go-to-market strategies are being redefined. However, they are not sure how to transform and play a role or be able to focus and identify the opportunity.”

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com


COVER FEATURE // RESELLING SMART SOLUTIONS

SELLING SMART SOLUTIONS

With digital and smart solutions gaining a wider adoption as organisations drive automation, reseller partners have never been better positioned to cater to these growing requirements. Reseller ME finds out how partners can resell smart and connected solutions more efficiently.

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DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com


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s smart technologies become integrated with daily lives and business processes, reseller partners must undertake a bigger role and become proficient in presenting these solutions to customers. The opportunities in this segments also extends to other areas such as security and services. The Middle East IT market has seen a robust uptake of solutions and projects being rolled out. However, this also means the threat landscape is evolving and growing. “This has led to an increase in security spending, with Gartner estimating the regional market to spend more than $2 billion on IT security solutions in 2017,” says Sakkeer Hussain, director, Sales and Marketing, D-Link Middle East and Africa. “The region has also witnessed a steady increase of partners focusing on smart technologies to help serve their customers better.” Agreeing Eric Bhagwat, associate vice president, I-Life Digital Technology, says, “Internet of Things solutions and artificial intelligence (AI) speakers, fitness trackers, cloud solutions, thin and light devices are the new business opportunities partners should be increasingly more inclined towards. IoT related business alone will contribute a $6 trillion business worldwide over the next six years.” The question most partners grapple with is how can they approach customers to sell these kinds of solutions efficiently? Operating in a price-sensitive market where most customers are content to carry on business as usual if they can do without a particular solution, partners have to educate them on the benefits and necessity of these technologies. Partners, at times, have their work cut out for them to convey the potential of these technologies to streamline processes and increase efficacies greatly. According to Bhagwat, smart solutions will need to be marketed differently. “Social media advertisement along with awareness will remain a major

www.resellerme.com // Reseller Middle East // DECEMBER 2017

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COVER FEATURE // RESELLING SMART SOLUTIONS

“Social media advertisement along with awareness will remain a major influencer. The education segment will be an important area to look at future growth, while offline retail will provide an experience of touch. Manufacturing and services are the earlier ones who have adopted to smart solutions.”

Eric Bhagwat, I-Life Digital Technology

influencer. The education segment will be an important area to look at future growth, while offline retail will provide an experience of touch. Manufacturing and services are the earlier ones who have adopted to smart solutions,” he adds. Hussain believes the first step for reseller partners is to understand the business of their customers and tailor smart solutions to help them solve operational challenges. “Once they understand the business bottlenecks, they will be in a better position to recommend custom made smart solutions suited for specific client problems. Understanding the business and demonstrating ROI to the C-level

Sakkeer Hussain, D-Link MEA

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and line of business executives is key,” he explains. How can partners become proficient and profitable in this area? Bhagwat says that partners will need to upgrade themselves, as smart solutions are still fairly new. “Tying up with the right brands who offer the latest in smart devices and services will be the key mantra to their success.” Another way to become an expert is by honing existing skills while simultaneously acquiring new ones. “Partners must continuously invest in skills development, training and acquiring certifications that give them competitive advantage,” Hussain adds.

“Without doubt, partners who combine products, solutions and services have a better chance of earning higher margins and developing recurring revenue streams. The smart solutions space presents prospects for savvy partners to explore, provided they have the skills to implement comprehensive solutions.” With opportunities in government, education, healthcare, SMB and SOHO, banking and finance, hospitality and retail, reseller partners serving any or a combination of these verticals with smart solutions stand a chance of earning decent margins if they can combine their product offerings with services, according to Hussain.

“Partners must continuously invest in skills development, training and acquiring certifications that give them competitive advantage. Without doubt, partners who combine products, solutions and services have a better chance of earning higher margins and developing recurring revenue streams.”

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com


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FEATURE // RESELLING SMART SOLUTIONS

Amanullah Khan, Linksys, META

“Vendors and distributors must take up the responsibility and offer the required training and resources to their partners. This is very critical as it guides the partners to ask customers the right questions to understand their needs and then educate them on the smart solutions.”

Amanullah Khan, managing director, Linksys, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, says, “Vendors and distributors must take up the responsibility and offer the required training and resources to their partners. This is very critical as it guides the partners to ask customers the right questions to understand their needs and then educate them on the smart solutions and technologies that are available.”

