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ISSUE 207 // march 2014 WWW.RESELLERME.COM

PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ

Women of the

Channel

Emerging vendors in the region

review: Dell venue 11 Pro


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CONTENTS

ISSUE 207 // march 2014

cover feature

Highlights 6

29

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

Opinion 24 Flash transforms storage

Elavarasu Shanmugam from Gulf Business Machines highlights the less known aspects of flash storage.

interview 26 Making a difference

Gary Hopwood, Manufacturing Channel Manager, Infor, discusses the responsibilities in his new role.

Women of the Channel

Feature 45 Setting up shop

The Middle East is set to grow at an escalating rate, say the new and emerging vendors in the region.

vendor focus 50 Change to expand

Sofocles Socratous from Seagate Technology discusses the uptake of cloud solutions in the region.

52 Image innovators

Axis Communication’s Martin Gren says the Middle East is adopting new technologies faster than other markets.

54 Being in sync

61

59

Canon ‘S’ series IP cameras

Harm Radstaak from HID discusses the company’s channel strategy and security trends in the region.

Review 57 Review: Dell Venue 11 Pro

Touchmate 7-inch tablet

60 SonyXperia M2 march 2014

Reseller Middle East

3


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Editorial Group Editor Jeevan Thankappan jeevan.thankappan@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1513 Assistant Editor Janees Reghelini Contributing Editor Anna Bricker Online Editor James Dartnell Advertising Sales Managers Merle Carrasco merle.carrasco@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1510 Nasir Bazaz nasir.bazaz@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1512 Circulation Database and Circulation Manager Rajeesh M rajeesh.nair@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1645 Production and Design Production Manager James P Tharian james.tharian@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1643 Designer Analou Balbero analou.balbero@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1504 Digital www.resellerme.com DIGITAL SERVICES Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy P Maagma Web Developers Erik Briones Jefferson de Joya

Jeevan Thankappan Group Editor Talk to us: E-mail: jeevan.thankappan@ cpimediagroup.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/ ResellerME Twitter: @ResellerME

I’d the opportunity to attend the 2014 edition of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month. The show bears little resemblance to its previous incarnations, when it was all about operators and networks. This year, a host of connected devices were on display at the show including the latest and greatest in smartphones, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a sprawling booth of Tech Data Mobile, among the major telecom and IT giants on the show floor. Mobility is big business, and global distributions giants such as Ingram Micro (with its Brightpoint acquisition) and Tech Data have already established focused business units to tap the growth in this space. Back home, I know some of the regional distributors have made some steps in this direction by establishing mobility business units. But, unfortunately, it is still largely restricted to the distribution of mobile phones or tablets. I think it’s a case of missing the wood for the trees. If you go by predictions, almost two-third of enterprises in the region have plans for mobility. The opportunity for the channel to deliver and support innovative mobile apps and the services around it is huge. Resellers need to work proactively with clients to understand their needs and deliver customer mobile apps that can solve real business problems and generate revenue in the process. Though it’s clear that Middle Eastern companies are investing in mobility, there are still some concerns about security and privacy. Mobile security remains largely untapped and another area that the channel players should address is around mobile device and application management. There has been a huge surge in mobile application development, both in terms of 3rd party and custom-developed ones. Resellers should be geared to help their client through the whole mobile application lifecycle, starting off with the development, testing to provisioning and management. The opportunities in the mobility space is limited only by imagination and it promises rich dividends to those who can get a grip on this complex mosaic and execute with clear vision and intent. Don’t let these opportunities go a-begging.

Photographer and Social Media Co-ordinator Jay Colina webmaster@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 440 9100 Published by

Registered at IMPZ PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 375 1500 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 Printed by Printwell Printing Press © Copyright 2014 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.

march 2014

Reseller Middle East

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highlights

News

Ruckus and Global Reach sign strategic partnership

Selina Lo, President and CEO, Ruckus Wireless

Ruckus Wireless and Global Reach Technology, a provider of carrier-grade cloud-based Wi-Fi software solutions, has announced a strategic partnership, aiming to give service providers and enterprises the ability to provision, manage and monetise public smart Wi-Fi access services in a simpler manner. According to the statement, under the partnership, the companies are integrating and marketing their respective products, bringing together Ruckus Smart WiFi infrastructure solutions with Global Reach’s innovative cloud-based policy, management and authentication technology. Both companies said that the combined solution now gives organisations unprecedented customisation of, visibility into and control over Wi-Fi access services. “We believe the combination of Ruckus Smart Wi-Fi with Global Reach’s Cloud-based software services will effectively transform

the market for managed public Wi-Fi access networks,” said Nigel Wesley, Chief Executive Officer, Global Reach. “Our combined hardware/software solutions dramatically simplify how managed Wi-Fi access networks are designed and managed by giving customers the power to create highly customised and carrier-grade public access services in hours rather than weeks or months,” Wesley added. “Global Reach has established a remarkable position in the managed service market with a complete portfolio of Cloudbased software services that have become instrumental in the monitoring, management and monetisation of wireless public access services,” said Selina Lo, President and CEO, Ruckus Wireless. The companies have both successfully delivered managed Wi-Fi solutions to a number of private companies and public sector organisations.

Edgewater Networks appoints FVC as VAD

K.S. Parag, Managing Director, FVC Dubai-based FVC has signed a distribution agreement with Edgewater Networks for its EdgeProtect series of Enterprise Session Border Controllers (ESBCs) in the Middle East. The EdgeProtect series will be a key addition to

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Reseller Middle East

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the distributor’s Unified Communications portfolio that includes video conferencing and video streaming. According to the statement, the new product range is ideally suited to SMBs that are extending the benefits of

video collaboration beyond the conference room to mobile employees, business partners and customers. “We are continuously evaluating new and complementary technologies to add to our portfolio and the EdgeProtect 7000 Series enhances our current video conferencing platform, providing our customers with a more usable, manageable, and operational Unified Communications solution for video,” said K.S. Parag, Managing Director, FVC. “In a region where small and medium businesses (SMB) are increasingly adopting video communications, we see exciting new possibilities with this partnership with

Edgewater Networks across the MENA region.” The EdgeProtect Series resolves key challenges for video faced by small and medium businesses (SMB) including firewall traversal, device interoperability, provisioning of mobile clients, quality of end-user experience and security. “Edgewater is excited to have FVC on board as an authorised VAD of our EdgeProtect line of ESBCs,” said Dave Norman, CEO, Edgewater Networks. “Using our solution, FVC’s partners will be better aligned to provide superior seamless integration of video conferencing for multiple deployments, including mobile devices.”

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highlights

News

FDC ProValue to distribute QNAP’s NAS solutions FDC ProValue, the value-added division of FDC International, has recently signed a distribution agreement with QNAP to distribute the vendors’ full range of Network Attached Storage products in the Middle East, North Africa, Levant and Central Asia region excluding a few countries in the GCC. Ram Praveen, Business Unit Manager, FDC ProValue Division said, “FDC has been distributing two major brands of Enterprise Storage in this market and FDC will complement the QNAP NAS along with these storage brands. This is in alignment to our vision of providing cloud solutions to partners. This also complements our overall solutions

strategy where we have networking and security portfolio as well.” Commenting further on plans for QNAP’s storage business, Praveen said, “One of the first things we plan to so is educate the partners for QNAP, since it’s a wide geography. The channel of different countries need a distributor who provides value by conducting events regularly in their local territory and we have planned to meet this requirement. In today’s scenario, the partner requirement is not only for just products but also for intelligent solutions, to address this, we will bundle the QNAP chasies along with Enterprise Storage ProValue division providing direct relevant solution.”

Ram Praveen, Business Unit Manager, FDC ProValue Division

Gartner: MENA public cloud services to total $620 million in 2014

The public cloud services market in the Middle East and North Africa region is on pace to grow 21.3 percent in 2014 to total $620 million, up from an estimated $511 million for

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Reseller Middle East

2013, according to the latest report released by Gartner. It also indicated Software as a service (SaaS) is expected to grow 29.1 percent in 2014 to $126 million.

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Gartner further predicted that from 2013 through 2017, $3.8 billion will be spent on cloud and related services in the region, $1.1 billion of which will be spent on

business process as a service (BPaaS). “Public cloud services continue to grow rapidly around the world and MENA is no exception,” said Ed Anderson, research director at Gartner. “Growth in MENA is expected to be slightly higher than the rest of the world led by strong growth in SaaS, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). Organisations are turning to cloud computing to realise business benefits such as increasing their speed in responding to changing market

conditions and lowering IT costs.” Cloud services in the MENA region will be strong across all cloud services market segments through 2017. SaaS is expected to grow from $97 million in 2013 to $253 million in 2017. IaaS is expected to grow from $60 million in 2013 to $138 million in 2017. The market in the MENA region is predicted to demonstrate high growth through the forecast period. IT spending on public cloud services in the region is expected to reach $1.1 billion in 2017.

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highlights

News

Focus Softnet signs up Xplicit Systems in Nigeria

Moses Uvomata, Director, Xplicit Systems, and Ali Hyder, CEO, Focus Softnet

Focus Softnet has announced that it has signed a partnership agreement with Xplicit Systems to distribute its range of IT software solutions in Nigeria. According to the terms of the agreement, Xplicit Systems will be the vendor’s gold partner for its enterprise software solutions such as Focus i, Focus RT and Focus 6 and a value

added reseller for all other Focus products. “Focus Softnet is an established software solutions provider with customers across the globe. Focus’ solutions are feature-rich, highly customisable, simple to use and very competitively priced and hence we felt it will be a good fit for our customers in Nigeria,” said Moses Uvomata, Director,

Xplicit Systems. “We will work closely with our partners and resellers across the country and aggressively sell Focus’ enterprise as well as vertical solutions. We are confident that Focus’ products will be well accepted in the Nigerian market,” Xplicit Systems has joined Focus Softnet’s partner program as a gold partner for Focus i, Focus RT and Focus 6. The company will be able to avail of valuable resources, competitive pricing and highly-accessible support from the vendor. As a gold partner, Xplicit Systems will be able to offer value-added services and expertise when positioning and selling Focus’ solutions. Through continued investments in developing additional sales competencies and technical certifications, Focus Softnet will ensure that Xplicit’s customers and partners will receive high-quality solutions and services. “We are very happy to sign on Xplicit Systems as our gold partner for our flagship products Focus I, Focus RT and Focus 6 and as a value added reseller for our verticalspecific solutions and business process solutions,” said Ali Hyder, CEO, Focus Softnet. “The value Xplicit brings to the table is its tremendous expertise and immense market knowledge. The company has deep understanding of the Nigerian market and our solutions and we are confident they will help us establish our customer base and increase our market share and reach across Nigeria and the wider West African region.”

