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PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ

ISSUE 184 // APRIL 2012 // WWW.RESELLERME.COM

THE SNOWBALL EFFECT DESPEC MERA IS WORKING TO EXPAND ITS PRESENCE IN AFRICA

PARTNER CONNECT

HUAWEI PARTNER SUMMIT

CISCO EXPO UAE

Partners and vendors come together to discuss cloud adoption within the regional channel community

The information and communication technology provider’s first regional summit highlights growth opportunities across the region

The IT giant highlights the spirit of innovation and announces the launch of the latest collaboration solutions

FEATURE

T H E H E R E A N D N OW O F STO R AG E T E CH N O LO G I E S


Authorized Distribtuor Middle East

DESPEC MERA LTD. P.o. Box 61050, Jebel Ali Free Zone United Arab Emirates

MERA

Tel: +971 4 8811191 Fax:+971 4 8811190 sales@despec.ae


CONTENTS ISSUE 184 // APRIL 2012

IN THE BEGINNING

COVER FEATURE

7

The snowball effect 30

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

ANALYSIS 20!! Dynamic dimensions At the Cisco Expo UAE, the company and its partners came together to highlight the key technology opportunities in the region

22!! Setting the stage Huawei’s first regional partner summit sets the stage for enterprise channel growth

EVENTS

Despec MERA has been working hard on strategic expansion plans and has successfully signed one of the first agreements with an African government to set up a regional export hub.

24!! Connect on the cloud

Reseller Middle East’s recent Partner Connect event took an important first look into the cloud readiness of the channel community in the region

FEATURE 35!! Out of the box Storage is a continuing story as vendors consistently innovate to help businesses cope with increasing amounts of data.

INTERVIEW

PEOPLE

46!! United we stand

50!! Secureway Network Distribution

Alaa Alshimy, director, HP ESSN, Middle East Alaa Alshimy, director, HP ESSN, Middle East points to the right mix for the right channel strategy while discussing the possibility of introducing a cloud program for HP’s regional partners

Pouya Parsafar, sales director, Secureway Network Distributors

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EDITORIAL Publisher Dominic De Sousa Group COO Nadeem Hood Managing Director Richard Judd richard@cpidubai.com +971 4 440 9126

Cloudy connections

EDITORIAL Senior Editor Sathya Mithra Ashok sathya@cpidubai.com +971 4 440 9111 Assistant Editor Pallavi Sharma pallavi@cpidubai.com +971 4 440 9103 ADVERTISING Commercial Director Rajashree R Kumar raj@cpidubai.com +971 4 440 9131 Advertising Executive Merle Carrasco merle@cpidubai.com +971 4 440 9134 CIRCULATION Database and Circulation Manager Rajeesh M rajeesh@cpidubai.com +971 4 440 9147 PRODUCTION AND DESIGN Production Manager James P Tharian james@cpidubai.com +971 4 440 9146 Art Director Kamil Roxas kamil@cpidubai.com +971 4 440 9112 Designer Analou Balbero analou@cpidubai.com +971 4 440 9104 Photographer Cris Mejorada cris@cpidubai.com +971 4 440 9108 DIGITAL www.rwme.net DIGITAL SERVICES Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy P Maagma Web Developers Jerus King Bation Erik Briones Jefferson de Joya Louie Alma online@cpidubai.com +971 4 440 9100 Published by

1013 Centre Road, New Castle County, Wilmington, Delaware, USA Branch Office PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 Printed by United Printing Press

Pallavi Sharma Assistant Editor Talk to us: E-mail: pallavi@cpidubai.com Facebook: www.faceboo.com/ ResellerME Twitter: @ResellerME

The past year has been ruled by the promise of the clouds; with every member of the expanding IT landscape in the region singing its praise and benefits. Prominent vendors have spent the last few years describing cloud technologies as the inevitable reality that will transform the industry and IT operations within enterprises. These vendors have spent even longer perfecting their own offerings to suit their area of specialisation while enabling a significant competitive advantage. While all the talk associated with this technology has opened up a whole new world of opportunity for the partner community, it has also created explosive confusion on how this technology can and should be leveraged by the channel. In a bid to understand the different perceptions of the cloud within the channel, RME recently hosted a first-of-its-kind event titled ‘Partner Connect’ that brought members from vendor and channel community together to discuss true ‘potential’ of this technology. The audience gathered at the event focused on answering the one question that is looming on everybody’s mind- is the channel ready for cloud? From my personal discussions with members of the community I found that while vendors are going all out to market their cloud offerings, they probably need to do a lot more to help the channel go beyond definitions and move in the direction of adding value to existing offerings. Although vendors seem confident about their cloud services and solutions, they are yet to make clear how they intend to optimise their solutions to guarantee the channel an added business benefit. In addition, how could the partner community truly understand and enhance existing cloud technologies while they lack the necessary skill sets and expertise? There are, however, those vendors who are taking their time to introduce a cloud partner program to address some of these concerns. These vendors are waiting for the markets to amass the critical strength to justify the costs associated with implementing a cloud specific program both for the vendor itself and its partners. The way I see it, we’ve probably been asking the wrong question all along. We should have been asking the community if they think the cloud is truly ready for the channel. Is the understanding associated with the cloud mature enough to truly extend its potential to the community? I believe that we are yet some time away from any real answers and I expect another two years or so may pass before we see any true potential within the partner community to enhance and add value to the cloud. I am optimistic that this will happen and rightly so, as all good things take time. I say give it time, let the idea marinate, let the knowledge stew and in time, the community will savour the true potential of this technology. Oh and while you’re waiting, stay updated on all the latest channel trends, follow us on Twitter @ResellerME for live tweets and more.

© Copyright 2012 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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IN THE BEGINNING News

EMW ME acquires Juniper Network’s first WLAN Elite Partner Certification in UAE EMW ME, a supplier of ICT services and products has achieved Juniper Networks Wireless LAN Elite Certification. EMW is the first WLAN Elite Partner in the UAE, the Serjios El-Hage, CEO of EMW ME company said. By awarding EMW ME the Elite specialisation, Juniper recognises that EMW ME has invested in creating service practices and confirms their expertise to meet the implementation and support requirements of their customers. This specialisation has been introduced globally in acknowledgment of the commitment to services made by resellers worldwide, Juniper representatives said. According to the companies, EMW ME has been able to achieve this certification

because they hold the below unique Juniper credentials. For instance, the company’s technical staff constitute 80% of EMW ME work force and are dedicated with various levels of expertise in a multi vendor environment. In addition, EMW ME is constantly introducing proof of concept technologies that differentiates the leaders from the followers, the company said. These are totally configured and tested in house before deployment at customers’ premises. Such technologies are business enablers specifically designed and deployed at enterprise and service provider type customers with large foot print across the globe to assist them in their day to day business realising huge cost savings, representatives added. Speaking on the occasion, Serjios ElHage, CEO of EMW ME said, “We are very proud to have achieved this prestigious certification which recognises and honours our technical expertise, agility and ability to deliver solutions that meet and exceed

our customers’ expectations in terms of performance, reliability and cost of ownership. Most of the projects completed are very complex and challenging and we are happy to say that our success rate has been 100% no exceptions”. Arien Klomp, Juniper Networks director WLAN, “ EMW ME had introduced Juniper WLAN (formerly known as Trapeze) to the Middle East back in 2005 at the University of Sharjah which adopts Juniper as the WLAN standard till today. As a matter of fact, EMW ME has been adamant in marketing and deploying the Juniper WLAN brand in every key market segment locally in government, hospitality, media, banking and finance, retail, medical, education and logistics sectors.” The new specialisation is expected to enable EMW ME to offer a greater degree of user access and management to it’s customers, especially in transient environments  such as education and hospitality where Juniper’s “Simply Connected” becomes  seamless across the enterprise.

Emitac Distribution introduces new value add business unit manager Emitac Distribution has announced the appointment of a new member to their senior leadership team. Carlos Tannous has been appointed to head up Emitac Distribution’s value add division. Tannous brings with him a wealth of industry experience as he has more than five years of experience within the regional distributions space, working with a company where he was instrumental in establishing a successful enterprise value added business, representatives said. “I am genuinely excited by Carlos joining the Emitac senior leadership team. Carlos has a compelling vision for the future of the value add business which I have high confidence he can deliver.

Through Carlos proven leadership and with the support of the Emitac organisation, our vendors and customers, I feel we have a tremendous opportunity to grow both our business and the market”, said Patrick Mulligan, GM at Emitac Distribution. Tannous is expected to develop Emitac Distribution’s servers, storage and networking unit into a VAD Division. Tannous said, ‘We are adding to our established and successful volume distribution business by acquiring new skilled resources which will enable Emitac Distribution to offer pre-sales and postsales support for complete end to end solutions distribution to our Middle East technology resellers’. Tannous is said

to believe in working closely with Emitac’s channel partners to ensure they are kept upto-date with the latest technology advances, and said Carlos Tannous, business unit that Emitac manager, value add division, Distribution will Emitac Distribution add significant new opportunities to Emitac’s reseller value business.

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IN THE BEGINNING News

AMD rewards regional partners AMD recently held a ceremony to reward three of its regional partners; FDC, Future Rider and TopTech/ Matrix, for their great performance throughout 2011. The company awarded each of these partners and AMD branded van. Bernard Biolchini, VP of sales and GM, AMD – Middle East, Turkey and Africa said, “The success of our partners is very important to us, because it is a direct reflection on our success as an IT vendor. FDC, Future Rider and TopTech/ Matrix have performed fantastically throughout 2011 and this is a small token of our appreciation. AMD has invested heavily in developing a successful channel through various initiatives and incentive programmes including our very successful AMD Fusion Partner Programme (FPP) which provides our partners with customised tools that allow them to better understand and sell AMD’s solutions. We’re very excited to continue this fruitful relationship with all of our partners over 2012.”