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Hussain points out that as a collective responsibility, vendors, distributor and resellers need to contribute to skills development programmes and “not look at the easier and quickest available option to them.” This is because such an approach will only solve a problem for a short term. He adds that vendors need to do more in the area of demand generation

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com

activities and deal registration so that resellers are protected. He says, “Distributors on the other hand need to get more involved in helping resellers to cultivate and develop local and in-country leads by using their expertise and knowledge of local market dynamics. This can aid resellers to identify new business and opportunities in the market.” Partners who invest and train in smart solutions today can be sure of a bright future over the next few years. Hussain says, “As smart technology is being embedded with machine-to-machine (M2M) and/or cognitive computing technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning or deep learning, all of which are used to reason, problem-solve, make decisions and even, ultimately, take action, there is going to be wide adoption of this technology going forward.” Partners should not limit their offering to what is mainstream today but also understand that smart technology includes machines like robots, self-driving cars and other cognitive computing systems that are designed to function without human intervention. He adds, “We are already seeing the use of smart technologies in Dubai. A good example is the Road and Transport Authority’s (RTA) use of driverless Metro and Tram systems. Going forward adoption of smart technologies will increase as use cases become widely accepted both in business and consumer environments.”


World class brands. Just a call away. At Trigon we take pride in our distribution network, spreading across more than 15 countries – the Middle East, Africa and Asia. With 20 successful years in the business of distribution of world-class IT peripherals and services to our partners - dealers, resellers, retailers and corporate clientele, we at Trigon continue to innovate in all areas, building on the strength of our people and the quality of our brands. Our warehouse and logistics network, after sales support backed by state-of-the-art software, ensure seamless distribution. Trigon is one of the first IT distributor in the UAE to be awarded the coveted ISO certification. Together for a better tomorrow Bahrain: Dubai: Bahrain: Dubai: Kingdom Tower Bldg. 8, P.O. Box: 32610, Dubai, UAE P.O. Box: 75149, Manama P.O. Box: 32610, Dubai, UAE. Office 15, Exhibition Road. Tel: +971 4 342 6060 Kingdom of Bahrain +971 4 342 6060 P.O. BOX 75149, Manama, Bahrain Fax: +971 4t:354 7779 +973 172 92904 f: +971 4 354 7779 Tel: +973 t:1729 2904 E-mail: info@trigon-gulf.ae +973 5183 172 95183 e: info@trigon-gulf.ae Fax: +973f:1729 e: bh@trgononline.com www.trgononline.com Email: bh@trigononline.com

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Saudi Arabia: Office 508, Office 508, Al Rossais Commercial Center Al Rossais Commercial Center, Olaya Street, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Olaya Street, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia t: +966 11 460 3114 Tel: +966 11 460 3114 f: Fax: +966+966 11 460113112 460 3112 e:Email: ksa@trgononline.com ksa@trigononline.com

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Oman: Oman: Office 503, Trade Centre Trade Center 5th Floor Office No.503, MBD East, Ruwi-Muscat MBD East Ruwi, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, Sultanate of Oman +968 24819423 Tel:t: +966 11 460 3114 f: +968 Fax: +96624819425 11 460 3112 e: oman@trigon-gulf.ae Email: ksa@trigononline.com


FEATURE // CHALLENGES FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS

EVALUATING SERVICES As regional customers demand increased levels of efficiency, transparency and flexibility, service providers have their work cut out for them. Reseller ME speaks to industry players to understand how they can address these evolving demands and have a successful business. 36

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com


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ransformation is synonym with business growth and development today. Organisations are seeking high-tech solutions which can aid its advancement into the digital era. In such an environment, service providers need to carve a niche for themselves and create continued prospects to remain relevant for customers. “Significant new business opportunities exist for those services providers who have begun their transformation journey. This includes Internet of Things, video on demand, mobile-based video consumption, virtual and augmented reality, among others,� says Ali Amer, managing director, Global Service Provider Sales, Cisco Middle East and Africa.

www.tahawultech.com // Reseller Middle East // DECEMBER 2017

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FEATURE // CHALLENGES FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS

Ali Amer, Cisco MEA

“Service providers by default leverage the latest communication and networking technologies to generate growing services for their consumption target markets. However, the challenges of today require large scale business and organisational changes in addition to adopting the latest digital technologies.”

