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Reseller Middle East




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


Women of the channel


Armed and ready Swivel, an authentication solutions provider has recently ventured into the region. Here, the company talks about the benefits of tokenless technology and picky partner selection


Pushing forward Imation is going beyond traditional removable storage solutions and targeting SMBs with its latest release of ‘Scalable Storage’ solutions. The company’s VP for the South Asia region discusses the company’s initiatives in the Middle East geared at driving business through the channel.


Eye on the game Axis Communications is gearing up for explosive growth in the global video surveillance market. During his recent trip to Dubai, we sat down with the company’s CEO and president to discuss the regional perspective


A look at the industry’s women leaders PEOPLE


Despec’s dedicated team player


The home grown Intel specialist

End to end: The security story The security landscape is rapidly evolving. We speak to distributors and vendors in the region to learn how they are leveraging this evolution and the transition in security investment patterns in the Middle East.

Niranjan Gidwani, deputy CEO, Eros Group



To new horizons The 45 year old distribution stalwart is venturing into fresh waters. Niranjan Gidwani, the Eros Group’s deputy CEO tells us what lessons the company deems essential for this new journey.

05 18 40 53

Editorial Analysis Feature People MAY 2012

Reseller Middle East


Maximise the benefits of virtualisation with Dell™ PowerEdge™ servers and Dell EqualLogic™ storage

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Contact your nearest Dell Authorized Distributors for further details: UAE: Aptec -, +9714 3697111, Mindware -, +9714 4500600, Unatrac, +97155 7204338 KSA: Aptec -, Riyadh (966 1)

Windows Server® All PowerEdge servers run Windows Server to deliver rich, powerful features that help you complete your work also gain peace of mind knowing that the data on your personal computers, network and servers are highly protected. Together, PowerEdge and to get more out of your existing IT investments and deliver better service to your customers.

EDITORIAL Publisher Dominic De Sousa Group COO Nadeem Hood Managing Director Richard Judd +971 4 440 9126

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The preparations have begun. The venue’s been booked, the branding all done, the sponsors good to go and the nominations actively pouring in. Yes, you guessed it right; it’s that time of the year again when the team is immersed in the excitement of the upcoming Reseller Middle East Partner Excellence Conference and Awards. I’m going to be honest, I’m a lot more excited than the rest of you and that’s probably because this will be the first time I am heading an event of a magnitude that is ‘larger than life’. For the time being at least, it seems as though the entire community shares that feeling of anxious anticipation as we witness nomination after nomination pouring in across the 26 categories (some of them brand new). In fact, we’ve even had to extend our nomination deadline from the 30th of April to the 6th of May to create opportunities for deserving candidates. While the task of organising a large scale event may seem unpleasant to many, it is a lot easier than the work left to our honorary judging panel. The judges will use their expert knowledge to select the one winner across each category from the mounds of nominations, all equally impressive, all equally deserving. So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for coming on board to take the decisions that make the event a true success. And it’s not just the Awards; we’re equally excited about the Partner Excellence Conference that will precede the Awards ceremony on June 12th 2012. Like last year, the Conference will bring together key industry stakeholders to highlight emerging opportunities for the channel. Once again the community will come together to share best practices and take away valuable insight from peers. Drawing inspiration from last year’s conference, I can only say this year we intend to make this event a lot bigger, a lot bolder and far more informative than others in the region. So yes, we’re ready. We’re ready to host an audience of inspiring vendors, distributors, resellers, retailers and systems integrators. We’re ready to honour the people that have contributed their very best to make these organisations what they are today. We’re ready to welcome you to the Reseller Middle East Partner Excellence Conference and Awards 2012. For more information on the Conference and Awards, please visit and don’t hesitate to send us your nominations, every one counts. If not for your organisation, send us one for an organisation that you think deserves to win. As always, I’m here to address your queries, you can write to me on or you can always tweet @ResellerME

Branch Office PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 Printed by United Printing Press © 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.

MAY 2012

Reseller Middle East




R&M plans aggressive expansion in the Middle East and Africa

Reichle & De-Massari (R&M), the Swiss structured cabling specialist, is set to aggressively expand its market share in the Middle East and Africa during the current year through new programs and initiatives. The company also said that over the past three years, R&M MEA has more than tripled its staff strength and has successfully

undertaken a large number of high complexity cabling projects for both public and private sectors. The company now intends to further increase its employee strength as well as assembly capabilities. “We invest heavily in the region, for the region,” said Jean Pierre Labry, executive VP of R&M Middle East and Africa. “Our sole focus is on providing the most innovative, reliable and flexible cabling solutions and we have become industry leaders in this niche market. In terms of cabling alone, we have the largest dedicated team in the region and have a local presence in countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt. Speed of delivery is our key strategy in the region. This is why we believe in a strong local presence as it enables us to be close to our customers and to the market.” R&M MEA also recently launched a new partnership program in Egypt which is the first of its kind across all of R&M’s branches worldwide. This program is aimed at increasing partners’ technical proficiency in R&M solutions by providing marketing and financial incentives. The newly launched partnership program, classifies partners based on performance parameters into Classic, Star and Advanced Tiers and distributors into two levels, Classic and Premium. Partners will thereafter be evaluated annually based on their performance and growth levels, it was reported.

Emitac appoints new director Emitac Enterprise Solutions (EES) recently announced that George Petrides has joined as director of its enterprise management solution division, where he will be responsible for leading sales and operational activities. “George is a consummate sales professional with extensive experience and

an exceptional track record of delivering outstanding results and excellent customer service which speaks for itself,” said Miguel Angel Villalonga, CEO at EES. EES added that Petrides brings over 20 years of enterprise service management experience to EES and has proven track record of delivering exceptional results.

Logicom launches HP Lab Regional distributor Logicom recently announced the launch of an HP Lab at its headquarters in Dubai, UAE. The Logicom HP Lab houses a range of HP workstations including the recently launched Z1 Workstation. Demetris E. Demetriou, GM, Logicom said that the company is the very first distributor in the region to have placed an order for the all new Z1 workstation and incidentally holds the first display unit of the HP Z1 workstation. He added that the idea behind the launch of the Logicom HP Lab was to be able to give partners the opportunity to enjoy a firsthand experience of the HP Workstations while being able to leverage the expertise of the HP Workstation specialist teams that will be available for discussions at the Lab. HP launched the all new Z1 Workstation in the Middle East in April. The world’s first all-in-one workstation, the HP Z1 is built for computer-aided design, digital media, entertainment, architects, education, and independent professionals; the machine combines a sleek industrial design with accelerated computing and visual performance.

“I had previously worked with the enterprise management solutions team of EES on couple of projects and when I got this opportunity to lead them – it was a no brainer. EES is all set to re-define and boost its service management practice,” Petrides said. “When you’re in a leading role, there’s no better place to be than with a proven and competent team and a standout product like HP Service Manager,” he added.

MAY 2012

Reseller Middle East



Barracuda Networks signs Redington Value to accelerate distribution in ME This distribution deal is designed to complement Barracuda Networks’ existing local and regional channel distribution partners. Under the terms of the deal, Redington Value will sell Barracuda Networks’ entire portfolio of IT security, networking and data protection solutions, including its award-winning Barracuda NG Firewall platform, the company added. Paul Lawrence, regional sales director for the UK, Nordics, Middle East and Africa at Barracuda, said, “Our channel strategy is to focus extremely closely on where the best opportunities for growth lie. Organisations

Barracuda Networks has signed Redington Value, the value added distribution division of Redington Gulf as distribution partner for the region.

across the Middle East are experiencing exceptional demand for improving and overhauling their IT security and data protection systems. Redington will help accelerate our ability to put our solutions into the hands of these organisations regardless of where they’re located.” The Middle East has become a major focus for Barracuda Networks with more than 1,000 customers in the region currently using its solutions and the company has also recently appointed Sherif Abd ElGawad as GM for the Middle East.

