Reseller Middle East May 2014

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ISSUE 209 // may 2014 WWW.RESELLERME.COM

changing the game StorIT on being a successful data storage and management VAD

PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ

Opportunities in Big data

evolution of e-tailing


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CONTENTS

ISSUE 209 // may 2014

cover feature Highlights 6

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

Opinion 19 Human element

Anthony Perridge from Sourcefire, discusses how individuals are a weak link in the fight against cyber crime.

20 Building profits

Philippe Ortodoro of WatchGuard Technologies explains the mustknows for the channel when selling network security.

interview 22 Scaling up

Microsoft’s Matt Haynes and Karim Kalaawi, discusses the company’s hosting services.

Feature 28 Counting the clicks

Reseller ME explores the challenges present in the e-tailing space and how it can survive in the long run.

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Big prospects

Reseller ME investigates how the channel players can penetrate the Big Data space to offer value-added services in the region.

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Changing the game Suren Vedantham, Group Managing Director, StorIT Distribution, shares the key points that have enabled the company to become a successful data storage and management value-added distributor in the region.

partner watch

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45 Creating alliances

Farouk Hemraj, CEO, DISTREE Events, discusses what the attendees can expect at Distree Middle East 2014.

AOC launches 28-inch MVA monitors

Vendor focus 50 Strategic partnerships

Ahmed Kamal from Ricoh says the company is focusing on a two-tier distribution strategy for the region.

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Lenovo’s Vibe Z

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Toshiba launches Kira, 13.3-inch touchscreen

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editorial Chairman Dominic De Sousa CEO Nadeem Hood COO

Georgina O’Hara Publishing Director Rajashree Rammohan raj.ram@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 1511

Beating the market blues

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

Without any doubt, 2013 was an annus horribilis for the PC industry, when shipments declined by 10 percent, and many industry experts anticipated 2014 to be slightly better, mainly due to the expiration of Windows XP, support for which ended last month. But, it seems even the threat of running an unsupported OS hasn’t been able to stem the decline, if the latest reports are anything to go by. Though many analysts said the market has bottomed out and predicted a recovery, the preliminary results from Gartner indicate global PC shipments totaled 76.6 million in the first quarter, a 1.7 percent decline from the first quarter of 2013. This means eight consecutive quarters of decline for the industry. With the sole exception of Japan, the PC market continues to be in a free fall all over the world. With most users preferring to skip PCs for tablets and smartphones, especially in emerging markets, there seems to be no silver lining in sight. For this year, IDC projects that PC shipments will decline by 6.1 percent, a slight improvement from previous years, thank to improving economies around the world. The research firm says the constrained consumer coupled with no clear drivers for a market rebound will keep the growth rate below zero. What does this mean for the vendors? This high-volume, low-profit market has already forced vendors such as Sony out and no one should be surprised if this tough market leads to more casualties of traditional PC vendors over the next couple of years. The only exception seems to be Apple, which sold 5 percent more Macs when the industry contracted. But, one needs to keep in mind Apple plays in the high end of the market, which is not susceptible to price wars or volatility in economy. So is it all gloom and doom for the PC industry? Not really, if you listen to what Intel has to say. The company says the all-in-one PC market, which currently accounts for 10 percent of the total market, is gaining traction and expects to spike over the next couple of years. Whether this happens or not, what’s for sure is that vendors are facing immense pressure to differentiate themselves and offer products at various price points, and resellers will have to closely follow these vendors and understand what is available in the market.

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.

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highlights

News

SNB expands operations to Saudi Arabia SNB IT Distribution has made its foray into the fast growing KSA market by establishing its first branch office in Riyadh. “KSA is a new challenge for us and has its own market dynamics. As a value-added distributor specialising in data storage and backup, CCTV surveillance, networking and IT security, our superior competency has always been based on our industry expertise, technical skills, and knowledge resources, which have aided us in offering unequalled value addition in terms of presales consultancy and technical services to the IT reseller channel,” said Faisal Qureshi, Regional Director, SNB IT Distribution. He added, “We will continue to offer solutions from the very best-of-breed technology providers in the world. Most of our existing partners have extended to us the rights to distribute their products in

KSA, and we are extremely committed to live up to their confidence in us after sharing successful partnerships with them in the Middle East and India.” SNB is one of the fastest growing valuedistribution companies in the region. Qureshi further adds that the company is now in its fourth year of operations and has made impressive strides in growing its channel business by expanding its product portfolio. “We have partnered with leading vendors such as Nexsan, Enterasys, Mobotix, Allied Telesis, Infortrend, Tandberg Data, Proxim Wireless, Seclore, EVault, AxxonSoft, Infosec, and GTB Technologies.” SNB will be organising a series of roadshows and partner training programmes in the coming months. “We are hosting our launch seminar in Riyadh end of May. This will be a great opportunity for channel partners

Faisal Qureshi, Regional Director, SNB IT Distribution (VARs and system integrators) to meet our Vendors and learn on their latest product offerings,” added Qureshi.

DCG set to host IT Trade Fair

Shailendra Rughwani, MD, Experts Computers and President, DCG

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Dubai Computer Group (DCG) is all set to host its first edition of IT Trade Fair on 14th and 15th May 2014. Organising a trade fair has been on DCG’s agenda since the very beginning, says Shailendra Rughwani, MD, Experts Computers and President, DCG. “The main objective was to give an opportunity to members to showcase their products and services among the other UAE-based IT companies and also possibly even among IT companies based in other neighbouring countries.” Sponsored by ASBIS, the fair is purely a B2B event, being organised for the benefit of DCG members. Observing that large IT exhibitions such as GITEX were too big for all the DCG members to participate, therefore the concept of the fair was born, says Rughwani. Largely focusing on UAE as it is their debut event, DCG also welcomes visitors from other countries. The fair will have 30 exhibitors who will showcase the products they deal with. These could range from hardware and software

products to services. Apart from this, there will also be four stands for press, three for insurance companies and one stand for banking advisor. Rughwani further says, “Besides an opportunity to meet the IT companies, there are going to be other attractions such as seminars and free medical checkup.” Four seminars have been planned, two on each day. Topics will be relevant to the interests of visitors and DCG plans to release the speaker list few days before the exhibition. “The objective of DCG through events such as the IT trade fair is to provide maximum benefits to our members in expanding their business. This kind of trade show also helps foster fellowship among all trade members and community. Our vision is to raise the core competency level of Dubai IT Traders and to ensure that our every activity helps both the channel and the growth of Dubai as the best IT hub in the region. This is one step from DCG in the larger leap of Dubai’s vision for 2020,” concludes Rughwani.

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highlights

News

Spectrami and Violin hold tech workshop for partners

Spectrami, the value-added distributor in the MENA region in association with Violin Memory, a player in flash storage, had recently organised Tech Workshop, a training workshop for its channel partners on enterprise flash storage solutions in Dubai, UAE. Spectrami is the value added distributor for Violin Memory in Middle East and as part of their value added services, the company offers both sales and pre-sales training to its channel partners and the

event is termed as Tech Workshop. Channel partners from all over Middle East attended Tech Workshop that was held last month in Dubai. The workshop ran separate tracks for sales and pre-sales and was well received by channel partners. Partners such as Wipro, Al Rostamani Communications, Enterprise Objectives, Gulfnet, ISYX Technologies, Vision Horizon, Boolean IT, and Byoun Technologies, were among the few who attended Tech Workshop.

According to the company, during the workshop, David J Ross, Training Manager for EMEA region, Violin Memory revealed the unique product architecture that gives the company’s solutions a distinct advantage. The partners’ technical teams were given hands on experience on products as well as offered deep dive technical sessions. The main focus in the sales training sessions was laid on product positioning, competitive landscape and the technical edge. Anand Choudha, Managing Director, Spectrami, said, “As a true value-added distributor, we strongly believe in enabling our channel with the right set of knowledge and skill sets. Tech Workshop provides an excellent platform for knowledge transfer but also to understand the challenges partners face in front of a customer. This is the first workshop for Violin Memory in the region and we are happy with the encouraging response from both channel partners and Violin.” Spectrami is authorised to distribute Violin storage solutions across the region including countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman, among others.

ESET launches online antivirus and IT security store

Pradeesh VS, General Manager, ESET Middle East ESET has launched an online store that will cater to both business and home customers in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, KSA, Kuwait, the UAE, Jordan and Yemen. ESET has established the e-store in co-operation with payment gateway firm CyberSource International and Network

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International, a part of Emirates NBD. The recent ‘Online Shopping Behaviour Study 2013’ by MasterCard found that almost 50 percent of consumers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar already shop online while consumers in other GCC countries also strongly follow this trend. Pradeesh VS, General Manager, ESET Middle East said, “Across the region, the trend towards online shopping is evident and we want our solutions and the associated customer support to be as easily available to our customers as possible. At the same time, we have ensured that we can offer this convenience in the most secure manner by implementing a number of technologies and policies that will best safeguard the privacy of our customers.” Once purchased, new solution licenses are sent to users via email while the security software itself can be downloaded via the web. The typical size of these ‘light’

downloads is 1500KB meaning users can be up and running within minutes. Through the online store, home users will be able to purchase licenses to ESET’s Smart Security 7 and NOD32 Antivirus 7 for Windows based PCs as well as the recently upgraded ESET Cyber Security and ESET Cyber Security PRO for Apple Mac computers. The company’s offering for mobile device protection, ESET Mobile Security, is also available through the online store. Solutions for businesses such as endpoint protection, mail security, file security, as well as IT security packages for SMBs and enterprises are also available via the same portal. In addition to purchasing new licenses, the online store offers existing ESET users the ability to renew their licenses, increase the size of their subscription, activate licenses and recover lost licenses.

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highlights

News

CommVault enhances Partner Advantage programme

Ralph Nimergood, Vice President, Worldwide Partners and Programs, CommVault

CommVault has announced new enhancements to its PartnerAdvantage programme, including data protection, archiving, mobility and cloud services. The expanded programme includes a globally consistent tiering approach, deal registration processes, enablement and demand generation capabilities. “The channel has been at the centre of CommVault’s growth strategy from the start and we’re building on this foundation to create new routes to market and routes to margin for our partners,” said Ralph Nimergood, Vice President, Worldwide Partners and Programs, CommVault. “Our enhanced PartnerAdvantage programme offers resources and focus for partners that can enable their selling and implementations with customers to holistically manage and protect their data, which drives our transformation as a channel-driven company.” CommVault has invested in its programme specifically for Service Provider partners. Service providers in the programme may have access to customised software licensing and pricing models, discounts and rebates based on membership levels,

sales enablement tools, specialised services and technical assessments, and marketing support and development funds. MarketBuilder partners demonstrate the highest level of commitment to building a self-sufficient data management practice. These CommVault-invited partners gain the foundational benefits, including deal registration, tier discounts and lead opportunities, available to all partners as well as exclusive benefits such as: CommVault updated and expanded its InnerVault portal to provide a single, self-service entry point for partners. Using the portal, partners can access automated processes ranging from deal registration and marketing requests to a self-managed partner profile, partner plan sharing and dashboards. InnerVault also provides access to resources such as partner webinars, competitive and technical information and CommVault Partner University training. CommVault Partner University delivers training via an online programme provides the tools to build knowledge and expertise for CommVault solutions with tracks specifically designed for sales and technical training.