Misys acquires IND Group Misys, the financial software company has acquired IND Group, a digital channels solutions company. According to the statement, the acquisition adds consumeroriented solutions to Misys’ core banking capabilities, delivering the broadest retail banking solution in the market. This acquisition builds on the partnership, which the financial software company signed with IND Group in March 2013 and will augment future investment in the combined offering. IND brings to Misys a wealth of technical expertise, innovation and a passion for changing the way in which banks interact with customers. The suite of pre-integrated solutions is now available to all banks, including Misys’ 500

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march 2014

plus core banking customers equipping them to deliver an omni-channel experience to consumers. The company said, these customers are now able to leverage greater customer insight across both branch and online interactions banks, transforming their digital channels into a customer engagement and sales business, giving more opportunities for revenue generation. “This is very exciting for us and our customers,” said Nadeem Syed, Misys’ CEO. “The market for digital banking is exploding. More than half a billion people already use mobile devices for personal banking and this is set to double in the next four years. This deal reinforces our digital banking proposition in this rapidly

expanding area by adding consumeroriented solutions to our offering. It helps us continue to grow our business, following six straight quarters of revenue growth, and secure our leadership position in banking.” Balázs Vinnai, IND Group CEO added, “Our vision has always been to help people better understand their daily finances and give everyone the chance to have an easier and healthier financial life. Consumers look for convenience and ease when choosing financial products. We equip banks with the tools to improve the experience for anyone dealing with their finances. Joining Misys will help make this global vision a reality faster by accelerating the development of our digital channels solutions.”

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highlights

News

Brocade enhances APN Programme Aiming to strengthen its SDN market position, Brocade has announced the roll-out of an enhanced channel programme, including a new component specifically designed for software networking partners. The Brocade Alliance Partner Network (APN) channel programme will now include SDN-focused deal registration and demo programme discounts, as well as a global reseller initiative for Brocade Vyatta vRouter products. The APN programme updates also support new initiatives for reselling Brocade Ethernet fabric solutions. Ethernet Fabrics is another area that the company has demonstrated market leadership, with over 1,400 customers having deployed Brocade’s VCS Fabric technology – more than any other vendor in the industry, said the company. When Ethernet fabrics are combined with SDN initiatives— including those that will evolve out of this programme—network operators will be able to optimise their environment for virtualisation on every level.

Bill Lipsin, Vice President, Global Channel Sales and Marketing, Brocade said, “With the introduction of the Brocade Vyatta 5400 vRouter into the channel and the new SDNfocused APN programme initiatives, Brocade is delivering on its promise of empowering partners to succeed while furthering its existing business and technology efforts. We are focused on building technology solutions around the vision and possibilities created by Ethernet fabrics, and the new channel programme supports that goal.” The updated partner programme incentivises and supports partners in the SDN space, giving the channel a distinct competitive edge as organisations prepare for the inevitable shift towards SDN and similar and related solutions. It enables partners to increase profitability and enhance skillsets through software networking-specific materials, sales and technical kits, updates to existing channel enablement platforms, demos and technical and sales training. Brocade plans to roll out additional APN programme changes in the second

Bill Lipsin, Vice President, Global Channel Sales and Marketing, Brocade half of 2014 that will include more indepth specialisation updates, as well as key programmes to reward partners that are providing managed and cloud service provider (MSP) and (CSP) programmes.

StorIT launches new subsidiary

Suren Vedantham, Group Managing Director, StorIT Distribution

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StorIT has launched its new subsidiary, Data Science Technologies (DST), for Big Data analytic business. As a wholly owned subsidiary of StorIT Distribution, Data Science Technologies will function as an independent company focused on providing cutting-edge tools, integration services and application development capabilities related to Big Data Analytics. “Big Data is no longer a buzzword but has become one of the biggest technology trends today with more companies realising the potential of harnessing their structured and unstructured data in order to gain a competitive edge. This presents huge opportunities for the channel but not many can capitalise on these disruptive technologies because of the sheer scale of knowledge and skilled resources required to translate the potential of Big Data in enterprise organisations into actionable insights”, said Suren Vedantham, Group Managing Director, StorIT Distribution.

Organisations, in both private and public domains, are drastically ramping up investments in Big Data analytics as the hype around it in the last couple of years is turning into apparent value proposition that can define their core competencies. “Enterprises across the world are planning to implement predictive analytics which can help use Big Data to increase productivity and profitability in all areas of business. DST has got the right pool of data scientists, developers, consultants, business practitioners and visionaries, who constitute the Big Data Practice, with industry-specific experience and skills to deliver appropriate solutions,” Vedantham added futher. DST has initiated a channel development programme to enable its reseller partners with the necessary skills and resources to identify and address the high-growth potential opportunities in the Middle East region.

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highlights

News

Palo Alto signs up FVC as VAD for KSA

Ronald Hajj, Chief Innovation Officer, FVC

FVC has signed a distribution agreement with Palo Alto Networks, a provider in enterprise security. Under the new agreement, FVC will be distributing Palo Alto Networks’ next-generation security solutions to enterprises across Saudi Arabia.  According to the company, Palo Alto Networks has pioneered next-generation enterprise security with an innovative platform that allows businesses and governments to secure their networks and safely enable an increasingly complex and rapidly growing number of applications. The agreement strengthens FVC’s information security portfolio with Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewalls, management solutions and security subscriptions. Ronald Hajj, Chief Innovation Officer,  FVC said, “This partnership offers a great opportunity for our partners to provide

future proof security solutions through state of the art next-generation firewall from Palo Alto Networks, a recognized leader in this space. Our enterprise customers (no matter what the size) can benefit from advanced security features and policy enforcement at application, user and content level. We are looking forward to working with them to expand their distribution network in Saudi Arabia. We already have highly qualified security experts on the team that will make the introduction of Palo Alto Networks solutions to our partners easy. We see a lot of potential growth with this partnership.” “The Middle East region represents a substantial growth opportunity for Palo Alto Networks,” said Ercan Aydin, Director of Emerging Markets, Palo Alto Networks. “We are pleased to work with FVC to win in Saudi Arabia,” he further added.

AccessData partners with Help AG in Gulf AccessData through distribution partner Advanced Risk Mitigation (ARM), has signed Help AG as a preferred partner. The partnership extends to UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are key growth markets for the company and enables Help AG to offer their market leading cyber security, digital and mobile forensics and e-discovery solutions to regional enterprises. Stephan Berner, Managing Director, Help AG said, “As the frequency of cyber attacks is growing rapidly across the region and e-crime becomes more sophisticated, organisations are beginning to realise that they need to think beyond traditional security solutions and embrace technologies that integrate digital forensics and incident response and remediation. AccessData is a pioneer in these areas and we are happy to add the company as a new strategic vendor partner to our portfolio. AccessData complements our existing products and services and regional organisations will appreciate the leading technology in cyber security, incident response & remediation

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and digital forensics.” Help AG will promote AccessData’s market leading technology, including its Cyber Intelligence & Response Technology (CIRT), Forensic Toolkit (FTK), AD Lab and Mobile Phone Examiner Plus (MPE+) technologies. The company will direct its efforts across verticals such as government, telecommunications, energy, utilities, and banking and finance, which historically have been prime targets of cyber terrorism and breach attacks. As per the agreement, AccessData and ARM will extend its support to Help AG for the fulfillment of client SLAs when required. ARM will also conduct trainings and workshops to enable Help AG to fulfill all required sales & technical certifications and become a preferred partner for AccessData. Vivian Gevers, Managing Director, ARM said, “We look for partners with a high degree of technical competence and experience in the security industry. Help AG is a leading and trusted security expert providing strategic consultancy and

Stephan Berner, Managing Director, Help AG tailored information security solutions and services to a large number of diversified and high-profile enterprises across the Gulf. As such, they are a perfect fit to our partner ecosystem and we look forward to working closely with Help AG to help grow AccessData’s business in the region.”

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highlights

News

Enterprise Systems to distribute Brocade solutions Enterprise Systems has signed a value-added distribution (VAD) partnership across Middle East and Africa (MEA) with Brocade, an endto-end global networking vendor. One of Brocade’s main priorities and focus in 2014 will be on strengthening and enabling its regional channel ecosystem and signing this distribution partnership is a big step in this direction, says the company. “Trends like cloud computing, mobility and BYOD and big data are putting increasing pressures on data centre networks of regional enterprises and they are beginning to realise the importance of upgrading and modernising network infrastructure. Industry analysts like IDC have predicted that Ethernet Fabrics is the future of networks and Brocade has established itself as a pioneer and leader in this technology. As such, the potential for regional uptake of Brocade’s solutions is huge. It is also at the forefront of other exciting technologies that are shaping the future of the industry, like SDN and NFV. We are excited at the prospect of partnering with Brocade in order to assist regional enterprises in modernising, future-proofing and optimising their networks,” said Pouya Parsafar, Managing Director, Enterprise Systems. Enterprise Systems will focus on recruiting and managing channel partners that have technology expertise in line with the vendor’s

solutions. It will offer its partner programme to select resellers which includes technical, sales and professional services training on Brocade products. The company will also extend the expertise of its certified technical team to assist the channel with solution design and implementation as well as Proof of Concept (PoC) deployment. The build-up to Dubai Expo 2020 and Smart City initiatives by governments all across the region will enable the its growth further. “We intend to capitalise on this market opportunity and our dedicated and passionate team will work hard to actively promote the Brocade value proposition to customers in the region.” Enterprise System has lined up several initiatives including the launch of a support centre for Brocade later this year, offering second line support to channel partners. The company has developed an in-house lab and invested in Proof of Concept (PoC) units for resellers to test, train and familiarise themselves with Brocade solutions. It has also recently opened an office in Riyadh to start supporting the Saudi market. The distributor will focus its efforts on the government, finance, healthcare, hospitality and education sectors, which traditionally have been key verticals for Brocade in the region. “The addition of Enterprise Systems

Pouya Parsafar, Managing Director, Enterprise Systems

strengthens our distribution model. The company shares the same values and vision as Brocade, has an excellent market reputation, an impressive portfolio of large enterprise customers in varied verticals, a wide partner network and a highly competent technical team. All these attributes make it a valued partner,” said Yarob Sakhnini, Regional Sales Director, MEMA, Brocade.

Ricoh expands Middle East channel network Ricoh, a global technology company specialising in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services, is expanding its channel network to include power retailers and resellers across the Middle East for their range of consumer printers, including its GelJet printer range.

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Ahmed Kamal, Regional Sales Head, Middle East & Africa, Ricoh’s International Division said, “We are currently in the process of developing a partner support programme for existing partners in the region.” Ricoh has appointed Supra as its authorised distributor for UAE and FDC for the Levant region to expand its presence

across some of the key retailers in the region. “This year we have made a decision to enhance our product portfolio with more entry level printer models to be able to enter the small office home office (SOHO) segment,” explained Kamal. “In the Middle East, we haven’t worked within this segment before. Our

colleagues in other countries started this process over three years ago and we can now leverage their experience to expand into this market segment. For home and small offices, the Ricoh SME print range is perfect, requiring little IT set-up and delivering time and cost saving features, ease of use and marketleading reliability.”

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highlights

News

VIP Computers exits MENA & SA markets

Harprit Singh, MD, VIP Computers In a recent development, the shareholders and management of the VIP Computers group have decided to make a controlled exit from the Middle East North Africa (MENA) and South Africa (SA) markets. This move reflects the company’s desire to redirect resources and increase focus on core markets across Europe and USA, where the group is positioned as a system manufacturer as well as a broadline distributor. According to the company, its MENA and SA operation, headquartered in Dubai, has remained profitable after its first year in the market, and was able to build recognition and a sound reputation within a short period of time. The local team, led by Managing Director Harprit Singh, created a strong channel for storage products, and diversified from the group’s business model. In an amicable split, Singh will be joining hands with a European company specialising in storage, “We want to ensure that we can provide business continuity to the customer base of VIP in the region. All after– sales support will continue to be provided by VIP Computer Centre Limited, United Kingdom,” Singh added.