Organisations are gradually adopting services such as Software-as-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). “However, this rapidly shifting paradigm brings many critical challenges, including integrating, monitoring and managing all these different services,” says Sunil Paul, cofounder and COO, Finesse. Saeed Khan, regional sales manager, Managed and Cloud Services, Emitac Enterprise Solutions, believes the other challenges faced by service providers include security issues, implementing mission-critical applications, the need for 24x7x365 support and workforce mobility. Agreeing, Amer says, “The key challenge for service providers is to make sure they are protected against the ever-increasing range of threats, without letting it all spiral out of control. A rigorous and holistic approach to cybersecurity is critical for service providers, because trust is at the heart of their business.” He further explains that the challenges, which service providers are facing at present are beyond the likes of what they have faced before. “Service providers by default leverage the latest communication and networking technologies to generate growing services for their consumption target markets. However, the challenges of today require large scale business and organisational changes in addition to adopting the latest digital technologies.” Khan says the most apt ways to meet

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the existing challenges is to ensure innovative and customised technologies. He adds, “Players must maintain the quality of services and have in place service-driven SLAs. They must be able to offer support around the clock and help customers to reduce TCO and simplify IT infrastructure complexity.” Amer adds that with around 11.6 billion mobile-ready devices and connections expected by 2020, service providers need to focus on improving speed and efficiency, defining a growth strategy based on new services, and ensuring security.

Saeed Khan, Emitac Enterprise Solutions

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com

“Customers today expect more than just basic connectivity from service providers. They want to choose from an array of services such as WAN, VPN, security, mobile, and IoT and want them managed, in the cloud, and customisable on demand,” he adds. “Customers expect a top-of-the-line experience from streaming video to seamless interaction, and anytime, anywhere access on multiple devices that fit their always-connected lifestyles with plug-and-play ease.” While there is a massive opportunity to assist customers go digital, it

“Players must maintain the quality of services and have in place service-driven SLAs. They must be able to offer support around the clock and help customers to reduce TCO and simplify IT infrastructure complexity.”


Sunil Paul, Finesse

“The market understands the value of the services business and believe that technology is not the only key element to robust protocols but the processes, best practices and policies implemented. The MENA market has a significant importance on the trust factor, it is important for a client to trust the solution provider to give them this huge responsibility of managed services.”

also requires an equally disruptive transformation of their infrastructures, technologies, and business strategies. “To transform their business into a fast, nimble organisation to be able to address digital businesses, service providers need to embrace virtualisation, choose automation, simplify their networks and employ programmability to address the most pressing priorities, which is speed, efficiency, growth, and security that will help them thrive in a fast-changing environment,” explains Amer. According to Paul, one of the biggest challenges for a service provider is also around the insecurities about data confidentiality and not owning an application. “They have to correctly assess which services should be outsourced to them and together with the customers define clearly the scope of the contract and how it is expected to evolve over time. Managed services and outsourcing are not one-size-fits-all solutions. How a customer transfers control to a third-party provider demands that both parties plan carefully for the future evolution of the requirements or relationship,” he says. He believes service providers must understand why customers prefer manageable operational expenses through them over high CAPEX and OPEX costs generally required for retaining IT infrastructure management in-house. “Increased flexibility, access to knowledge, co-innovation are added

advantages to allowing a greater focus on core activities.” The lack of adequate IT skills is another reason why regional customers prefer to outsource certain functions to service providers. “Competition for skilled staff is intense. Deploying solutions onpremise requires not only a substantial upfront expense but also additional expenditure in terms of maintenance and upgrade costs for solution upgrades and refresh cycles,” adds Paul. Amer adds that in order to drive automation, service providers need to increasingly embrace orchestration and relook at their distribution of computing resources. “With the exponential growth of end points from Internet of Things and rapid growth of broadband enabled connected mobile users, many of the future compute requirements will need to be managed at the edge of the network. This implies an immediate and overdue overhaul of how service providers will need to deploy their compute resources to manage these user requirements.” To thrive in the digital era, service providers must evaluate how to optimise and balance mobile-edge resources with deep-edge computing resources in order to meet future requirements, drive down costs and increase productivity, he adds. While most players are aware of the requirement for network function virtualisation, many service providers

themselves are only at the early stages of its adoption. “Service providers expect network function virtualisation to deliver cost savings and bring agility into their business. Among the early inhibitors are the inability to build an internal business case for adoption of virtualisation, lack of ownership on who will drive the project, lack of software skills to provide sustainability, inability to build an agile organisational structure to justify the migration to an SDN, NFV, DevOps environment, among others.” By focusing on rolling out orchestration across their networks, service providers are taking early steps towards building automation, says Amer. Over the coming years, we will see the increased dependence on service providers as customers look to prioritise their core offerings. Service providers must therefore understand customer business well and create long-term strategies to continue the association. They must be invested in their customers’ business to ensure agile and automated services are provided. Paul says, “The market understands the value of the services business and believe that technology is not the only key element to robust protocols but the processes, best practices and policies implemented. The MENA market has a significant importance on the trust factor, it is important for a client to trust the solution provider to give them this huge responsibility of managed services.”

www.tahawultech.com // Reseller Middle East // DECEMBER 2017

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PARTNER WATCH // AL ROSTAMANI COMMUNICATIONS

Service first

Youssef Fawaz, general manager, Al Rostamani Communications, outlines the firm’s strategies to become a partner of choice for IT-as-a-Service.