Organisations across the Middle East are experiencing exceptional demand for improving and overhauling their IT security and data protection systems. Redington will help accelerate our ability to put our solutions into the hands of these organisations regardless of where they’re located.”

Gulf Business Machines appoints John Banks as director of IBM software Gulf Business Machines depth understanding required (GBM), a regional IT solutions to successfully drive GBM’s provider, today announced software business development. the appointment of John He has the mission of Banks as the new director of expanding IBM’s portfolio and IBM Software. In his new role, improving the availability of Banks will be responsible IBM software technology in the for all aspects of growth region in order to evolve our and development of the IBM customer’s IT infrastructures.” John Banks, director of IBM software portfolio in GBM. According to GBM Software at Gulf Business Cesare Cardone, CEO of representatives, Banks has Machines GBM said, “Having worked over 27 years of industry and in software with IBM for over management experience. He a decade, John brings along joins GBM from IBM where extensive industry expertise matured in he has worked for over 16 years in both over 30 countries. He possesses the inthe outsourcing and software divisions


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

in the Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific regions. During his time at IBM, he has lead teams such as IBM’s Security, Industry, Portal Solutions and in addition to being responsible for closing very large deals and achieving market development milestones. Commenting on his appointment, Banks said, “I am extremely excited to start my new role. As GBM expands its strong and comprehensive IBM software portfolio, I believe in providing a fresh look at software for our customer base. The aim is to maintain quality IT solutions delivery and to contribute to the healthy business results of the region.”

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Emitac Distribution appoints new director of service Emitac Distribution has recently appointed Rajesh Goel, director of service, to leverage the wealth of industry experience he brings with him, Rajesh Goel, director of service at Emitac the company Distribution announced. Prior to his appointment at Emitac Distribution; Goel introduced new services and led the business development team in one of India’s largest Technology Management Services Companies, representatives of the company said. Patrick Mulligan, GM, Emitac Distribution said, “We are very pleased to announce the addition of Rajesh Goel to the senior leadership team to manage the services business. Rajesh has a proven capability to lead a large business, as well as in new business development. He brings a fresh commercial focus to a well

established business, and I am sure he will be successful with both our existing and new vendors and customers”. Goel added that he intends to merge Emitac Distributions service centre’s existing strong reputation for delivering first class services with expansion and growth plans. “We want to be the service provider of choice with maximum reach for after-market-services; in-warranty and out-of-warranty repair services as well as infrastructure management services including annual maintenance contracts and facilities management services. Our unified communication solutions are real value for money for our clients and our recent entry into managed print solutions completes our services offering. Moving forward, we will continue to excel and expand our business through our passionate team, excellent services and professional attitude,” he said. Emitac Distribution currently has six service centres across the region including the UAE, Qatar, Jordan and Iraq and has plans to open service centres in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia this year.

Canon grows channel network in Lebanon Canon Middle East is strengthening its channel network with the addition of a new strategic partner in Lebanon, the company has announced. In partnership with PrintKom, a print solutions provider, Canon is consolidating its channel strategy in the Levant region. The compnay announced that it is focusing on growing its market share in the thriving graphic arts industry in Lebanon, representatives said.

Canon’s Professional Print solutions are currently being distributed by Image Systems, which over the years has built a strong presence in the corporate reprographic departments (CRD) segment in Lebanon. The appointment of PrintKom as an additional distributor will be dedicated for the graphics arts industry targeted towards graphics arts clients, such as pre-press departments, printing and publication houses, the company said.

CommVault honours partners at first Worldwide PartnerAdvantage Awards

CommVault recently honoured several valuable partners in a variety of categories at its first annual worldwide PartnerAdvantage Awards program. The Awards recognise partners that have exceeded sales and business goals, made significant contributions to customers’ success and demonstrated its highest commitment to providing superior sales and support of CommVault Simpana software, the company said. The winners were announced during CommVault’s worldwide sales kick-off Meeting held last month in Orlando. Ron Miiller, senior VP of worldwide sales, CommVault said, “CommVault partners are essential to our business and represent the most dedicated and knowledgeable solution providers in the industry. The 13 partners honoured have gone above and beyond over the last year to meet the ongoing demands of their customers. We applaud our partners for their commitment to excellence; quality and service in helping our customers embrace change and transformation on the path to modern data management.”

For the full story, please visit

MAY 2012

Reseller Middle East



Cisco introduces Citrix Systems appoints Global Services new channel development Partner Program manager for MEA to fuel partner profitability

At its annual partner conference, Cisco announced the launch of a new, global services partner program designed to accelerate Cisco channel partners’ sales revenue and profit. The Cisco Services Partner Program will provide access to Cisco’s smart services portfolio and compensate partners for the value of services they offer customers, the company said. According to Cisco, the new program consolidates 47 programs into a single, globally consistent services business relationship and rewards the quality and value of the partnerto-customer relationship and provides greater rewards for partners’ investment with Cisco. The compensation model is evolving to a discount plus pay-for-performance rebate program to deliver predictable rebates that strengthen partners’ bottom line, it added. Cisco added that through the initial pilot with 2,500 partners across the U.S. and Canada, the company found that partners experienced 15% increase in the portion of their bookings eligible for rebates, in addition to which, Cisco experienced threefold increase in the number of partners earning rebates compared to the previous programs. Currently, more than 4000 partners are participating across the United States, Canada, Israel and Asia Pacific. The new program is expected to be available to all partners in all geographies within the next 12-18 months.


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

Citrix Systems has announced the appointment of Sarah Mews Sultani for the role of channel development manager, Middle East and Africa (MEA). Sarah Mews Sultani, channel Sultani development manager, Middle East joins Citrix and Africa at Citrix Systems from Oracle’s Partner network, to support the regional channel team with the growth targets for the MEA region and will be focusing on the

management of Citrix’s key partners in UAE and Kuwait, the company announced. In her new role Sultani will be based in Citrix’s regional head office in Dubai to drive channel marketing activities in the region and will report to Noman Qadir, regional channel manager for MENA and Turkey, according to the company. Commenting on the appointment, Noman Qadir said, “Organisations in the Middle East are realising the benefits of cloud and virtual computing strategies, with planned increases in technology investment reflecting a growing confidence in virtualisation strategies. Sarah’s experience and contribution will benefit Citrix in continuing to educate the market and expanding our customer and partner networks throughout the region.”

HP appoints Comguard as authorised training partner for HP ArcSight in MENA Comguard, a Dubai based value added distributor for IT security products and solutions in the Middle East and North Africa region, announced that it has been appointed the HP ArcSight Authorised Education Partner (AED) for the region. So far a distribution of HP ArcSight solution with this agreement. Comguard will train partners and end-users spread across the region including United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Pakistan, and India.

Jayadevan K, senior VP, Value Business at Comguard, said, “With the rise of instances of security breaches in the region today and the threats faced by enterprises and governments, addressing security is of paramount importance. We believe this training will educate security professionals on proactive measures to guard an organisation against rising security threats. These training programs on HP ArcSight security solutions will provide an excellent opportunity to enable enterprises in the region to monitor and ward off threats and secure their environments much more effectively.”