Dimension Data opens Ghana office Dimension Data has announced it has increased its presence in West Africa by opening an office in Ghana. The Group has been operating in the West African market for a decade with an operation in Nigeria. Dimension Data has offices in Nigeria through its subsidiary Plessey, and in both Nigeria and Ghana through Internet Solutions. “We’re very excited to be expanding our African footprint,” Glad Dibetso, Managing Director, Dimension Data, West Africa, said. “The market in West Africa is growing, and Ghana is going to play a key role in our growth journey. We look forward to working closely with our clients and partners in Ghana and develop locally relevant solutions to help clients accelerate their business ambitions.”

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Today, the Dimension Data group employs 37 permanent staff in Ghana and plans are to increase its system integration skills and expertise over the next 12 months, providing opportunities to young local talents. According to The World Bank, information technology and the highly visible construction sector now account for half the country’s national income. This is in addition to gold, cocoa and oil which continue to dominate Ghana’s exports. Oludare Ogunlade, General Manager, Cisco, West Africa said, “Dimension Data is a key strategic partner to Cisco globally. We’ve partnered with the Group for many years across many markets. We look forward to working with Dimension Data in Ghana and expanding our Global Alliance in yet another territory.”

Glad Dibetso, Managing Director, Dimension Data, West Africa

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highlights

News

emt and Catbird announce distribution partnership Value added distribution firm emt Distribution has announced that it is now offering security solutions from Catbird, specifically focused virtualisation. Catbird’s virtualisation security solutions portfolio includes a complete range of solutions that can protect virtual environments from internal and external threats, replace multiple physical security gateways with virtualised versions, and provide a portable virtualised desktop to endpoint users. “Virtualisation is playing an ever more important role in corporate networking environments,” said Nandini Sapru, Sales Director, emt Distribution. “While it creates opportunities for hardware platform consolidation and cost savings, it also presents multiple implementation and security challenges. The security for virtualisation product space has not been tapped well enough. While many antivirus vendors offer malware detection and

prevention in the virtualised space, Catbird offers much more, such as logical zoning, data leakage prevention, and NAC within the virtualised space.” Catbird’s flagship product, Software Defined Security, is loaded on the mesh of a virtualised system. This offers control components for NAC, net flow, vulnerability scanning, IPS, firewalling, and monitoring of the virtualised network from the mesh. Further, the solution offers logical zoning policy based security and enforcement of compliance requirements. Speaking about virtualisation security solutions from Catbird, Sapru added, “Many virtualised infrastructures are costly, complex, and do not scale according to the growing requirements of the organisation. When data or network security breaches happen, ineffective reporting leads to time loss in recognising the predators, or the root cause of the situation. Catbird offers a complete reporting module to

Nandini Sapru, Sales Director, emt Distribution. mitigate such issues. Many products on the market offer security for virtualised environments. However, Catbird offers many additional unique features such as host based IDS/IPS, configuration auditing of virtual machines, hypervisor protection, vulnerability assessment of each machine on the hypervisor, and automated compliance framework monitoring.”

Ixia launches integrated global partner programme

Jayadevan K, Director Operations, ComGuard Ixia has announced its integrated global partner programme in the region, which will help partners increase revenue while providing their customers access to a portfolio of network visibility, security and test solutions. The first phase of the programme, called Channel Xcelerate aims at building a regional and global network of qualified partners who will have access to the

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company’s Visibility Architecture portfolio. “Designed to empower our partner community, Channel Xcelerate ensures that our partners have all the resources they need to successfully sell Ixia’s visibility solutions, while underscoring our commitment to joint business objectives—growing the customer base and increasing market share,” said Lori Cornmesser, Vice President, Global Channel Sales, Ixia. According to the vendor, the Channel Xcelerate programme encompasses the company’s current worldwide community of experienced visibility partners as well as the strong partner network of recently acquired Net Optics. With the regional launch, the programme is now open to Ixia’s partners in the region. The programme lays the groundwork for the vendor’s partners to deliver new, competitive and channel-ready solutions that are proven, profitable and easy-to-sell. The company believes that the variety of benefits, incentives and resources, including access to innovative technology and expertise, offered with Channel Xcelerate, will

help partners increase their revenue in some of the industry’s fastest growing markets. To achieve this, Ixia’s new-tiered global channel partner programme will focus on increased field engagement, training and support. “We signed up as Ixia’s distributor in the Middle East a year ago to provide our resellers with a comprehensive portfolio of end-to-end network visibility solutions,” said Jayadevan K, Director Operations, ComGuard. “The launch of Channel Xcelerate will help us to further support our partners across the region and expand our channel business.” “Ixia is committed to cultivating its channel partner relationships as an integral component of our company’s growth, and this united global programme is a testament to that commitment,” added Cornmesser. “The partner programme incorporates Ixia’s diverse and evolving suite of products, partner ecosystems and customer bases into a single programme, which provides our partners with competitive business opportunities for mutual growth.”

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highlights

News

Tecpro to distribute Enjay solutions in UAE Enjay IT Solutions has entered the Middle East region by signing a non-exclusive distribution partnership with Tecpro Solutions in Dubai, in a strategic effort to provide its various solutions to the UAE market. The multi-location presence of Tecpro will enhance the vendor’s presence in the Middle East market, it said. Based in Gujarat, India, Enjay IT Solutions are the developers of various business software solutions such as Enjay CRM, Telephony, employee monitoring, thin clients and storage. With 14 years of experience in this field, the company houses matured solutions and has an experienced team. An established systems integrator in the UAE, Tecpro Solutions has 11 years of experience in this market. According to the company, it has an experienced team in deploying various IT & ELV projects hardware, networking, software and infrastructure. Limesh Parekh, CEO, Enjay says “We are setting up branch operations in the UAE to promote our various business solutions, and we are a channel company, so we will be doing business through our partners only. We are very glad to have Tecpro as our solutions partners here. We aim to become the number one player in SME software segment in this part of the world with partners like Tecpro on our side. We will be mainly focusing on promoting CRM software in the UAE, along with all other Enjay Solutions.” “Expertise and experience of Tecpro and large number of SME clients, will help us grow faster. All our products are for SME segment, and Tecpro has the right expertise and client mix for that,” adds Limesh Parekh. Musthafa, Director Business Development and Operations, Tecpro Solutions added “We are delighted to have Enjay IT Solutions as our technology partners. Enjay products are world-class, very unique and useful for SMEs. In UAE, there are large number of SMEs who are looking for economical and effective software solutions like CRM or telephony integration. We are sure that we will be able to provide good solutions to our customers at a good price.”

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Veeam partners with Redington Gulf for ME reach

L-R Ramkumar B, Redington Gulf and Gregg Petersen, Veeam Software Veeam has announced a strategic partnership with Redington Gulf to continue growth throughout the Middle East. The alliance comes at a time when Veeam is looking to further expand its reach in the GCC. Veeam experienced accelerated growth in the local channel last year following a 113.7 percent customer growth and a

148.9 percent increase in its booking revenue. “We are very excited to partner with a global leader in data protection and management solutions and help establish a seamless partnership to enhance Veeam’s reach throughout the Middle East,” said Ramkumar B, Senior Vice President, Value Business, Redington Gulf. “Our solutions span across

technology domains ensuring we are ahead of the curve. We have relationships in various parts of Middle East and ensure that all the requirements of the channel are met under one-roof.” Over the last few years the GCC market has shown an increasing demand for protection for the modern data centre, and partnering with Redington Gulf will help Veeam to satisfy the demand as well as grow its footprint in the Middle East. In 2013 Veeam gained in excess of 450 new customers in the Middle East alone, a feat that contributed towards the vendor being featured in Gartner’s 2013 Magic Quadrant due to its sizable presence in enterprise. Globally the company added over 34,000 new customers in 2013, totaling over 91,500.

Ricoh to launch new printer ranges at ME channel events Ricoh has launched five new printer ranges for its retail and reseller channel across the GCC at its channel partner events held in Qatar and Kuwait, last month. The channel seminar in Dubai was hosted at Emirates Towers, in March. The new printers that were on display at each of the events include the Aficio SG 3110N Wi-Fi enabled GelJet printer, the spacesaving, cost-efficient, 4-in-1 multifunction Aficio SP C240SF, the SP 201N black-andwhite A4 laser printer for small offices; the mono colour, laser multifunction SP 204SFN printer and last but not least the small, smart and energy-efficient, SP 311SFN multifunction printer designed to impress. Ahmed Kamal, Regional Sales Head for Middle East & Africa at Ricoh’s International Division, said, “While these printers have been available in other regions around the globe, they are being introduced to this

market for the first time. We think our printers will bring additional revenue opportunities for our resellers across the region. We will also be introducing our new partner support programme at these events. The vendor’s new partner portal is a one-stop-shop for information on the Ricoh’s latest technologies, product information and marketing tools and materials. The company said it will work closely with its distributors, Supra and FDC, to create awareness of the products and services available to IT channel across the region. According to the vendor, it has a product portfolio suitable for all market sectors and compelling partner programmes for resellers. It offers a strong alternative to some of the established consumer printer brands, allowing partners to achieve a more balanced portfolio, it said.

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highlights

News

E-commerce set to surge in UAE

Speaking at a London Business School thought leadership forum, industrial leaders said that the UAE retail sector could see an e-commerce explosion within the next few years. Ahmed Galal Ismail, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim-Ventures and an alumnus of the School, said, “As compared to other emerging retail markets, Dubai has so far seen the lowest e-commerce penetration. In 2013, only 9 percent of shoppers we recently surveyed said that they have made online purchases in the last 12 months.” However, he said, “Today’s young shoppers have grown up with smart phones as their first screens. The UAE has some of the highest mobile and smartphone penetrations figures in the world and studies

have shown that as people use the Internet for more and more of their product research, transactions will inevitably be driven online.” Even consumers not shopping online yet, are increasingly using the internet to research different product offerings and compare prices of competing brands According to recent studies, Ismail pointed out that as much as 83 percent of internet users in the MENA region log on to the Internet daily and 53 percent research products purchases online. Euromonitor and Goldman Sachs estimate that 19 percent of total apparel retail in the MENA region will be online by 2030. In fact, online retailers such as Net-a-porter already cite the UAE and Qatar among their top world markets.

Local retail players are responding to these changing trends by following global brands online. According to Nisreen Shocair, President, Virgin Megastore Middle East, and another former student of London Business School who was speaking on the panel, online retailers are gaining market interest and will eventually take market share from traditional retail. “Traditional retailers are giving online retailing more importance today than they did one or two years ago,” said Shocair. “This is a positive change, since the online channel provides another opportunity to service our existing customers.” “As the local market matures, we expect to see online retailers such as eBay and Amazon open windows to the UAE and the GCC,” added Ismail. “This would contribute significantly to the growth of e-commerce in the region.” The event was the first retail industry insight forum held by London Business School at the Capital Club at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and panel speakers included: Ahmed Galal Ismail, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim – Ventures, Nisreen Shocair, President,Virgin Megastore Middle East, and Natalie Bogdanova, Senior Director of Business Development and Operations, Emaar Malls Group. The panel was moderated by John Davis, Chief Executive Officer Middle East Colliers International.