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he industry has been emphasising on the need to offer transformative solutions to enterprise customers in order for them to prosper in the digital era. However, there is also an imminent necessity to evolve internally so that solutions providers are in a better position to advise customers on their digital journey. Upon his appointment over two years ago, Al Rostamani Communications general manager Youssef Fawaz’ primary long-term objective has been to ensure the company becomes one of the leaders and partner of choice for IT-as-a-Service delivery. However, internal transformation has also been a top priority. He says, “Today customers are seeking business outcomes and do not focus on any one technology. They want comprehensive and effective solutions. Therefore, our vision is to become a reputed player in the IT-as-aService model in the region. “In the meantime, we have realigned our operations to complement our overall business objectives.” Today the firm boasts a solutions department, created for pre-sales, R&D, new initiatives and technology strategies. “Our services unit functioned previously in separate silos. Today we have brought it under one umbrella where we cater to multiple verticals and lines of business. Our goal is to work closely with customers to come up with business solutions rather than push specific products.” The heads of the firm’s existing divisions – telecom, ICT and infrastructure – now lead sales, solutions and services for all three. “This is how we are enabling cross department functions and where we will bring in more strengths,” he adds. Over the last two years, the solutions provider has worked on

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Youssef Fawaz, Al Rostamani Communications

“Customers are seeking business outcomes and do not focus on any one technology. They want comprehensive and effective solutions.”

rebranding itself to become a onestop-shop for its customers. According to Fawaz, with increased automation at the firm’s backend over managed processes, efficiency had doubled and executives now had more time to spend with customers. He explains, “We have enhanced our efficiency levels to not only increase our revenues but also to make it easier for customers to deal with us. As a more integrated firm, we can serve into multiple directions and angles while simultaneously meeting our objectives. We wanted to ensure digital transformation first for ourselves to bring in more efficiency to our clients.” Fawaz says the current challenge for the firm is when amateur players enter the market aggressively for a short-term and are not successful. “We have competitors who we really respect. However, the new comers affect the market perception because they are not professional in their approach to customers. “This is why we are working more on a blue ocean strategy, where we are differentiating in a niche area by

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com

displaying excellent business values.” As customers increasingly demand utility-based business models, Fawaz believes services will lead the future. “We have introduced new consumption-based business models with our technology partners.” Over the next year, we will see the firm investing more into cloud, IT sourcing, managed services under ITas-a-Service, security, IoT and artificial intelligence. “We started our journey in cloud two years ago. We have begun migrating many major clients to the technology. We are playing more into this area as it will be the future.” Fawaz adds that with the financial backing of the 60-year-old Al Rostamani group, Al Rostamani Communications is in a strong position to leverage the market opportunities over the next five decades. “We are here to stay and have longterm strategies in place. Our aim is to be a partner in its truest sense and not a supplier. In 2018, the market will see us reinforcing our IT-as-a-Service delivery and gain more market share.”


VENDOR FOCUS // REDLINE COMMUNICATIONS

Aligning for growth Redline Communications’ CEO Robert Williams and Middle East and Africa Business Development VP Guruprasad Padmanabhan, share the firm’s channel goals over the coming year.

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anada-headquartered wide-area wireless networks provider Redline Communications has been doubling down on its channel strategy over this past year. Traditionally strong in the oil and gas sector, the firm’s CEO Robert Williams, says, “We are expanding our channel partner network and investing in the region to see if we can capture the growth in different industries and markets.” Working towards its regional channel strategy, earlier this year, the vendor appointed veteran Guruprasad Padmanabhan as VP, Business Development, Middle East and Africa (MEA), to lead its sales and partner operations. Padmanabhan says, “Channel is key to how we scale the market and increase the depth of coverage across the region. We have an extensive channel programme that begins with Redline university. The aim here is to enable, engage and empower our channel partners. The strategy is to increase the depth across the region from a two-tier channel perspective. We have a robust programme targeted to ensure the channel is empowered and they are profitable by partnering with us.” The firm actively works through a two-tier partner model across Middle East, GCC, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and all parts of Africa. According to Padmanabhan, the firm has a three-course strategy in place when it comes to partner empowerment. The most important aspect is to ensure partners are well trained to understand the company’s products and positioning in the market, he says. “Redline University will be the first step to ensure partners know