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Comguard Cambium Networks introduces stages first ConnectedPartner Program channel partner conference for the region Comguard recently staged its first highly successful Channel Partner Conference in Dubai. The conference was attended by over 200 channel partners from all across the MENA region. Comguard took the opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of its partners by recognising their efforts and honouring them with Awards. On the occasion of its first channel partner conference, Ajay Singh Chauhan, CEO at Comguard, said, “We are pleased to host our partners at the first Partner Conference and share our vision and exchange ideas on how Comguard and its partners can together work towards exploring new opportunities, enhancing skillsets, expanding customer base and generating better margins.” Channel partners from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Iraq, India, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and many others attended the Comguard Partner Conference. Mohammad Mobasseri, senior VP at ComGuard, further added, that “We are glad to achieve our main goal by providing our partners a platform to connect with each other and explore opportunities to enhance their business potential in the region. We would like to thank our partners who came from all over MENA to make this conference a success.”

For more details on the Comguard Partner Conference, please visit


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

Cambium Networks, a provider of wireless broadband solutions for reliable connectivity in any environment, today announced its ConnectedPartner Program, a new channel program geared toward helping wireless broadband distributors, integrators and resellers grow their businesses through the sale of Cambium’s trusted broadband solutions. Designed to drive sales and enable wireless channel providers to respond to today’s evolving marketplace, the ConnectedPartner Program provides a foundation for Cambium’s partners to access and market top-ranked fixed wireless broadband products across a variety

of industries, including wireless internet service providers, heavy industrial markets (including utilities, transportation and petrochemical), federal and defence  sectors as well government administrative and public safety markets, the company said. “With the new ConnectedPartner Program, we’ve been able to leverage our previous partner program expertise to create a new model for Cambium Networks’ partners that is more nimble and flexible than before, but that still incentivises our loyal partners to be successful,” said Gregg Kalman, VP North American sales and worldWide channel strategy, Cambium Networks.  “Participation in the ConnectedPartner Program allows broadband resellers and providers to set themselves apart by creating opportunities for themselves rather than just fulfilling opportunities, and this program is structured to reward them for their investments, certifications, sales results and demand creation along the way.”

For more on the ConnectedPartner Program visit

help AG wins Palo Alto Networks’ ‘Reseller of the Year 2011 Award for the UAE Palo Alto Networks has presented help AG, a strategic information security consulting specialist in the Middle East, with the ‘Reseller of the Year 2011 award for the United Arab Emirates, at the third annual Palo Alto EMEA Partner Conference. Karl Driesen, VP at Palo Alto Networks said, “help AG has clearly considered it as its duty to help enterprise organisations address the emerging security challenges they face by sticking with legacy solutions. Over the last 12 months help AG has worked persistently to generate new business and has developed a number of new customer accounts for our

range of security solutions. It is because of their outstanding effort, in terms of both quality and volume, that we are extremely happy to name them ‘Reseller of the Year 2011 in the United Arab Emirates.” The certified network security engineer (CNSE) is the highest certification level from Palo Alto and represents an in-depth knowledge of the Palo Alto Networks technologies. Apart from being a regional value added reseller for Palo Alto Networks’ next generation firewalls, help AG is the only authorised service partner and the only authorised Palo Alto training partner in the Middle East.


Logicom and Blue Coat signs Westcon Middle Schneider East as distributor for MENA Region Electric renew successful partnership Logicom and APC by Schneider Electric have renewed their successful distribution partnership, following three years of continuous and robust growth in the territories of Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Yemen, the companies have announced. The renewed partnership also sees Logicom extending its territory, by taking on APC by Schneider Electric’s brand distribution responsibilities in the UAE. To reinforce its commitment to the brand and achieve continued growth, Logicom has appointed a dedicated in-house pre-sales engineer whose primary focus is to provide resellers with technical support, exclusively for APC by Schneider Electric’s line of products, the company said. He will also provide front-line resellers with extensive information that they will need to deal with sales and support. This move will allow Logicom to ensure that its resellers are able to effectively sell APC by Schneider Electric’s solutions and provide valueadd to its customers, it was reported. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with Logicom; their level of commitment and support for our brand has been exceptional during the last three years,” said Olivier Delepine, VP UAE and Gulf Countries – APC by Schneider Electric. “We count on our distributors to bring value added services to the table, and we are confident that Logicom will continue growing the APC by Schneider Electric brand.”


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

Westcon Middle East, a valueadd distributor of convergence, security, networking and mobility products and services, announced that it has been signed as a distributor for Blue Coat Systems in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The relationship enables Westcon Middle East to enhance its web security and WAN optimisation solution offerings. As per the agreement, Westcon Middle East will distribute the entire Blue Coat solutions portfolio, including Blue Coat’s family of ProxySG Web security appliances, MACH5 wide-area-network (WAN) optimisation devices and PacketShaper appliances for network application visibility and control. Westcon Middle East will offer the Blue Coat solutions through its extensive network of resellers and system

integrators in the region. “Reports of the dramatic rise in cyber crime in the Middle East, which have dominated mainstream media in the past couple months, have made enterprises in the region aware of the importance of a secure network. Partnering with Blue Coat perfectly positions our resellers to address these concerns by offering organisations a host of world-class security solutions”, said Steve Lockie, MD, Westcon Group. Blue Coat’s 2012 Security Report estimates that in 2012 nearly two-thirds of malware incidents will be launched from existing malware networks (malnets). Search Engines/Portals were the most common entry points used by malnets. Blue Coat also predicts that a typical business will be exposed to at least 5,000 Web-based threats each month. Blue Coat Web security solutions uniquely provide the intelligence of identifying and tracking malnets and defending against them. Marc Andrews, senior VP of worldwide field operations, Blue Coat Systems said, “We are delighted to take on Westcon as our new distributor in the MENA region. We are confident that their deep understanding of the market and their excellent technical expertise will greatly strengthen Blue Coat’s reach throughout region.”

Abiba to expand channel partner network in EMEA Abiba Systems, a provider of telecom business intelligence and analytics software solutions, is planning to further expand its channel partner eco-system in Africa, Europe and Middle East in order to meet the business demand for its solutions in these regions amongst telecom operators, the company has confirmed. Sathya Karthik, CEO, Abiba Systems, said the company is exploring ways to expand its existing network of partners to help meet the growing business demand in EMEA. “We believe the African continent is poised for telecom challenges like falling ARPUs, intense competition and hence the demand for evolved BI and analytics”.

He said the company, through the Abiba Channel Partner Network Program, provides a solid foundation for partners committed to excellence and customer satisfaction. According to him, Abiba Systems provides a comprehensive sales and marketing support program that offers its partners significant opportunities to grow and widen their portfolio in the telecom domain. “Abiba is now perfectly positioned to provide the right business software solutions that enable telcos to increase efficiencies, improve profitability and strengthen their competitive edge,” he concluded.

Our standard product line ranges from 12” to 55” and is available in the most popular and proven technologies in today’s markets. And if you have special requirements, our “custom solutions” team is at your command.