D-Link wins four Red Dot Design awards D-Link has announced that four of its latest products, the DNS-320L Network Storage, DCS-6010L Fisheye Camera, DHP-W310AV Wireless Powerline Adapter, and DWR-910 Petit Router have been awarded the 2012 Red Dot Product Design Award. The Red Dot Design award is the largest and most renowned international accolade for industrial design. Each year, prominent designers and experts from all over the world evaluate products based on criteria such as degree of innovation, functionality, and overall quality. This year, over 4,500 products vied for this this coveted distinction.

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Professor Dr. Peter Zec, initiator and CEO of the Red Dot Design Award, said, “The most distinguished products of the respective branch of industry faced up, not only to the tough competition this year again, but also to the critical eye of the jury. The experts thoroughly examined, tested and evaluated each individual entry applying the highest standards. With their performances, the laureates did not only demonstrate an extraordinary design quality, but they also showed that design is an integral part of innovative product solutions.” D-Link pinned its success on its pioneering D-Link Cloud technology and

the company’s renewed emphasis on usability. “It’s an honor to be recognised with several design awards this year. Our enduring focus on the cloud has delivered some especially innovation solutions that will change the way people approach networking.” said Jocelyn Chung, VP of marketing, D-Link headquarters. “The DNS-320L, for instance, is a convenient storage device that allows our customers to leverage the cloud to remotely access, view, and share files and multimedia using a computer or mobile device. Technologies like the mydlink platform now make setup and usage simpler and more convenient than ever before.”


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IN THE BEGINNING News

Quick Heal appoints RedingtonValue as UAE VAP Quick Heal has announced that it has recently appointed RedingtonValue as a value add partner for the UAE region. Shobhit Mathur, director of Quick heal technologies Middle East said, “ Redington Middle East , the service arm for Redington Gulf will work as our ‘value added partner’ primarily for the UAE corporate segment, but will also promote Quick Heal product line from their service centres .” Shobhit added, “Quick Heal has a well established retail distribution channel across the Middle East with a distribution network connecting nine countries. Our sales channel into the corporate accounts is well established in Iran but this is the first step towards entering the Middle East corporate sales market through our tie-up with Redington Middle East.”

The 2012 edition of security suites (AV, Internet Security and Total Security) from Quick heal include several enhancements such as real time online threat protection through cloud based security, parental control or web security to schedule, restrict and control internet usage both at home and in office. In addition, the data theft protection feature blocks all external ports for PCs while Admin console 4.6 available on all the three products  Antivirus , Internet Securities and Total Securities, gives a customer the freedom to select the appropriate product to centrally control their network Shobhit said, “We are growing at a rate of 100% year on year and that’s the reason to step in corporate market after well establishing our brand in retail.”

Asbis wins two sub-regional awards at Intel DEC

Asbis Enterprises, a distributor of IT products in EMEA emerging markets, was awarded the Intel Channel Business Development Awards in two regions –

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RCIS and META – by Intel Corporation at the recent Intel Distributor Enabling Conference (DEC) in Vienna, Austria. Intel DEC 2012 event gathers together Intel partners from across the EMEA region and witness demos and brief the next generation Intel based technologies in addition to product offerings and exchange information with representatives from the vendor. Delegates are also encouraged attend breakout sessions and participate in open discussions with Intel executives and members of the product, operations and finance divisions for valuable face-to-face engagement, relationship building and

inside knowledge to accelerate and grow business in tomorrow’s world. “Our winning approach along with the relationship that we have established with Intel has accelerated the success of our customers in our key regions,” said Yuri Ulasovich, VP of Asbis. “I believe the team performance of all Asbis offices is behind these awards and this proves our commitment to the technology channel. We look forward to building on these achievements and helping Intel continue to grow and expand their business in EMEA.” Asbis participated in two categories this year – IA Distribution and Branded Distribution. The company was recognised amongst more than 30 EMEA distributors for excelling and maximising growth opportunities in 2011. The award was presented to Leonid Fink and Akram Michael, product line sales managers in RCIS and MEA+ regions.


ADVERTORIAL

Actifio, the Protection and Availability Storage (PAS) platform company, pioneered the industry’s first storage system optimized for managing copies of production data, eliminating redundant silos of IT infrastructure and data management applications. By introducing virtualization into data management, Actifio delivers an application-centric, SLA-driven solution that decouples the management of data from storage, network and server infrastructure and reduces costs by 10X. Actifio has helped liberate IT organizations and service providers of all sizes from vendor lock-in and the management challenges associated with exploding data growth. Actifio is headquartered in Waltham, MA. with offices around the world. For more information, please visit: http://www.actifio.com. Ash Ashutosh is CEO of Actifio, Inc. A 25 year veteran of the Storage industry, Ash was previously a Partner at Greylock Partners, and the Chief Technologist for HP’s StorageWorks division. Ash has been a serial entrepreneur, with a proven track record of delivering market

leading solutions, for about 15 years. He co-founded and led AppIQ, a market leader of Storage Resource Management (SRM) solutions, acquired by HP at the end of 2005. He was also the founder of Serano Systems, a Fibre Channel controller solutions provider, acquired by Vitesse Semiconductor in 1999. Ash was the Senior Vice President at StorageNetworks, industry’s first Storage Service Provider. Ash is a recognized leader and

architect in the storage industry where he has spearheaded several major industry initiatives and led the authoring of numerous storage industry standards. Ash is an avid fan of entrepreneurship and an advisor and board member for several commercial and non-profit organizations. Ash holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters degree in Computer Science from Penn State University.

ACTIFIO NAMED ONDEMAND TOP 100 WINNER BY ALWAYSON Leader in Protection and Availability Storage (PAS) Recognized for Eliminating Backup Software and Delivering on the Economic Promise of Cloud Data Management Services

ACTIFIO’S PAS PLATFORM RECEIVES THE SILVER CUP IN THE BACKUP HARDWARE CATEGORY in Storage magazine’s/SearchStorage.com’s 2011 Products of the Year competition.

Spectrami is a key player in Value Added Distributor (VAD) space with a focus specifically on information integrity solutions in the Middle East and Africa region. Spectrami was formed to redefine the way customers and partners deal with security and availability solutions and give a fresh approach to niche solution selling. With key focus on people, agile infrastructure, processes and channel enablement we would like to introduce a new experience which offers ease for the partners and radically improve the way integrity solutions are sold in the region. Spectrami today represents 14 vendors in security and availability space who have been rated by Gartner in various fields as leaders or visionaries.

1207, Indigo Icon, Cluster F3, JLT, P.O. Box : 487480 , Dubai U.A.E Tel : +971 4 4357209 | Fax No: +971 4 4357216

Web: www.spectrami.com


IN THE BEGINNING News

Huawei welcomes Secureway to channel partner programme Huawei Enterprise has welcomed Secureway Network Distributors, a specialist value added distributor with an extensive presence across the Middle East, to its regional channel partner programme. The announcement was made today to kick off Huawei’s first regional Partner Summit in Dubai. Huawei Enterprise’s channel strategy in the region is to build strong relationships with a core community of trusted and valued partners, and Secureway is the latest to join these ranks, the company said. According to Secureway, it provides end-to-end IT security solutions to its community of partners and resellers, while assisting them in the full lifecycle of customer projects. Secureway’s extensive regional presence combined with local experience means it delivers a high level of service, support, logistics and competitive pricing to the Middle East IT marketplace. Dong Wu, VP, Huawei Enterprise, Middle East, said, “Having a partner that understands what enterprises need from a business perspective, as well as having the specialist technical knowledge needed to provide full support to its partners and

resellers, is vital to Huawei Enterprise’s long-term strategy of providing end-to-end enterprise solutions to leading companies across the region. “Secureway’s versatile team of local technical consultants provides partners and resellers the opportunity to develop and consult large projects, and with its presence in UAE, KSA, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt and Qatar gives them a true regional perspective. Secureway’s training, sales and technical support, as well as its team of highly qualified systems engineers, gives peace of mind to its partners and confidence to their enterprise customers. We are honoured to welcome Secureway to our partner community, and look forward to finalising the details of our collaboration at our Partner Summit this week,” added Du. Pouya Parsafar, sales director, Secureway, said, “We were keen to partner with Huawei Enterprise to offer an alternative value proposition to the market, having seen Huawei’s vast solution range and quality which allows us to compete effectively and create a valuable revenue stream for our channel partners. Huawei’s leadership in the enterprise ICT domain is a good match for

our expertise in this area. We are committed to providing our growing team with regular technical and pre-sales training sessions, equipping them to transfer their knowledge to our valued channel partners. I expect the Huawei Partner Summit will be very useful in giving our team first-hand insight into the concerns of channel players around the region and helping them build strong working relationships with their partners and resellers colleagues.” Huawei Enterprise customers span various vertical markets, including government, oil and gas, transportation, banking and finance, power sector, etc. Huawei’s solutions and services cover IP network infrastructure, unified communications and collaboration (UC&C), cloud computing and data centres. The Middle East is a region where Huawei Enterprise is seeing rapid growth, as enterprises of all sizes recognise the potential of ICT to deliver better business performance, the company said.