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Guruprasad Padmanabhan, Redline Communications

our offerings and market positioning. The second aspect within partner empowerment is our engagement model. Here, we drive them towards lead generation activities and engage their end customers.” The vendor goes along with partners to teach them how to position its products better, when speaking to an end customer. He adds, “We also have a great certifications and rewards programme with robust margins enabling partners to be profitable with us.” Partners also have a significant services opportunity with the firm’s solutions. “They have a choice to engage us in large projects where we and our professional services are available to resell for our partners. At the same time, they can augment that with their

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com

own implementation services and can generate margin opportunities,” explains Padmanabhan. He goes on to say that the level of collaboration the firm had with its channel needed to be completely different than what it was in the past. “We need to be closely aligned with our partners. As our strategy is to focus with specific partners in particular verticals and horizontals, the relationship is much closer compared to other firms, where it is more transactional in nature. “As a company, we are channel focused and work much more deeply with our partners today. This will continue over the years to come.” According to Padmanabhan, there are two main criteria the firm looks for when seeking partners. “We are keen to work with partners who have an understanding of the market and their customers clearly. This allows us to align our technologies in the right place within the market.” The second aspect is that partners who have a penchant for investment in talent are more likely to be chosen by the firm. “We look for solutions-oriented partners who prioritise educating and training their staff. We are here to support them to transform their businesses.” In 2018, we will see the vendor onboarding many new partners across the region in different verticals. Williams adds, “Our partner network is quite robust in the oil and gas segment. We see significant opportunities in other verticals within the region. Our plan is to ensure partners that we have and the ones we are finding are well-trained and well-qualified.”


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REVIEW

SONY XPERIA XZ1

RATING

Sony’s latest smartphone Xperia XZ1 offers a sleek and sturdy design, quality display, speedy performance and a new unique feature.

Sony’s XZ1 is the latest device to join the Xperia range and the first smartphone to feature a 3D scanning technology. First things first, the company has kept true to the signature sleek design of its Xperia models. It has a rectangular rugged metal body and has premium look and feel. However, it could use a refresh to feel a bit more current. At 5.2-inches, the Xperia XZ1 has a Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) pixel display resolution. It has a Gorilla Corning Glass 5, which means the smartphone is tough enough to take on all the knocks and drops. Around the sides you’ll find the usual suspects – there’s a SIM and microSD tray on the left, which is a little flimsy. Our SIM card rack in our test device broke after a couple of times of opening it. So users will have to be very careful when opening it. On the plus side, you don’t need a SIM card removal tool or pin — just a long fingernail and you can flip the SIM slot open. On the right are the power button, volume rocker, and a camera button. We always like to see dedicated shutter buttons and wish more manufacturers added them in. On the XZ1, you can immediately launch the camera by pressing the button and use it to capture photos and videos. The power button is indented — it doesn’t stick out like traditional buttons – it also where the fingerprint sensor is. International variations of the device do not have fingerprint sensors. The device also has IP65 certification for dust-resistance and IP68 the highest possible waterproof rating. Sony claims that the Xperia XZ1 can be safely dunked in water for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1.5m and after testing it out we can safely say it’s correct.

Inside, Sony XZ1 doesn’t disappoint with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB of RAM the device has top performance in all aspects. Apps are quick to launch, touch responsiveness is great, and user interface is seamless. The smartphone also has a lot to offer in terms of hardware. XZ1 comes with 64GB of internal storage and supports microSD expansion up to an additional 256GB. It is equipped with 2,700mAh battery, which is small but can manage to last a full-day of usage. Audiophiles will also be pleased to know that the device has dual frontfacing speakers and a headphone jack. The XZ1 is also among the first devices to ship with Google’s latest operating system, Android 8.0 Oreo. However, Sony has tweaked it significantly to give a more ‘customised experience’ to include apps such as ‘Album’ and ‘News.’ Unfortunately, these extra apps sit next to their Google counterparts, which means the device has a lot of bloatware. One of the main selling points of the Xperia XZ1 is its camera. The rear shooter packs 19MP and a f/2.0 aperture, electronic image stabilisation, predictive phase detection and laser autofocus. The device’s camera produces better images with detailed and accurate colours for landscape shots. It also sports its predecessor’s slow-motion capture featured for video at 960 frames per second at 720p. But it’s important to note that good lighting is necessary for this feature to yield good results. Finally, one of the unique features of the new Sony smartphone is its, 3D creator, which allows users to create 3D scans of faces, food, and so on. The scans are ready for printing if you own a 3D printer or if you want to send to third-party printing service. It is quite tricky to use but is definitely cool and fun.