Oxygen and Fortinet organise training for partners Oxygen, a regional secure mobility Value-Added-Distributor (VAD), and the network security provider, Fortinet, jointly conducted training for its key channel partners across Saudi Arabia. The training covered areas such as the evolution of threats, types of attacks, defense options as well as debuted the introduction of four new distributed FortiDDoS security appliances. Khalid Laban, CEO, Oxygen said, “DDoS attacks are evolving so very rapidly, every time a new attack arrives they’re switching to a different strategy. Attackers are getting much more sophisticated in their capability and what aspects of the IT stack they’re hitting. There is a consistent need to defend the critical on-premise and cloud infrastructure from such attacks

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as well as to protect the internet-facing infrastructure from threats and service disruptions by surgically removing network and application-layer DDoS attacks.” “The FortiDDoS appliances overcomes all of the above as it has the ability to detect and prevent DDoS attacks by utilising a new single-path custom ASIC for performance, increasing up to 10 times the speed compared to competing DDoS mitigation appliances. The new FortiDDoS models, automatically identifies any type of DDoS attack, including zero-days, and immediately takes action to mitigate it,” adds Laban. Emad Abu Jazar, Country Manager, Fortinet said, “We are pleased to have conducted this training for our key channel partners across KSA region along with

our distributor Oxygen. Channel partners can now provide their end customer with our new FortiDDoS-400B, 800B, 1000B and 2000B, which feature an innovative 100 percent behavior-based DDoS attack mitigation engine, to identify and mitigate, current and future threats, based on patterns and intent rather than content. Fortinet also uses a 100 percent custom ASIC approach to its DDoS appliances, which eliminates the overhead with CPU or CPU/ASIC hybrid systems, and FortiDDoS appliances are able to performs up to 10X faster than other competing DDoS mitigation appliances that use a combination of ASIC and CPU or total CPU for traffic, which leads to bottlenecks and slow down the system’s performance.”

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P.O.Box: 17543, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 870 3333 Fax: +971 4 870 3330 provalue@fdchq.com www.fdcinternational.com


highlights

News

ComGuard organises partner conference ComGuard has organised its annual partner conference event called, Tech Convergence 2014, last month. According to the company, this conference is an occasion where channel partners across the region of MENA, West Africa and INDIA converge to network, share ideas, and get reinforced. The event also recognises and rewards the partners for their business excellence. The partner community got to hear from top-line technology partners who delivered insights to propel their business and present product cuttingedge updates, channel initiatives and incentives during the conference speaking slots. Ajay Singh Chauhan, CEO, ComGuard,

introduced the partner loyalty programme, new road maps of business deliverance and enhanced channel programmes that will enable partners to achieve the mark of sales incentives. Chauhan further said, “We have worked relentlessly to streamline the channel activities to help us achieve a faster sales turnaround, while achieving goals of educating and supporting our partners to achieve superior project deployment.� With a turnout of 250 partners across the Middle East, India & West Asia, the company said, the regional partner conference was a success. ComGuard also gave away 32 awards to its partners in various categories.

Ajay Singh Chauhan, CEO, ComGuard


Sourcefire

opinion

Human element Anthony Perridge, EMEA Channel Director, Sourcefire, now a part of Cisco, discusses how individuals remain a weak link in the battle against cyber criminals.

Anthony Perridge, EMEA Channel Director, Sourcefire

As Internet users become more attuned to wellknown spamming and phishing attacks, cyber criminals have to invent new ways to lure them into opening a malwareladen email or clicking on a link that goes to a malicious website. As an avid newsreader myself, I know I’d be much more likely to click on a news headlines than on an email of cute kitten pictures. Unfortunately, the truth remains that

individuals are a weak link in the battle against cyber criminals. Many continue to click on links or attachments sent via email without taking any steps to verify the origin of the email or the validity of the link or attachment. It only takes one click to for an attacker to establish a foothold in the target’s systems. The 2013 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report finds that sending just three emails per phishing campaign gives the attacker a 50 percent chance of getting one click. With six emails the success rate goes up to 80 percent and at 10 it is virtually guaranteed. Social media helps spur success,enabling cyber criminals to gather information about us so they know how to more effectively entice targets to click on that malicious email. We know that security as a people problem is not going away anytime soon, and the advent of the Internet of Everything is going to make this even more of a problem. Not only will users be able to inadvertently expose their systems to malware from their laptops and tablets, they will also be able to click on links from their smartwatches, cars, etc. It won’t take long once that malware is on their device for it to proliferate across the entire network and any connected devices, simply from a seemingly trusted news link sent from a friend’s email address. In order to address this growing concern, we need to move beyond securing devices and data to addressing the people and process aspects of this problem via education. Organisations must recognise this gap in their security and implement internal programmes to ensure users know how to recognise and cease to click on potential malware. They must also understand when and how to inform the organisation of any suspicious occurrences so future attempts can

be minimised and/or blocked. Raising awareness and offering simple suggestions such as hovering over a link without clicking to view the intended URL, or not opening attachments you didn’t request, can go a long way in the fight against cyber attacks. Even with the best of education, malware will still make its way onto the network. Organisations need security solutions that couple visibility and control to help protect against these inevitable attacks. You can’t protect what you can’t see. You need comprehensive visibility into the devices, users, applications and systems that connect to your network day in and day out with the right context. Security solutions that have contextual awareness can see and intelligently correlate extensive amounts of event data related to IT environments—applications, users, devices, operating systems, vulnerabilities, services, processes, network behaviours, files and threats. They can also correlate that local data with global intelligence for even greater insights. This correlation provides the context needed to make more informed decisions. To turn those decisions into immediate action and protect your organisation from today’s advanced threats,security solutions must be able to give you control to automatically and flexibly tune and enforce policies across the entire network. Attackers are learning from each attack to increase their chances for success. As defenders, we need to do the same. Education is an essential component of any well-rounded security strategy. When combined with visibility and control, it can help minimise cyber attacks and protect our networks, even from the actions of well-intended news junkies. //


opinion

WatchGuard Technologies

Securing profits Philippe Ortodoro, Vice President EMEA, WatchGuard Technologies, elaborates on the 10 must-knows for the channel when selling network security. Due to a selection of highly published breaches both globally and regionally, security is top of mind for enterprises. For the channel, this means increased opportunity and a need to stay abreast of current issues. Here are 10 must-knows to keep in mind when selling the topic of network security:

Compatibility The changes in the computer operating software, such as Windows XP, brings with it compatibility changes. Resellers need to take note of these developments to ensure there is no downtime between upgrading the software and keeping the network secure.

Client knowledge Regardless of the industry, a client’s main objective is for their network to stay secure. The security requirements will differ depending on the enterprise, which is where a reseller’s expertise comes in. Taking the time to understand a client and their business needs will help to assess the best solutions to keep their network secure. Training and certification The region is a global business hub which continues to attract enterprises of all shapes, sizes and disciplines. By investing the time in training, resellers can better understand the ways that solutions can benefit different industries and enterprises of ranging size. Furthermore, training and certification highlights to a client that a reseller is proactive, and ultimately equips them with the knowledge to offer betterrounded, comprehensive solutions. Two –way communication Creating clear dialogue between a reseller and client helps to build long lasting relationships. Interactions shouldn’t stop at the point of deployment, but continue to grow in a collaborative manner. Working closely with CIOs can help to further support

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Key trends Vendors are able to gauge key solution requirements by looking at emerging trends. For example, the growth of mobile usage for enterprises, otherwise known as BYOD, results in the need for increased security within this area of the network. Deploying this type of solution requires understanding the centralised network platform to ensure that deployment is successful across all mobile operating systems.

Growth of cloud The growth of cloud-based services can be attributed to benefits such as fast deployment, accessibility and limited down time. Regardless of enterprises making use of a private or public cloud, you need to ensure that your solutions effectively manage possible sensitive data being held in virtual networks.

Philippe Ortodoro, Vice President EMEA, WatchGuard Technologies

networks and increases the opportunity of new solutions being adopted. Current threat landscape With the current increase in security threats within the region, a proactive stance needs to be taken in assessing possible threat scenarios. A proactive approach, rather than a passive one, allows resellers to support in preventing breaches rather than recovering lost data. Personalised solutions You can’t sell stock-standard solutions as a finance enterprise places different emphasis on different data when comparing it to a retail store. Solutions must be customised to each client’s needs. This means collaborating with your client to be able to provide strategically planned solutions for a network.

The transition Enterprises rely on their network to be available to them 24 hours a day. Due to this reliance, any disruption to existing network can mean decreased productivity, directly relating to a business’ profitability. Deployment of security solutions should have limited effect on the network’s usability, thus should allow for seamless integration. Specialised servicing Rather than trying to sell everything under the sun (or the network), emphasising specific key solutions can position a reseller as a go-to expert within a particular field they operate. Alternatively, focusing on a specific key industry vertical, you will be able to thoroughly support enterprises within that market and accommodate needs of small, medium and large enterprises. //

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interview

Microsoft

Matt Haynes, Director, WW Channel Strategy for Hosted Cloud Services, Microsoft

Karim Kalaawi, Hosting Lead, Middle East and Africa Headquarters, Microsoft

Scaling up Reseller ME chats with Matt Haynes, Director, WW Channel Strategy for Hosted Cloud Services, Microsoft, and Karim Kalaawi, Hosting Lead, Middle East and Africa Headquarters, Microsoft, on the company’s hosting services.

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How is the hosting business developing for the company? MH: The business is definitely growing, in revenue up to 25 to 30 percent and the partner base is growing by 25 percent. Our business has moved out into the main stream of Microsoft and is now scaling through the field engines. So all the people who are selling other Microsoft products are now compensated on the Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA), on our product services. Could you discuss the hosting services within Microsoft? KK: Our service portfolio can be divided into around five broad categories. In infrastructure, we have an offering around infrastructure-asa-service, usually known as virtual machine hosting. In this model, a person can acquire a virtual server for just few hundreds dirhams a month and he can provision that on an asneeded-basis and can decommission it when not needed. In software-as-a-service model, productivity applications such as messaging, email, collaborations, work flows, portals, unified communications and business applications such as CRM or ERP can be provided. The third category includes desktop-as-a-service. This is applicable when companies follow BYOD and want to still run business applications. This service will grant users access to applications just as if they were working on a full blown PC. Next category is database-as-aservice, we have variations with those. And this one is more specific with voice, which is not used much in the GCC area due to the highly regulated telecom market. But if you go outside

this territory, for example, Turkey, South Africa or Morocco, you find that there is a significant requirement for unified communications-as-a-service. MH: The hosting business has currently 25 thousand hosting partners who are under contract. It is the biggest business in the industry in terms of providing the hosters the ability to implement. These hosting partners are managed by 80 plus resellers worldwide. Our channel has 80 partners that include big companies that have a representation in different subsidiaries. There are 80 complete entities that are driving over a billion in revenue and growing at about 25 to 35 percent currently. We are going to add about 6000 new partners this year in the hosting business. How best can hosting partners leverage these services from Microsoft? MH: They have to set up their business, install their infrastructure and decide what applications they want to offer. And it doesn’t always have to be a Microsoft application, it could be somebody else’s application. What they absolutely need to do is to deploy the Windows server infrastructure, virtualise it with Hyper V and manage it with Systems centre. These three aspects are crucial. Could you discuss about your channel incentive strategy? KK: We have for years rewarded our channel partners for maintaining the business and operational excellence. We are sort of moving that model in to more of a business development and infrastructure deployment market share. And we will modify our channel and payouts to reflect and drive out those behaviour.

“We are working with our channel partners in what we are calling the cloud transformation business, because the cloud business requires more than just the transaction.”