Logicom hosts Technology Forum in Dubai Logicom Technology recently held a forum in Dubai as part of the company’s efforts to keep IT resellers updated on new product launches and to educate them on new technologies. Demetris E. Demetriou, GM, Logicom Dubai said, “This is an initiative taken by Logicom to educate our partners on the latest technologies with the support of our vendors. It was a great opportunity for the

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partners to meet up with the Logicom team and vendors at the same place and have an open discussion around the latest trends in the ICT market, the different opportunities and the possible means of cooperation.” The forum was supported by the company’s vendors such as Adobe, APC, Cisco, HP, Intel and Watchguard and was attended by a 100 strong audience consisting of IT Resellers represented by business development managers, sales executives and technical staff. The forum involved a series of presentations by vendors focused on providing insight into the latest product

launches by Adobe and Watchguard, enterprise and solutions by APC, Cisco security and wireless solutions , HP desktops, notebooks and workshop updates, Intel Ivy bridge CPU supporting mother boards. Logicom Technology leveraged the event platform to launch its e-commerce application. According to the company, the application uses the latest technology enabling partners to engage in online transactions with Logicom to ultimately speed up workflows and processes. The Logicom Technology Forum is conducted every quarter around the Gulf region.


IN THE BEGINNING News

Aptec strengthens its presence through series of roadshows in Kuwait and Qatar

Aptec Distribution and Track Distribution, part of Aptec Holdings, a large Value-Add distributor in Middle East, has successfully hosted two Aptec Business Forums for its channel partners: in Kuwait and Qatar.

At the event, Aptec briefed resellers on the strategic value proposition offered by the distributor and key benefits of being Aptec channel partners. “As a distributor, we have a commitment to our partners to help them maximise revenue opportunities and this road show highlighted some unique solutions offered by our vendors,” said Bahaa Salah, MD for Aptec Distribution. “In the current economic scenario, it is important for the channel to offer the right balance of products, services and solutions that will give their customers a measurable ROI. We feel we have the right tools to help them do this.” “This month’s Aptec Business Forums in Kuwait and Qatar were another 2 great initiatives to personally meet with Key Executives of the local IT Channel Community to keep the finger on the pulse of local and regional developments within the ICT business. I enjoyed the most having

interactive sessions with all participants, as those help us to understand the local requirements to support the channel and grow the business to the next level,” added Mario Veljovic, GM of Advanced Technology Services (ATS), Aptec’s own professional services company. Svetlana Sorokina, regional marketing manager of Aptec Group said, “These Forums gave us the opportunity to meet all our partners in Kuwait and Qatar and to understand their specialisation level on the latest technologies (data centre solutions, cloud computing, disaster recovery, virtualisation, etc). Based on the information we gathered on our partners’ expertise and their targeted market verticals, we now have a solid strategy on how to align ourselves with them as value-added distributor”. Aptec plans to showcase similar road shows across other GCC countries soon.

Avnet expands offerings with VMware distribution agreement for MENA Avnet Technology Solutions, a member of operating group Avnet recently announced that it has expanded its distribution agreement with VMware. As part of the agreement, Avnet Technology Solutions can now offer VMware’s complete portfolio of virtualisation solutions to its value-added reseller (VAR) partners across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Avnet began its distribution partnership with VMware in the U.S. in 2007 and over recent years has been successful in expanding the partnership across Europe with distribution agreements in place in France, Romania, Turkey, Poland, Hungary, Ireland and the Czech Republic.

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“Avnet Technology Solutions has a strong presence in the Middle East and Africa, which we believe will add considerable value to VMware in this region,” said Jean-Philippe Barleaza, SEMEA channel, alliances and general business director, VMware. “The services and support Avnet provides will enable partners to take their customers to the next level of virtualisation, including management solutions and end-user computing.” By working with Avnet and VMware, channel partners can develop and deliver complete virtualisation solutions that significantly improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of their end customers’ IT operations, the company said.

“By expanding our relationship with VMware in the Middle East, Avnet is connecting partners to new markets, new customers and new solutions to help them grow their businesses,” said Henry Godwin, regional MD, Avnet Technology Solutions, Middle East and Africa. “VMware is the perfect complement to Avnet’s portfolio. This agreement demonstrates our commitment to providing our partners with products and services that enable them to deliver an enhanced range of enterprise solutions to their end customers. These solutions, combined with resources, tools and high quality, local customer service from Avnet, will help our partners to optimize new opportunities in this growth technology area.”


IN THE BEGINNING News

Brother Gulf honours top performing partners and distributors in Bahrain and Qatar Channel Meet 2012

Brother International Gulf recently recognised the outstanding and significant contributions made by its partners and distributors in Bahrain during the recent ‘Bahrain Channel Meet 2012,’ held in Bahrain. The annual meeting are part of the company’s continuing move to create stronger market presence in the region. The meet in Qatar also served as a launching platform to announce its latest ‘Gold Coin’ promotion, the company said. Highlights for the evening were three keynote presentations made by Brother International Gulf FZE senior officials and an award ceremony that paid tribute to the company’s partners.. At the Bahrain Channel Meet, 2012, the company took the opportunity to

acknowledge S. Muthuraman, sales manager, Ashrafs W.L.L. and the significant contributions he made towards Brother’s continuing growth in Bahrain and the rest of the Middle East region. “2011 turned out to be a very wonderful year for Brother and we owe this to the excellent performance rendered by our partners throughout the Middle East region. We are hosting these strategic affairs not only to recognise the efforts made by our partners but also to reinforce our ties with them and give them a better understanding of the roadmap of opportunities that we are looking to take in 2012. Rest assured, we will continue to live up to our commitment of providing our customers with world class high quality printers that can help drive in more productivity and efficiencies, no matter what size their companies may be,” said Ranjit Gurkhar, GM for Brother International Gulf. “I extend my heartfelt congratulations to our key partners and distributors who have been cited for their outstanding sales performances and contributions for 2011.

Brother’s continued growth and success is attributed to the strong ties that we have maintained with our channel partners. Our annual channel meetings have always served as strategic venues to share our strategy and initiatives, while at the same time discuss key issues and trends in the rapidly growing printer market segment. We remain steadfast in the commitment to work closely with our partners in the move to provide our customers with world class highly efficient and eco-friendly printer products, thereby driving in an increase in productivity and improved efficiencies,” said said Soichi Murakami, MD, Brother International Gulf FZE Winners in Qatar included the Lulu Group, Delta Business Systems, PC One LLC, Giant Stores, NKM Group (KSA) and the Safari Group of Companies. V. N International Best, Gulf Computer Services, Al Ameen Stationary, Sharaf DG, Lulu Hypermarket, Geant Hypermarket Emax Electronics and Intellex Information Technology were among the list of awardees recognised at the Bahrain Channel Meet.

Tripp Lite showcases solutions at Datacenter Dynamics meet in Riyadh, KSA Tripp Lite, a manufacturer of power protection and connectivity products, announced its successful participation at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) edition of Datacenter Dynamics (DCD) ‘Converged’. A unique series of events were tailored to deliver enhanced knowledge and networking opportunities for professionals that design, build and operate data centres, which was held recently at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh, the company confirmed.

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During the event, Tripp Lite showcased its Integrated data centre solutions encompassing a wide range of products, including highly efficient uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units, KVM switches, surge suppressors, rack enclosures, cablespower distribution units (PDUs), representatives said. “KSA is currently demonstrating accelerated growth in the data centre segment. This helps to bolster the move towards automation and increase both productivity and efficiency,” said Vipin

Sharma, VP, MEACIS Sales, Tripp Lite. “We have received an overwhelming response from this event. The event allowed us the platform to discuss the importance of maintaining an efficient and dependable data centre and gave us the unique opportunity of showcasing our wide range of power and connectivity products across participants representing various industry verticals.” DCD holds over 40 established annual conferences in key business cities across the globe.


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IN THE BEGINNING News

Interactive Intelligence and RKe Technology sign partnership agreement

Interactive Intelligence Group a provider of unified IP business communications solutions, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with RKe Technology, a provider of IT and telecom solutions in Saudi Arabia, to promote and distribute its entire range of contact centre automation, unified communications (UC) and business process automation solutions in the Kingdom.

RKe Technology intends to broaden its scope to all market segments and verticals by the addition of the contact centre and UC solution to its product portfolio, the company said. Along with promoting Interactive Intelligence’s solution range, RKe Technology will also provide value-addition services such as consultancy, custom development, solution integration and support, according to representatives. “We have significant interest in the Middle East and in particular Saudi Arabia as it is the largest IT and communications market in the region. There is a huge potential for growing our business here and RKe Technology with seven years of experience in providing solutions to telecom operators is an ideal partner in this endeavour”, said Abdul Nasser Bangcola, country manager for Saudi Arabia at

Interactive Intelligence. “They have a dynamic and technically proficient team capable of customised implementation of our solutions for their wide network of customers. We have no doubt that this will prove to be a long and fruitful partnership.” As per the agreement, RKe Technology will distribute the Customer Interaction Center reported that it will (CIC) IP platform from Interactive Intelligence. Mofeed Qaffaf, GM at RKe Technology said, “We are very pleased to add Interactive Intelligence’s world-class range of IP communications solutions to our product portfolio. We are committed to working closely with Interactive Intelligence to provide our customers with all aspects of solution implementation right from identification to aftersales support.”