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Armed and ready Swivel, an authentication solutions provider has recently ventured into the region. Here, the company talks about the benefits of token-less technology and picky partner selection. Graham Field, senior pre-sales engineer at Swivel, discribes the company, a member of the Mara Group of Companies, as a purely token less authentication vendor. “Our multi-factor platform is underpinned by our patented technology, PINsafe. With this technology we have been successful in providing solutions for organisations of all shapes and sizes across any situation that requires filtering access to systems or data. More importantly, our solutions are aimed at replacing the traditional two factor or token based authentication systems that require the use of passwords or authentication documents like passports or identity cards. These systems were not just expensive but also hugely inconvenient,” Field explains. “PINsafe is the very root of our offering, a unique feature that allows challenge response authentication, without the need of a traditional token. PINsafe combines the use of a registered PIN with a 10 digit strings that are sent to you either by SMS, Mobile app, email, or web, either on demand or in advance. You then combine these in your head to work out your unique onetime access codes, putting you at the heart of the strong multi-factor authentication process. The different user devices can be assigned to different users depending on the organisation’s corporate security and access policies. It is designed with ultimate flexibility in mind – regardless of the size of the organisation,” he adds. Like other network security solution providers, Swivel saw huge opportunities emerging in the Middle East and a year ago, the company decided to venture into the region after signing an exclusive distribution agreement with a prominent regional valueadded distributor.


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MAY 2012

“Many of our existing clients are global players with a local presence in the Middle East. In addition to this, as a company we were already in the process of expanding operations across several regions. The UAE today represents not just a regional trade hub but gives us access to an emerging market where investments are booming and more organisations are investing in key technologies and security solutions to keep their operations going,” Field says. As a new player in the region, Swivel decided to begin its operations in the region through a sole distributor- Optimus. “This region is fairly new to us and we are traditionally a channelfocused company that drives its business through primary distributors who understand the market and the culture. For instance, in this region, Optimus is Swivel’s ‘feet on the street’, not only do they possess the necessary market experience but they also have the essential knowledge of the partner community,” he adds. As part of its role, Optimus then executes Swivel’s channel strategy by selecting the right breed of partners and then enabling them to grow the business. Field says that the nature of the company's technology necessitates the need to be choosy when it comes to partner selection. “This is not a solution that just anybody can talk about. Partners need to have the right skills and knowledge to be able to offer customers

Graham Field, senior pre-sales engineer, Swivel a superior level of technical and post implementation support. While, we do offer training programmes and exercise for partners, we have consciously selected partners that have an active security practice, know exactly how to position Swivel solutions and possess a loyal customer base. In turn, we drive our business and customer enquiries in the region through these partners to ensure that the pie continues to be big enough for all to share, profitably,” Field states. Field adds that at this point the company has about 10 active partners in the region and is looking to increase this number in the future, yet it will continue to look for niche skilled players and not crowd the channel for Swivel solutions in the region. With a robust channel strategy already in place, Field says that in due time the company will establish a local presence in the region to better support both its partners and customers. “If a recent Gartner document is anything to go by, we have a bright future ahead of us. The document reported that Swivel has the broadest range of authentication products in comparison to any other vendor. We want to bring this first-hand innovation to the region,” he concludes. //

This is not a solution that just anybody can talk about. Partners need to have the right skills and knowledge to be able to offer customers a superior level of technical and post implementation support.


Pushing forward Imation is going beyond traditional removable storage solutions and targeting SMBs with its latest release of ‘Scalable Storage’ solutions. Here, the company’s VP for the South Asia region discusses the company’s initiatives in the Middle East geared at driving business through the channel. Imation the storage vendor recently launched what it calls ‘Scalable Storage’, a brand of storage solutions and products aimed at helping small and medium businesses in the Middle East. “The Scalable Storage range of products has been purpose-built to deliver maximum efficiency and enable ease of use in regulated bulk storage environments. Imation’s data archive, protection, and shuttle appliances reduce storage costs by optimising and automating many data protection and compliance tasks faced by SMBs,” said Brian J Plummer, VP, South Asia region at Imation. Plummer was in Dubai for the launch event that was conducted in partnership with the company’s value add distributor in the region- Redington Value. “In my role I cover operations across Middle East and East Africa, Australia and New Zealand, India and South East Asia. The Middle East contributes to 28% of the revenue from this region and is an extremely fast growing segment. The emerging opportunities in this region have driven us to revise our strategy to encompass a wider product offering with the right skill sets specialising in Scalable Storage and security,” he explained. Despite the significant extension in its portfolio, Plummer added that Imation continues to consider the removable storage market, its core market.

Brian J Plummer, VP, South Asia region, Imation “Although, we are expanding our portfolio, if one looks at our legacy, removable storage solutions are still our very core. We have made the necessary investments and acquired the intellectual property to bring our customers the best technology possible. While our operations in the Middle East are strongest in our core, we see this as an opportunity to further invest and develop this market,” he said. He believes that the company’s broad product range covering home to professional storage is Imation’s key technology USP. “Our portfolio is extensively broad and while we have competitors across all those segments I don’t believe we have any competitors that provide the complete portfolio,” Plummer added.

The Middle East contributes to 28% of the revenue from this region and is an extremely fast growing segment.


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

In addition to its security and scalable storage product lines, in the Middle East in particular the company is also looking to broaden its audio-video information product category. A key part of its strategy in the Middle East is partner selection. Plummer believes that in order to choose the right partners, vendors need to acquire a thorough firsthand knowledge of the local market. “Understand what you are trying to achieve in the market based on the dynamics and the ready demand patterns. Only then can you go about selecting the right partners,” he said. The company has put in place a Scalable Recruitment Programme focused on value added resellers (VAR). “Through the program we look to engage VARs with extensive experience in the storage business or server storage business and with partners who have a system integration background. The program works towards enabling this channel through competency building through clear communication of and technical training. We have been pretty successful so far, having acquired 12 registered VARs in a period of 3 months in addition to a tier one partnership with Redington Value,” Plummer said. Plummer added that one of the challenges that the company faces when it comes to partner selection is being able to find partners with the financial capabilities and right skillsets to sustain the brand’s overall growth strategy. “Partners not being able to maintain a steady flow of business, hinder the entire channel’s growth because customers feel let down in cases where the supply of products is irregular and erratic. In addition, finding the people who understand and know the technology is a considerable challenge. These are people who face the end customer and must be equipped to handle the hiccups and challenges of deployment. To counter these challenges, Imation firmly believes in fostering a close relationship with partners, that many describe as’hand-holding’. We consciously invest in the process of knowledge transfer until we believe the partner is self sufficient. Unlike other vendors, we don’t try and change our partners to fit our strategy but work with them to understand their strengths and leverage these strengths while working on their weakness,” he concluded. //




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ANALYSIS Axis Communications

Eye on the game Axis Communications is gearing up for explosive growth in the global video surveillance market. During his recent trip to Dubai, we sat down with the company’s CEO and president to discuss the regional perspective. At a recent media roundtable, Ray Mauritsson, president and CEO of Axis Communications described the regional surveillance market as being ‘full of opportunities’ as network video surveillance solutions witness an increasing number of large-scale deployments. Mauritsson said that while globally the firm reported a 33% revenue growth globally, Axis Communications witnessed a revenue increase of 25% in the emerging markets spanning Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). He added that the retail, oil and gas and transportation sectors in the Middle East represent major growth areas for the company’s operations. “More organisations in the region are beginning to invest in network video surveillance solutions to leverage benefits including the lower total cost of ownership, integration and enhanced HDTV capabilities,” Mauritsson said.