Do you face any regional challenges? KK: The challenges we have are probably with the level of maturity of the end users. It is not the same level as seen in developed markets such as US or Western Europe. We still have challenges when we are talking about cloud adoption, security and data sovereignty, because those services are primarily targeting small and medium business. And the level of awareness and the cloud education is relatively low. Therefore, there is still a lot of education that needs to be done. This is probably one of the biggest hindrances to the wide scale adoption of hosted services within particular markets. When we look at the Middle East and Africa territory, there are different levels of market acceptance and maturity. Markets such as South Africa is quite mature and is very similar in composition to other markets in Europe. However, in GCC, you would still see that there is some resistance to adoption of such services. What would you say is the business focus for the next two years? MH: The cloud. From a channel standpoint, we are working with our channel partners in what we are calling the cloud transformation business, because the cloud business requires more than just the transaction. There is a change in the business model and in the way you compensate your people; many channel partners will be unable to make this change. We have some channel partners to whom we refer to as born in the cloud, who came into the business with cloud and they are doing tremendously well because they understand what are the challenges and they are not trying to take the old business model and trying to force fit. What is the way forward? MH: We are going to triple the business in the next three years. Hosting business is massive and we are gearing up to scale. It is just exploding and we are scaling internally from an operations standpoint as well as scaling in our field and in our support areas. There is tremendous opportunity. //

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StorIT Distribution

cover feature

changing the game Suren Vedantham, Group Managing Director, StorIT Distribution

Suren Vedantham, Group Managing Director, StorIT Distribution says identifying opportunities in the market from early on has enabled the company to become a successful data storage and management valueadded distributor in the region today. Twenty years ago, managing, storing and backing up digital data was not something IT players were discussing in boardroom meetings. Back then, the idea of the Internet was only about sinking into everyone’s minds. And in early 90s, organisations were just about understanding the advantages of digitising their data and were scurrying about doing that. But not many thought then, what happens to the data, if the systems crash? But IT professionals like Suren Vedantham, Group Managing Director, StorIT Distribution, had the vision and foresight to see how the future would shape out.

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cover feature

Identifying a clear void and huge potential for data management and storage services in the Middle East market, Vedantham established StorIT Distribution, thirteen years ago. Reminiscing, he says, “We had a bit of industry knowledge in data storage technology, a bit of vision and a lot of luck, of course. We had been here in the Middle East, eight to 10 years prior to launching StorIT. And at that time, we saw the huge gap in the market— noone was catering particularly to the data storage space.” There was also a huge void in terms of support, knowledge and committed vendors, especially in the distribution model at that time. Overcoming these obstacles, the aim of the organisation was to combine the best breed of technology with the right kind of skills, in order to offer a turnkey, end-to-end solution. “That was where the opportunity was,” Vedantham says. “Today, we got the best possible portfolio from across the world. Compared to any other solutions provider in storage, our profile couldn’t get any better.” Although a well-established brand now, the company did go through its own set of challenges to be considered a success story today. Having started out at a time when the data management space was in its earliest stage, the first major hurdle was convincing customers. “Selling a simple data protection or data backup solution used to be a challenge when we started out 12 years ago. Data was not so critical and moreover, the awareness didn’t exist. When we approached senior IT managers, we had to explain why data backup is important. Back then, even banks didn’t think it was a critical point.” Today, data is one of the most important assets for any company, across industries. It is about the kind

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StorIT Distribution

of data that organisations have. How secure is it? How to protect it and how fast can it be retrieved? And now with data exponentially increasing into petabytes and zettabytes, it is also about how efficiently it is

had launched its 100 percent subsidiary earlier this year, called Data Science Technologies (DST). “We see ourselves in the Big Data space today where we were around 12 years ago with data storage – it’s

“We literally act like a systems integrator at a distribution level. That’s the mindset you need to get to the table to be successful and that’s what we did from day one.” managed. “Organisations want their IT departments to be able to efficiently save data at a minimal cost,” he explains further. Not having the right skills was another big hurdle, one that the company took seriously and mitigated by investing into it, which then became one of its market differentiators. Shortage of skills is a challenge the industry continues to grapple with. The key is to first identify which phase the business is into and then get the right kind of skills and domain expertise it calls for, Vedantham says. “Make sure you get the right skill set and then you are in the game for a longer term. We have been training and enabling our resellers in all aspects including technical training, and this is a continuous action.” BIG DATA The world of IT is dynamic, disruptive technologies such as cloud and Big Data will transform business models. “But we need to be ready for this,” he says. Identifying an opportunity in Big Data space and wanting to leverage first-mover advantages, the company

just in its nascent stage with so much more to come. StorIT is well poised to take the lead and therefore, we set up an independent vertical called DST because technologies like Big Data calls for additional skills. We are the only distributor who can actually walk the Big Data talk and that has been our pioneering effort,” he adds. With the channel being its forte, DST is aimed at developing consultancy skills and industry knowledge over and above understanding new technologies such as Hadoop. Enterprises have been investing in collecting data over the last few years but to harness the value of the data is the real challenge. Technologies such as Hadoop enables one to scan through entire petabytes of data that have been collected but not analysed before due to lack of resources. He further explains, “We have gathered the expertise to sit down with any kind of client from any vertical. Big Data helps you in better decision-making.” Having seen a significant progress in terms of real-time deliverables when it comes to Big Data analytics,

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Vedantham points out that there is a huge opportunity in the market. This also means that every big and midsize enterprise in the market can be a potential client for the channel. “It is an opportunity for all those companies that have the vision to know that Big Data is here to stay and can change the way we do business.” For StorIT, potential partners are those who can bring lasting relationships to the table. “And we enable and help them to identify the needs of each client – helping them all the way through consultancy, developing and project implementation, that’s what we do with data sciences.” PARTNER PROGRAMME Through Taalim, the distributor’s partner programme, the company

every stage. Right from identifying a partner to enabling, training and doing sales and marketing activities throughout the year. The biggest challenge for the channel, according to Vedantham, is to be prepared to face the transformations in the business environment. There will be paradigm shifts, which changes the goalposts for everybody but one has to be ready for that. As far as StorIT is concerned, “We are ready,” he says. Explaining further he adds, “As a value-added distributor (VAD), our implementations done on behalf of our partners run into 1000s, which is significantly more than what any distributor would have done in the Middle East. We want to be clearly distinguished from anybody who claims to be a VAD for the sake of marketing.”

“Make sure you get the right skill set and then you are in the game for a longer term. We have been training and enabling our resellers in all aspects including technical training, and this is a continuous action.” trains its partners every fortnightly, right from marketing, sales and technology. The programme is aimed at helping and enabling its resellers in the company’s domain expertise. “Last year, we trained around 1000 people, which is a huge number. We spend a lot of time investing in training and enabling, which is what motivates them to go out and evangelise what we do,” says Vedantham. He adds that the company works with its partners hand in glove at

SELLING STORAGE When it comes to selling storage, Vedantham points out that the constant evolution in technologies keep the growing market upbeat. Although there are many box movers, data storage, data protection or data management is not something you should sell as a box, he explains. “Of course, at the lower end, it does get commercialised. But when you talk about the solutions, you need a lot of consultancy skills. And that’s

what we get to the table.” Rather than simply being a logistics company, StorIT is aimed at adding value to technology distribution. “We had to get together the multiple facets of the business, right from knowledge, talent, technical expertise and even technology vendors, which tied up with our business philosophy.” Vedantham attributes the company’s strength to being able to identify, create, architect, design and go all the way till implementation and supporting its projects. “It doesn’t come easy. But this also becomes your strength and differentiator eventually. Otherwise, you just as good as any box mover,” he says. When it comes to the business focus, the group MD says, it is always about long term. Being a valueadded distributor, the company offers a lot of services, which is then architected and designed into a solution. “That’s how you sell. We literally act like a systems integrator at a distribution level. That’s the mindset you need to get to the table to be successful and that’s what we did from day one,” he explains. Any business today, is multifaceted, Vedantham says, it is about the technology, the involvement and the vision along with the right kind of partnerships. However, more than being ahead of others, it is about being ahead of ourselves from we have been last, shares Vedantham. “It is about challenging yourself all the time. If you get all the elements of what the market demands, I think you are there. And at the same time, you must continue to innovate. Then comes the point of evolution, which for us, has been from data storage, data protection and data management to Big Data analytics and BI.” //

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E-tailing

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Counting the clicks E-tailing is in its nascent stage in the region, Reseller ME explores challenges in the space and how e-tailers can survive in the long run. $15 billion. That’s how much the online commerce market is expected to reach by 2015 in the Middle East. According to a study done by PayPal Insights, end of last year, we are on track to meet this projected figure. Out of which, Saudi Arabia will account for $2.7 billion while Qatar will account for $1.25 billion with UAE expected to account for the largest share at $5.1 billion. The report estimates 30 million people are now shopping online within the region, but what’s interesting to note is that the bulk of these online purchases are done on websites based outside the region. The Middle East region only accounts of 10 percent of the online purchases, says the report. “This is because customers are more comfortable putting their credit card information on these foreign sites and are not prepared to buy

from regional online sites,” explains Ayaz Maqbool, Managing Director, Tejuri, an online shopping mall. One of the first things regional online retailers need to do on a continuous basis is build the trust within their customer base. This is the biggest obstacle, says Hosam Arab, Managing Director, Namshi. “Customers’ experiences in the past have been tarnished by companies promising things they could not deliver on. And they also had poor post-sales services. Customers do not trust that they can get a product on time or have the right product ordered online. Therefore, it was a challenge for us to convey to the customer that we are different, we are offering an experience, which is going to be pleasant and easy with high quality products.” Also, payment security issues were chief among customers’ concerns when shopping online. One of the ways, the fashion e-tailer eases customers’ fears is

“Customers’ experiences in the past have been tarnished by companies promising things they could not deliver on. And they also had poor post-sales services.” Hosam Arab, Managing Director, Namshi

by offering cash-on-delivery (COD) services. Customers push back the risk as much as possible. And today, for the company it is the largest payment option. However, COD is not the best option for e-tailers, it is more time-consuming and sometimes an unnecessary cost head. Players like Arab believe it is something that e-tailers will have to live with for the moment and work their business around it. But Omar Kassim, Founder, JadoPado, says the company terminated COD services since January 2014 and strangely enough, “It hasn’t impacted our business. Customers are becoming more comfortable with online payments and in my opinion, even if you switch off this service, customers still want your service although you might see initial discontent from customers.” Merchants need to understand this. The only catch is customers must never feel like they are stuck with a purchase, he adds. If a customer knows that in case something goes wrong, there is a hassle-free way to return or exchange the purchase, they will be willing to use alternative payment mechanisms to COD. “95 percent of our customers prepay for their purchases but the key aspect is if something goes wrong, they know can return it,” Kassim explains. The PayPal report indicates that currently COD represents more than