Omnix International achieves Platinum Partner status in Oracle PartnerNetwork Omnix International, a distributor and systems integrator for digital software imaging solutions, has announced that it has achieved Platinum Partner status across the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN). By attaining Platinum level membership, Oracle has recognised Omnix International for its in-depth expertise and excellence in delivering Oracle’s Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) solutions and for uniquely addressing the challenges of joint customers and endusers, the company said. During a project execution, organisations are usually faced with key challenges like project delays, errors, rework and disseminating the right information to concerned teams. Omnix helps organisations complete projects on-time and within budget, by combining the core strengths of Oracle’s Primavera EPPM solutions; enabling them to prioritise,

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plan, manage, evaluate projects and portfolios, and visualise the same across the enterprise. Target markets for Primavera EPPM solutions include architecture, engineering and construction (AEC), oil and gas, energy, power, IT and the public sector. “Achieving OPN Platinum Partner status reflects our deep seated commitment towards the promotion of Oracle products, competency development, business results and solution expertise,”said Dr. Jayant Deshpande, director – CAD Division, Omnix International . “Becoming a Platinum level member complements our initiatives to consolidate our market presence and keep true to our customers. We are currently embarking on innovating transformation solutions across industries, technology and services that will help enable global enterprises to gain more business agility.” With its Platinum status, Omnix International will now reportedly be able

to broaden specialisation areas, receive priority placement in the OPN solutions catalogue, a free application integration validated by Oracle, joint marketing and sales opportunities, discounted training and more. “Omnix International can help customers make faster and better business decisions, which ranges from software selection to hosting, implementation to custom product development. This enables enterprises to achieve increased return on investment from their software investment. Also, our expertise in project management, design solutions, infrastructure and security not only facilitates our customer’s IT initiatives but can also give them confidence  in using efficient software and solutions provided by Omnix International,” concluded Soma Shankar, business manager – Project Services, Omnix International.


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KSA/ Riyadh +966 1 464 0012 k.saqib@despec.ae

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Head Office: DESPEC MERA LTD | P.O.Box 61050, Jebel Ali Free Zone, UAE | Tel: +97148811191 | Fax: +9714 8811190 | Email: sales@despec.ae | www.despec.com


ANALYSIS Cisco Expo

Dynamic dimensions At the Cisco Expo UAE, the company and its partners came together to highlight key technology opportunities in the region. Duncan Mitchell, senior VP, emerging theatre, Cisco presented a series of interesting facts at the Cisco Expo UAE, depicting what he called a paradigm shift in the adoption and use of the latest technology across the globe. “More data was created during any 48 hour period last year than by all of humanity in the last 30,000 years and this will be the amount of data generated roughly every hour by 2020,” Mitchell said. According to Mitchell, Cisco expects that more than 300 million passenger vehicles will be connected to the Internet by 2022 creating even more volumes of data and network traffic. “According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index 2011, by 2016, data networks will carry upto 130 exabytes of data. Around the same time, 60% of mobile users will generate more than 1Gb of mobile data traffic every month, while the Middle East and Africa will exhibit the strongest mobile data traffic growth of any region at a CAGR of 104%,” he added. “While all these facts point to the inevitability of mobility and big data as

Howard Charney, senior VP, office of the president, Cisco

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More data was created during any 48 hour period last year than by all of humanity in the last 30,000 years and this will be the amount of data generated roughly every hour by 2020” key challenges for the future, at Cisco we consider these opportunities for innovation,” said Howard Charney, senior VP, office of the president, Cisco. Charney added, “We at Cisco believe that the future is pervasive computing where all that we see as independent technology now, will come together into one cohesive whole enabling true ‘always-on’ functionality and connectivity,” Charney said. During his keynote, Charney added thatCisco is hugely proud of its partnership with the Emirates government and is optimistic about the journey to achieving its strategic vision for 2030 and beyond. Charney also cited the examples of companies like Emirates Aluminium (EMAL), the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), American University of Sharjah (AUS) among other organisations as leaders in IT investment and adoption in the region. Cisco also took the opportunity to unveil the next phase of its Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI), an IT system that was designed to simplify desktop virtualisation and bring voice and video to the virtual workspace. The latest releases called Cisco Jabber and Cisco Quad are expected to help users collaborate directly from smart phones,

Duncan Mitchell, senior VP, Emerging Theatre, Cisco tablets, PCs, virtual desktops, laptops and web applications. “Having listened to our customers, the latest releases of Cisco’s unified communications solutions are aimed at enabling the provision of seamless experience on a range of devices and platforms, whether on premises or in the cloud. This approach further accelerates our strategic goal of enabling ‘any-to-any’ collaboration, while also making it easier than ever to collaborate with people inside or outside of an organisation. In a post-PC era, businesses need ways to extend mobile, social, video and virtual collaboration on any mobile phone, virtual desktop, tablet or internet-connected device. We are bringing that to life today,” said Wael Abdulal, collaboration manager for UAE at Cisco. The networking company also announced the signing of a broad strategic alliance agreement with Citrix and VMware. The agreement entails combining Cisco’s leadership in networking, data centre, endpoint devices and collaboration, with Citrix and VMware’s leadership in virtualisation and the delivery of desktops, applications and data. The alliance is aimed at delivering solutions that help enterprises conveniently and cost effectively deploy virtual desktops to millions of PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones and thin clients. This alliance, according to Cisco, will also deliver data centre solutions that make it easier for organisations to deploy the infrastructure required to deliver IT as a service across multiple networks and geographies. //


ANALYSIS Huawei channel partner summit

Setting the stage Huawei’s first regional partner summit sets the stage for enterprise channel growth Huawei Enterprise recently held its first regional partner summit in Dubai welcoming various members of its Middle East and Pakistan partner community. At the event, the information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider shared its vision for future growth and welcomed several new partners to its community of value added partners and distributors. Partners were given a sneak preview of some of Huawei’s leading edge solutions in action in a new state-of-the-art demonstration facility. The event was headed by Dong Wu, VP, Huawei Enterprise, Middle East who delivered the welcome note. Wu said, “This event is an effort to stay connected with our valuable partners in the

Dong Wu, VP, Huawei Enterprise, Middle East

As our regional channel programme grows in momentum, a gathering like this reminds our partners that Huawei is keen to forge handson partnerships with them that not only widen their portfolios of products but also provide the local resources and support they need to grow their businesses” region. As our regional channel programme grows in momentum, a gathering like this reminds our partners that Huawei is keen to forge hands-on partnerships with them that not only widen their portfolios of products but also provide the local resources and support they need to grow their businesses.” Dong Wu’s opening speech highlighted some major achievements that the company has recorded in the region over the past year. He emphasised the rapid progress Huawei Enterprise Business has made since launching in 2010, and stressed the unique

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importance of its channel partner network to its success. “Partner feedback at the summit reinforced our strategy of tailoring our approach to meet the needs of reseller partners in different vertical industries and local markets. We carefully qualify partners into defined categories, enabling them to complement each other for optimal business growth without competitive overlaps, and summit attendees were reassured by this approach to working with multiple partners covering the same region. Even

if you have the most rigorous and defined partner framework in the industry, you will get nowhere if your products don’t deliver. Innovation is of critical importance, and partners welcomed the opportunity to see Huawei’s technology in action at our new demonstration facility, with many promising to come back with their customers for a closer look,” Wu said post the event. The partner summit also provided Huawei with the opportunity to welcome Secureway Network Distributors, a specialist value added distributor with an extensive presence across the Middle East, to its regional channel partner programme. According to Huawei, the company’s channel partners include distributors; value added partners (VAPs) and tier-two resellers, with a growing community of distributors and partners in seven countries across the Middle East region. Huawei Enterprise’s channel strategy in the region is to build strong relationships with a core community of trusted partners, representatives said. //


EVENTS Partner Connect

Connect on the cloud Reseller Middle East’s recent Partner Connect event took an important first look into the cloud readiness of the channel community in the region.

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Reseller Middle East and parent publisher CPI recently organised the first Partner Connect event in Dubai. The event, the first in a string of five such events brought members of the vendor and partner community together to address the adoption and growth of the latest technology trends in the region. The glamorous networking event, which played host to 70 select members of the regional channel and vendor community was held at the prestigious Ritz Carlton Hotel, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) last month. Touted by many as the technology of the era, this particular session of Partner Connect set out to answer the very question that seems to be looming on the minds of many, is the channel ready for cloud? As the evening progressed, the audience gathered at the event, took away some valuable information from three ensuing presentations by respected members of the community. Nooruddin Siddiqui, technical manager, Avaya Solutions at Westcon Convergence began by depicting a

Hazem Bayado, technical manager at Novell Middle East and North Africa

Gaining a thorough understanding of server workload is a critical first step to determining which applications should be virtualised. The best candidates for virtualisation are applications running on web, infrastructure or application servers. However, applications with high performance sensitivity or very high I/O requirements would not do well in a virtualised environment.” vivid picture of the changing corporate landscape. “Yesterday’s environment was primarily centralised, where devices, applications and employee communication were corporate controlled. Today that environment has largely changed, where the Internet is used much like a utility and employees have access to this network via multiple handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones. Given the heavy demand for the bring your own device (BYOD) culture within organisations, IT decision makers now have to cater to users demands for anytime-anywhere access to applications and services across multiple devices. Much the same scenario is replicated across businesses and their various stakeholders from suppliers right down to the customers, everybody seems to demand ‘always-on’ functionality,” he said.