“Initially the technology shift to networked video took place in large installations. However, there is huge potential for video installations in the ‘low-camera count’ segment. That is why

Ray Mauritsson, president and CEO, Axis Communications

Initially the technology shift to networked video took place in large installations. However, there is huge potential for video installations in the ‘lowcamera count’ segment. That is why we have launched our entry-level IP video solution for small installations – regionally and around the world – called Axis Camera Companion” 22

Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

we have launched our entry-level IP video solution for small installations – regionally and around the world – called Axis Camera Companion (ACC),” he continued. According to Axis Communications, the new solution allows employees in SMBs owners to use HDTV network cameras to access relevant information anywhere at any time – on-site or remotely over the Internet. The system supports motion detection and pan, tilt or zoom control. Video clips and snapshots can be easily exported to colleagues and authorities, and the system supports thirdparty apps for viewing live and recorded video on leading smartphones and tablets, Mauritsson explained. “Unlike analogue surveillance installations, ACC does not require a central recording device, a digital video recorder (DVR), or even a computer. The cameras are powered over the network, eliminating the need for separate power cables. All images are recorded onto a standard SD memory card in each camera, and even if a network fails, the cameras keep recording. This reduces cost, simplifies installation, and makes the system more robust, as there is no single point of failure. It has been specifically designed with user-friendly features, allowing for easier and hassle-free adoption of the new technology,” Mauritsson said. Apart from targeting the SMB and home surveillance market with ACC, Axis is also leveraging cloud technologies for video surveillance with its Axis Video Hosting System (AVHS).

“Especially across the ‘small installation market’, customers no longer want too much hardware. They want to leverage the capabilities of the cloud to host, manage and store video; they want cost efficiencies and better bandwidth utilisation. AVHS is a proven platform for video surveillanceas-a-service (VSaaS) where the number of sites and camera installations is unlimited. The system allows for easy administration of multiple user accounts and permission levels, as well as user-specific camera settings,” he said. While the AVHS solution is already witnessing rapidly increasing demand across the developed markets, the markets in the Middle East and Africa are yet to pick up on the trend. Mauritsson believes that this is because VSaaS requires the creation of a new category of partners in the channel. “Across the developed markets, AVHS is offered through an ‘Axis Video Service Provider’, a breed of partners or hosting provider with the back end infrastructure to provide disk space, bandwidth and system configuration for resellers or end customers,” he said. He added that while the company is in talks with a number of partners in the region that they believes to be an appropriate storage provider to extend these capabilities, the region is yet a few years away from witnessing real adoption of VSaaS or for that matter AVHS. Not deterred by the slow uptake of the company’s VSaaS solution, Mauritsson believes that the company has a long way to go yet. “According to a recent report by IMS Research the video surveillance market is set to touch $18 billion by 2015 with the network video market growing at a CAGR of 25%. Our long term growth strategy together with our strength in this arena is together aimed at making the most of this opportunity,” he said. Mauritsson believes that the width and depth of the company’s solution portfolio

and its significant legacy in the video surveillance in the market is brand’s USP. Axis Communications began operations in 1984 and first entered the network video surveillance industry in 1996, since then the company’s has taken careful care to constantly innovate its existing solutions to meet customer demands as well as stay ahead of current market trends. He added that innovation is firmly embedded in the company’s long term growth strategy alongside a strong partner network and sustained global expansion, Mauritsson pointed out. The team at Axis Communications explained that a majority of the company’s operations are conducted through partners across 179 countries. To make this channel even stronger, the

Baraa Al Akkad, regional sales manager, Axis Communications, Middle East

“Across the developed markets, AVHS is offered through an ‘Axis Video Service Provider’, a breed of partners or hosting provider with the back end infrastructure to provide disk space, bandwidth and system configuration.” company embarked on a channel partner program in 2007 to equip its partners with the right skills and support needed to help them grow and sustain the sales of video surveillance solutions. “While the program focuses on sales, technical and marketing support, as a primary vendor we also try and generate the demand for the latest video surveillance products across the market. We drive the business indirectly through our partners, giving everybody a larger piece of the pie,” said Baraa Al Akkad, regional sales manager, Axis Communications, Middle East. Al Akkad and Mauritsson said that the company firmly believes in the concept that ‘consistency builds loyalty’ and therefore intends to continue building resources

on the ground both through investing in personnel and partner growth. “At present, almost 50% of our workforce comprises of engineers and skilled personnel. In addition, we invest between 30% to 50% of our revenues in research and development every year. Our regional employee base is growing at a rate of approximately 25% and we intend to expand the team further. We will double our efforts for innovation and collaboration as the video surveillance market continues to grow. We will continue to work with open standards to provision integration capabilities across our products and solutions because we believe in selling the customer open solutions that will only help us grow further,” Mauritsson concluded. //

MAY 2012

Reseller Middle East


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WOMEN OF THE CHANNEL RULING THE ROOST Women have long been underestimated in a male dominated IT industry. Today, the tide is turning. We bring together some of the most prominent female figures in the regional channel who took on the challenges of a formerly prejudiced industry head on to pave the way for future generations of aspiring young women. These women have worked hard and smart to contribute to the growth of their organisations, while holding onto their feminine demeanour and individuality. While some are stalwarts in their areas of expertise others are young achievers, yet they all hold one thing in common, a passion for success and a determined spirit. Reseller Middle East salutes these awe-inspiring women and hopes this is only the very beginning. We present to you- the women of the Middle East channel...

COVER FEATURE Women of the channel

THE CREATOR “Speak to me about your marketing objectives and I will find a way to make them happen,” says Alexandra Pisetskaya, marketing communications manager at help AG. Pisetskaya started off her career in advertising and describes her transition to information security marketing as mere ‘chance’. “I do not have idols, but I will always be thankful to Lee Reynolds, MD of Computerlinks who first introduced me to the world of information security. I did not tick the obvious boxes like “industry experience” when he first interviewed me years ago, but he still took the risk of hiring me for a high profile job in a billion dollar global company because he recognised my ability to excel in it. Not many people would do that,” she says. Pisetskaya says that although the lack of technical knowledge and the outdated vendor MDF portals, processes and procedures make her role a tad cumbersome, her go-getter attitude combined with her eagerness to learn have helped her come a long way. “I am not scared to make a mistake and this in turn fosters my learning and productivity. I read a lot and watch a disturbing amount of documentaries and as a result I have acquired a diverse volume of information that may seem useless to some but is immensely precious to me,” she says. As a result of her ability to accept constructive criticism and understand that learning never truly stops, Pisetskaya has enjoyed a number of career highlights like being promoted to director of marketing, MEA and APAC, at help AG, winning multiple industry awards and hosting myriad successful events. She even plans on getting another post-graduate degree in information security to enhance her existing skill sets. “Understand that time is your one most valuable commodity. Treat your time as a commodity and be exceptionally selective on deciding how and with whom you spend it. If you want to be successful surround yourself with successful people. Go through your metaphorical phone book and reassess your contacts. Who is successful? Who is toxic? Who makes you feel good? Cut off people who give you nothing. You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with. Lastly, perception is reality - dress for the job you want, not the one you have,” are Pisetkaya’s words of wisdom for aspiring achievers. Alexandra Pisetskaya, marketing communications manager at help AG