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E-tailing

80 percent of online purchases in the region, followed by cards at 15 percent and PayPal at 5 percent. The study estimates that by 2015, cashon-delivery payments would have decreased to 60 percent of all orders while card payments will increase to 25 percent and use of PayPal will grow by 15 percent. Customers are increasingly becoming more comfortable with credit card use today. “Once the customers start to trust the supplier, he will not mind giving his credit card information,” says CEO of e-grocery site, Trolley.ae, Omar Awwad. Compared to a few years ago, today’s technology-savvy customers are comfortable buying varied product category online, this could range from perishable goods to electronics to fashion and even lifestyle products such as perfumes. So how does a customer decide to buy a perfume online? Kassim says, reviews. Customers trust other users’ experiences more than any other marketing tool. Certainly not a new phenomenon, but Cornelius Durm, Managing Partner, Early Bird, says, “Unfortunately, when a customer has a good experience, he will probably only tell five people and when he has a bad experience he will tell 15, that is human psychology.” Durm’s online

site sells basic perishable goods such as milk, eggs, fresh milk and water along with other products that have a “long shelf-life” to western expats. “When we started out, eight years ago, we had about five to 15 online orders daily, today of course it is a lot more significant,” he says. Awwad says, “At first, we had our doubt about selling perishable items online. We felt that no one would buy such fragile items on the online platform. But the response we received from the market surprised us, everyone was excited about these kinds of products. Today, almost every order we receive contains fresh perishable products.” This indicates that there is a

“Customers are becoming more comfortable with online payments and in my opinion, even if you switch off this service, customers still want your service although you might see initial discontent from customers.” Omar Kassim, Founder, JadoPado

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huge opportunity in the market. Today you won’t find many brick-andmortar stores without an online store. Ashish Panjabi, COO, Jacky’s Electronics says there are certain products that sell well in an online environment, especially those that people tend to know like namebrand tablets or smartphones. “Products such as televisions and home appliances where most customers still prefer to get advice from salesperson or experience the product themselves, still sell far better through physical stores. We are currently selling through our

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For purchase or more information contact Also available:

Dell Authorized Sales, Services and Solution Providers Dubai: (04) 398 9999 Ext. 777, (04) 314 1484

IT solutions for Enterprise, Networking, Storage, Hospitality, Power Protection, Cooling and Datacenters Dell - SonicWALL Dell Boomi Dell EqualLogic Storage Dell Clients products Dell - SecureWorks Dell AppAssure Dell Compellent Storage Dell PowerEdge Servers Dell - KACE Dell Quest Dell - Wyse Dell PowerConnect


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E-tailing

own website and Souq.com where we’ve found even the nature of transactions from both online portals varies greatly,” explains Punjabi. With escalating retail rents and increasing cost of inventory, players like Tejuri aim at eliminating these challenges for a player who wants to get into retail. Positioned as an online mall, Tejuri undertakes all the major hurdles and allows e-tailers to function in a similar way they would have if in a mall. Maqbool says, going forward customers will transcend to becoming more multi-channel users. “They would prefer to experience the best of both worlds - touch and feel the product at the store and then go home to buy online.” But having said that, can pure play online retailers survive in the long run? While most players feel they will, the market is yet to mature a lot more, in terms of business models and regulations. Being a nascent industry, the governments in the region are only getting around to regulating the space. Maqbool adds, “There are a lot of opportunities from the perspective of bringing more consumer centric policies, bringing more government regulations to protect consumer interests. How do we control the genuineness of product that is sold on a website?

“There are a lot of opportunities from the perspective of bringing more consumer centric policies, bringing more government regulations to protect consumer interests. How do we control the genuineness of product that is sold on a website? There are lot of these regulations that we expect governments to bring in as well as certain controls on online frauds as it hurts consumer trust and affects retailers’ margins.” Ayaz Maqbool, Managing Director, Tejuri There are lot of these regulations that we expect governments to bring in as well as certain controls on online frauds as it hurts consumer trust and affects retailers’ margins.” Awwad says pure play online retailers can make it work long term, provided they have the right product. “It’s same for online and traditional retailers, if the product is right then they will always find the right customers for it.” An example would be Namshi, which offers its customers inseason fashion by co-launching new products with brands. This means,

“At first, we had our doubt about selling perishable items online. We felt that no one would buy such fragile items on the online platform. But the response was exciting.” Omar Awwad, CEO, Trolley.ae

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the day the brand launches a new product, it would be available with the e-tailer too. Differentiation is key, going forward. And logistics play a huge role for e-tailers. “Ecommerce is largely a logistics business, you need to get your logistics right and then you get your e-commerce right. We found out that we cannot outsource our core offering, it needs to be in-house and something we do on our own. Therefore, we set up our own warehouse in Dubai,” says Arab. With the online space, significant cost of the business is shifted to the back end and it transcends borders. Also, online doesn’t close, “for e-commerce that’s the opportunity,” says Kassim. Going forward, e-tail might see evolution in its business models. For example ‘Click & collect’ and Aramex’s Shop and Ship service are already popular around the globe. At the end of the day, it is about customer’s convenience. With the industry being still in its early stages, e-tailers must bring differentiation and meet the customers’ needs, in order to have long-term success. //

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Big Data

Big prospects Reseller ME finds out how the channel players can penetrate the Big Data space to offer value-added services in the region.

Big Data has been a buzz word for a few years now. 2013 was the year, it caught everyone’s attention and 2014 is supposed to see Big Data deployments moving

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from pilot to production, according to IDC. However, Big Data has a long way to go, as far as the region is concerned. Yes, the customers and partners are better aware today and have a keen sense to learn more but

we have only scratched the tip of the iceberg yet. Big Data has the potential to transform the world we know it. According to a report in Forbes last year, Big Data is not a buzzword anymore but a movement.

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Big Data

And this is precisely why channel partners need to get even more serious about this emerging trend as it presents an ocean of opportunities. Opportunities According to Abdullah Al-Swaha Director, Partner Organisation & Commercial Cisco, Middle East Region, the Big Data explosion has given rise to business intelligence data mining and analytics spanning market research, behavioural modeling, and inference-based decision. “Resellers in the Middle East have an opportunity to help enterprises address the Big Data challenge with a new set of software and solutions. The greatest opportunity for the channel lies in providing consultancy to enterprises on how to address business problems by tapping into the potential of Big Data. The channel could look at elevating itself to becoming true partners of enterprises.” Most channel players agree that the next step would, indeed, be taking the role of consultants for their customers. And in the last year or so, we have heard innumerable times, how the channel should shift away from box moving to offering value-

added services, but what kind of services can it leverage from? Apart from becoming trusted advisors, Big Data also gives the channel new opportunities to create and develop new analytical services where resellers can take concrete Big Data business models to their customers, says Havier Haddad, Channel Manager, Turkey, Emerging Africa & Middle East, EMC. “For example, resellers will be able to approach retailers and explain the business value of customer geolocation data, showing how it can be utilised to enhance the customer experience in-store and encourage them to make the most of relevant offers and promotions.” This will help channel partners to expand their portfolio of solutions, services and certifications and also enable them to widen their vertical reach and expertise. Haddad believes this will create new opportunities for growth and sustainable competitive differentiation. Vsevolod Ivanov, Deputy CEO, InfoWatch Group of Companies adds, “The channel partners can offer their clients data analysis solution not only as information security software but as Big Data analysis system, as efficient analytical tool, which allows

“Educating the channel is key to educating enterprises about the value of harnessing their Big Data. Not many in the channel have the knowledge or the skilled resources to translate the potential of Big Data in enterprise organisations into actionable insights.” Boby Joseph, Data Practice – Head, Data Science Technologies

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reducing financial losses at early stages and preventively influence the areas of potential business threats.” What’s more, with IDC forecasts indicating that the Big Data technology and services market will increase from a 27 percent compound annual growth rate to $32.4 billion through 2017, channel partners must ready themselves today in order to face this growth. John Banks, Director, Software Group, Gulf Business Machines (GBM) says, “That is six times the growth rate of the overall ICT market. Systems integrators, value-added resellers and service providers are in a good position to take advantage of this market with Big Data consulting services and software resale.” Big Data cannot be looked at singularly, it is impacted by social media, cloud and mobile technology. As these technologies get more sophisticated, the amount and complexity of data also increases. It definitely makes the business environment even more challenging, however, partners could look at it as an opportunity to introduce new and better products. Keeping in line with market demands is the first rule of this business, and with that in mind, Big Data certainly offers the potential to be innovators. Describing other opportunities that these trends bring into Big Data, Raj Wanniappa, General Manager, Big Data, Dimension Data Middle East and Africa says, “Social media and mobility bring about opportunities that include providing for the basic storage, compute and bandwidth requirements, then data extraction and cleansing followed by analytics and visualisation. These services can be offered on an on-premise, hosted or fully managed service.” However, the channel must immediately look at identifying

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feature

Big Data

a niche within this space and offering services. Boby Joseph, Data Practice – Head, Data Science Technologies believes services is definitely the way to go ahead. He says, “Servicing will become a core part of the selling effort and products and brands will start to diminish. The channel will have to identify the vertical and niche areas of service to survive through this.” He adds newer and broader approaches to selling, integrating and servicing the customer have to be adopted. What is essential to note is the fact that for the channel to take advantage of emerging trends such as Big Data, it must be first educated in the opportunities present in the market. Data Science Technologies, a subsidiary of StorIT for Big Data analytics, has initiated a channel development programme to enable its reseller partners with the knowledge, tools and necessary skills to identify and address the high-growth potential opportunities for Big Data in the Middle East. Joseph adds, “Educating the channel is key to educating enterprises about the value of harnessing their Big Data. Not many in the channel have the knowledge or the skilled resources to translate the potential of Big Data in enterprise organisations into actionable

“The question that sometimes arises is whether companies implementing Big Data solutions need to hire or outsource such specialists. Depending on the scale of the project, either or both options should be considered.” Taj El-Khayat, Managing Director, Middle East, Turkey, North, West, and Central Africa, Riverbed insights.” It’s only when the channel is clear about the opportunities and avenues present, can partners advise customers on enhancing their business. And in some cases, channel partners could lead with identifying new prospects. Haider Al-Seaidy, Solutions Architect, Qlik Middle East and Africa adds, “Channel partners that can advise on approaches to consolidate multiple sources and types of data and provide data discovery solutions to their clients will have a strategic advantage.” According to Haddad, channel partners looking to effectively build a Big Data portfolio should begin investing in the right assets, that is, “the data scientists to understand the needs of different customers based

“Resellers will be able to approach retailers and explain the business value of customer geo-location data, showing how it can be utilised to enhance the customer experience in-store and encourage them to make the most of relevant offers and promotions.” Havier Haddad, Channel Manager, Turkey, Emerging Africa & Middle East, EMC

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on the industry they operate in, the state of competition, their current IT infrastructure and their objectives so as to successfully extend the right solution and analytical services.” Challenges “Costs, skills and value,” says Taj El-Khayat, Managing Director, Middle East, Turkey, North, West, and Central Africa, Riverbed, aptly summarising the challenges present for the channel when it comes to optimising Big Data solutions. End customers want to first evaluate the value before they deploy complex and expensive technologies. “This is why a flexible approach always seems to be the right answer in order to allow customers to match their investment curve to the value curve,” explains El-Khayat. The lack of appropriate skills is a challenge the channel is constantly grappling with. Organisations are yet to realise the need for recruiting specialised personnel to understand the complexities of Big Data; the need of the hour, most channel players say, is for data scientists. “The question that sometimes arises is whether companies implementing Big Data solutions need to hire or outsource such specialists. Depending on the scale of the project either or both