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Reseller Middle East

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Logicom expands Cisco operations to Iraq Logicom has announced a new strategy to develop its coverage in Iraq. According to the company, this investment is part of its commitment to grow Cisco’s business in the Middle East. It will be the only authorised Cisco distributor to cover the whole Middle East region, both through a local presence and remotely, through its partners in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, UAE, KSA and the Gulf, said the statement released. With its international reach and local coverage, Logicom will offer consistent value-added services based on Cisco products and solutions, as well as enablement activities for its partners, including solution-demos and training events. Nicholas Argyrides, Director of Sales and Marketing – Distribution, Logicom commented, “Undeniably, Logicom’s focus on Iraq has never been greater. While being in the process of solidifying our in-country expansion, the aim of this project is to make the best of our multinational presence in the Middle East and serve our Iraq-focused partners in any way and from any location we can. Leveraging on our six

Nicholas Argyrides, Director of Sales and Marketing – Distribution, Logicom offices and warehouses in each of the adjacent countries definitely helps.” Logicom kicked-off its 2014 activities in Iraq with the successful Logicom-Cisco Partner Forum, held at the Erbil Rotana Hotel on January 15th. The event aimed to inform partners about Logicom’s local Cisco operations in Iraq, provide updates on the latest Cisco technologies, programs and promotions, and explore business opportunities that could help boost partners’ sales and profitability.

Misys hires new regional sales director for MEA

Scot Spear, Regional Sales Director, MEA, Misys Misys, a provider of software solutions to financial services institutions, has appointed Scot Spear as its new regional sales director for Middle East and Africa. Spear will oversee new business development and client relationships across the MEA region. His background, proven delivery of results and leadership style will help Misys grow its business further in the MEA region, said the company. Spear brings more than 25 years of software sales and marketing experience

to Misys. He joins from P2 Energy Solutions where he was responsible for the MEA sales team and EMEA channel partners. Prior to that, he was at Apex Analytix. Adding on, Frank Brienzi, President and Chief Sales Officer, Misys said, “We are very excited to have Scot on board and believe that he will bring the discipline and focus required to help deliver on our growth projections. Scot brings valuable experience to our business to ensure that we improve operational excellence, continue to build a high performance sales organisation and execute our vision to grow significantly in the MEA region.” Spear said, “I am delighted to join Misys and to combine my industry knowledge with the expertise Misys has gained in the Middle East and Africa. As the company grows its business in this region, I look forward to leading the team and meeting our customers’ evolving needs with high quality and innovative products.”

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highlights

News

Red Hat appoints new GM for META

Faycal Saile, GM, Middle East, Africa and Turkey, Red Hat Red Hat has appointed Fayçal Saile as General Manager for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region. In this capacity, he will be responsible for the overall direction and management of sales, business development and support operations. He will also play a key role in the development of the company’s ecosystem with partners, systems integrators, alliances and distributors in the region. Saile said, “I am delighted to be joining Red Hat at an exciting time when the region is showing an increased interest in cloud, Big Data and mobility technologies. Red Hat continues to make strategic investments in the business, is expanding into new geographies and is constantly bringing innovation in open source software solutions to the market. I look forward to working with Red Hat associates to help accelerate the company’s growth by supporting our customers, partners and employees throughout the region.” Saile comes with more than 16 years of sales and business development experience across several international markets. His previous stint was in a leadership role at Fujitsu. His earlier roles include regional sales leadership assignments at Fujitsu. Prior to which, Saile worked at Hewlett Packard in the Managed Services Division, handling outsourcing engagements.

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AOC-MMD partners with Jumbo Electronics MMD, the brand license partner for Philips displays, and AOC, has signed a strategic partnership with Jumbo Electronics. As per the agreement, Jumbo Electronics will offer AOC products in UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Iraq, while also distributing Philips products in Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Iraq. “In line with our corporate objectives and commitments to our customers, AOC-MMD continues to forge strategic relationships with leading distributors, such as Jumbo Electronics, that extend our market reach,” said Vineeth Sebastian, Regional Sales DirectorMEA at MMD and AOC. “Jumbo Electronics has a tremendous network of resellers and subdistributors, and a strong history of delivering quality products and solutions that address the critical challenges faced by customers, when it comes to display products.” According to Sebastian, the partnership will also focus on channel development, and corporate and in-retail market in assigned countries. “This will offer more brand awareness and knowledge. While we plan to offer a wide range of AOC and Philips models, we know for sure that volume will come from entry level

Vineeth Sebastian, Regionals Sales Director-MEA, MMD and AOC. models. Once that happens, we will slowly push for B2B models,” explained Sebastian. Rajesh Aiyar, the Deputy General Manager for ITD at Jumbo Electronics said, “We are very pleased to have reached this agreement with AOC-MMD, to sell and market AOC and Philips range of display products. This partnership demonstrates Jumbo Electronics’ commitment to provide the best display solutions currently available, and enables us to focus on developing our portfolio with the next generation products.”

StarLink launches ‘StarLink Choice’

Nidal Othman, Managing Director, StarLink StarLink has conducted its Annual Partner Conference for 2014 in Dubai, following another year of record growth and expansion, according to the company. During the all-day event, StarLink and six of its key strategic vendors presented to strategic partners, and resellers alike, to enhance engagement and strengthen business relationships.

The Partner Conference was attended by over 100 channel partners from across the Middle East region and the event was kicked off by unveiling ‘StarLink Choice’, which is the company’s new 2014 Channel Incentive Programme, as well as, technology overviews and vendor keynotes from FireEye, RedSeal, Dell SonicWall, Bit9, Core Security and TITUS. Nidal Othman, Managing Director, StarLink said, “We are extremely pleased with the excellent feedback we have received from Partners who attended the Conference. StarLink is gearing up to exponentially increase Channel momentum this year by optimizing the revenue and profitability potential for partners. On behalf of all at StarLink, we would like to thank our Channel Partners for attending this successful event, as well as, for their continuous dedication over the years, and we look forward to helping our Partners achieve exponential growth in 2014”.

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highlights

News

Avaya’s nidal to head global growth markets Avaya has named Nidal Abou-Ltaif as President for the recently formed Global Growth Markets (GGM) sales theatre, which encompasses Middle East, Africa, Turkey, India, Russia, CIS, and Greater China. Abou-Ltaif previously led the Middle East, Africa and Turkey region for Avaya. During his decade-long tenure at Avaya, Abou-Ltaif has achieved double-digit growth year-over-year, increased presence from two regional offices to 15 in Middle East and Africa, and grown the regional channel community to more than 1,000 partners. Prior to joining Avaya, he held various sales leadership roles with AT&T and NCR Corporation, his last role being Area Director

for the Middle East, East Europe, Russia, Turkey and Africa. Abou-Ltaif succeeds Michael Bayer who is leaving the company to pursue other interests. “We’ve been on a path to drive Avaya’s growth and revenue,” said Pierre-Paul Allard, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and President, Global Field Operations. “To support those goals, we created the GGM theatre to better serve our customers and provide them with faster access to executive members. Nidal has established Avaya as one of the top 10 most powerful IT enterprises in the Middle East and, under his leadership, I am confident that we will achieve our ambitions in GGM.”

Nidal Abou-Ltaif, President, Avaya

Brocade names new regional director for MEMA

Yarob Sakhnini, Regional Director, MEMA, Brocade Communications Brocade has appointed Yarob Sakhnini as Regional Director for the Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa (MEMA) region. Sakhnini will be responsible for leading the sales and pre-sales engineering teams as well as planning and executing channel and marketing strategies to help grow the company’s business in the region. Sakhnini is a networking industry veteran with over 21 years of experience in various senior technical management roles including his last position as director,

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systems engineering, MEMA at Brocade. He started his career as a networking engineer with CNS, a leading UAE-based infrastructure integrator and managed services provider. He moved to 3Com and was responsible for systems engineering activities in the Middle East and North Africa. He also served at Foundry Networks as systems engineer for a little under eight years before the company was acquired by Brocade. Since then, he has been involved in building a stable, result oriented and customer driven pre-sales engineering team at Brocade. Marcus Jewell, Vice President EMEA, Brocade said, “Yarob has been instrumental in shaping the success of Brocade in the region so far. His long history with the company, high degree of technical competence, extensive engagement with customers and partners and deep understanding of market dynamics make him the ideal candidate to lead Brocade’s efforts across MEMA. We expect Yarob to drive the sales team to deliver the true value of our technologies to customers.” Sakhnini believes that Brocade’s innovative technology coupled with

favourable market trends augurs well for the company. “Brocade is a leading networking vendor with a holistic approach to building complete data center network infrastructures ranging from our market leading Ethernet Fabric technology to our storage networking to software-defined networking. The region is experiencing momentum in two areas. The first is data center buildouts and consolidation to construct public and private clouds and the second is major infrastructure buildouts for public services like health and education. Both these areas mesh perfectly with Brocade’s plan and focus areas from a technology standpoint as well as our partner ecosystem,” said Sakhnini. Channel enablement is high on Sakhnini’s agenda this year and the company will invest heavily in partner training and certification programmes. “With our new local channel team and localised channel programmes, our partners will realise and appreciate our renewed commitment and focus. We are adding internal resources as part of our growth strategy and also reinventing our marketing approach to build higher brand recognition,” he said.

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opinion

Flash storage

Flash transforms storage technology Elavarasu Shanmugam, Storage Sales Leader, Gulf Business Machines, highlights the less-known aspects of flash storage, in an age where increasing number of organisations are opting for analytics, and the requirement for low latency and quicker responses from storage is on the rise.

Elavarasu Shanmugam, Storage Sales Leader, Gulf Business Machines

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Organisations are seeing a huge growth in structured and unstructured data and it is becoming critical to analyse the right set of data, which is important for the business growth. CIOs are trying to enable organisations to unlock the business value of data and are confronted with the challenge of designing and maintaining a robust storage architecture that could effectively support the spiral data needs of the organisation. CIOs are increasingly looking for storage architecture that is cost effective, and that can maximise the utility of existing storage, without compromising on the enterprise features such as performance,

Reseller Middle East

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availability, scalability, advanced features, reduced energy consumption and carbon footprint. Disk technologies in the last few decades have seen tremendous transformation both in the speed and form factors. Similarly, the capacities on disks have massively grown from Gigabytes to Terabytes. Traditionally, Hard Disk Drives (HDD) were used as a storage technology in enterprises. Fiber Channel Hard Disk Drives were traditionally used for getting high Input/Out Per second (IOPS) or Thru puts, while the rest like Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and Serial ATA(SATA) disk were considered for lower performances. There is a need for more efficient and faster storages because of the fact that over the last 10 years the processor and the associated bus speeds capabilities have improved 10 fold, while the network capabilities and speeds have increased 100 fold whereas the storage performance has only increased 1.2 times. In the last few years the Solid State Drives (SSD), which was used in consumer electronics, like cell phones and tablets have now started making inroads in enterprise. Applications now demand much higher performance, and SSDs were developed to facilitate these requirements. Despite this, SSDs still fail to quench the thirst of applications for low latency responses, and that creates the need for more and more in-memory processing for databases. Memory modules would increase the cost of this solution, and will be limited in scalability.