THE BELIEVER Asli Aktas’s journey in the channel began over 10 years ago and since then she has continued to grow in an environment marked by strategic mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs. “I began my professional life at Cabletron Systems and worked in different positions in the networking services and training departments. Following the spin-off of Cabletron Systems into four divisions in 2000, I joined Aprisma, a network management solutions company, as an account manager and was soon promoted to channel director for EMEA, helping to achieve record growth. Aprisma was then acquired by Computer Associates (CA) where I lead the integration of the existing partner and customer base into the organisation and spear headed partner transition into the CA partner program. Following this, the former investor of Aprisma went on to acquire Enterasys where I was then asked to lead the channels as channel director, Central and Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific in addition to the Middle East,” she says. Aktas is most passionate about engaging with people from different backgrounds in a bid to understand vibrant cultures and customs; this perhaps has helped her succeed in a competitive environment where constant communication and relationship building are key. Aktas enjoys the constant exchange of ideas with companies and teams and pays carefull attention to the impact of Enterasys's strategy execution on the partner community. She says, “Challenges bring positive things and I look at them as an opportunity for improvement—to help shape a new environment and learn from the benefits that others bring to the organisation. I had to understand very early in my career that the only constant is change and instead of resisting it, improving through change works a whole lot better.” She adds that success motivates her and when measuring her success she considers even the most minute details and achievemnets. “Challenges and problems are part of our life and I like to be part of a solution and not part of a problem. People will always hear the truth from me whether they like it or not but they will know that they can rely on what I have said or promised and this I believe, will help me succeed,” Aktas says. "Perfection is a continous process and everyday brings an oppurtunity to step up and be better than you were yesterday," she concludes. Asli Aktas, regional director, Middle East, Enterasys Networks


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

Real security in a digital world



Call: +971 4 375 4052

COVER FEATURE Women of the channel

THE GO-GETTER Newly appointed channel sales manager, for Seagate Middle East, Ayesha Mir began her career with a company called Ideal Hardware before it was acquired by Bell Micro Products. It was her role at Ideal Hardware that she believes enriched her go-getter attitude. “I learnt the most when I was sat on the phones at Ideal Hardware, cold calling. It was a tough environment and we were on commission only- so even if you got a rejection on a call you had to get back on the phone and make the next call. That’s where I acquired my ability to take on criticism knowing that I can never know everything” she says. She is quick to point that she is extremely proud of her professional accomplishments at Microsoft, prior to joining Seagate. “I began my stint at Microsoft in the partner team, one of the first 10 people to kick-start the initiative, today the team constitutes over a 100 members. I then moved to work on the customer side of the business and later in the anti-piracy team,” she says. Mir then settled into her role at Seagate as channel manager for the UK and has recently moved to the UAE to look after the company’s expanding business in the region. She believes that her ability to ask questions without worrying about looking ‘silly’ perhaps helped her in her journey. “I remember when I was at Ideal hardware, and I was the only girl in about 15 new recruits, I kept my head down and worked hard, speaking to the top earners in the company about how they hit their targets. I used some of that advice and started hitting higher targets, until one day I was promoted to the managed accounts team,” she says. She says that while many a late night is spent working, she's careful never to neglect her family and friends. Mir takes time out for cosy dinners and movies with her loved ones as often as possible. Passionate about photography, she makes the most of every opportunity and hopes to enjoy a year long sabbatical to travel the world with her sister armed with her beloved SLR camera.

Ayesha Mir, channel sales manager, Middle East, Seagate Technology

THE PLANNER Having worked in marketing and customer relations throughout her career, Tavid decided to relocate to Dubai in 2008 to pursue her career goals. Soon enough, she found herself working with Golden Systems, leading the organisation's initaitive to build a customer loyalty program from scratch. “I like the fact that working in the channel is challenging. I have to keep myself informed about the latest technologies and products from each of our vendor partners including their competitors’ products and also ensure that our product and marketing teams are well informed and trained to educate our channel partners in turn. I enjoy meeting and working closely with so many companies at the same time,”she says. She recalls two career highlights. The first being the launch of the Avardz Loyalty program at Golden Systems. The second was the moment when the company signed its 1000th reseller to the program. “We did not expect this milestone in such a short period. However, we now have 1400 active members,” she adds. Her ability to take on a challenge is what Tavid believes to be her USP. “I put in my best efforts to ensure that every project that I take up is successful and I motivate my team to do their best by working alongside with them,” she says. A goal oriented personality, Tavid says that the only challenge she sometimes faces is balancing my time between work and personal life and here too she follows an organised approach. “I try to balance my professional and personal life with proper planning and prioritising my commitments in order to allocate my time effectively,” Tavid explains. Tavid says she takes careful and planned decisions towards achieving her goals and rarely ever loses sight of her priorities. She advices young professionals to realise that ‘what sets them apart may be the very thing that will allow them to rise above the rest’ and therefore, they must always exude faith in their own abilities.

Chantelle Tavid, marketing manager, Golden Systems, Middle East


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

THE NURTURER “I joined the IT channel industry in the Middle East in September 1996 and was instantly drawn to the fast-paced, demanding industry and the vibrant people and life in the region. More than 15 years later, the only constant has been change. Companies and people have come and gone, and then amazingly they reappear again in another form. It is a community based on extensive experience, knowledge and passion,” says Jones. Jones says that women in the industry are often overlooked; however, if a woman’s demeanor exudes knowledge and experience, the gender barrier is quickly forgotten. This certainly worked for Jones who was appointed regional sales manager (RSM) for the Middle East in 2007. “Not only was I Cisco’s first female RSM in the Middle East, but also six months pregnant at the time with my second child,” she says. In October, 2011 Jones was recognised as the top channel champion in the IT industry by an external media survey Jones also spearheaded the launch of Cisco’s Connected Women’s Group in the UAE – a company initiative focused on attracting, developing and retaining talented women employees. “I am extremely competitive and never confuse hard work with results because it is the results that matter. I’m extremely passionate about being relevant. The job that my team and I do has to be relevant for the company, for the channel and for the customers. Passion comes from doing what you love, and what you believe is important and will be impactful. I believe that when you are passionate and relevant, you will be successful,” she says. “Be true to yourself. You do not need to sacrifice who you are to be successful. Keep your femininity,” Jones says to young women. For a working mother, you would think that balancing a lucrative career with managing a home while nurturing her children is quite a challenge, yet she makes it sound like a simple trick up her sleeve. “It’s not easy, and we all get it wrong at some point. It’s a constant juggling act, particularly when you have children who aren’t always predictable. However, women shouldn’t be too hard on themselves. While meeting responsibilities at work is essential, I believe, a woman should never sacrifice important family occasions for work,” she says. Claire Jones, channel manager, Cisco UAE.

THE ENTHUSIAST A telecommunications engineer by qualification, Habib’s decision to pursue a career in the IT market was driven by circumstances. “After graduation I wanted to be a fibre optic sub-sea cable engineer but found it virtually impossible to find a job as a woman working offshore. I then decided to apply my skills and qualification for a career in the IT market and specifically in marketing as I thought that was more practical for a woman,” she says. Habib enjoys the interpersonal element of the channel believing every individual one meets adds value in some way or another. “I think that this approach definitely enhances both my performance and managerial abilities, as I seek to understand before being understood and empower my team and the channel accordingly. It is key to understanding the markets’ needs and deliver on it. It also backs the ability to effectively communicate the markets’ requirements to the corporation and ensure that there is alignment between corporate drivers and the market demands,” she explains. Habib counts becoming a regional marketing manager of the MENA region for Sun Microsystems and working with the channel and running the first set of marketing academies for all partners across the region, both in Sun and now for Dell, in her list of professional highlights. “I’ve had the privilege of working for several major vendors including IBM, Sun, Oracle and now Dell. Every one of them had its highlights and was part of my learning curve and career growth,” Habib adds. With Steve Jobs and Scott Mc Nealy as her idols, Habib says that one must set realistic and achievable objectives in order to measure their personal or professional success. She adds, “If you look at how technology is evolving and how much we have become dependent on IT in our everyday lives, I think the sky is the limit. That in itself is enough motivation for me to keep going and contributing to this wonderful, evolving market.” Habib says that if not within marketing for the IT channel, she would stick to safe grounds and pursue a career in IT to leverage her skills and qualifications.