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feature

Big Data

options should be considered,” advises El-Khayat. According to Allen Mitchell, Senior Technical Account Manager, MENA, CommVault Systems, to exploit the current potential requires a mix of old and new skills. Big Data demands new programming and analytics skills that today’s data analysts typically lack, he says. “Most of these skills fall under the heading of ‘data science’. They include a strong background in mathematics and statistical analysis, familiarity with newer statistical programming languages, and a knowledge of analytics modeling techniques.” Adding on, he says, “Big Data also demands a new set of technical skills that aren’t readily found today in many enterprise data centres. Among these ‘hard skills’ are data architecting that includes the build-out of databases that span terabytes of data, being able to administer software frameworks or in analytics programming languages.” Also, Big Data demands a set of soft skills that includes the ability of people to think broadly across the organisation, Mitchell explains, to understand the bottom-line needs of the business, to know which analytics questions to pose to get to those bottom lines, and to measure and

communicate results. “Ultimately, the best resellers differentiate themselves with proven knowledge that yields measurable benefits to their customers,” he adds. Future prospects The future for the channel in the Big Data space is bright and hopeful, especially with, data now considered the world’s new natural resource as

“Resellers in the Middle East have an opportunity to help enterprises address the Big Data challenge with a new set of software and solutions. The greatest opportunity for the channel lies in providing consultancy to enterprises on how to address business problems by tapping into the potential of Big Data.” Abdullah Al-Swaha Director, Partner Organization & Commercial Cisco, Middle East Region

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Banks from GBM puts it. “It will become a key competitive advantage for every industry. Consequently, analytics will play a major role,” he says. According to Islam Zeidan, Sales and Business Development Director, MEA, Teradata, by investing in the right skillsets, attaining the right certifications and partnering with the right vendors to extend the right Big Data technology portfolios, channel partners can develop a ‘bundle offering’ that combines the best of analytics technologies with the best analytics skills and capabilities. “Not only does this help channel partners create more competitive offering but also helps them carve a niche to support customers based on their industry, size and objectives from the deployment of Big Data,” he adds. At the end of the day, the channel stakeholders must actively pursue these opportunities and as is the case with most emerging technologies, those who quickly understand and undertake appropriate strategies will enjoy first-mover advantages. //

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Partner Watch

Paramount

Guardian of information Premchand Kurup, Chief Executive Officer, Paramount, shares trends in information security and how it impacts the systems integrator’s business. owner wanted to return to India. At that time, I constructed a small management team and as managers we invested in buying the company. This has given our managers an opportunity to be entrepreneurs. What are your future plans? We will continue to work with our key vendors, there is a level of dependency on them. There is also an important issue that we have to always grapple with – large vendors are always on acquisition mode. You may do business with a niche company in the security space then you have a large company such as EMC or McAfee buying them over. That sometimes changes the channel strategy, unless we see all this happening in advance and we are able to make the right moves, business could be difficult.

Could you give us an overview of Paramount? We operate in a niche business – information security. Right from the beginning when we diversified into this space in 1999, we took a call that we will solely be in this business. Today, we are just about inching towards 100 million dirhams and we have 102 employees, out of which 77 percent are security engineers and security consultants, making our employee base strong. We support a large number of clients, across all verticals – oil and gas, telecom, airlines and transportation, government and banking. We are present across the region with offices in Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Oman. In the year 2008, we did a management buyout. The original

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Premchand Kurup, Chief Executive Officer, Paramount

Could you discuss some trends that you are noticing in the information security space? The first thing to understand is that you cannot protect yourself from an external threat environment that is dynamic with an internal process framework or architecture that is static. With external threats being massive and the level of sophistication of the attacks being so high in the last one year, customers are forced to constantly keep changing their controls, resulting in tremendous amount of business opportunities for companies like us. We gear ourselves internally by enhancing our knowledge and skill set, by bringing in new technologies and also expanding our scope of relationship with the big security players. Another trend is that CEOs today are becoming aware of the need to invest more and to have a high level oversight on security.

Mobility, cloud, Big Data and social media have got an impact on the way one articulates security. We, as a company, are looking at multiple strategies in these four areas. When customers come to you today, are they demanding solutions in these four areas mainly? The answer to that is not yet in a big way. This is because security started off in the Gulf only in 2002, and in the last 12 years, there have been different types of technologies implemented in the region that amounts to about $2 billion or so. But in excess of 60 percent of these technologies have been either implemented or configured or integrated incorrectly, right from day one. And in most cases, many of them have gone out of configuration during the last few years. First challenge that most customers face today is technology optimisation. This is the biggest market opportunity. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough number of players in the marketplace because technology optimisation requires a significant amount of expertise. The firewalls and the IPSs have also moved to the next generations. Most customers are looking at firewall or IP refurbished projects, which is given priority over cloud and Big Data. Although, customers do come to us for implementing BYOD technologies. The biggest challenge in this region is the lack of expertise. Anything you want to highlight? We need to see a better balance of the budget utilisation. We are going through the next phase, between 2014 and 2020, we will see tremendous amount of changes on all aspects of security. //

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Distree

Partner watch

Creating alliances Distree Middle East 2014, in its 10th edition, is all set to kick off this month from 20th to 22nd May at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi. Farouk Hemraj, CEO, DISTREE Events, discusses what the attendees can expect. What are some of the unique features of Distree Middle East scheduled to take place in May? There are quite a few unique features, beginning with the fact that the format is focused, it is only by invitation. We are not aiming at a large number of visitors like how a trade show would do. This is where we are different. We know from the beginning that we have X number of invitations for the retailers. As we are selective, we need to focus and target decision makers within the channel. The primary objective is to create a platform where vendors and distributors can meet with the retailers in an appropriate format. This is why we host our events in 5-star hotels instead of big exhibition halls because the number of people is limited. It’s only the people who make the market and that adds further value. It fits the need of different categories of vendors. Sometimes with events like GITEX, you miss out on a lot of people who are potentially looking for you. They need to do in-depth research to identify who will be relevant whereas here we do all the research beforehand. The third factor is that the meetings are pre-scheduled. Both parties are ready for the meetings because they have the access to the profile of the other party. It’s not a chance meeting. In our approach, exhibitors and visitors know who they are meeting and how they can help in their business. You also have awards on the last day, could you elaborate on that? We have two different types of awards. The first one is product related, which is linked to our programme called, ‘60

What can the attendees expect in terms of novelty? Apart from the exhibition and one-on-one meetings, there will also be seminars. One of the topics for a half-day session is, ‘Retail to business.’ The idea is to brainstorm how retailers can address the SMB customers. Because many small businesses actually buy their IT products from the retailers compared to the reseller. The second topic is about wearable technology. We are bringing in some demos and research pieces to add more value to this topic. We also have a third programme, which we are building called Fresh. The idea is to offer innovative vendors an opportunity to showcase new product on stage, which is not out in the market yet. We have been running this in Europe and Monte Carlo and has been quite popular. seconds to convince’, where vendors can go on stage and present a new product for one minute, after which there is live voting to select the best product of the event. We also have an industry award, which is called Middle East Retail Academy (MERA) Awards. This is evaluated based on the vendors’, retailers’ and distributors’ performance for the whole year. Our awards are unique because it is truly transparent. There is a list of top five finalists for each category and then there is live voting. This happens on the last day, during the gala dinner. Could you discuss about the visitors’ and exhibitors’ profile? We have 99 percent of the region’s power retailers, in terms of visitors. We have about 60 vendors and it’s a big mix. We have the big brands and even new comers. This year we have a good number of tablet vendors too.

Farouk Hemraj, CEO, DISTREE Events

Could you sum up why should one attend Distree Middle East 2014? Vendors will find value in being able to meet the who’s who of the retail channel in two days in an organised manner. There are also many networking opportunities, which is helpful, because often many retailers have strict company policies where they cannot accept invitations from the suppliers. Whereas in our case, as we are vendor neutral and have 60 plus vendors, the retailers are keen to come and their management approves to attend such an event. The key advantage is to meet everyone in one place. It is also a regional event, we cover more than 15 countries, for the vendor it saves a lot of time. Same goes for retailers and distributors, plus they get new content from workshops and presentations and they see new products. So it is time well spent at the event. //

may 2014

Reseller Middle East

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A10 Networks

vendor focus

Identifying opportunities Arie de Groot, Senior Director Channel EMEA & LATAM, A10 Networks, shares with Reseller ME, the company’s plans to invest in the channel ecosystem within the region. A10 Networks, a recent entrant to the Middle East region, has grown significantly in the last four to five years. The application networking solutions provider has grown its team and done a good deal of business within the region. Believing there is potential for a lot more within the Middle East market, it has increasingly become serious about future plans with partners. Arie de Groot, Senior Director Channel EMEA & LATAM, A10 Networks says, “We believe the next few years will be crucial for our investment in this region. We have also introduced our partner programme last year. We are investing in partners who invest with us. This is our current focus.” Being a 100 percent channel-driven company, even globally, it operates through a two-tier strategy. Having seen a decent growth rate, De Groot says it hasn’t been difficult to recruit partners. “What we have seen recently is that customers are now asking for our products. And we have been in a fortunate position where partners approach us because they want to sell our products. Therefore, it has been fairly easy to recruit partners.” However, being a relatively new comer, De Groot says the challenge is vested interests. He says, “Partners have relationships with established players as customers want nextgeneration products. To help partners to switch, we do campaigns. Then we get into reinvesting with technology and training.”

A10 is not looking at appointing a large number of partners, choosing quality over quantity. Catering to organisations with 500 or more users, the company expects their partners to be up to speed regarding its technology and how it functions. Having signed up two distributors till date, Scope ME and Oxygen, De Groot says, “We are looking to have one gold partner in every country in the Middle East. In the larger countries, we are looking to have a platinum and a gold partner each, and sometimes more partners depending on the vertical markets. For example, if we have a platinum partner who will focus only on telcos, then we might look at adding another partner, gold or platinum, say, to target governments.” Retaining talent has been a key issue most partners deal with, especially

Arie de Groot, Senior Director Channel EMEA & LATAM, A10 Networks

in the region. Employees are always looking for an upgrade. “The challenge is when you have skilled an engineer, that is currency for them in this region, which they will use to exploit almost immediately. For channel partners to retain those skills for any period of time is really difficult and that doesn’t happen anywhere else to the same level as it does here,” De Groot explains. The only solution to this, De Groot says, is to choose the right partners. This way, the company tries to understand how partners motivate their employees, whether it is through compensation, training or provide an opportunity to grow, because after all, this is an issue that holds back vendors too. “This is why we look at quality. We need to ensure that the partners we take understand the issue and understand the value of making sure employees are happy and then everybody wins,” he adds. On the local level, the company is looking at partners who can represent the organisation to the same level as the vendor’s own employees do. “It is very important that our partners understand what it means to work with a multinational company. On an international level, we choose partners depending on the markets we operate in,” he explains. With a presence in most countries in the Middle East, the solutions provider has been focusing largely on the Emirates and Saudi Arabia. However, going forward, we can expect to see it do more business with countries such as Oman, Qatar and Lebanon. //

may 2014

Reseller Middle East

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vendor focus

Huawei

Dedicated approach At its recently concluded channel partner summit, Huawei presented various opportunities for partners to join forces with the vendor. Dong Wu, President, Huawei, Enterprise Business, Middle East and Shailendra Sainani, Sales Director, Commercial Business, Huawei, Enterprise, Middle East, elaborate further on the company’s focused channel strategy. Huawei, a global ICT solutions provider, is focusing on enabling its partners to grow profitably by supporting them with training and technical knowledge. Potential and existing partners had the opportunity to learn the vendor’s channel initiatives planned for the region at its recently concluded Channel Partner Summit. Dong Wu, President, Huawei, Enterprise Business, Middle East, says that the Middle East is one of the top regions for the company. “Our strategy has always been to bring in the latest technology. For example, 12 years ago, we brought in 3G and fibre-to-home technologies in this region.” Also, compared to other regions, the Middle East is set for favourable economic forecast and the government has invested heavily in this growth. ICT is a major driving force for the region’s economy, especially with initiatives such as e-governments, m-governments and smart cities, making it a significant market for Huawei. “We see huge opportunities here and is one of the key sectors for our growth,” Wu adds. Growing at a rate of 35 percent every year, the company has recently ventured into the enterprise market within the region and is expecting to see at least 45-50 percent growth rate. And what the company lacks today in the enterprise market, according to Shailendra Sainani, Sales Director, Commercial Business, Huawei, Enterprise, Middle East, is the association with the channel. “The channel becomes the most important link for us because they can reach a wider base of end customers