This is where Flash storage will play a very important role, as a highly efficient re-writeable memory, can speed the response times of information gathering in servers and storage systems from milliseconds to microseconds. Its speed is due to the fact that Flash contains no moving parts. The technology is more reliable, durable, and more energy efficient than spinning hard drives.  Such benefits have led Flash to pervade the consumer electronics industry and be built into everything— from cell phones to tablets.   Flash is becoming a key requirement in enterprise due to the growing demand of data, faster analytics, and its ability to bring down energy costs in data centres.  Given the economics and performance of Flash, this is creating an innovative transformation on Enterprise IT Customers. To lead this transformation, IBM has invested hugely in research and development to design, create and integrate new Flash Solutions into its expanding portfolio of servers, storage systems and middleware. In October 2012, IBM completed the acquisition of Texas Memory Systems, Inc., a company that specialises in Flashoptimised systems. Flash technology has, and continues to fundamentally transform the paradigm of IT Systems, enabling new use cases of numerous applications.  Flash can enhance the performance, efficiency and design of essential enterprise applications and solutions, and is clearly the way forward in enterprise technology. //

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interview

Gary Hopwood

Gary Hopwood, Manufacturing Channel Manager, Infor

Making a difference Infor’s new Manufacturing Channel Manager, Gary Hopwood, takes Reseller ME through his new role and strategies in place for the region.

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www.resellerme.com


Gary Hopwood, the recently appointed Manufacturing Channel Manager for Infor has been in the region for the last 20 years. His first stint was with GBM and from then on, has worked with a number of organisations in the country, which were primarily hardware-based. Transitioning into software around six years ago, Hopwood moved to Infor in November last year, from SAP. Confident with an affable personality, Hopwood hopes to develop the company’s partner community in the region, drawing from his experience in direct sales. What are your key responsibilities in your new role? My role effectively is channel sales manager for the manufacturing space for Infor across the geographical area, so I manage UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Libya and Egypt from a channel sales perspective but purely within the manufacturing space. In Infor, we have different industry verticalisation, my role is specifically in the manufacturing component of that. What kind of growth are you seeing in this region? It is growing in terms of revenue. We have actioned an investment plan over the last six to 12 months after a recent visit by the CEO. It is now coming to a fruition and we are starting to bring in some more people, which will drive the growth even further. Currently, we are looking at revenue numbers in excess of 20 percent, specifically in the manufacturing space. The growth has been a bit slower in developing new partners. With the new investment plan, we aim to develop the partner community, which is also one of my key objectives. We have around 25 partners in the region today. And the plan is to enhance and develop that. The idea is not to add 100 new partners but to add partners in

specific territories, which will increase value to the business proposition. How do you plan to get more partners on board? Is there a strategy in place? We have a strategy from a corporate perspective where we are utilising the experience and skill set from people like myself that are in the channel sales team to target specific partners that we know in that particular space or geography. We are also running certain number of events to target new partners and demonstrate the value proposition from the company’s perspective. We do marketing campaigns where we target partners and customers within a particular space to develop sales opportunities and so on. And we are also enhancing the Infor Partner Network (IPN) programme here, for

partners. And although my background is in direct sales, the idea is to bring on board, experience and expertise into the Infor space of dealing and managing with large customers but doing that within the umbrella of partner-led sales effectively. What is the way ahead for Infor? In terms of growth, the expectations will exceed the 20 plus that we have been seeing over the past couple of years. It is the case of getting the message out to the market about the proposition that Infor can bring to customers. And from a partner perspective, it is identifying who can work together with us, to go out and target specific industries and to develop that value proposition. That is the key aspect for us right now, identifying which partners are open to

“We have around 25 partners in the region today. And the plan is to enhance and develop that. The idea is not to add 100 new partners but to add partners in specific territories, which will increase value to the business proposition.” example we are currently recruiting a channel recruitment head. And that person will be responsible for effectively going to the market and identifying opportunities with new partners and going through the processes of bringing those partners on board. Could you discuss the sales strategy in the region? Sales strategy is channel-based because it works better in the region, as customers want localisation from a support perspective. And from Infor perspective, we don’t have the infrastructure here today to manage a direct business, therefore, the strategy has always been to work through our

work with Infor and have the skills and capabilities in the application space that we operate in. Our focus, currently, is ensuring that these building blocks are in place. We have the right partners in the right countries that have the right experience levels to go out and develop the business. There is massive opportunity at the moment, across the Middle East in terms of the economic climate. We need to make sure that we are there to ride that wave and provide the value to the customer we know we can bring. This is something, we have demonstrated back in Europe and in the States. And now we need to replicate that in this region. //

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Women of the channel Cover feature

Women of the Channel

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cover feature

Women of the channel

The Visionary Aneeta Gupta

Visionaire’s CEO Aneeta Gupta’s love for AV introduced her to the technology world. A finance graduate with forte in accounts, she began her career working in her father’s business. After which, she got the opportunity to dabble in television, first as an actor then as a producer, for shows, documentaries and news capsules. Born with entrepreneurial genes, Gupta soon identified that she wanted to start something of her own in the technology world. “I always looked for new things to do. Probably why, the idea of having our own manufacturing of notebook computers came to me. This was quite niche at that point in time, because PCs were just getting established in the market. I came up with this concept of mobile computing, which is modular,” Gupta says. Today, 20 years later, that idea has materialised into one of the largest systems integrators in the Middle East region. Did she know in 1995 that the company would grow to this level? “No! Also then, nobody could have imagined where technology would reach by today,” she adds. She has never allowed a stereotype thought deter her work in any way. And this is probably because her parents never differentiated between her brother and herself, she says. “It’s all about the woman taking the first step and keeping her expectations high. If you have expectations, only then can you meet or exceed it. But, if you don’t have any, then you are going to be static,” she explains. Firmly believing that change is inevitable, she urges young aspirants to learn from transformation, “and keep learning from mistakes.”

The challenger Anita Thomson

StorIT’s Channel Account Manager, Anita Thomson says she got the first taste of the channel business as an accounts assistant with a vendor, admitting that her heart wasn’t in this job. Noticing her acumen for sales, one of the sales manager at the company, requested her help in an urgent situation as he was out of station. “That was the first leap into my sales career and I have not looked back ever since,” she says. “As a product manager when I started handling the channel business, I was interested by the business acumen that the job required and the detailing with which it had to be handled. Seeing that I was managing my partners well, my MD suggested I handle the channel. I was looking forward to this change. And it is an interesting aspect of any distribution business,” she adds. Coming across as a decisive person, she says that she has faced gender biases at times, as almost all her counterparts are men. “But being dynamic, I bond in such a way that it becomes easy and comfortable for interactions to happen.” The biggest strength that she brings to her work is her positive attitude. “I am always filled with hope and I never give up,” she adds. Meeting new partners and the challenge to bring them on board continues to motivate and keep her going each day. Believing that the key to success is sheer hard work and faith in oneself, Thomson advises young aspirants, “To always have a positive attitude and be prepared for change— it is the essence of life. You need to adjust to the changing environment and this will make you successful.”

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www.resellerme.com


the definer Asal Jafarzadeh

Asal Jafarzadeh, COO at EMT Distribution is armed with 15 years of experience, out of which, 10 years have been in the IT field. Her interest in dealing with different people, companies and culture eventually led her to transition from finance to IT. Working with large IT companies in the region and continuous interaction with channel partners further cemented this decision. She says, “Our team needs to feel at home, one of my main aim is to make sure the most valuable component of our company remains happy and at the same time is efficient, on the other hand our channel partners need proper back-end to be able to provide support properly.” For Jafarzadeh, new challenges, new technologies, friendly work environment and innovation keeps her motivated and excited about work. Another source of motivation, is her husband, who has been a great role model, she says. Describing herself as determined and goal-oriented, she says the main challenge in the channel business today is credit and competition. “On one hand, partners expect us to be flexible and on the other, we need to be very careful about our operations too, so it is not an easy job to satisfy both parties,” she explains. She is very clear about how to be successful—define a goal and focus to achieve it. “Everyone can achieve their goals by focusing on what they want to do and by separating personal and career life,” she says.

The seeker Fadia Abi Ayad

A results-driven person, Fadia Abi Ayad, Regional Distribution Manager, Middle East, Dell began her tryst with IT in 1999, when local distributor, Aptec-Ingram Micro, appointed her as sales manager in French-speaking Africa. In this role, she was exposed to the distribution and channel business. Then in 2004, she decided to get on the other side and joined Acer where she was responsible for various regional sales roles in Africa, focusing on channel sales, marketing and programmes. Four years later, she joined Dell Middle East as Channel Marketing Manager in 2008, where she was given the responsibility to build the structure of the channel for the consumer and commercial business. “In this role, I had the opportunity to use the knowledge I had acquired from my previous experience to build the foundation of Dell’s value proposition to the channel,” she adds. With the vendor, she worked on recruiting, enabling and incentivising the channel. This led to her promotion to her current role in 2010, where she manages the company’s commercial distribution business in the Middle East. Ayad strongly believes that her greatest strengths are resilience and positive attitude, “which is an asset when driving business and sales,” she says. Advising young aspirants, she explains, “Knowledge of today will not be enough to be successful tomorrow; you always need to be thirsty and challenging yourself to learn more and to stay relevant. Stay true to yourself, and if you are authentic people will remember you.”

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Women of the channel Cover feature

The leader Marissa Safe

FDC’s COO and Vice President, Marissa Safe has gotten to the top through sheer hard work and dedication. And this modesty is reflected in her personality when one meets her. She learned about IT in California, where she began her career. Then, in order to be closer to her Iranian roots, she moved to the Middle East. Having climbed the ladder, Safe has experience all stages of growth. With a technical background, she learned to sell in a country where it is not easy to sell, for example, like in the US because of excessive competition. She implements this learning effectively in her company, today. She adds, “I am a social person who like to learn about people and enjoy understanding different cultures.” When people gain experience and enhance their life, they are enabled further. “I love this part of my work as it is encouraging to see how these individuals can now add more value to the society and to the people around them. If I can say I have achieved something, it is making people confident and understanding their abilities. And to know I might have played a role in this further motivates me,” she says. Inspired by her mother, Safe says, her husband too, has been a great source of support and has played an important role in her success. People don’t usually expect to find a woman in the IT business, and there are advantages and disadvantages to this. But it comes down to how you handle the situation. “Women in the Middle East industry need to come forward, because they are doing something more than just work, they are essentially changing the culture,” she explains.

The optimist Maya Kreidy

The key to success could be different things to different people. For Maya Kreidy, Regional Channel Manager, GCC, McAfee, it is about determining one’s strengths and weaknesses, then focusing on only the positive qualities. This is what has helped Kreidy to be successful and motivated, in her current role. From her previous stints with various vendors and distributors over the last six years in the country, she has discovered her passion for building a healthy channel and working closely with partners to enable them. Six years ago, she used to be the only woman in the team. Today, she says, the times have changed and women play important roles in the marketplace, including the IT business. “It is all about how you position yourself and deal with people around you to gain their respect and trust. I have had a great experience with the end users and partners that I have dealt with and only on rare occasions have I felt the gender discrimination in the business, especially in the UAE,” she says. Kreidy further admits that being a channel manager is not an easy job, “since you don’t only have to deal with the channel partners but also have to build a strong bond between the partners and the McAfee sales team. A vendor can never work without a loyal channel base and the channel partners need the vendor’s support to penetrate into the market and to close deals. The challenge is to win and maintain a balanced relationship between the company and its partners,” she explains. For Kreidy, her role model is her father, who has played a crucial role in instilling her with confidence and courage to pursue her goals.