Nooruddin Siddiqui, technical manager, Avaya Solutions at Westcon Convergence

According to Siddiqui, this heavy consumerisation of IT has inturn created some major challenges for CIOs who now need to ensure that the network they are operating on is not just secure but also capable of handling the heavy traffic loads without disrupting the availability of critical systems. “A next generation cloud network is needed to support all these changes and effectively provision the demand for the ‘real-time’ enterprise,” headded. Siddiqui discussed at length the performance functionality and benefits of Avaya’s cloud solution or the Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture (VENA). “With Avaya VENA, organisations can now provision superior services across the organisation’s campus, branch offices, mobile workers and the data centre from a centralised network. VENA brings together the aspects of Ethernet switching, wireless networking, unified branch, access control and network management into a cloud grade network architecture specifically designed for real time applications,” he said. He added that Avaya VENA simplifies the core configuration element associated with maintaining connections between

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multiple data centres by deploying a unified Ethernet fabric across the virtualised environment. Additionally, this fabric is combined with horizontally stacked top of rack switches that result in an increase in server to server and server to storage traffic. This is Avaya’s unique data centre design that creates a ‘hands off’ core to enable upto 25 times improved time to service than spanning tree according to a study by Miercom in 2011,” he said. According to Siddiqui, Avaya believes that network virtualisation within the data centre is just the beginning and we will soon witness the creation of the Avaya Collaborative Cloud. Hazem Bayado, technical manager at Novell Middle East and North Africa agreed with Siddiqui on the challenges associated with the current landscape. “Given the challenges associated with increasing application performance, network availability and security while managing power and space constraints to significantly lower costs organisations are beginning to consider the benefits associated with intelligent workload management. We define

We define a 'workload' as everything from an integrated suite of software that includes the operating system, middle-ware and application to just the application itself. When you aggregate several workloads together, you create a business service that the end user consumes. 26

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a 'workload' as everything from an integrated suite of software that includes the operating system, middle-ware and application to just the application itself. When you aggregate several workloads together, you create a business service that the end user consumes. The cloud enables just this, where IT departments can aggregate a siloed architecture into a combined whole and deliver this as a service to the user,” Bayado explained. Novell’s Workload IQ solution works across four automated phases beginning

with building the architecture, securing it then managing the architecture to include different workloads and finally measure the performance of the services delivered as a whole. “Gaining a thorough understanding of server workload is a critical first step to determining which applications should be virtualised. The best candidates for virtualisation are applications running on web, infrastructure or application servers. However, applications with high


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performance sensitivity or very high I/O requirements would not do well in a virtualised environment,” Bayado warned. According to Bayado, Novell’s PlateSpin Recon tool allows for this kind of planning across physical and virtual infrastructures. In addition, the PlateSpin Migrate tool helps organisations avoid the considerable costs associated with server sprawl, while PlateSpin Protect enables replication of server workloads and PlateSpin Forge enables effective disaster recovery (DR). “PlateSpin Forge is the world’s first DR hardware appliance with embedded virtualisation that can protect upto 25 workloads out of the box suitable for medium sized enterprises, hosted recovery,

Khalid Muasher, business development manager, Middle East at Bitdefender

branch or field use for larger organisations,” concluded Bayado. “Latest forecasts by Gartner analysts indicate that the public cloud services market will be worth $176.8 billion, by 2015, growing at a CAGR of 18.9%. The combined, financial services sector will form the largest group of users for the public cloud services for critical applications and infrastructure,” said Khalid Muasher, business development manager, Middle East at Bitdefender. Muasher added according to Gartner analysts, the fastest growing revenuegenerating segments of public clouds from 2012 through 2015 will be storage services (89.5%) followed by compute services (47.8%) and supply management (39.5%).

Latest forecasts by Gartner analysts indicate that the public cloud services market will be worth $176.8 billion, by 2015, growing at a CAGR of 18.9%. The combined, financial services sector will form the largest group of users for the public cloud services for critical applications and infrastructure,” 28

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“This surge in cloud adoption will simultaneously lead to a surge in associated security investments to counter malware growth and significant spike in other threat mechanisms. Bitdefender’s technology allows companies to integrate solutions into their product or service for endpoint products, gateway or network devices or web or cloud based platforms using five user friendly and extremely basic steps,” Muasher said. The audience gathered at the event agreed with the challenges highlighted during the course of the presentations and remained certain of the inevitability of cloud technology. While vendors and the partner community seemingly look to be cloudready the question now deflects to end users who often point to high bandwidth costs and strict data movement regulations as being major hindrances to cloud adoption in the region. Some end users even point to the lack of technical expertise in the Middle East as a massive challenge associated with managing a virtualised infrastructure and taking the first steps to implementing the cloud. //


COVER FEATURE Descpec MERA

The snowball effect Despec MERA has been working hard on strategic expansion plans and has successfully signed one of the first agreements with an African government to set up a regional export hub. Despec MERA, a division of Despec International, embarked on its journey in the Middle East 15 years ago with a core emphasis on growing the company’s printing supplies business. At the time, the organisation served its various customers across the larger Middle East and African markets from a central distribution base in Jebel Ali, UAE. “Four years ago, we decided to change our strategy realising that our customers needed to have our products stocked closer to them. Traditionally, customers had to deal with a delivery lead time of anywhere between two to four weeks, roughly the amount of time needed to ship the products from Jebel Ali to where the customer needed them,” says Faisal Jamal, COO at Despec MERA.

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Since then, the company has set up in country operations across almost of its core markets including Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia in addition to a free zone facility in Dar-E-salaam ,Tanzania to serve the East and Central African markets. In addition, the company has also set up local warehouses in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. “The Middle East has always been our core market contributing to about 60% of Despec Group’s total revenue and the decision to set up physical operations across emerging countries has served us well. We’ve witnessed a significant growth across all our operations, for instance, Despec Jordan and Lebanon have reported 100% growth while Despec Saudi Arabia has reported revenue growth of 35%. In addition, Africa contributes approximately 36 million dollars a year and

what’s best is that the market is still showing signs of growth,” he proudly adds. “Most importantly, when I talk about having physical, in-country operations it’s more than just about having a local sales office there. The move is about setting up operations to stock products on the ground in addition to ensuring the right levels of customer and technical support across the brands we carry. This was also a huge challenge for us because we needed to change our mindset. We were used to working from a single location with a centralised set up, team and stock. Setting up in country operations meant that we had to go through the process of acquiring the right licenses in order to legally establish a business entity that could stock goods on the ground. We then had to invest in teams


to manage the stock and operations on the ground, in addition to managing credit availability for the in country channel,” Jamal explains. Having invested in expanded operations, Jamal is careful to point out that the company continues to centrally manage core operations like working capital management, IT, marketing and product management, among others to avoid inflating costs. “We’ve seen some distributors have huge operations spread across their various in country locations making the task of offering the customer a competitive price quite difficult. The last thing we want to do is establish a great in country set up, the burden of which falls on product prices and ultimately the customer. That doesn’t work well for us. We are careful about maintain the balance between regional and in country operations and workflow,” he says. Strategic roots The company’s recent move into Africa is a testament to Despec’s commitment to better serve its customers while leveraging market opportunities to boost the business globally. The group initiated investments in Africa not only because it’s family’s roots originate in the vast continent but also because the team saw massive unleashed potential in the young but rapidly developing market. “If you look at the demographics alone, East Africa- Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda inclusive of Ethiopia, represents a population of over 250 million people that will require IT supplies over the next 10- 15 years. Even if a business caters to just 10% of that population, 25 million is still too large an opportunity to miss. In addition, over the last couple of years we bore witness to the massive investments made by local government authorities in Africa in a bid to establish a robust infrastructure that ultimately resulted in most IT businesses operating the region reporting significant double if not triple digit growth,” says Jamal. “So, we started 3 years ago with a simple operation in partnership with a local sub-

distributor in Kenya. At the time we thought the business had a maximum potential of generating revenues of $200,000 or $300,000We were wrong, today; our operations in Africa generate considerable revenue monthly East Africa represents a huge focus area for the business with operations in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda,” he adds. It was during this phase of initial growth that Jamal realised that the channel community in Africa was actually missing the presence of a regional hub.

No opportunity is too difficult; no place is too far.” “Most vendors were shipping products either from Dubai or Europe to customers in Africa, a task that took at least four weeks. In addition, vendors shipping in had to keep in mind the mandatory import costs such as VAT and other duty and taxes that actually questions the feasibility of the total investment required to sustain business in Africa,” he says. Not shy of a challenge, Despec saw this as an opportunity to initiate dialogue with the Tanzanian government to understand their strategy to boost the larger IT trade industry in the region. Suffice to say, the dialogue was a success. The company went on to establish an export hub in Tanzania to serve the wider East African community. As a result of this initiative Despec has set up a free zone entity in the country to stock goods locally saving them huge costs earlier associated with VAT and import duty. This also means that the company can now carry additional stock at Despec Africa EPZ (export processing zone) to deliver products to customers across Africa at much shorted lead times (three to five days). We are one of the first distributors setup the regional hub similar to the one we have

currently in UAE which we believe will benefit the entire community. We are in the process of building our regional warehouse in EPZ in Dar-e-salaam in close proximity to both sea and airports,” Jamal says. At the moment, Despec Africa operates from a rented facility and expects to operations to its own warehouse in next three months. The company also has plans to open up subsidiaries in Mozambique, Rwanda and Ethiopia and is actively participating in smaller trade shows and fairs located away from the larger cities while investing in sales people based up country; away from the core cities yet closer to customers. Formula for success While Jamal and his team have rapidly expanded the group’s reach with local presence across growing markets in the region, the company has also consciously made changes to the products or brands they choose to represent. “In the last four years we have gone from being a specialist in storage and printer supplies to now focusing on other products and even accessories. This doesn’t mean that we’re taking on brands just for the sake of it, but offering a customised assortment of brands across our in country operations depending on the market opportunities and the needs of local customer groups. Ultimately the customer is key to the distribution business, so while a company can talk about having availability, great staff, training and marketing; if the customers have no requirement for a product and aren’t willing to buy it the business won’t succeed. This is why we sit down with our customers to discuss exactly what products and solutions they want us to bring to the market, we then study these requirements against larger market demand and trends to finally decide on which brands to market,” he states. For instance, the company has recently signed an agreement with D-Link to distribute their networking solutions in Jordan and Lebanon in addition to an agreement with Norton to market their antivirus solutions in East Africa, while in Saudi Arabia the