Deena Habib, senior marketing manager, Middle East, Dell

MAY 2012

Reseller Middle East


COVER FEATURE Women of the Channel

THE PERFORMER “Failure is not an option for me; I stand up to the challenge and do not give up. This reflects in how I select or assess my team members. I identify their talent and potential, while consciously investing time in mentoring and guiding them towards success. Because I do my job with passion I would like to lead by example and work with a team that is equally passionate about their jobs. I am an outspoken person and expect my team to be the same and express themselves and share their ideas without reservations,” says Nossair. Nossair began her career as a retail account manager for HP, a role that was as much about channel development as it was about sales. “I was responsible for developing the consumer channel, while working closely with the volume distributors to close the loop on the supply chain. I then moved into my role as regional marketing manager at EMC where I was required to interact with the enterprise channel and the value distributors. As part of this, I worked with the channel partners to build their demand generation and development plans to help them achieve their ultimate goals,” she explains. Nossair percieves the channel as the voice of the market and says that she learns about end users, industry trends and the competitors perception from regular meetings with the partner community. A workaholic by description, Nossair considers work her passion and believes that to be the critical element behind her success. “I identify the challenge, make the necessary decisions and focus on executing these decisions to the hilt. The secret is I make sure to enjoy whatever I do. I always look around and absorb the characteristics of those individuals that I admire and who inspire me whether they are famous figures, people in my personal life, managers, executives and colleagues,” she says. This rush of a challenge is what draws Nossair to her role at EMC. "The nature of the organisation is fast paced and dynamic. Each one of my four years at EMC have been different, each a new experience. This is what keeps me going and coming back for more," she says. “You are your only limitation. So, work hard and don’t let anybody put you down,” Nossair advices her younger peers. Haidi Nossair, regional marketing manager at EMC, Turkey, Middle East and Emerging Africa

THE BUILDER “I started my professional life in France working as a reporter and freelance journalist. Coming to Dubai changed all my career expectations as I took on the challenge of joining the IT sector. I began my IT career with Goodram as a sales executive for North Africa. I was then promoted to channel manager and recently to a sales and purchasing manager,” says Zid. According to Zid, her key strength lies in her motivation. “I am a self driven and ambitious individual and would best describe myself as a territory start-up builder with good cost negotiation skills, sharing my experience and advice with the sales team to assure better cost management for my company,” she says. Ready to take on any challenge, Zid enjoys the competitive and demanding nature of her job role that primarily requires her to establish a steady demand for new and often unknown brands. “I thoroughly enjoy the rush of feeling when I have convinced a new set of distributor, retailers or resellers to use a totally unknown brand,” Zid adds. She says that these visible positive results amd recogniton of her efforts drives her even further. She also believes that the largest challenge that the IT channel today faces is associated with a lack of awareness. “IT business decisions as mostly driven by prices and not by quality making it difficult for us to develop the business with and for our partners,” Zid says. This, she believes can be tackled by developing strong education and training initiatives for the channel. Zid aspires to be like Jonathan Gadalla, director at GME Distribution who began his career as a humble sales person and nearly a decade later is shareholder of a well-reputed IT company. She concludes that the key to success is ‘to believe that you can bring success to you and your company, while learning from your superiors to refine and develop your skills.’

Houyem Zid, sales and purchasing manager at Goodram Middle East (GME Distribution)


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

THE REALIST Zouein moved to Dubai as part of an intership with Motorola nine years ago. As luck would have it, she stayed on, working with the company on various projects and eventually moved into operations where she was put in charge of managing functions across the Middle East and Africa. Following a successful tenure at Motorola, Zouein then joined Emitac Distribution as director of operations, a role she describes as being challenging yet rather enjoyable. She adds that she enjoys the speed at which technology changes and how quickly business is done. “You have to be very flexible and really quick to react if you want to stay in business. Most importantly, I enjoy the freedom from the typical bureaucratic constraints of a large multinational. At Emitac Distribution, I can come up with an idea in the morning and have it executed by noon and therefore I can see the actual results very quickly,” she says. Zouein adds that the IT industry remains largely male dominated with women unfortunately being employed primarily for entry-level sales coordination and the likes. She believes that in order to survive this industry, women need to display strong leadership skills and must be careful not to make mistakes as they are rarely easily forgiven. She adds that her vision and passion for results have together helped accelerate her career climb. “I am passionate about results whatever the subject is. If it is about customer service, let us find a new way to delight the customer, if it is about cost reduction, I will find every penny out there. I always work as if it was my own business, believing any good or bad decision to have a direct impact on my profits. I have a critical mind, I challenge the facts and the way things are done, always looking for improvement. In addition, I have a long haul vision focused on long term goals rather than short term objectives. I work towards execution of these goals, amending necessary decisions along the way,” she explains. Being mother to a ten month baby girl may have changed Zouein’s priorities to a degree but she believes working mothers should be aware and up for the challenge. “If – as women – we expect the company to lower our targets due to our personal commitments – we have to be prepared to also accept the other part of the equation: fewer opportunities to grow, lower salary. That’s only fair,” she concludes. Magda Zouein, director of operations – Emitac Distribution

THE MOTIVATOR An attorney by education, Kaul began her journey in the Middle East roughly 10 years ago. “I had just come back from Europe and experienced the dot com boom in the US and noticed huge opportunities in this young market,” she says. Kaul set up a business in Dubai that focused on delivering knowledge based technology and portals. It was then that she began to notice ‘evident’ gaps in the channel ecosystem. “As a reseller, I noticed the distribution space followed a trading mentality and in 2008, I set up Optimus Technology and Telecommunications with one aim in mind- to fill the value gaps in the channel, from the very top of the channel,” she explains. “Today, I believe this is Optimus’s biggest achievement. It was designed to focus on delivering value in the channel from world class technology products and solutions to technical expertise and capacity building. Optimus has been a frontrunner in transforming the channel ecosystem. Until then, the distribution industry in the region had no concept of ‘value’,” Kaul adds. Kaul lists entrepreneur enablement and technology execution as her two passions. “I set up the Middle East Entrepreneurs’ Network in 2004 to link international organisations to regional companies in a bid to leverage best practices. A huge part of enabling organisations to do better is helping them understand how technology can help them transform and automate their operations,” she says. Today, Kaul juggles her time between scouting business opportunities, consulting SMBs on technology applications and start-up strategies and staying up to date with current news and developments. “I like to be informed to be able to make better decisions that help me ultimately stay on top of things,” she explains. Kaul credits her father for having instilled her with the self confidence that she exudes. “He never once doubted my ability; instead he inspired me to stay focused and turn impossible situations into possible, achievable goals,” she explains. It is this attitude that has helped her create a tight knit, constantly motivated team within Optimus that believes is the organisation’s primary objective - to deliver value. “I am a very positive person, I know what I want from my day and I am always satisfied with what I have achieved by the end of that day. My biggest strength is the people I have attracted and retained to work with me. At Optimus, every member of the team truly believes that value is not dependent on a company’s revenues but on the deeper project-based relationships that it establishes in the long run,” Kaul concludes.

Meera Kaul, managing director, Optimus Technology and Telecommunications

MAY 2012

Reseller Middle East


COVER FEATURE Women of the Channel


Nawal Khan, channel sales manager, Lexmark International, Middle East.