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cover feature

Women of the channel

The risk-taker Meghan McCarthy

Meghan McCarthy, Cisco’s recently appointed Sales Manager, has had the opportunity to work in a number of different roles within the company itself, over the last 16 years. She says that in technology, there aren’t many women and because of this, she stands out. “At the beginning of my career, this would have made me nervous but the more mature I get, the more confident I become. I know I’m still a minority in terms of numbers but I don’t see it as a confidence blocker.” Instead, she sees it as having a value-add, as being a woman, she brings a different perspective to the table, which results in a different outcome. It’s simply the question of how one handles and tries to maximise the situation, she adds. Having worked in three different countries—the US, the UK and now the Middle East—she is definitely passionate about what she does, but more than that she is a risk-taker. Adding on, she says, “I don’t see negative outcome as failure, I see it as an opportunity to learn.” Sales has interested her right from the beginning. She enjoys the complex work environments, where she has to find the best way forward for all parties involved. For McCarthy, it’s not about balancing work and home life, it’s about integrating. “How do you integrate different parts of your life to make it work for you?” she asks. That’s the important factor. Inspired by Hillary Clinton, she says, the key to success is identifying what you do the best and bringing that into which ever job you are doing. “As opposed to worrying about, is this the right job for me? It was a turning point for me when I figured this out,” she concludes.

The trendsetter Mechelle Buys Du Plessis

How Dimension Data’s Senior Sales Manager, Mechelle Buys Du Plessis started out in the IT space makes for an interesting story. A South African who has made UAE home for the last seven years, she began her career in IT, 20 years ago. In 1994, South Africa was undergoing political change with the topical general elections that would transform the fate of the country in the years to come. At that time, Du Plessis found herself working in the country’s first mobile telecommunications network rollout. One of the election laws mandated all voting polls to have communication in place, without which the election wouldn’t take place. Termed as ‘Project Election’, Du Plessis had to deploy communication systems to all the voting polls, even in the rural areas, which was challenging. “I haven’t studied IT at all, this was how it all began,” she reminisces. Although she comes across as a down-to-earth, confident leader with a dynamic personality, Du Plessis calls herself an introvert. She says, “My leadership style is from behind, I lead from the back. I think the qualities that I bring in are diligence, punctuality and commitment. Our industry is a tough one and it is a 24/7 industry. What we do has a direct impact on every single client’s business. By virtue of that, it is continuous, there is no rest, there are no time scales,” she explains. And in order to manage this busy schedule along with personal life, she shares that she has had to implement hard disciplines in her life. “In terms of telling myself to just stop at certain intervals. And to take the time out and spend it with my family,” she says.

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Print & AV Reseller Opportunities

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cover feature

Women of the channel

The trust-builder Nadine Welly

Dell’s Area Manager for Bahrain and Levant region, Nadine Welly has been in the channel business for a little over a decade. One of her proudest achievements is putting “challenging countries such as Iraq and Yemen on the map from a revenue and enterprise-mix perspective”. Believing that all challenges are opportunities, she says that people wonder how she handles these two war-recovering countries, being a woman. “With ever-shrinking time constraints increasing responsibilities and lack of resources, this challenge has inspired me to think outside the box and get creative on how to achieve my goals,” she adds. Another element that helps further is understanding thoroughly local demands and cultures. She considers her ability to build strong relationships with channel partners as one of her key strengths. For Welly, her inspiration comes from the channel. “Transforming believers into achievers and that involves identifying relatively small potential partners and helping them grow into one of the key partners in a given country,” she explains. Being a young successful woman herself, she urges other young aspirants to believe that they are their own brand. “Integrity should be the basis of all business and in fact personal relationships. In sales specifically, we all want to win and close deals but deals may come and go, but with people trust and loyalty, you will be able to resolve most business issues. It’s something that you would have to earn and something I would not compromise on,” she says.

The spirited Nawal Khan

A decade old in the UAE channel industry space, Nawal Khan, Channel Sales Manager - UAE & Oman, Lexmark International, Middle East, believes it was destiny that brought her to the IT field. “I had joined Emitac Distribution as IPG Channel Sales Manager when I just came to the country and there was no looking back since then. The channel industry is now home to me,” she says. Khan believes it’s her positive attitude, determination to achieve and confidence in facing challenges that have brought her to where she is today. Describing herself as “resilient”, Khan says, she has never experienced any gender biases in the business. People will treat you the way you allow them to treat you, she says. Enjoying her work immensely as it gives her the opportunity to meet many interesting people, Khan says multitasking and people management can at times be a challenge. “My current role involves not just sales but business development, customer satisfaction, working on pricing, creating promotions for resellers, liaising with service people, ensuring that distributors are maintaining and rotating stocks. Being the face of Lexmark and first point of contact for the channel is interesting but also challenging at the same time.” Khan attributes her biggest achievement as becoming the person she is today. “The efforts and fight I have put in to every little achievement of mine has helped me to build my character,” she adds. Urging young professionals to never stop dreaming, she says, “Work on your strengths instead of spending too much time pondering over your weaknesses. Be positive. Have a Dream.”

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The Achiever Rachielle Araga

Rachielle Araga, Senior Channel Manager – UAE and Lebanon, Computer Systems Division, Toshiba Gulf has had the opportunity to experience all sides of the channel. She began her career in 2000 with a leading UAE retailer and moved on to Emitac where she learned the ropes of the channel, which eventually paved her way to Toshiba. “I have experienced the full cycle of the IT industry from a retailer to a distributor and now finally to the vendor,” she says. Describing herself to be a people person, Araga says she enjoys learning about different personalities and cultures. Also, that she has never experienced any gender biases. All that matters, she says, is to have maintained dignity and focus on the job. “At the end of the day, you are just delivering what is best for you,” she adds. According to Araga, there are no shortcuts to success. You have to work hard and at the same time work smart. “Being a hardworking person, I would like to be an inspiration to other young people. It is a fast-paced industry, if you stop for a while, you could miss out on new technologies.” And this fast-paced environment is also precisely why she finds the job interesting. Looking up to Richard Branson as a role model, she goes on to say that she doesn’t mind going back to the basics “because I know I can achieve the same or more success. I’m confident that I can sell anything.” She advises young women to not underestimate their potentials. Quoting Jim Collins from the 2014 Global Leadership Summit, she says,”The greatest danger is not failure, but to be successful without understanding why.”

The explorer Rakhie Nair

Had Rakhie Nair, Business Development Manager – VBG Software, Metra continued to work in India, she would have, by now, been a software engineer or an analyst. But when she moved to Dubai, around eight years ago, taking advantage of opportunities present at that time, she entered the channel world, a job that she is passionate about today. Started out in a sales and marketing role, Nair says, she has gained vast experience over the years and handles the whole of GCC region for the distributor, today. Although, it is challenging to identify partners and get them on board, especially in complete new markets such as Iran and Iraq, she says, the quest for new partners also keeps her motivated. Moreover, she enjoys the fact that work keeps her busy. Usually, distribution is said to be a monotonous business, “but fortunately, some of the products that I handle involve getting into the client’s side as well,” she says. When it comes to work, by being a “bit aggressive and a bit perfectionist”, she has managed to reach where she is today, early in her career. Seeing herself in a more senior role in the next few years’ time, she says her greatest strengths are maintaining the relationships she makes and carrying them forward from one organisation to another. Balancing home and work life is possible, she says, as long as you know your limits. “Life is busy and tough, with supporting family members and colleagues, it becomes possible to manage both aspects.” And what’s more, Nair is also currently pursuing her MBA part time.

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cover feature

Women of the channel

The integrator Reeman Ansari

Bringing hands-on experience of 14 years in the IT space, Reeman Ansari, Regional Manager Channel – MENA, VMware began as an entrepreneur and was part of one of the first 20 companies who set shop in Dubai Internet City (DIC). However, she soon realised that entrepreneurship wasn’t her cup of tea. She says, “It is important for us to know where our strengths are, what we value the most and then move towards that direction.” At that point in time, what was more appealing to her, was Corporate America. “I had a passion for technology and innovation, multinational environments, vibrant and dynamic cultures, extensive learning possibilities, rewards and recognition.” This led to her joining Compaq as a sales rep. Between Compaq, HP and Cisco, she says she had the opportunity to manage system integrators, solution providers, technology partners, consulting and integration partners and distribution across the Middle East region and these experiences eventually brought her to VMware. IT is indeed a male dominated area, she says, and women in IT should just be themselves instead of trying to fit in. Adding on, she says, that veterans in the industry can play a role in mentoring younger women. According to Ansari, one of the most difficult aspects faced by working women is the consistent stress over work-life balance. But in her opinion, this is a myth. “There is no work-life balance. It is an all integrated life,” she says. Motivated by being a role model for her kids, she says, “I go to work every day to prove and foster in my kids the respect, talent, and ability of every women to succeed and make a difference.”

The Propeller Sarah Mews-Sultani

Sarah Mews-Sultani, Channel Development Manager, Citrix got into the channel business when she decided to look for a new challenge from working in a project management software and consulting company, where she represented multiple vendors in the Middle East region. “Having seen and learned a lot from the partner community by dealing with various vendors, I wanted to translate my learning to the perspective of the vendor. I strongly believe that knowing business from the partner point of view will have good impact on business.” Having the experience of knowing the business from the partner’s viewpoint, added value to Citrix as “I understood the pain points between vendors and partners and what can help to tackle them. I am also dedicated to ensuring my partners succeed,” she explains. Describing herself as driven and dedicated, she says she hasn’t faced any gender biases in her career. She strongly believes that as long as one proves her professionalism, knowledge and fairness to any involved party — be it a customer, partner, vendor, or any other third party — there won’t be any scope for such discrimination. “In fact, there are more women working in technology in the UAE as compared to other regions,” she adds. A sincere ‘thank you’ goes a long way in motivating Sultani. Apart from appreciation on her hard work, she says, “Also, the satisfaction of seeing things through to the very end, after putting in the effort motivates me to go on.” A certified PADI rescue diver and recently, also a new mother, Sutlani says when not working, she loves photography, animals and the environment.

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cover feature

Women of the channel

The entrepreneur Savitha Bhaskar

In the world of IT, it is not as often as we like, that we see a woman in the driving seat. Savitha Bhaskar, General Manager and Co-founder of Condo Protego, a valueadded reseller in the region, is one such woman who entered the business desiring to be closer to the end customers. Her IT stint began in the 90s, where she worked with IBM as one of its Key Account Manager for an ISU and the go-to-market model was evolving from a direct selling one to more of a channel-based one. This is when she realised that she missed the direct customer-facing role. So even though she had to move down the supply chain, this led to co-founding Condo Protego in her early 30’s, together with her husband, Andrew Calthorpe. Bhaskar says that being daring enough “to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming an entrepreneur” is one of her greatest achievements till date. Responsible for the daily operations of the company, Bhaskar believes in motivating herself to go beyond her goals each day. She believes that even though she is good at what she does, there is always room for improvement to grow and become better. Describing herself as a perfectionist, she goes on to say that her strengths include using instinct and intuition to anticipate and address situations much in advance. “I also have bull-headed persistence—I never give up regardless of the hurdles in my way,” she adds. Inspired by women like Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi, she believes, “No matter what gender or nationality you come from, as long you work hard, you can overcome any challenges that you may face in education or at the workplace.”