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COVER FEATURE Descpec MERA

company has added Samsung printers to its existing portfolio. According to Jamal, Despec has also recently entered the niche pen tablet business in partnership with Wacom, a business that has tripled in size over the last three years. Jamal adds an interesting note saying that going forward, Despec will also base product assortment on the product knowledge and experience of the company’s staff. “We won’t go from being aftermarket products to a company that supplied high end value services like serve rs overnight because I don’t believe that we have the knowledge for that. We will continue to expand what we’re already good at, so for example, in Africa, we’re in process of acquiring a company for services that offer customers after sales service and support for maintenance and repair. Despec will gradually continue to expand along the products and brands that we are currently carrying instead of expanding into all new market segments. At the same time, we intend to stay specialists and will not take on every single printer brand because we don’t think this is will benefit any of the company’s stakeholders. We will continue to carry only select brands, expand into markets that represent significant growth opportunities and build our customer’s trust because that alone is the formula for our success,” he says. So how does Despec go about brand selection? “This we believe is a million dollar question. As distributors, we look to partner with vendors who can offer us the right level of support both technical and sales. This is an imperative for places like Africa where the market is yet maturing and establishing a business is often a long drawn process. For instance, Norton supports us with staff and marketing in Africa leaving us free to focus on developing market opportunities through client relationships and alliances. Secondly, we carefully choose brands that come with a significant degree of brand recognition, either good or bad. We believe, if the market already has some knowledge of the brand

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it is then easier to build on it, refresh it or altogether change the perception than to build a brand from scratch,” Jamal answers. Jamal adds that at times it is the balance of the two elements that helps them decide on brand selection citing the example of popular brands in Africa that aren’t in fact even known to the Middle East market only because the level of support the vendor brings to the country. “People want to know that there is a face behind a brand, when vendors come and meet the partners and customers it is easier to develop the brand further,” he says.

focused on building both individual and team performance. It will look to educate candidates on leadership and management essentials. In addition to employee training, Despec also firmly believes in the concept of partner training and reseller education. The company is actively involved in educating its partners on business and selling essentials as well as specialised subjects like the advantages of selling high capacity toners and educating them about counterfeit goods. Jamal adds that Despec Africa is scheduled to hold four such training sessions in Africa in the next two months.

So, we started three years ago with a simple operation in partnership with a local sub-distributor in Kenya. At the time we thought the business had a maximum potential of generating revenues of $200,000 or $300,000. We were wrong, today; our operations in Africa generate considerable revenue monthly. Naturally, East Africa now represents a huge focus area for the business with operations in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda” Another critical element for success, Jamal believes are the people associated with it. “A company cannot hope to sustain long term growth without the right people. At Despec, we work in a close knit environment representing a family that offers equal opportunities for growth for each and every member of staff. At the same time, we consciously welcome new members to our team who are self starters with a drive to contribute to the business. While we invest in training members of our team, we also believe in giving new hires the opportunity to take on responsibility to earn valuable experience,” Jamal says. He delves into the details on a management training course that the company is looking to offer in the second half of 2012. The course will aim to enhance theoretical knowledge with practical training sessions

Partners working with Despec also have the added advantage of leveraging the company’s support for marketing and product promotion activities. “We support resellers who don’t have the resources for marketing in return for a commitment that they will continue to buy the products from us. Despec offers its partners support through the creation of marketing material, campaigns and content that they can then pass onto their customers. This we believe is how Despec adds value,” he adds. One thing is pretty clear; Despec has always been a distributor that values its employees, the channel it serves and the markets it continues to take by storm. A company that doesn’t fear a challenge but looks to take it head on armed with a keen knowledge of the objectives and how to go about achieving them. We have a feeling there’s a lot more to come. //


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FEATURE Storage

Out of the box Storage is a continuing story as vendors consistently innovate to help businesses cope with increasing amounts of data. Pallavi Sharma speaks to the regional community to discover how this story can unfold to benefit the Middle East channel ecosystem.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;More data was created during any 48 hour period last year than by all of humanity in the last 30,000 years and this will be the amount of data generated roughly every hour by 2020,â&#x20AC;? said Duncan Mitchell, senior VP, Emerging Theatre, Cisco. This statement paints a vague but accurate picture of the huge challenges business have to face in order to facilitate the management and storage of consistently growing volumes of data.

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FEATURE Storage

According to researchers at IBM, as storage becomes a key driver of businesses, it will become imperative for the industry to conduct new breakthroughs in storage research. Steve Wojtowecz, VP of storage software development at IBM added that this situation is made worse by data hoarding businesses. “When it comes to big data, more is not always better. Businesses are becoming data hoarders, spending too much time and money collecting useless or bad data that can lead to misguided business decisions. Simple policy decisions and existing storage technologies can change this, but companies are hesitant to delete any data—or duplicate data—for fear of needing specific data down the line. Part of the solution is deleting copies, lowering costs,” he said. Wojtowecz also said that in the face of these challenges, 2012 will witness the adoption of denser data storage solutions like solid state disks (SSD) that offer not only reliable but also long term preservation of data that can be accessed anytime, anywhere via the cloud. He added that storage innovation will be lead by the entertainment and healthcare verticals as both these industries are currently dealing with maximum magnitudes of data that show no signs of slowing down and are critical to the business. IT professionals also attribute the recent flooding in Thailand that resulted in a heavy shortage in hard disk drives (HDD) to fuel the adoption of SDDs even further. Of course, price per gigabyte of SSDs continues to be higher than HDDs. But many believe that the gap is narrowing while some users willingly pay more to leverage the advantages of solid state memories such as access time, transfer rate and lower power consumption. On the other hand, vendors are also making big efforts to provide longer writing cycles on flash chip, an area where PCI is gaining momentum being the most popular and according to some users, the best

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Nicholas Argyrides, MD, EMPA

interface to sustain the speed of SSDs for high-end applications. Some companies are already offering all-flash storage subsystems competing in performance with the fastest traditional monolithic SAN. SSDs will progressively be used as cache, in tiering configuration with HDDs and then for the complete storage memory with HDDs for backup only. Regional insight Regional vendors and distributors evidence a similar surge in the adoption of the latest storage technologies and credit this demand for fuelling further innovation across the larger industry. Nicholas Argyrides, MD, at prominent regional value add distribution company, EMPA says that end users today have more options to store and access their professional as well as personal data than they did a few years ago. “It is no secret that the amount of data required has been increasing by the second due to the recent digital transformation across industries created by higher adoption

of mobile phones and technology, increased broadband access and surge in digital video and multimedia content. A recent study has indicated that the adoption of SMB and consumer NAS units from 2009 until 2015 will grow by up to seven times. This is only one clear indication of where this technology is heading. While UB flash drives and external HDs continue to be popular, users want more storage capabilities and quicker access to critical data. This is one reason why SSDs and NAS devices are fast gaining popularity, driven even further by the emergence and capabilities of cloud technologies,” he says. He’s quick to add that the company’s storage business has grown exponentially over the last couple of years. Argyrides says that although the recent HDD shortage was a major challenge it also opened up a new wave of opportunities for businesses specialising in storage. “The last two quarters have been really challenging due to the recent flooding and resulting worldwide shortage in HDD manufacturing and supply. During this low-supply period we had to work very closely with our partners to maintain their confidence level and make the best of the limited supply of goods in the market. It was also a great chance for resellers to make unprecedented margins on storage equipment, something that, literally, ‘added more value’ to their business. At the same time, the recent scarcity of conventional storage devices has also created an opportunity to ‘pitch’ NAS and cloud storage solutions as better replacements of older HDD technology,” he explains. Cizar Abughazaleh, regional sales manager, Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Iomega agrees with Argyrides affirmation on cloud capabilities positively swaying the demand for storage technologies saying that the company itself has witnessed a huge spike in the demand for its latest storage solutions. “We are seeing great demand for our SMB NAS Cloud Solution products as


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FEATURE Storage

a result of which we have expanded our range to serve a wider segment of the SMB market. We have recently made a number of announcements such the new Iomega StorCenter PX Server Class Series of network storage products, which features a new version of EMC LifeLine software, which includes the Atmos Connector client software. The technology looks to provide easy cloud access to SMBs and start ups,” Abughazaleh says. He adds that the advantage of this technology is that the Atmos Connector software lets users quickly and conveniently copy data stored on an Iomega StorCenter NAS device directly to the Atmos-powered cloud storage. “Once a customer’s data is in the cloud, it instantly becomes a backup copy to help protect the customer’s data from various forms of outage. Additionally, customers can access their cloud-based data from more than one location to facilitate data movement and data sharing,” he says. Abughazaleh says that already EMC Atmos is used by over 35 service providers worldwide, delivering Atmos-powered clouds in over 65 worldwide locations. This revenue growth has in turn has helped

Iomega to sustain continuous investments in the region with a presence across 15 countries in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) and a VAD in each country to provide in-country technical support. HP has been another prominent player in the storage business, noting the potential for future growth to make well thought out strategic acquisitions over the last few years. “The recent acquisition of 3PAR has considerably contributed to HP’s performance on a worldwide and regional scale. According to the latest IDC external storage research, HP Middle-East has gained 12% market share while HP’s external storage business has grown by upto 14% globally and our “lead-with” technologies such as 3PAR, StoreOnce and LeftHand has grown 70% on average,” says Ayman Dwidar, channel manager, HP Enterprise servers, storage and networking (ESSN), Middle East. Dwidar credits the limitations of older storage technologies for driving demand and innovation across the industry. “A majority of the unified and monolithic storage solutions available today have been built for the needs for 20 years ago. As a result of which, customers are stuck