www.resellerme.com // Reseller Middle East // DECEMBER 2017

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HOT PRODUCTS

BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

FITBIT LAUNCHES IONIC SMARTWATCH IN THE UAE Fitbit Ionic is the company’s first-ever smartwatch offering. The device builds on Fitbit’s health and fitness expertise with a new relative peripheral capillary oxygen saturation (SpO2) sensor, which according to the company, makes allows it to track deeper health insights like sleep apnea. It is equipped with features such as GPS tracking, on-device dynamic workouts, improved heart rate tracking, and water resistance up to 50 meters. Smart features like on-board music, smart notifications. Fitbit Ionic is also compatible with variety of popular apps and clock faces that arezavailable in the Fitbit App Gallery. Ionic incorporates a five-day battery life, automatic activity and sleep tracking, and cross-platform compatibility. The Fitbit app software development kit (SDK) is open to developers. Ionic runs on Fitbit OS, the company’s new operating system for smartwatches that will be regularly updated to add new user experiences. Fitbit’s App Gallery offers a range of health and fitness apps such as Exercise, Fitbit Coach, Relax, Timer and more, as well as popular apps that are designed to make life easier and for

EPSON ANNOUNCES NEW ENTRY-LEVEL SCANNER convenience when you’re on the go. Each app is designed specifically for Ionic so you don’t have to download an accompanying mobile app or have your smartphone nearby. Fitbit Ionic is available at Virgin Megastores, Sharaf DG and Sun & Sand Sports for AED 1399.

INTEL UNVEILS FIRST CLIENT OPTANE SSD Intel has launched the Intel Optane SSD 900P Series, the first SSD for desktop PC and workstation users built on Intel Optane technology, which has been designed collaboration with Roberts Space Industries. The Intel Optane SSD 900P Series delivers low latency and quality random read and write performance at low queue depths – up to four times faster than competitive NAND-based SSDs, said the firm. According to the vendor, with the new SSDs, users will unlock more

potential from their platform. The Intel Optane SSD 900P Series is ideal for the most demanding storage workloads, including 3D rendering, complex simulations, fast game load times and more. It offer up to 22 times more endurance than other drives also gives the heaviest users peace of mind. The Intel Octane SSD 900P Series is available through local online retail outlets worldwide. Earlier in the year, Intel unveiled new Xeon chips to boost data centre business.

Epson has announced the DS-410 scanner, which offers productivity features at an affordable price. This makes it ideal for small or homeoffice users looking to buy a featurepacked business scanner, as well as IT departments that want to equip desktop scanner fleets and stay within budget. The DS-410 provides a range of productivity features including double feed detection and paper protection technology to make sure originals are protected and every page is scanned. A set of advanced LED sensors detects when two pieces of paper have been picked at once, instantly stopping the machine and alerting the user. Meanwhile paper protection helps prevent misfeeds and damage by stopping automatically when the device detects stapled or skewed documents. The DS-410 is bundled with Epson’s new Document Capture Pro 2.0 software, which offers a simple but powerful software solution for scanning, separating and routing documents throughout a business. As well as helping automate business processes, the software provides advanced image enhancement and automatic file-naming. Document Capture Pro 2.0 will be bundled with all new Epson scanners, and is compatible with most existing scanning products.

www.tahawultech.com // Reseller Middle East // DECEMBER 2017

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HOT PRODUCTS

OPPO TOUTS F5 IN THE UAE OPPO Electronics has unveiled its latest device, F5, its first fullscreen smartphone featuring the firm’s AI Beauty Recognition technology, which is designed to personalise and enhance a selfie image. The smartphon’s AI Beauty Recognition technology gathers information and learns the specific facial features of different people from its global image database of human faces. Professional photographers and make-up artists were consulted during the R&D process, resulting in the AI technology which makes selfies look so much more attractive, said the firm. The F5 features a 20MP front camera with an F2.0 aperture and a 16MB rear camera with F1.8 aperture. The device is OPPO’s first 6.0-inch full-screen FHD+ display device, giving the user a vivid visual enjoyment without increasing the size of the phone. It features a high-resolution 2160 x 1080 screen with 18:9 aspect ratio. The F5 comes with Facial Unlock, the new face recognition technology that will recognise its user and unlock the phone. If the user prefers to use the fingerprint unlock function, the fingerprint reader is now on the back of the phone. A fingerprint reader is also available. OPPO’s Color OS 3.2, together with 4G RAM + 32GB ROM memory gives the operating system a much smoother user experience. A triple slot tray supports two Nano cards and one TF card simultaneously. The O-share file sharing technology is 100 times faster than Bluetooth. Priced at AED 1199, F5 was launched in the UAE market last evening. The company said that two other models will also be available later; the F5 6GB edition and the F5 Youth.