The go-getter K.U Shankri

K.U Shankri, Owner, Lucky Star got into the channel business in the region, working with different IT players, over two decades ago. Driven by her entrepreneurial acumen, she opened Lucky Star in 1998 and since then, has only focused on growth. “Over the years, we have opened a number of stores. All showrooms have different focuses,” she says. Originally an electronics and communication engineer, she credits a part of her success to her father. “He always encouraged me to be independent and brought me up with lots of freedom,” she adds. Also deriving support from her husband, she says, “In this industry, you need to take a lot of risk and at the same time you have to do things with courage. For me, this has only been possible because of these two men in my life who have supported me professionally and personally.” Shankri says her desire to constantly do or undertake new goals has helped her immensely in her career. “And apart from that, being adamant and a perfectionist has enabled me to reach this level.” But above all, she understands the human value and treats her staff as family. When it comes to gender biases, Shankri says, “I haven’t faced any challenges particularly being a woman. I’m bold enough to tackle the issues better than any man.” She urges, “Don’t treat the next door person as a man but treat him as a colleague and there will be no gender biases.” It’s only by being strong-willed and determined, has she been able to reach the top, and also her insatiable desire to excel keeps her going.

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The inventor Sherifa A Hady

Sherifa A Hady, HP’s Director, Enterprise Group Distribution for Middle East, Africa and Mediterranean is a veteran in the industry with over 22 years of experience. An electric engineer by education, Hady got into the IT world, “because she wanted to invent something.” She adds, “I wanted to just roll up my sleeves and come up with something that would save the world. Although, I didn’t end up doing that, but now am working with HP, a company who does invent great products.” She says, although she wanted to work as an engineer, she was rejected several times because of her gender. Most companies, back then, felt the job profile wasn’t appropriate for a woman. “I really took that to heart,” Hady shares. Twenty years later, the scenario has changed quite a bit. Companies such as HP has many objectives towards workforce diversity and ensures that they have certain percentage of women in management roles. Hady loves the challenges she faces each day, irrespective of, if it is business, external or even a time challenge. She says, “My ultimate goal is to, if I can’t invent something, then at least create value.” She says prioritising goes a long way in managing time and doing all the roles a woman has. “Women need to encourage other women because at times, it’s we, who are the inhibitors to our own growth. Entities such as the media, government and corporates can do a lot more,” she says. Hady’s principle of life is simple,“if you snooze, you lose”, and it’s no wonder she loves running as a hobby.

The believer Simran Bagga

“Winners are not quitters and quitters are not winners,” says Simran Bagga, Hosting Licensing Sales Manager, Middle East and Africa, Microsoft Corporation. Bagga got into the channel business by “sheer chance”, she says. “There was a position in Hewlett Packard, India to lead the consumer business as retail IT in Business India. It was a challenging assignment as I traditionally have no formal education in technology. I decided to accept the offer and the rest, as they say, is history.” Indeed, it is. Born and educated in India, Bagga moved to Dubai with Compaq, about 15 years ago. And after a brief stint with IBM, she moved to Microsoft Gulf in 2006, to handle various roles. Building strong business partnerships across the channel ecosystem and being perceived as a trusted advisor within the partner community are the strengths she brings to her work. Bagga says she hasn’t faced gender biases in this business. “Microsoft as an organisation has been focused in driving diversity initiatives around the world. We do recognise the unique value of our diversity, by supporting women in their career development, empowering, rewarding and recognising them for their efforts,” she adds. She also urges women to appreciate the value they bring as individuals in their role, team and organisation. Bagga loves to explore new places, travel, indulge in yoga and meditation, and listen to retro music. She advises young women entering this industry to “Go ahead, fall down, the world looks different from the ground.”

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feature

Women of the channel

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Women of the channel Cover feature

The enthusiastic Sushma Kajaria

Decision-making, establishing relationships and rolling out strategies come to Sushma Kajaria, Regional Channel Manager, Trend Micro as naturally as breathing. “Any questions about the channel or Trend Micro, even in my sleep, I’ll know the answers immediately, it’s become second nature for me,” says Kajaria. Having had an extensive experience in the channel business, she says the strengths she brings to her work are the relationships she holds within the channel community. “The people I used to deal with in the early stages of my career are now 12 to 13 years into the industry, holding senior positions. The relationships are at a very high management level,” she explains. She shares that she values these strong relationships and enjoys seeing how strategies that she rolls out has a direct effect in a shot span of time on a particular business. She says, “When I started out, there weren’t too many women around and even now, at times, I’m probably one of the few women in management meetings.” Breaking into a smile, she says, “I’ve got to say, I like it, when you talk you get the attention.” On a more serious note, she adds, companies today are looking at balancing their work force and this is encouraging. Playing out different roles in her life, from being a mother to a successful career woman, she says, “Rather than chasing time, you need to manage it. I don’t think I miss out on any part of my life as I ensure everything fits within my day.”

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Emerging vendors feature

Setting up shop The Middle East region has grown to be an important hub for ICT solution providers over the years. Infrastructure growth and fast adoption to new technologies have changed the face of many countries in the region. Global players and entrepreneurs are finding it impossible to ignore the opportunities present here. But understanding that a channel-based strategy works best within these countries, most of them are in the process of signing up partners, who can help enhance their business. Reseller ME features new and emerging vendors in the region.

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Emerging vendors

A10 networks

Comarch Middle East

Glen Ogden, Regional Sales Director, Middle East, A10 Networks

Bartosz Demczuk, Business Unit Director, Comarch Middle East

“The Middle East region offers companies, that are prepared to invest up front, incredible opportunities for growth,” says Glen Ogden, Regional Sales Director, Middle East, A10 Networks. Present since 2009, the application networking solutions provider has embraced the region as key to its EMEA strategy. And growth is high in this region because operators and enterprise alike are looking for products that can deliver a wide range of features and security “without the burden of expensive operational expenditure on licensing,” Ogden explains. He further says, the success of the company comes down to its CEO, Lee Chen’s vision. Foreseeing that trends such as mobile computing and BYOD will have a huge impact on businesses, Chen set about building a robust and scalable platform to meet demands, even before the first smartphone or tablet was available. “After that, he launched the AX platform based on ACOS.  This platform was built to maximise the performance of the most expensive system resources, processors and memory in order to deliver the highest performance Application Services Gateways (ASGs),” shares Ogden. And from here on, there was no turning back. Today, the company is a 100 percent channel-driven one, operating through a two-tier model. “Our channel strategy is based around choosing the right partners for each region, leveraging their expertise and customer relations and providing them with A10 training, on-site assistance when needed to help drive their continued growth,” he further says. Scope Middle East has been its primary distributor since 2009 and recently also has signed up Oxygen, to complement its growing business. “When selecting partners, we look for those companies that share our vision of close relationships with customers, high levels of expertise with an understanding of marketing to reach out to new prospects who are yet to hear about the A10 story,” Ogden says.

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Comarch Middle East, a key player in the telecommunications industry, is present in various countries across the GCC region, such as the UAE, Qatar, Yemen and Iran. At the moment, the company is focusing on activities with clients in the GCC, Asia and Africa regions. Bartosz Demczuk, Business Unit Director, Comarch Middle East says that working in one of the most competitive IT markets in the world is definitely a huge challenge. “As a company, we strongly believe in customisation of software, according to the specific client needs. Working on the out-of-the-box software approach in our market sectors will simply not work in GCC markets,” he explains further. Although, according to him, the main growth drivers remain the same—it’s all about time-to-market kept together with ROI and customer satisfaction. “We strongly believe in further expansion of our telco product portfolio (BSS & OSS) as well as CRM and loyalty platforms, focusing better than ever on customer understanding and service quality. Within our portfolio, we’re also providing other solutions like telemedicine or complete solutions for banks and plan to work on those as well,” he adds. Solutions in CRM and loyalty systems face new requirements every single day, especially when Gamification or social media apps are in the picture. How does the company plan to keep pace with the market demands? “Changes are happening all the time and they require constant investments in R&D, which is why we invest almost 10 percent of revenues in R&D annually to make sure that our systems meet the market requirements and help our customers build a competitive advantage,” Demczuk explains. Recognising the potential of the region and also considering the significant increase in demand for specialised IT solutions, the vendor aims to continue the development of structures in the Middle East.

www.resellerme.com


Orixcom

Prestigio

Andrew Grenville, CEO, Orixcom

Dia Hamdan, Marketing Manager, Asbis Middle East

Established in early 2013 as a startup, Orixcom aims at doing things differently, says its CEO, Andrew Grenville. Largely focused on the Middle East and Africa region, the company has built and launched the first cloud platform in the UAE over the past four months and provides a range of cloud services in IaaS and SaaS areas. Growing population, investments in infrastructure and the way education is transforming the UAE into a tech hub, were few of the reasons, the company decided to do business here. Apart from that, “The huge adoption of mobile services throughout the region and the rapidly growing economies make this part of the world, one of the most exciting places for a company in the information technology space to be at,” he adds. Following the channel approach, the company’s strategy is to partner with key resellers who have strong relationships in the UAE and the wider region. “We make our partners’ lives simple by investing in all the technology, processes and systems, we provide the full end to end capability for our partners to successfully grow their business in cloud services,” he explains. He further adds, “Our philosophy is to ensure a longer term recurring revenue along with our partners.” After doing extensive market research on cloud services in the UAE, the company found that customers are looking to adopt cloud services overwhelmingly but as a priority want to use a local company that they can trust and can keep their data secure within the region. According to the CEO, it aims to be that provider of choice through the channel. “Using the cloud for delivery of services is an unstoppable and growing trend. We all need to embrace change and ride the wave, not try to resist it with old style business models. Get with it or get left behind,” he says.

Headquartered in Cyprus, Asbis-owned Prestigio is an emerging vendor in the region. Established globally in 2002, the brand’s product line includes tablets, smartphones, accessories, GPS, E-readers and smart health products. Dia Hamdan, Marketing Manager, Asbis Middle East says, “Despite the rapid changes that the Middle East mobile solutions’ segment has witnessed over the last three years, Prestigio has remained a focused, young and dynamic lifestyle brand.” Hamdan says that the brand works with resellers, dealers, IT and retail channel to sell its mobile solutions. “In the education sector, we have partnered with specialist SIs with integration skills to ensure our education tailored offerings are implemented in the right way.” With a strong channel strategy in place, Prestigio supports its partners with full training, certifications, events, roadshows, advertising and promotions. “We back our partner by giving them high margins. Prestigio aims at ensuring a profitable business for its partner,” he explains. What poses as a challenge for the vendor is the fierce competition from Chinese brands that focus on low prices through poor quality. “The challenge is,” Hamdan says, “how can you focus on high brand quality while simultaneously ensuring value and affordable prices when competing with other brands.” But being a European brand that gives its customers two years warranty on the products that they buy and offering other additional services have helped solve this issue. “We give customers the option to have the right device for the right price with the best quality,” he adds. Hamdan further urges the channel community to be sincere when dealing with end users and to ensure that only high-quality products are sold, so that customers trust the brand and develop a long-lasting relationship.

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Emerging vendors

RadarServices Middle East

Ricoh

Aji Joseph, General Manager, RadarServices Middle East.