The last two quarters have been really challenging due to the recent flooding and resulting worldwide shortage in HDD manufacturing and supply. During this low-supply period we had to work very closely with our partners to maintain their confidence level and make the best of the limited supply of goods in the market. It was also a great chance for resellers to make unprecedented margins on storage equipment, something that, literally, ‘added more value’ to their business. At the same time, the recent scarcity of conventional storage devices has also created an opportunity to ‘pitch’ NAS and cloud storage solutions as better replacements of older HDD technology” 38

Reseller Middle East

APRIL 2012

with legacy storage, that is too expensive, complex and isolated to meet the demands driven by virtualisation and cloud technologies in addition to big data. Keeping these challenges in mind, HP ESSN and its partners have created what they call the HP Converged Storage portfolio built on three primary components, modular hardware building blocks based on HP ProLiant and HP BladeSystem technology, federated, scale-out storage software and converged management and orchestration across servers, storage, and network. These solutions include HP 3PAR and HP B6000 StoreOnce Backup Systems. Dwidar says, “HP 3PAR is a powerful, mission-critical storage system that simultaneously supports mixed, unpredictable and multi-tenant workloads on a single high-performance array. HP B6000 StoreOnce Backup Systems takes HP’s StoreOnce deduplication intellectual property to the enterprise, providing efficient disk based backup for effective longer term on site data retention, off site disaster recovery. The B6000 has a highavailability, scale-out design, offering up to 768 Terabyte of capacity and speeds of up to 28Terabyte per hour. It is the fastest data ingest rate on the market and seven times faster than the nearest competitor.” It is HP’s optimistic outlook that has perhaps then resulted in prominent regional distributors like Emitac Distribution to embed the company’s latest storage offerings in their own growth strategies. Carlos Tannous, business unit manager for Emitac Distribution’s value add division says, “Storage solutions are one of the fundamental elements that equip Emitac Distribution with a solid technology portfolio to offer end to end data centre solutions. This is where HP’s Converged Infrastructure (CI) solutions help us deliver enterprise agility. Emitac Distribution is focusing on the latest HP technologies that simplify the deployment of CI through integrated solutions that accelerate application delivery, define the


FEATURE Storage

next-generation of converged storage and revolutionise how data centres are built in the future,” Tannous explains. Actifio is another vendor that has worked towards innovating existing storage solutions to leverage growing demand ultimately helping the organisation grow. “A new breed of storage options is replacing the traditional data protection approach with a bold new ones through the creation of storage architecture that can protect multiple systems, environments (physical, virtual and cloud) and applications in a single, highly efficient, virtualised storage pool. Protection and Availability Storage (PAS) platforms administer SLA-driven data protection and data management across the entire production environment – regardless of application, system or deployment model. PAS-based products radically simplify data protection and associated functions and reduce storage-related costs by up to 90%. Cost savings apply across all environments whether they are located on virtual, physical or cloud data infrastructures. This is an application-centric, SLA-driven data management paradigm that is independent of server, storage, or network infrastructure. Actifio is proud to be the world’s first PAS platform with the ability to extend all of the above mentioned benefits to the enterprise,” says Greg Scorziello, GM, EMEA at Actifio. He adds that the PAS platform has already been credited with revitalising the North American data management and storage industry – driving the shift away from reliance on costly point tools used for backup, disaster recovery, deduplication and business continuity. “To date, Actifio PAS has enabled more than 100 global organisations to reduce storage costs by 90% and network utilisation by 70% while dramatically improving data protection, business availability and the efficiency of existing storage investments. Following this trend, PAS platforms are gaining rapid traction with organisations in the Middle East,” says Scorziello.

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Carlos Tannous, business unit manager, Value Add Division, Emitac Distribution

of HP’s 3PAR channel program that aims to support enterprise storage specialised partners to promote 3PAR thin technologies with exclusive support and benefits from HP in addition to HP ServiceONE. “HP ExpertONE is HP’s next-generation Global Certified Professional program, designed to lead the industry in certification, content, quality, and relevance for Channel Partners and HP employees. HP ExpertONE provides the portfolio of certifications for our Specialist and Preferred Partners and provides individuals with the education, tools and skills needed to succeed in today’s highly competitive landscape. The program provides Solution and Product training in an innovative learning environment through the SMB Academy and StoreOnce Academy,” Dwivar says. The While StoreOnce Academy is a training initiative to cover the StoreOnce deduplication technologies, the SMB Academy is a fast-track certifying training roadshow for channel partners to achieve

Once a customer’s data is in the cloud, it instantly becomes a backup copy to help protect the customer’s data from various forms of outage. Additionally, customers can access their cloud-based data from more than one location to facilitate data movement and data sharing” Knowledge transfer With most technology business in the Middle East being through partners, it is no wonder that vendors have been quick to follow innovation with communication and training. HP for instance has been very busy with offering a number of training and education initiatives for its numerous partners in the region varying as per partner status (Gold Partner, Preferred Partner, Proximity Partner etc) and specialisation. The company has launched a number of initiatives to help partner’s capitalise on the opportunities posed by the latest technologies. Dwidar cites the example

their SMB storage certification and will be launched in the second half of 2012. In addition, Dwidar adds that the company offers a choice of two specialisation tracks for partners to leverage a unique level of support from HP allowing them to increase their competitive edge and service levels on storage opportunities. “The enterprise storage specialist track will enable HP channel partners to deliver sophisticated storage solutions such as information lifecycle management, IT consolidation, business continuity and availability. Enteprise storage specialists will be the partners who craft storage


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FEATURE Storage

strategies that manage, protects and optimise data with unmatched simplicity, agility and efficiency In order to enable large enterprises and organisations to grow and adapt to change and implement private or public cloud computing. The SMB Storage Specialist track will help HP partners deliver storage and data consolidation, virtualisation, application modernisation and business protection solutions to help SMBs optimise their business,” explains Dwidar. Dwidar adds that the partner benefits associated with the two tracks include marketing support through the provision of marketing funds, sales support, PayFor-Result compensation schemes, and access to priority pre-sales support through the office based pre-sales (OBP) team. In addition, partners can also gain access to HP’s Deal Registration Partner for Growth (PfG) program to generate and secure new business subject to country availability as part of these initiatives. Scorziello highlights Actifio’s training initiatives such as the Actifio University describing it as comprehensive training seminar for partners “to accelerate delivery of PAS based solutions through all the tools and education they need to promote and support their Actifio-based services.” He continues, “Actifio’s Partner Program is designed to enable our Value Added Resellers (VARs) to capitalise on this billion dollar market opportunity. From training and joint-field marketing events to sales support and demand generation, Actifio’s Channel team lead by is committed to helping

partners deliver PAS based solutions to their customers.” Scorziello adds that the company’s partner program is lead by a former Cisco and VCE executive, Russell Rosa as VP of worldwide channels at Actifio. “Rosa’s expertise in virtualisation, storage and channel management is a strong asset to Actifio as it advances its Channel Partner Program and cloud strategy, which was recently expanded by a partnership with IBM,” he says.

These initiatives, we believe, will help our partners turn their storage systems businesses into optimised solutions for virtualisation, cloud and next generation applications and all around the power of the HP Converged Infrastructure to help partners overcome any challenges they may face in selling and deploying storage technologies across organisations in the Middle East.” 42

Reseller Middle East

APRIL 2012

The company also supports partners on a one-to-one basis by phone and in-person as needed along with a NFR demo program and provides repeatable turnkey SLA and industry focused consulting in addition to ISR support and deal registration. “Our Primer Partner program has been a great success as partners find it very useful to help them expand their business and keep them updated with new solutions and market trends,” says Iomega’s Abughazaleh. According to him, the benefits for partners include dedicated support, performance based rebated, access to Iomega product roadmaps and advanced product information, access to sales leads and incentive programmes, special discounts for evaluation units, joint marketing support, in addition to deal registration and pre sales and advanced technical support. “We believe that continuous education and awareness of our product solutions and technology is extremely important for the


FEATURE Storage

business as well as partner. This is why we have we have conducted a series of training seminars across multiple countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar and Jordan among others. In addition to which, believing that flexibility and availability of learning is just as important, Iomega has launched its online training program to provide anytime, anywhere access for our partners in the region,” he says. Iomega has also recently announced worldwide channel availability of Iomega Network Storage Solutions with MindTree SecureMind Surveillance Manager Software for partners in the region says Abughazaleh. “The MindTree SecureMind application is now included at no additional charge with all Iomega StorCenter network storage products as a fully-featured application for one video surveillance camera. This enables users to set up a video surveillance environment and explore the full feature set of the Iomega and MindTree combination. For users interested in an all-in-one network storage surveillance product offering that includes both hardware and software, Iomega now offers the Iomega StorCenter px4-300d Server Class Series with MindTree SecureMind Surveillance Manager, Integrated Video Management System (IVMS), which combines a desktop four-drive Iomega StorCenter px4-300d device, plus two 1TB server class drives and an eightcamera SecureMind license,” he adds. Adding value Noting the significant competition in the existing market for storage solutions, distributors in the region are also making significant efforts to extend training opportunities across the region’s reseller and retail community. EMPA’s Argyrides says that the company extends a number of vendor initiatives to its partner. “One of the most popular schemes has been the online certification training for our vendors’ technologies. The Iomega Online Product Trainings and e-Certification is a great

44

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example wherein our partners can learn about the Iomega NAS technologies and product road maps,” he says. “At EMPA, we believe that nothing is more effective than continuous and consistent training programs. We customarily hold these in cooperation with our vendors and one area we focus on is storage security. In an industry where margins for commoditised equipment are eroding due to intense competition, implicating the financial benefits of dealing with new technologies is always an attractive opportunity,” continues Argyrides.