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INFINIX RELEASES ZERO 5 IN DUBAI Zero 5, the latest smartphone offering by Hong Kong-based fimr Infinix, has recently been launched in Dubai in partnership with local e-commerce giant Souq.com. The company said Infinix said that the two versions, Zero 5 and Zero 5 Plus, will be priced at AED 999 for the 64GB+6GB model and AED 1199 for the 128 GB+6GB model. Using Android’s Nougat operating platform, the Zero 5 boasts an optical Zoom Dual camera and massive 16 MP front-facing camera, rear fingerprint scanner and protective screen features. The Zero 5’s rear dual camera uses both a 12 MP wide-angle lens and a 13 MP telephoto lens, with a 2x optical zoom and 5x digital zoom, and an f/2.0 aperture. There is also a special Portrait Master Mode that uses an RGBW

sensor and multi-frame noise reduction technology to assist users in capturing the perfect hero shot, said the firm. Infinix has dubbed its front camera as the ‘Selfie Camera’. The selfie cam is a mega 16 MP four-in-one camera with an LED flash to boot. In a market where the selfie is king and Instagram reigns supreme, Infinix expects the 16 MP front camera to take things to a new level and become a must-have accessory for selfie lovers. The company also launched its latest pair of over-ear active noisecancelling headphones the Quiet X. The Quiet X connects through CSR Bluetooth 4.2 and boasts a battery life of more than 25 hours. Available in options of black or silver colours, they use aluminum rechargeable batteries and weigh just 260 grams, said the firm.

XIAOMI ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF REDMI NOTE 5A PRIME IN EGYPT Xiaomi has launched a brand new smartphone, its Redmi Note 5A Prime, in Egypt. Redmi Note 5A Prime is Xiaomi’s first phone with a Selfie-light that simulates the effect of natural light. This produces enhanced selfies with clearer facial features, brighter skin tone, and more expressive eyes. Paired with a 16MP front facing camera, it ensures selfies come out bright and clear even in challenging conditions. The device also features 5.5-inch HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass, a 13MP f/2.0 ear camera and 3080mAh high-capacity battery. At its core, Redmi Note 5A Prime features an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor, along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of on-board storage. It also has a built-in fingerprint

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com

sensor at the back for added security, an uncommon staple in smartphones in this price range. Redmi Note 5A Prime comes with a two-plus-one SIM tray design, which allows two SIM cards and one microSD card to be used at the same time, while memory can be expanded up to 128GB. Finally, a built-in IR blaster means the device also doubles up as a universal remote control. Redmi Note 5A Prime will also be made available at Xiaomi’s first Authorized Mi Store in Cairo City Stars Mall and in the online platform Jumia.


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TRANSCEND RELEASES STOREJET 600 FOR MAC Transcend has announced the release of the StoreJet 600 for Mac. Housed in a metallic casing, this light and durable StoreJet 600 for Mac matches the sleek lines and elegant curves of Mac devices. The StoreJet 600 for Mac features the latest USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface and preformatted HFS+ file system, allowing it to be used right out of the box. The device utilises the USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface, which achieves double the transfer speeds of USB 3.1 Gen 1 devices, and meets UASP standards to boost transfer rates up to 470 MB/s. In addition, both a USB Type-C cable and a USB Type-C to Type-A cable are included in the package to accommodate Mac models featuring the Thunderbolt 3, USB Type-C, or USB 3.0 interface. The aluminum casing of the StoreJet 600 for Mac befits its status as an Applecompatible SSD for its lightweight, modern, and sturdy design. The device’s alluring

space-gray hue complements the sleek design of Mac computers. The StoreJet 600 for Mac is ready for immediate use, having been pre-formatted with the HFS+ file system. Supporting Time Machine backup, the StoreJet 600 for Mac is ready to act as backup storage where needed. Transcend Elite is an advanced software package compatible with both macOS and Windows that features powerful userfriendly applications, such as backup and restore, data encryption, and cloud backup to help users manage data and increase productivity. The software can be downloaded from the Transcend website, making saving, sharing, and taking your digital files with you easier than ever before. Transcend’s StoreJet 600 for Mac portable SSD is offered in 240GB capacity, and is backed by Transcend’s three-year limited warranty.