Ahmed Kamal, Regional Sales Head, MEA IT Distribution, Ricoh

RadarServices Middle East, headquartered in Vienna, has set up its fifth shop on the Middle Eastern shores as recent as just four months ago. With offices in Germany, Russia and Poland, the IT security company offers comprehensive IT risk management with integrated vulnerability assessment, intrusion detection and security information and event management (SIEM). “We offer Comprehensive Risk Detection and Mitigation solution to our customers. We work with channel partners to promote our solutions in the Middle East,” adds Aji Joseph, General Manager, RadarServices Middle East. With a channel model in place, the security vendor has three levels of partnership based on technical expertise and commitment—bronze, preferred and premium—and is currently in the process of finalising potential partners. According to Joseph, the only way to keep pace with market demands is by improving offerings by adding additional features to the solutions, “so that clients gets a complete overview of their IT risk landscape to keep up with the ongoing changes in their IT infrastructure. Our R&D team interacts with our customers on a regular basis to understand the various requirements to incorporate additional features to our offering. Being customer-focused helps us to stay competitive,” Joseph explains. The challenge that the company faces in the region is the unwillingness of organisations to evaluate the business or IT risks by top management “unless they are hit by a major security breach, IT is still being looked up as a cost centre and this puts a lot of strain on business continuity,” he shares. Reaching out to the channel community, Joseph says, “We are looking for dedicated channel partners in the region who are focusing on IT security solutions. We would like to partner with channel partners who are offering managed security solutions to their customers.”

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Present in the Middle East region through its focus on enterprise solutions, the global imaging and printing vendor, Ricoh has entered the volume market only recently. Printing technology has evolved over the years and there is a growing demand for printers in the small office and home market. “Our evolving product line up, including our unique Geljet technology means that we have something that suits the needs of not only the home user but small businesses too,” says Ahmed Kamal, Regional Sales Head, MEA IT Distribution, Ricoh. The company’s message to the channel is clear, “We are here to provide a profitable and personalised business model for the successful launch of Ricoh’s IT distribution product in the Middle East region.” It has signed up Supra for the UAE market and FDC for Iraq, Eqypt, Jordan and Lebanon till date. According to Kamal, the company is yet to complete its partner recruitment process for rest of the Middle East region. He further says, “We work quite closely with our partners to better understand their needs and to help them with material that would aid their business growth. We have only started our volume business recently and already see a healthy growth potential in the market.” Competing against well-established printer brands in the volume market is a challenge but one, which the company isn’t too worried about as “we have some eco-friendly options combined with a worldwide reputation as a leading imaging and print vendor,” Kamal says. He adds, “We are committed to expanding and broadening our offering and helping companies improve communications. Our credentials, desire and commitment to succeed along with our fantastic and evolving product line-up, make us an easy choice for both partners and customers.”

www.resellerme.com


vendor focus

Seagate

Change to expand Reseller ME caught up with Sofocles Socratous, Senior Director, EMEA Channel & Emerging Markets, Seagate Technology, at the company’s annual partner conference last month, to learn about its business focus. more important. Because of this, we are beginning to see more surveillance solutions that require hard drive in them for digital and media recording. Also there are more startup businesses in this region, which further enhances the opportunities present here. How do you see the uptake of cloud solutions growing in the region? There are two types of cloud – personal and public. For personal, we see a huge increase and huge forecast for solutions for home use. On the public side, we see more and more data centres growing and expanding. And from the regional perspective, companies like DU are opening their own data centres because governments prefer locally regulated data centres.

Sofocles Socratous, Senior Director, EMEA Channel & Emerging Markets, Seagate Technology

What is new at Seagate? Seagate is currently delivering positive results from a global perspective. We are beginning to see a good increase in traction in terms of the cloud business and also in a lot of vertical markets such as surveillance and NAS solutions. Storage too is definitely growing globally. How important is the region? The Middle East and Africa region is very important to Seagate for a number of reasons. It still represents up to 18 to 20 percent of the whole market. We continue to see local manufacturing and small partners upgrade the demand in PCs. Big technology growth is taking place in Northern Africa, from Kenya across to Nigeria and Zimbabwe and so on. We are also seeing growth in terms of vertical markets. The changes in regulations mean surveillance is becoming even

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Can you discuss the channel strategy in place? Over the last few years, we have created the Seagate Premier Partner Programme, specifically for the indirect customers in the channel, which are value-added resellers, integrators and various types of customers. And what we offer to these partners is direct Seagate support benefits, which include direct technical support where we have a technical engineer who is available for integrators to help them design the products and to ensure that the right products go into the right solutions. We also offer support such as marketing investments and branding. They can also earn Seagate Premiere Partner points, which can be converted to financial income at a later stage. In addition to that, they get a dedicated Seagate account manager who visits them, trains and educates their staff, provides them with free samples and offers forward-looking roadmaps,

so that they can keep up with the changing business environment. Could you elaborate on the training activities that are in place for your partners? There are two types of investments that we make – online and physical training. Through the first type, they can go online to the Seagate Premiere Partner portal, where the access is limited only to them. They receive regular trainings about products and about the industry. In addition to that, on a quarterly basis, we do training for our partner programme members across the region, where they are brought to one location and given training on products, new markets and education on market trends. Industry is constantly changing and business environments are dynamic, so it is important they change as well, to expand their businesses as this is the only way to survive and grow.   In terms of geographical expansion, is Seagate looking at any new markets? We are making high investments in terms of people, resources, marketing and PR for Africa. That’s the space we are going towards. The adoption of the Internet within these countries is rapidly growing. You will see more and more devices being stored and purchased here. Also, the changing regulations in many of these countries, allow banking systems to operate differently, which allows global companies to operate in these parts. What is the outlook for the MEA market? Outlook continues to be positive. This region is lagging behind about 18 months compared to Western Europe in terms technology adoption. Social media, Internet banking and e-commerce is picking up rapidly here. For Seagate, what is key is to work with indirect partners, to understand the end user better, as we adopt and develop products along this journey and it is a journey where the market and the industry is changing. We are looking to guide the partners to adapt and grow. We also want to support them and for this, the partner programme is important for us. // 

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vendor focus

Axis Communication

Image innovators At the recently concluded security event, Intersec, Martin Gren, Cofounder, Axis Communication, says he doesn’t consider the region to be an emerging market as the uptake of technology is a lot faster here.

We don’t consider this to be an emerging market at all, it is a mature market for us. If you compare the Middle East to other emerging markets, it is very different as the uptake and adoption of new technology is a lot faster here. Could you discuss who your customers are in this region? Retail is one of the stronger verticals, the future with the world cup and expo is sure to boost the infrastructure and that will lead to further demand in security cameras. Could you discuss the channel expansion strategy that is in place within this market? Axis has always had the same channel strategy—two-tiered distribution. This essentially means, the flow will be from Axis to its distributors then to its systems integrators and finally to the end users; and we never ever make an exception to that rule. This means, our partners can always trust us because we will always be loyal to the channel. Unlike a big company who changes the distribution strategy every year, we have a consistent one in place. And I would say this is actually one of the main reasons for our success.

Martin Gren, Co-founder, Axis Communication Could you discuss the business focus for 2014? Our focus is to come out with even more innovative products. We have set image usability as the theme, we aim at producing clear pictures, which can be served as material for evidence in investigative cases. Through these good quality images, one can zoom in to see even the minutest details, so that nothing is missed out. Here in the UAE, we are very strong and we are working with other countries in the region, for example, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

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How has the response been towards IP-based cameras in the region? Are customers willing to transition from analog-based cameras? The Middle East region is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world, which has the highest penetration of IP cameras. It is the absolute opposite of more mature markets such as the UK where analog is still dominant. Can you discuss if there are any unique features within this market? The biggest difference in this region is that the IP penetration is so high here.

What are your differentiators from your competitors? As we are the leader in the industry, this means most of our competition is actually following us. We innovate in image quality, aesthetics, HD cameras and so on. Have you launched any new products recently in this market? We have a new product that has a beautiful design. What usually happens when a new building is constructed is that it might have a great architectural design, but when the security camera is put up, it doesn’t match the design of the building. In our new product range, we have spent a lot of time trying to make them blend in nicely with the architecture. To be able to do this, our new product line can be painted over to make them more discreet. //

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vendor focus

HID Global

Being in sync Reseller ME caught up with HID Global’s Managing Director EMEA, Harm Radstaak, at the recently concluded Intersec to understand the company’s plans for the region. solution and we have an opportunity to get that strong foothold in this region. And we want to really focus on customer-centric strategy within this region and abroad. Could you explain your channel expansion strategy? We have a very determined partner programme—Genuine HID Advantage Partner Programme. We are very selective about who our partner is, what they bring, how well they stock keep to make sure that the second-tier resellers or end users is supported in an appropriate manner. We have strong partnerships existing for years in specific parts of the portfolio, in most of the application areas we cover. In other areas, we believe we have some rights over specific key vertical industries where we want to identify strong partners in building out our market position.

Could you discuss your business focus for 2014? To continue to grow is our main focus. As HID has been in the region for the last 15 years, I think it is fair to say that we have a strong foothold in specific applications such as physical access control and security issues. On the other hand, we still have work to be done in getting a stronger foothold in the authentication area. This is not related to our position in the market. But this region is developing more than the Western European markets in strong authentication and convergence solutions. This is a trend that we see here as well as in the African markets. Our focus will be to embed our strategy in converged

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Harm Radstaak, Managing Director EMEA, HID Global

How important is the region for the company’s growth? It is a very important region. As a security company, we have a number of growth opportunities in this market, either be it in Government, infrastructure environment, healthcare or education. It is definitely an important area for us to grow our business. How is this region different from other markets across the world? The cultural and the way channel partners want to be treated is different here, if you compare it to the US or European markets. As a Western European American company, there are certain traditional cultures that they have on their side of the world, which are not always understood or accepted.

We need to understand and accept that there are other ways to do the business. There some areas, which we need to be sensitive towards. Earlier, when we started expanding our business in EMEA, we had multitudes of people flying to Eastern Europe, Africa or the Middle East. Over the last few years, we have substantially invested with people on ground in different regions. Our mantra is to always understand culture, language and be in that time zone. We serve the EMEA market from around 23 countries and we invest in the region with the local people in order to be close to the customers. How has the perception of security evolved over the years, particularly in this region? It isn’t specifically to this region only, but in a broader sense, to the complete end user environment. There is more awareness about what security really means. And it’s not only from a product perspective, but also from an imbedding into the organisation perspective. Most channel partners in the security market know what vulnerabilities exist, either in access control or in software applications. Therefore, I would say the awareness for matured security products and security mature applications is improving. If we bid for a project with our partners, there is a real need for end to end secure solutions instead of just having a card or access control reader. People are more aware about the security features as well as the vulnerabilities, which is good for the maturity of the market. Do you have any message for the channel community? What is important for HID, is not stop and go, from a partnership perspective. We try to find the value-added partners, which are long standing relations. We have been doing business with our customers or channel partners for over 10 years, which is a mutual commitment of how we want to grow that business. It is investing on both sides and sometimes taking risk on both sides. //

www.resellerme.com


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Review

Dell Venue 11 Pro The 11-inch tablet is ideal for smooth transition from work to play. However, Dell could have done better on its display and portability. Dell’s new Venue 11 Pro is clearly trying to bridge the gap between PC and tablet. In this venture, the team at Dell has run the risk of coming up short on both ends. While the hefty tablet has not by any means failed to meet the brief, its weight, and its heavy price tag, come with a few issues. It is not all doom and gloom for the Venue 11 Pro, however. The Dell Venue 11 Pro is surprisingly versatile and does flow seamlessly from work to play. It is truly business friendly and its plastic casing allows for soft touch coat of paint that creates a smudge resistant surface and sturdy feel. The large, 11.6 inch screen comes with all the benefits and pitfalls of a larger tablet device. While the size doesn’t prohibit

portability, it is a good deal less convenient to tote around than its 8-inch brother, the Venue 8 Pro. Weighing in at almost 800 grams the Venue 11 Pro does feel undeniably clunky, and that is before attaching the snap-on keyboard. Unfortunately, it does feel like Dell cut a few corners with the display. Though it does boast a 1080p display, even at its highest setting, the screen seems a bit dim. Certainly not a ‘deal breaker,’ but in natural light, users may find themselves straining to see the screen. Under the hood, the Dell Venue 11 Pro isn’t a race car, but it’s no family sedan either. The Intel Atom processor can hold its own, but the 2GB of RAM means that while you can theoretically run a number of applications at once, there is a limit. Still, it seemed to handle an HD movie streaming, and a number of