better margin through the provision of better support to customers,” says Chawla. Emitac’s Tannous says that the distributor’s primary value add proposition constitutes the provision of pre and after sales support, channel education, trainings and specialization opportunities in addition to POC execution. “These initiatives, we believe, will help our partners turn their storage systems businesses into optimised solutions for virtualisation, cloud and next generation applications and all around the power of the HP Converged Infrastructure to help

We believe that continuous education and awareness of our product solutions and technology is extremely important for the business as well as partner. This is why we have we have conducted a series of training seminars across multiple countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar and Jordan among others. In addition to which, believing that flexibility and availability of learning is just as important, Iomega has launched its online training program to provide anytime, anywhere access for our partners in the region” Arun Chawla, CEO at Trigon says that the company takes on a number of training initiatives together with vendors. For instance, Trigon has recently introduced an Iomega experience centre at a prominent retail outlet in the UAE. “The experience centre at the Sharaf DG Time square in Dubai is a dedicated area for educating customers with live demonstrations focusing on all the new innovations so that customers can have a feel of the product. In addition, we have now displayed Iomega’s NAS products across all the retailers in addition to select channel partners with whom we consciously schedule training seminars every month to help ultimately secure

partners overcome any challenges they may face in selling and deploying storage technologies across organisations in the Middle East,” Tannous adds. Going forward Believing the trend to be yet in its infancy, vendors around the globe are making significant efforts to ensure they stay ahead of curve through wider channel adoption and better customer support initiatives. For instance, Dwidar says that the company will continue to focus on its partner community to drive the IT giant’s growth in the region even further. In the coming months, we plan on expanding the use of the Deal Registration Portal.


FEATURE Storage

In addition, going forward we will also put an even stronger focus on cloud with new channel programs and benefits for enterprise channel partners who want to invest in this highly dynamic market area, this will naturally cover the critical aspect of data storage,” he says. Abughazaleh says that while Iomega has so far been successful in establishing s great structure for its business to business NAS solutions in conjunction with the company’s partners, it now looking to its overall service offering to the next level. “We want to go the extra mile for our customers and we want to do it right, assuring the availability of our customers’ Iomega StorCenter Network Storage devices remains a critical part of their data protection strategy. Iomega has made selecting and obtaining the best level of support for the entire life of our NAS products easy and affordable. Getting a service plan from Iomega assures dependable delivery of results and lower TCO of Iomega network storage solutions. In addition, our customer service portal is available 24x7 to protect network storage technology investments with fast, consistent and reliable technical and problem-solving expertise,” he says. Actifio has recently announced the appointment of Donna Williams, a former HP, IBM and FalconStar Software executive as the VP of the company’s global services and support division. “This I believe is one example of our commitment towards to delivering world-class customer service,” says Scorziello.

Ayman Dwidar, channel manager HP Enterprise servers, storage and networking (ESSN), Middle East

If the latest predictions by Symform are anything to go by, vendors and partners are yet to come across one of the largest market opportunities associated with storage technology to have ever existed. Symform described 2012 as the year of the “storage revolution”. Based on industry trends and insights gathered from customers, partners and industry experts, Symform predicted that 2012 will be all about data—how to store, secure, access and manage it.

To date, Actifio PAS has enabled more than 100 global organisations to reduce storage costs by 90% and network utilisation by 70% while dramatically improving data protection, business availability and the efficiency of existing storage investments. Following this trend, PAS platforms are gaining rapid traction with organisations in the Middle East” 46

Reseller Middle East

APRIL 2012

“Globally, the volume of data is growing at an accelerating, record pace. It is simply not possible for companies or service providers to continue managing and storing data with traditional local or offsite methodologies,” said Matthew Schiltz, CEO of Symform. “This massive data growth combined with the high cost and reliability issues surrounding traditional offsite storage will force a revolution in the industry, as companies push to get greater ROI from existing infrastructure and take a more strategic view of their data.” Symform report also found that the spread will continue to widen between per giabyte costs of a local storage device versus what it costs per gigabyte to store and back up that data in the cloud. “With 4TB drives on the horizon for less than $100, “businesses will balk” at paying $1,000 per month to back up a $100 local drive” the report said. The company also predicted businesses will look to solve a fundamental storage issue of deploying additional onsite storage capacity at record rates when the average local disc is only 25 to 35% utilised over the life of the drive. Next year will be a wake-up call for small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) to reassess current storage and backup practices. “Research reveals that 70% of SMBs do not store data offsite, only locally, and that at least 15% of SMBs have no data backup or business continuity plans whatsoever. Faced with a dizzying array of on-premises and ‘prosumer’ cloud storage options like iCloud and Dropbox, Symform predicts that SMBs will re-evaluate their buying criteria in favour of more secure, scalable, enterprise-class storage and backup solutions,” Symform concluded. Although many may question the accuracy of these predictions, there is no doubt that storage is one technology subject that is yet maturing, with a lot more to come in the future, vendors and partners have an opportunity to continue to evolve to leverage a significant first mover advantage. //


Lexmark International Middle East

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INTERVIEW HP ESSN

United we stand Alaa Alshimy, director, HP ESSN points to the right mix for the right channel strategy while discussing the possibility of introducing a cloud program for HP’s regional partners. What are some of the key challenges that HP as a vendor faces when establishing a robust channel ecosystem? One considerable challenge is associated with the number of players in the market. Selecting too many partners, would mean dividing the overall market between all the players making the respective market share quite small. Many partners with the required skills and technical competencies often don’t have the necessary experience or track record required to guarantee superior service delivery. These partners often adopt an aggressive pricing model eventually hindering the market for the more experienced players. Some vendors make this situation even worse. With their flexible partner selection policies and low cost pricing to “buy” market share, these vendors often compromise product quality and technical support. This practice has a deterrent effect on the entire market. Too many immature partners is therefore a considerable challenge. There is another challenge, associated with the ‘lock down’ policies that many vendors adopt. These policies entail the vendors saying, “Listen, you only work with me and no one else.” So what makes for an effective channel strategy? The best channel strategy is one that drives a long term sustainable relationship based on the discovery and pursuit of equally lucrative opportunities for all parties involved. This is what we call a ‘win-win’ model, where we as vendors secure the ROI for our channel partners.

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Partners are selected based on the health of their financial statements, credibility and ability to meet a set minimum number of sales and technical requirements. Preferred Partners are then categorised on the basis of specialisation, depending on the area of the partner’s choice of operations. For instance, if a partner chooses to acquire storage specialisation, the partner organisation needs to secure a set number of associated certifications. Tell us a little bit about the Rising Star Programme that you have recently launched? These 200 top performing Proximity Partners will be familiarise with HP’s future strategy and the Rising Star Programme that is focused on how they can become Preferred Partners, a previously complex process that could take up to three months. With this initiative, we are working towards simplifying the process for our most promising partners bringing the lead time down to two weeks. Partners registered with the Rising Star Programme will also earn incremental dollars above regular commissions or margins for every sale made.

Alaa Alshimy, director, HP ESSN

This is because we are aware of the fact that our partners make significant investments to secure the training and certification requirements in order to engage customers and deliver superior service and therefore it is our responsibility to source the right market opportunities with a sustainable percentage of market share for each partner. This also involves a situation where vendors develop the overall size or capacity of the market to ensure that each of the partner’s secures an appropriate profit and growth percentage. How do you go about selecting and then categorising partners? Preferred partners are those that are already in partnership with HP, whereas Proximity partners are potential partners who don’t have direct or contractual relations with HP.

Do you think the channel in the region is ready for cloud? Although a few players in the region look cloud ready in terms of their financial and strategic infrastructure, none of these players are taking conscious steps towards implementing the cloud. What is HP’s cloud strategy for the Middle East channel? We have a cloud program for partners at a worldwide level; however I have made a conscious decision not to introduce this in the Middle East level yet. This is because I don’t think the market here is ready yet and I don’t see a need to invest in the same until there is a ready market for the technology to prove advantageous for us as a vendor and our many partners in the region. We are open to the idea and will be happy to introduce our cloud program once the right infrastructure and market readiness is available in the region. //


PEOPLE Pouya Parsafar

Pouya Parsafar Sales director

Secureway Network Distributors “The best part of my job is the fast paced environment of distribution and the continuous adrenaline rush,” says Pouya Parsafar, sales director at Secureway Network Distributors. He considers his professional role at Secureway as being one of the richest learning experiences of his life. “Here, I can see and feel the sales process from the beginning right down to delivery and implementation. All through the process I have full visibility of accounts, logistics and vendor management picking up necessary skills and operational expertise along the way,” Parsafar explains. Having worked with a number of prominent telecommunications and technology companies prior to joining Secureway, Parsafar takes a keen interest in understanding different cultures and religions. “While I was in T8, my addressable market ranged from USA to South East Asia. I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with people from various cultural backgrounds and quickly learned to adapt operations to suit changing market dynamics in order to effectively perform my role as sales director of the company. While this was a challenge, it was also an opportunity for me to learn and evolve as a professional,” he says. He adds that this is why he leverages the rapidly changing business and technology environment in the region to further fuel his professional drive. An individual that is eager to learn, Parsafar holds a Bsc in Control and Computer Engineering from the London University. Parsafar indulges in constant connectivity and engagement, saying that his technology vices include his iPhone, iPad, iPod and Boxee. He believes that social media tools are important as they encourage jet setting individuals like himself to stay connected with friends and family. Married with a seven year old son, Parsafar finds motivation in his family and enjoys spending time playing tennis or watching movies with his son. //

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Reseller Middle East  

In the last few years, the IT channel has seen a gradual but significant shift. From mere product pushing, the market has evolved towards va...

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