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and also deliver regular support services. But what becomes important then is to ensure that our partners be our trusted advisors, which means they need to be well-versed with our solutions and products,” Sainani explains. The company is clear on its channel strategy, to make their channel partners trusted advisors – to focus and deliver its solutions in the most optimum manner to the market. “We realised that for the channel to join our programme, they will look at three key aspects – how easy is it to join, can they be enabled and can they grow profitably? Accordingly, we have designed our partner programme,” he says. The company has several levels of partners. The first level includes Carrier Reseller Partners, who can sell to carriers such as service operators and the second level consists of Global Partners who have a relationship with partners who serve more than 15 countries. The third level includes the company’s value-added partners, which are its tier-1 partners who have a direct relationship with the ICT vendor. The

Dong Wu, President, Huawei, Enterprise Business, Middle East and Shailendra Sainani, Sales Director, Commercial Business, Huawei, Enterprise, Middle East

fourth level consists of tier-2 partners who buys from a distributor and within this level, there are three categories – gold, silver and authorised. “We are currently in the process of recruiting partners for the gold category. This level means there will be a committed relationship from both sides while the authorised level demands least commitment from both parties,” he further explains. The vendor’s immediate focus is on its strategy for the market, go-to-market plans and its solutions for the coming months. “Ours is a focused approached on all three areas. We want to align with specific partners, make them preferred, enable and train them, give them the right tools in order to be a trusted advisor for us, that’s our channel. From a solutions perspective, we are clear that we will focus on four different areas BYOD, wireless LAN, Big Data and SDN - these will drive our future growth.” The company has the solutions but having the right partners to support those solutions make all the difference. “We need to think about that. If we don’t have a right partner to support a particular solution then we are not going to focus on that,” he says. The company’s plans present a huge opportunity for partners in the region and it is without doubt that they are investing heavily here. “It’s a great opportunity for channel partners to align with us in the right focus areas. We want our partners to be focused and have clear plans as to where they want to take their business to. Our in-country plans are specific to each market and we are looking at a preferred relationship with our partners,” concludes Sainani. //

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vendor focus

Ricoh

Strategic partnerships Ahmed Kamal, Regional Sales Head, MEA, IT Distribution Channel, Ricoh, says the company is focusing on a two-tier distribution strategy for the region and is looking at expanding into KSA and Egypt markets. Ricoh has signed up Redington Gulf as its IT distributor for the UAE and Gulf markets. According to the vendor, the strategy is to have both Supra and Redington for the UAE and Gulf markets while FDC will cover Egypt and Levant regions. Ahmed Kamal, Regional Sales Head, MEA, IT Distribution Channel, Ricoh said, “We are happy that we have Redington on board, which is one of the oldest and highly reputed IT distributors in the region.” Adding on, Kamal said that the challenge for the company now is to build the second-tier model, which is the channel infrastructure. “And we are doing a lot of activities to build an attractive partner programme to get Ricoh resellers on board and of course the consumer segment,” he added. A well-known player in the global imaging and printing business, Ricoh decided to diversify its product range into printers business and audio and video solutions, a few years ago. Since launching its IT Distribution Channel (ITDC) business unit in the region, in August last year, the Japanese vendor has been in the process of building up its two-tier distribution model. Focusing on consumers and SMB as its go-tomarket strategy, the vendor hopes to have a robust channel infrastructure in place in the next two years.

“Our objective is to build the infrastructure by hiring new IT distributors in place and we are looking at continuous recruitment of value resellers and value power retailers as our strategy for 2014 and 2015, to build that solid channel infrastructure in Middle East and Africa region,” explained Kamal. In line with its channel plans, the vendor had recently launched a

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

“Our objective is to build the infrastructure by hiring new IT distributors and are looking at continuous recruitment of value resellers and value power retailers.” 50

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channel event in Dubai to tap the UAE channel and resellers. The objective was to introduce the channel to its new product range in the ITDC portfolio, consisting of single function printers and A4 MFPs. “The second objective was also to share our unique partner programme for the recruitment of resellers, which is quite attractive compared to the competition,” Kamal said. And apart from details on the partner programme, the channel partners were updated on the vendor’s three-year and five-year strategy for the company’s ITDC business unit in the UAE market. The vendor also launched similar subsequent events in Qatar and Kuwait, last month. With Middle East and Africa being the focus markets for the company, it has expanded its business to North Africa, mainly Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. “Our focus in terms of geographical expansion for next year, will mainly be Saudi Arabia and Egypt. We don’t have operations there yet but we are working to kick off business as soon as possible in both territories,” Kamal shared. Aiming to touch 5 percent of market share in 2014, the company is working towards growing its market base. “We are working towards being one of the top emerging and printing leaders in the Middle East, by 2016,” Kamal said. “Ricoh is very serious and is looking for a long term relationship with our customers and our state-ofart printing solution with best pricing structure model, distinguishes us from competition. I believe it will be a winwin situation for both, Ricoh and our channel,” he said. //

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vendor focus

Synology

Tapping into growth Derek Tu, Sales Manager, Synology, discusses the region’s potential for storage solutions and the company’s channel strategies with Reseller ME. What is your business focus for 2014? The rise of cloud storage and Big Data has reshaped the IT industry, enabling fundamental changes not only to users’ IT infrastructure but also IT vendors’ business landscape. Synology has been dedicated to the development of DiskStation Manager (DSM), the operating system for all Synology NAS servers, to enable users to embrace the trends. In 2013, Synology released several significant features, such as Microsoft ODX support, to amplify the efficiency of users’ cloud storage. In 2014, Synology will continue to pave the way for a resilient cloud architecture and efficient Big Data storage. The introduction of DSM 5.0 in March 2014 helped users build a hybrid cloud by leveraging the elasticity of public cloud, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, while ensuring the security and complete oversight of their data. On the other hand, DSM 5.0 also introduced Synology Central Management System (CMS) to bring a unified storage platform. Heading in the same direction, we will keep driving bondless connectivity in the cloud and delivering a more dynamic yet efficient storage. How important is the Middle East region for the company? We see lots of potential and possibilities in the Middle East region. For instance, the UAE boasts the highest smartphone penetration in the world and blazes the trail with 4G broadband implementation. In addition to ICT readiness, many countries in the Middle East, such as Qatar and Kuwait, have a high per capita GDP. These indexes all suggest that the Middle East is on the verge of

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surveillance storage. Designed to fulfil different scales of deployment plans, our surveillance solutions feature extensive IP camera support, Central Management System (CMS) for multisite monitoring and management, more than 49 channels concurrent live view at 1080p full HD, and a suite of video analytics tools. We will work with our channel partners closely to drive the awareness and availability of our surveillance solutions.

a huge expansion in NAS, making it strategically important for our company. How do you plan to tap the opportunities present here? We believe users in the Middle East will recognise the wealth of versatility and efficiency that Synology NAS has to offer in data storage, file sharing and syncing, and ubiquitous accessibility. As robust as the region’s potential may be, NAS awareness is relatively low in the Middle East. Therefore, market education is our primary goal at the current stage. We will hold several channel programmes to secure business for our channels, and initiate more marketing activities, including seminars, roadshows and exhibitions to nurture the market. In addition to NAS, IP surveillance market is another segment we plan to penetrate. The Middle East has already tipped to video surveillance with strong demands for NVR and

Derek Tu, Sales Manager, Synology

What is your channel strategy for the Middle East region? First, we will focus on and keep working with our regional distributor, FDC, to develop the market. More value-added partners will be recruited to join our sales growth. We’ve found many of our target customers in the Middle East are still unaware of how valuable our NAS solutions can be. Therefore, we think it is extremely important for us to work together with value-added resellers and systems integrators to educate the market, helping end customers find a best solution, and delivering the value from Synology. Secondly, we will increase the overall product availability across all the Middle Eastern countries to fulfil the ever-increasing demands from our customers. What are your expansion plans? We will keep consolidating our brand in the countries where channels and users have already known Synology. Meanwhile, with the addition of our new distributors and resellers, we will expand our footprint to new territories, such as Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, which we have not focused on before, to accelerate our development in the region. //

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Review

Lenovo’s Vibe Z A capable smartphone for those users looking for style and functionality in one device.

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The screen is the first thing you notice and like about the Vibe Z, Lenovo’s recent launch. With a sleek and thin design, it sports a 1920x1080 display, with 401ppi, which makes viewing videos and playing games quite enjoyable on its 5.5-inch screen. The device is available in two-color options – silver and titanium, and uses a polycarbonate plastic shell for its back cover. Its svelte design offers utmost comfort to handle, even when on the move. Powered by a Snapdragon 800 chip and 2 GB of RAM, the device handles the heavily customised OS very well, even though it comes preinstalled with a lot of ‘bloat-ware’ that users may or may not find useful. The good news is you can uninstall what you don’t want easily, unlike some other brands. The other positive feature is its battery – a 3000mAh battery that easily takes you through the day. Even when paired to a smart watch all day, it still had enough juice left for a few more hours. The front facing 5MP camera works well but the 13MP rear camera is what users will fall in love with. It is capable of taking crisp pictures under standard conditions. The camera alone can be the reason to purchase it. The Vibe Z also offers a host of filters that can be added while taking a picture, covering the standard array of lenses such as fish-eye and also color effects. The device falls in the recently created, yet ever expanding ‘phablet’ market running on Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with a highly customised Lenovo skin. Perhaps, this is where Lenovo could have done better. The skins are preinstalled, have a look similar to Apple and come in various designs. One can also add different aspects of each of these skins, creating a more personalised experience. In the first glance, the preinstalled skins do seem like perky additions, however, it is not something users who wish for a mature experience will be looking for. That being said, it is also something that could grow on the user. All in all, Vibe Z is a fine device and at the current price point does give the S5 a fair bit of competition. However, it requires a bit of ironing out, especially with the skins that Lenovo has added on. Being an Android device, Lenovo should have designed it around an App Drawer simultaneously keeping the perky design philosophy that most of the preinstalled skins seem to have. With this done, it could truly be the company’s flagship product. Vibe Z is apt for those users who are looking for a capable device without compromising on style and design. //

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AOC launches 28inch MVA monitors

A10 Networks unveils Thunder 6630 A10 Networks has introduced the Thunder 6630 Application Delivery Controller (ADC) with flexible 10GbE/100GbE interface options and throughput of 150Gbps. Thunder 6630 is based on the company’s Advanced Core Operating System (ACOS) software. The ACOS platform is an application networking software architecture optimised for 64-bit multi-core processor systems. It is industry’s first 100 Gigabit Ethernet ADC for Layer 4-7 Services, according to the company. Maintaining performance leadership in the fixed Layer 4-7 networking appliance category, it leverages the same data centre efficient designs as other ACOS-based appliances consuming less power, cooling and rack space, which are critically important metrics for large data centre operators. It also enables web and key infrastructure servers to scale seamlessly to meet customer demand and ensure business continuity to maximise revenue and user satisfaction. It provides fast and responsive service to customers for competitive advantage and reduced infrastructure requirements for both application delivery and critical services, driving down CAPEX and OPEX. And it protects against advanced and emerging attacks for uninterrupted operations, brand protection, and revenue loss while meeting required regulatory compliance obligations for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and other regulations.