Hot products

applications running in the background with no issues. The plethora of ports coupled with the accompanying magnetic snap-in keyboard does turn this tablet into more of an Ultrabook with ease. It is extremely convenient to have the keyboard, and a full USB port available when performing more detailed work on the go. However, the keyboard did experience some lag when in heavy use. This is particularly strange seeing as it is physically connected to the tablet rather than a Bluetooth set up. The dual speakers proved to be robust and clear, eliminating the need for any external audio hardware. The bottom line is that the Dell Venue 11 Pro is adequate for business and play. However, trying to bridge the gap between tablet and Ultrabook, Dell may have had a few hits and misses. The accessories and ports are nice to have, but on an already bulky tablet, it does start to feel a bit weighty. When kitted completely out with the keyboard and cover, the price and size becomes such that one may just consider purchasing an actual Ultrabook. //

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Touchmate launches 7-inch tablet Touchmate has launched 3G Dual Core 7-inch touch screen Internet tablet with phone calling and GPS navigation features. Users can enjoy 3G wireless Internet and phone calling anywhere, when on the move. The dual-SIM slot allows user to insert a SIM of a different ISP Company or it could be a native country SIM. It comes with a built-in GPS for map and navigation, which can be even used in vehicles. The 5-point multi touch screen supports a HD 1024 x 600 pixels for a clear view. Running on the latest Android 4.2 operating system, the company said users can access the Internet through 3G or Wi-Fi hotspots and be able to operate social media apps. Its built-in micro USB port allows users to play USB drives through OTG cable, which is provided. Some of its other features include Bluetooth, built-in G-Sensor for 360-degrees rotate and is equipped with a fast 1.2 GHz dual core processor. It also supports dual camera and users can enjoy a long battery life on the new device.

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ZOTAC releases ZBOX ID45 series ZOTAC International has launched the new ZBOX ID45 series, which combines energyefficiency and high-quality video processing in a compact form factor. The NVIDIA GeForce GT 640 graphics enhances the video playback capabilities of the new series with high-quality HD processing and 4K video decode capabilities for a superior HTPC experience, says the company. An Intel Core i3 3227U processor delivers commendable CPU performance

Tech21 introduces Impact Flip

with dual processor cores and Intel HyperThreading technology for multitasking responsiveness and quick video transcoding capabilities. Dual Gigabit Ethernet enables excellent wired networking capabilities for redundant connectivity or to transform the ZBOX ID45 series into a high-performance network router. It supports 4GB DDR3 and has 500GB hard drive preinstalled. Users can install a variety of operating systems on it including Windows 7, 8 and OpenELEC.

Tech21 has introduced protective case for iPhone 5s, known as the Impact Flip. Created with a hardened PC compound lined with scientifically proven shockabsorbing D3O impact material, the Impact Snap interior protects the sides and back of the device, explained the company. The flip-over screen covers offers additional scratch proof screen protection for the users‘ device, when not in use. Designed with a leather screen cover, the iPhone 5s case is complimented with a magnetic closure and features stitched in D3O to provide a second layer of protection. The slim-fitting design allows access to all features of the device. The black case is compatible with all iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s.

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Hot products

Huawei announces Ascend G6

Sony Mobile unveils Xperia M2 At the recently concluded Mobile World Congress (MWC), Sony Mobile has announced the launch of Xperia M2, one of its four new products. The other products include Sony SmartBand, Xperia Z2 smartphone and Xperia Z2 tablet. Sporting one of the highest resolution camera in its class, the M2’s 8MP camera with Exmor RS for mobile comes armed with Autoscene Recognition and HDR. Xperia camera apps such as Social live, Timeshift burst and Picture Effect help users to get the most out of the 8MP camera, said the company. With a large 4.8-inch qHD display, the new device also claims to be the slimmest 4G smartphone equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.2Ghz quad-core CPUs and 4G LTE. It also comes in a dual-SIM variant and is available in three distinct colour options― black, white and purple. Xperia M2 will launch globally from April 2014 and will be available in the Middle East by May. It will be priced at AED 1299 in the United Arab Emirates, and SR 1299 the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Huawei has introduced its latest smartphone, the Ascend G6 Smartphone. The new 4G LTE-enabled smartphone sports a 4.5-inch qHD 960x540 LCD display, 5-megapixel front-facing camera and Emotion UI 2.0. The four plastic element (4P) lens featured on the front-facing camera provides voiceactivated, hands-free spontaneous snapping, auto-scene recognition and auto-facial enhancement. There is also a five plastic elements (5P) lens of the 8-megapixel AF BSI f/2.0 aperture rear-facing camera.

Running on a powerful quad-core 1.2 GHz processor and robust 2000 mAh lithium polymer battery with up to 30 percent power saving, it also supports NFC sharing for mobile payments. At 7.85mm slim and weighing 115g, it builds upon the stylish ‘double C’ design of the popular Ascend P6 smartphone and is available in a range of colors including black with light gunmetal grey or rose gold highlights, or in white with pink or champagne gold.

MMD launches android powered monitor MMD has announced a touch-controlled monitor powered by Android. It is available in 21.5-inch and 23-inch models, and with their inbuilt computing power, are set to provide ease of use and a seamless display experience into living spaces at home, and public-accessed areas such as web cafés, schools and hotel lobbies, according to the company. With a 16:9 widescreen viewing with full HD screen, it produces sharp scan pictures, enabling users to stream HD movies in compelling viewing quality, complemented by good stereo sound. With direct access to the Google Play Store, users can enjoy Android games and stay connected with friends through social networking apps on the smart All-In-One displays, says the company. Supporting intuitive touch gestures such as pinch, zoom, rotate, swipe and scroll, and large on-screen icons make for

better readability. For better ergonomics, it can be adjusted to near-horizontal position on the tabletop, or positioned upright for working or viewing at a desk. It also supports USB 2.0 ports and comes with an integrated webcam, microphone, WiFi supporting 802.11 b/g/n standards, 2 GB of main memory, and a 8 GB of internal storage, which can be extended via SD card.

www.resellerme.com


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Linksys announces IP surveillance cameras

Axis Communication launches HDTV PTZ dome camera Axis Communication’s Q60-S PTZ dome network cameras in nitrogenpressurised stainless steel casings are ideal for surveillance and remote monitoring applications in marine, mining, oil and gas environments, as well as food, medical and clean room manufacturing facilities. The rust-free cameras can resist the corrosive effect of sea water and cleaning chemicals, and withstand high-pressure steam cleaning. Pressurised nitrogen also prevents internal condensation. They enable 360 degrees coverage of wide areas in resolutions up to HDTV 1080p with up to 36x optical zoom. The Q60-S cameras, with SAE 316L stainless steel and a nylon clear dome cover, can operate in -30 °C to 50 °C (-22 °F to 122 °F). They have IP66, IP6K9K, NEMA 4X and MIL-STD-810G 509.5 approvals, ensuring protection against dust, rain, high pressure/steam jet cleaning, snow, ice and salt fog. The cameras come with a multi-connector cable and a media converter switch that allows for network connection using standard network or fiber optic cables. The switch also enables the cameras to connect to external alarm devices via two configurable input/output ports and to 12 V power.

Linksys has announced the expansion of its small business solutions with a lineup of indoor and outdoor IP surveillance cameras and a network video recorder for remote and live monitoring, playback and recording. The line-up offers four new 1080p IP surveillance cameras, available in dome and bullet options with additional features such as night vision, weatherproof, IK10 vandal-proof housing, remote access, zoom, pan and tilt features plus more. The network video recorder, developed specifically for use with the Linksys surveillance cameras, provides up to 8TB of storage and records up to eight video feeds simultaneously. The new surveillance cameras and network video recorder give small businesses and resellers a flexible monitoring solution that can be accessed

on site or remotely using the existing IP network. With robust features and rugged housing these cameras can help provide the peace of mind businesses need at the cost they can afford.

Canon presents ‘S’ series of IP cameras Canon Middle East has launched its ‘S’ series of IP security cameras. The ultracompact ‘S’ series has been designed for indoor environments, which require sensitive monitoring of specific areas or items, such as the retail, education, commercial and hospitality sectors. The new range comes equipped with inbuilt analytics providing end-users with

solutions that are clearly value-for-money. The full HD IP cameras sports features such as the true wide angle coverage which minimises cameras’ quantity requirements, low light capability which enhances video quality in difficult lighting conditions and the Smart Shade Control feature which makes the video footage more effective when excessive light falls from behind the object.

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Smartphones

Reseller Middle East’s assistant editor offers her thoughts on the Middle Eastern technology channel.

Channel surfing

column

War of smartphones This has been an exciting month with many developments and latest smartphone launches from the who’s who of the mobile universe at the recently concluded Mobile World Congress (MWC) held in Barcelona. Amid all the announcements, one of the most interesting one was Nokia’s launch of its Android family of ‘X’ smartphones, just weeks before its devices and services unit is completely acquired by Microsoft. Using Android Open Source Project (AOSP), the Finnish brand has created the new line of mid-ranged smartphones, which still retains the windows tile-like look and feel. Using its own version, the X range will not support many of the traditional features that is seen on Android phones such as Google Maps or an integrated Google search. Instead, in what can be called a well-thought out move, the range includes many Microsoft features such as OneDrive, Bing search engine and Skype. Now the question is, will Microsoft retain this range once the acquisition is complete? Experts believe this is a way Janees Reghelini, Assistant Editor, Reseller ME

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for Nokia-Microsoft to strengthen its presence in emerging markets, in the hope that users will upgrade from a feature phone to a fullfledged windows phone, once hooked on to smartphones. However, the ambiguities that surround this idea are a lot more than what meets the eye. First of all, will the OS play that much of a role in the next purchasing decision of first-time smartphone users? And now with AOSP, Microsoft will have four OSes to support once the deal is complete – Windows, Series 40 and the recent Asha OS. While one of the reasons Nokia took on Windows phone was because it had realised having too many OSes would not help in its growth. Some also anticipate that the X line will eventually replace the Asha phones, though the company did launch Asha 230 at MWC, as its cheapest touchscreen till date. Well, how it will all transpire is something we will have to wait and watch out for. With International Women’s day celebrated on March 8, we have profiled women in the channel as the cover feature this month, highlighting the need for companies to take workforce diversity more seriously. Although, it is encouraging to see more women in a channel related function today, many believe industry stalwarts could play mentoring roles to new aspirants in the industry. Apart from adding a different perspective to issues, as Marissa Safe, COO and VP, FDC International says, working women transform cultures and shape the foundation of tomorrow. //

www.resellerme.com


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Profile for Reseller Middle East

Reseller Middle East March 2014  

The only constant is change. That’s never been more true about the IT channel than today. The old certainties have gone. Just like the old b...

Reseller Middle East March 2014  

The only constant is change. That’s never been more true about the IT channel than today. The old certainties have gone. Just like the old b...

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