HP INTRODUCES 24-INCH DESIGNJET T830 MULTIFUNCTION PRINTER HP has unveiled the new HP DesignJet T830 24-inch Multifunction Printer, an ultra-compact, large format printing solution for architects, engineers and construction teams to seamlessly collaborate onsite and across sites by printing, copying, scanning and sharing plans with a single device. The 24-in T830 printer joins the HP DesignJet T830 Multifunction Printer Series creating a portfolio that can handle any size project, yet offering the same HP DesignJet quality and reliability in what is now the most compact MFP device available in the market. According to the company, the device is ideal for architecture studios and construction offices preferring a smaller footprint, the HP DesignJet T830 offers a convenient solution with a range of communications options that can help

increase collaboration. Print, scan, copy, and share drawings, project schedules, renders, presentations, and more. The device is capable of immediate sharing of projects meeting results to peers and partners. It also has a variety of key features such as wireless printing from smartphone, tablet or computer with Wi-Fi Direct and HP Mobile Printing. It is optimised for HP Smart app to share scanned images with email contacts and post to cloud. In another HP DesignJet product development, HP announced the expansion of HP Click to all HP DesignJet T-series printers. With no need for a driver, the software offers easy, simple one-click printing, plus drag and drop multipage PDF printing and real-print preview, while optimizing media usage and costs.

HTC PREVIEWS U11+

The bigger iteration of HTC’s U11 smartphone, the HTC U11+, allows users to enjoy interacting with their device on a larger screen. The device has a 6-inch display with 18:9 aspect ratio, which is ideal for watching movies and playing mobile games. It sports a 3,930mAh battery you can depend on will set your mind at ease as you do more of the things you love for longer. Using the HTC U11+ is a breeze with one hand thanks to Edge Launcher, which lets users access notifications and all your apps with a single hand, and Edge Sense allows users to squeeze to perform your most common useful actions. The U11+ is equipped with high quality cameras, intelligent voice assistants, the loudest ever HTC BoomSound with 30 percent more volume, HTC USonic earbuds with Active Noise Cancellation, IP68 weather-resistant liquid surface design, and the latest Android Oreo experiences with Qualcomm power. The HTC U11+ is available in Translucent Black, Ceramic Black, and Amazing Silver beginning midDecember in select markets across the Middle East including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

www.tahawultech.com // Reseller Middle East // DECEMBER 2017

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Tech talk Reseller Middle East's Online Editor Adelle Geronimo shares her views on the current tech scene.

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Adelle Geronimo, Online Editor, Technology Division

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oday, everything from phones, watches to televisions, thermostats and even cars are becoming ‘smart.’ In the era of ‘smart economy,’ autonomy and transportation are ahead of the innovation race with companies introducing their own iterations of selfdriving vehicles left and right. Vehicles on the road have been getting technologically more sophisticated. Investments and projects involving self-driving technology are racking up at a dizzying rate with developments from tech giants like Google, Uber, Tesla and more. In the local scene, Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority have been pioneering projects and joint ventures involving different kinds of autonomous vehicles from self-driving cars to aerial taxis. Apart from sheer convenience of being able to take your hands off the wheel, the major appeal of self-driving

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cars is safer roadways. But how safe are they? In November this year, a self-driving shuttle and a delivery truck collided in Las Vegas. Although no one was harmed in the accident, the incident raised a lot of concerns about the safety of autonomous vehicles. When it comes to the safety of the passengers of autonomous vehicles, and the safety of other drivers and pedestrians around them, there’s a fair bit of skepticism from the public. The machine learning technology these vehicles are integrated with are also often developed organically and humans have limited understanding of how the system actually works, which makes government regulators nervous. A recent research by Gartner has revealed that 55 percent of respondents would not consider riding in a fully autonomous vehicle, while 71 percent would consider riding in a partially autonomous one.

DECEMBER 2017 // Reseller Middle East // www.tahawultech.com

I believe that for autonomous vehicles to fulfill its potential and meet people’s expectations of reducing road accidents, it won’t be enough for them to be loaded with software that will enable them to drive safely. They must also be the ultimate defensive driver, ready to react when others around them drive unsafely. Self-driving vehicles must be taught to understand not only how to be an efficient law abiding driver, but they should also be programmed with data on how they can avoid or respond to potential risks and threats on the roads. Nevertheless, a lot of the autonomous transportation projects are still in its testing phase and there’s still definitely a lot of improvement needed. We should keep in mind that it is important to get every bit of technology right. While this may mean it will take a little longer before we see actual selfdriving cars operating, it will also mean that we can be rest assured if they are safe to be on the roads.


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Reseller Middle East December 2017  
Reseller Middle East December 2017