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AOC has launched its first two 28” (71.1 cm) monitors. The m2870Vhe and m2870Vq feature extra-large 16:9 MVA panels with full HD resolution, wide viewing angles and high luminosity. Rich colours, high contrast and fast response times make these two displays ideal for both professional needs and entertainment such as video games and movies, claims the company. Both models come with an extensive array of input options and other features, with the m2870Vq even boasting an additional DisplayPort connector and stereo speakers. MVA panel technology enables the16:9 wide screen monitors to offer rich, vivid colours and a super-high contrast of 3000:1. Both models come equipped with D-Sub, DVI and HDMI connectors, allowing for both analogue and digital input. The m2870Vq boasts an additional DisplayPort connector and stereo speakers. A number of other software tools improve the user experience even further.

While ‘e-Saver’ and ‘Eco Mode’ use intelligent picture modes to decrease energy consumption, i-Menu allows for the monitor settings to be conveniently changed with the mouse. The programme ‘Screen+’ lets the user take full advantage of the large 28“ screen real estate by dividing it into up to four individual panes, accessible through keyboard shortcuts. Both models employ energyefficient LED backlights and fulfil strict sustainability certificates such as TCO 6.0 or Energy Star 6.0. AOC grants a 3 year warranty on its monitors.

HTC’s M8 available in UAE HTC has launched HTC One M8 smartphone in Dubai, last month. Priced at AED 2,749, the smartphone is available in gunmetal grey, glacial silver and amber gold. It features the new HTC Sense 6, with a metal unibody and a Smart Sensor Hub that anticipates users’ needs, using Motion Launch controls to make everyday tasks easier, said the company. The smartphone’s new duo camera technology delivers professionallooking photos with good effects, and HTC BoomSound delivers a good audio quality with redesigned speaker chambers and a multi-band speaker amplifier to provide a more balanced sound. It also features the HTC BlinkFeed news feed and has better battery optimisation than

M7, with up to two weeks of standby time with the new Extreme Power Saving Mode. The smartphones is also integrated with the Fitbit capability through which allows customers can take a more active interest in their activity levels. The HTC Dot View Cover combines function with form in a dual-purpose smartphone case. The cover offers instant phone access while the case is still closed, allowing users to take calls, receive email notifications, schedule reminders, weather updates and more. The Dot View cover is available in five colours - warm black, imperial blue, orange popsicle, atlantis and baton rouge. Additional accessories include the HTC Fetch, HTC Media Link HD, and HTC BoomBass.

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SanDisk announces first dual USB Drive SanDisk has announced the Ultra Dual USB Drive, a USB flash drive featuring both a micro-USB and a USB 2.0 connector in a sleek and sturdy form factor. The SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive is designed for Android smartphone and tablet users who need an easy way to move content such as photos and videos from their mobile devices. The drive allows users to safely store and backup files, free-up space, or simply transfer multimedia between their smartphones, tablets and computers, said the company. It provides a convenient way to transfer content via an Android-powered smartphone or tablet’s micro-USB port and a computer’s USB connection. While other methods of transferring files from a mobile device to a computer require wires, applications or a wireless set-up, the SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive simply needs to be connected to a mobile device supporting USB on-the-go (OTG) to access up to 64GB2 of ‘plug and play’ storage capacity. Additionally, the drive’s dual USB ports feature a retractable cover, meaning no caps to lose while still keeping the connectors safe. The Ultra Dual USB Drive is available worldwide in 16GB to 64GB capacities.

Toshiba launches Kira, 13.3-inch touchscreen Ultrabook Toshiba Gulf has launched KIRA, a 13.3-inch touchscreen Ultrabook that combines elegant design and sturdy performance. Designed for users who demand a premium computing experience, the ultra-portable KIRA is now available in the market. Weighing only 1.35kg, it is 9.5mm at its thinnest point and is made with AZ91 pressed magnesium alloy for durability and has a brushed metal finish. The 10-point multi-touch display features Corning Concore glass for durability and fingerprint resistance, providing users with seamless navigation and unspoiled viewing clarity. Powered by the 4th Generation Intel Core i7 Quad Core processor and running on Windows 8.1 Pro, the ultrabook with its 8GB of memory delivers speed on demand and consistent performance.

It has 256GB of SSD storage and an SD card port that allows for extra space whenever required. Ideal for travelling, it lasts up to nine hours on just a single charge. Additionally, one of its three USB 3.0 ports is equipped with Sleep and Charge functionality, allowing users to charge their mobile devices even when the ultrabook is turned off. Having 90 percent more pixels than the standard HD, the KIRA supports 221 pixels per inch with its 2560x1440 ultra-fine pixel display.The screen is combined with the complimentary Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 and Premiere Elements 11 for a comprehensive image editing functionality.

Xperia Z2 Tablet Sony Mobile has recently launched the Xperia Z2 Tablet, a slim and light waterproof tablet. Very slim at 6.4mm, and weighing only 426g for Wi-Fi / 439g for LTE/3G) waterproof (IP55/IP58), the tablet is good for portability functions. Its Live Colour LED display provides bright natural colours and sharp images in any light owing to the company’s BRAVIA TV technology expertise. It is equipped with 10.1” Full HD Triluminos Display for mobile. It offers good sound quality with Sony’s Front Surround audio technology and the Digital Noise Cancelling technology reduces ambient noise by up to 98 percent when paired with the MDR-NC31EM digital noise cancelling headset. “What’s New” app helps the user discover new and recommended games and apps for enjoyment on the Xperia Z2. It is powered with Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2.3 GHz quad-core Krait CPUs, 3GB RAM, 4G LTE and Battery STAMINA Mode for fast, lasting performance. It is available in black or white colour variants.

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Xerox launches Versant 2100 Press Xerox’s Versant 2100 digital press offers ultra HD printing. Capable of 100 pages per minute, the device automates colour control, creates image-to-media alignment profiles and delivers brand-managed color in less time with less waste with an inline, integrated Full Width Array. It also maintains tight registration throughout the press from page to page and run to run with Production Accurate Registration technology. It can produce smooth sweeps and gradients, sharp images, graphics and text with the new Ultra HD Resolution. Applications are rendered at 1200 x 1200 dpi at up to 10 bits.

With the new device, Xerox says printers can competitively position themselves to retain repeatable business with numerous workflow options. For example, with Xerox FreeFlow Core, printers can automate complex prepress steps and with XMPie StoreFlow create and deliver revenue generating web-to-print portals. With the Xerox Stock Library Manager, printers can simplify the management of paper stocks, easily adding new ones or using the preloaded validated, approved stocks.

Huawei MediaPad X1 Tablet

The Huawei MediaPad X1 combines the functionality of a smartphone and tablet with 4G LTE connectivity to provide an all-round mobile experience. MediaPad X1’s full aluminum alloy unibody is compact and weighs 239g. Ultraslim at 7.18mm, the device provides outstanding comfort and ease of use, even when operated with a single hand, says the company.

Its 7-inch 1200 x 1920 FHD LTPS 10-point capacitive touch display provides an incredibly crisp and dynamic visual experience and features an outstanding 80 percent screento-body ratio. The tablet is powered by a Kirin 910 1.6GHz quad-core processor and runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The long lasting 5000 mAh battery provides an exceptional 21 days of standby time, more than five full days of continuous video or web surfing, and also powers additional mobile devices with its reverse charging function. The tablet also makes professional-quality photography possible on a phablet with 13MP Sony Exmor R BSI rear-facing camera that has a five plastic elements (5P) lens featuring panoramic shooting. MediaPad X1’s 5MP frontfacing camera has a four plastic elements (4P) lens and Huawei’s proprietary self-focus tips, preview screen, and voice-activated handsfree capture.

Nokia introduces Lumia 930 Nokia has unveiled its new flagship device, Lumia 930, which is based on Windows Phone 8.1 and delivers the best of Microsoft and Lumia for the ultimate video and imaging experience. “Today we are introducing people to the best of Lumia and the best of Microsoft through our stunning devices based on Windows Phone 8.1. In addition to the new developments from Microsoft, Nokia is delivering people an uncompromised imaging experience, great design and better business phones,” said Stephen Elop, Executive Vice President, Nokia’s Devices & Services. “We’re also pleased to bring the great developments in Windows Phone 8.1 to the Lumia devices people love today.” A 20 megapixel PureView camera with ZEISS optics and advanced Rich Recording, delivers an enriching video and imaging experience with new Living Images innovation. It is designed in elegant metal and vibrant polycarbonate with a 5-inch ClearBlack screen. It comes equipped with a powerful 2.2GHz Snapdragon quadcore processor delivering more from content like apps, games, the Internet and integrated Microsoft services like OneDrive and Microsoft Office. The Nokia Lumia 930 is expected to roll out globally in June starting with Europe, Asia, Middle East and India.

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Innovation

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

Channel surfing

column

Innovation at its best Last month, I had the opportunity to attend HKTDC’s Hong Kong Electronics fair and International ICT expo. During the busy four days, I got a chance to experience emerging technologies such as 3D Printing and wearables, first-hand. In my last column, I had discussed about wearable technology and it was interesting to see some innovations in this regard. I came across a backpack, which a cyclist could wear and it would indicate through lit arrows on the bag when the cyclist turned right or left for the benefit of other motorists. From hand gloves that can answer calls to beanie caps that could play music wirelessly, I still believe, only if these innovations can add real value for the customer, will it sustain long-term. And speaking of innovations, I’m inspired to share something called, Paperfolds, which I came across the other day. It is a shape-changing multiscreen smartphone that has three flexible E-Ink touchscreen displays fixed together using hinges. Designed by Canada-based researches, the individual screens can work independently or Janees Reghelini, Assistant Editor, Reseller ME

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as a single system. Thanks to the hinges, the displays can be folded inwards to form a phone or outwards to form a tablet-sized device. And when the device is folded into a notebook shape, a keyboard opens up on the below screen, allowing it to function as a laptop. This kind of a device gives map-reading a whole different level of experience. For example, when reading a map, the displays can be opened out to view it on a larger single unit screen and when the device is folded into a convex globe, it shows the map in Google Earth view. If it is folded into the shape of a particular building when viewing a map, it will take up a Google SketchUp model of the building, which can be 3D printed. The E-Ink displays mean it can function for days together without being charged, similar to what we have in Kindle and back screen of Yota phones, today. Although PaperFold is modular, it is different from Google’s Project Ara, because here, you don’t pop out and click in aspects of the phone. It is more about understanding and adapting to the user’s needs. Of course, it is only a prototype currently, and it might be good many years before it is out in the market. But it is not the first paper-inspired smartphone device – check out MorePhone created by Human Media Lab at Queens. This device actually curls up when you get a notification. What was deemed impossible a few years ago are today’s revolutionary devices. As industry service providers, we should integrate innovation in daily lives and aspire to always have novelty in our thoughts and ideas. //

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