Khan made the transition to the IT sector from Citibank where she worked as a relationship manager. More than a decade later Khan has mastered the art and science of managing the channel and its many faces. Khan has worked with a number of prominent organisations including Emitac Distribution, Techdata and Metra Computers. Khan believes that her role at Lexmark has been aided by the wealth of experience and firsthand knowledge she has acquired over the years in addition to the hard earned respect of peers in the industry. She says that she enjoys being on the field and directly engaging with partners and distributors. The ability to work on the field requires good negotiation and interpersonal skills to develop a strong business network and keep updated the latest market information to stay competitive. An element Khan considers her USP. “One tree can make 100,000 matchsticks, but one matchstick can burn 100,000 trees- one negative thought can destroy all positive thoughts. Self motivation, self confidence and the right attitude are the key to success,” Khan is careful to point out. Similarly, Khan believes that one cannot do justice to a role they don't enjoy. At Lexmark, she says she enjoys the right balance between authority and responsibility. Passionate about her work, Khan credits a strong support system at work and home for helping her maintain the delicate work-life balance. “While my manager, Mark Thompson, allows me the freedom and flexibility to manage the business on my own terms, he is always ready to support and guide me should I need it. Similarly, my husband’s support and encouragement to achieve my career aspirations helps me come back to work with a renewed vigour,” she says. Today, Khan cannot see beyond the channel and believes this to be the role where she feels right at home.

THE INTERPRETER Aboumrad began her journey within the IT industry, eventually moving into the channel side of operations as she enjoys helping partners learn, understand and apply a vendor’s strategies. She began her career with a Cisco channel partner in Lebanon as a pre-sales engineer, and later joined Computer Associates (CA) where she lead the partner pre-sales support centre. She was then appointed partner technical consultant and was responsible for developing the channel across the MENA region for the company. “I was responsible for providing product sales and pre-sales trainings in addition to assisting partners in pre-sales presentations, as well as solution design,” Aboumrad says. Her current role with EMC covers the entire Gulf region where she plays a crucial link between the company and its channel. Over the years, Aboumrad has learnt that while women tend to be largely underestimated in the industry, hard work and dedication helps defeat stereotypes. Coming from a technical background, she believes that in addition to her technical knowledge her ability to listen and gain a partner’s trust have to succeed. Passionate about willing, Aboumrad firmly believes that relationships an organisations builds within the channel ultimately dictates its ability to survive in the long run. "I believe we need to invest in the channel. Vendors must learn with them, while teaching them for this will define their success. While the channel is motivated by revenue, it is established and driven by relationships," Aboumrad says. She derives motivation from her daughter, saying ‘children are proud of successful parents’and always aspires to be a good role model to her. Aboumrad adds that if not in the channel industry, she would pursue a career in journalism. “I find that the job nature is exciting. Every day is different. While the role in itself demands a blend of working from the office and being out in the field, something I enjoy even in my current job,” she says.


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

Odile Aboumrad, partner technology consultant, EMC

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COVER FEATURE Women of the channel


Olivia Bellingham, director of communications at CA Technologies

Listing her dream job as being a judge on the popular reality show, MasterChef Australia, Bellingham began her career in investment banking and today handles corporate communicate for a global technology giant. “When I came to CA Technologies in Dubai, we went to market 100% via indirect channels. I hadn’t had much direct experience with the channel until then, so it was really just the nature of our business model that first brought me in contact with the channel,” states Bellingham. As part of her role, she covers regional PR for the company’s data management team while also working on projects covering the wider EMEA operations. “This is great because it gets me ‘thinking outside’ of the MENA box,” she says. When asked about her idols, Bellingham says, “I’ve had several mentors throughout my career and the common trait that they all share is that they took personal interest to make sure I was learning and growing. They were the type of people who would put aside their work for a few minutes to explain something to me or review my work. They took a personal interest in helping me succeed.” In much the same way, she describes herself as being ‘dependable’. “It means that when I say I will do something, I will do it on time and 100% to the best of my ability and painstaking attention to detail,” she adds. Bellingham says that the key to balancing her busy professional life with her equally vibrant personal life (she has a husband and two toddlers) is that she disconnects technologically. “I don’t check my Blackberry on nights or weekends. I trust that if there is truly an emergency someone will call,” Bellingham adds. She advices young women in the industry to remember that while it’s okay to be friendly, they must always remember to always be professional, “Don’t give anyone a reason to discredit you.” “In the past 13 years, I’ve completely changed my job function – from finance to corporate communications. I think it’s important to remember that although the grass looks greener on the other side – no matter which side you’re on – it isn’t! All jobs have pros and cons, ups and downs. It’s important to remember that, and never let it get you down,” Bellingham concludes.

THE LEADER “I came to Dubai in 1996, and joined a marketing agency called Connexions where I was responsible for managing two key clients- Microsoft and HP . In 2000, I joined HP as the channel marketing manager, and for the past 12 years I have been working with the company’s commercial and retail channel in both the Middle East and African regions,” says Hady. Hady credits a few gender-based rejections that had her all the more convinced on working within the IT industry. “After graduating from engineering school , I applied to two companies , both of whom rejected me due to my gender and the nature of the business and the working hours involved. One was a prominent oil company where I applied for a post as computer engineer and the other was an international 24-hours airline computer company. By the end of it, I was more eager and determined than ever to work in the IT industry,” she says. Hady adds, "It is important to realise that although partners may have the same requirements they all differ in their characteristics and objectives. This understanding of cultures, people and countries is what I enjoy the most." Suffice to say, Hady has come a long way since then earning numerous accolades along the way including the Windows User Award for Middle East IT Marketing Manager of the year in 2005 and the Middle East IT Woman of the year Award during the Woibex Women in Business Conference and Middle East Women’s Achievement Awards in 2006. Hady is also the co-founder of the HP Channel Awards, a prominent event held annually during GITEX. Passionate about making a difference, Hady lists persistence, positivity, honesty, empathy and communication skills as being her key strengths. She believes thatthese traits help her deal successfully with people, manage and get the very best out of her team. “My desire to over achieve and be proud of these achievements, together with my conscience always pushes me to do my best. I must also add that my managers’ belief in me, in addition to the invaluable support of my husband and children back my drive for success,” Hady says. Sherifa Hady, channel sales manager, Imaging and Printing Group, HP Africa.


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

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COVER FEATURE Women of the Channel

THE DREAMER “The IT industry is truly one of the most versatile and dynamic career fields, and the ever evolving nature of this industry is what excites and motivates me the most. Technology has become a huge part of everyday life,” says Chabbra. Chabbra believes that as a professional in the IT channel she arms herself with the necessary technical knowledge to help partners and customers maximise their potential. “All through my IT career spanning over 17 years , I have worked across organisations like HP, Compaq, IBM and Microsoft and experienced transformation at a very fast pace which constantly builds the momentum to learn and achieve every day,” she adds. Chabbra lives by the motto ‘from each new challenge arises a new opportunity’. The concept has been the root of her long standing career that has seen her launch the consumer channel with HP in India in 1995, driving “own the town” campaigns to propagate the importance of IT products in small cities, suggesting out of the box initiatives to drive the retail footprint and anti-piracy activities. “I still have a lot to contribute in my current role. It is a very challenging and demanding role as I work for a multi-country subsidiary and interact with close to 70 stakeholders internally and externally. I learn continuously and at the same time adapt to change in this fast paced IT industry,” she adds. It is the thrill of innovation, the rush of adaptation and the enrichment of outcomes that Chabbra says keeps her going. “Building strong business partnerships across the channel ecosystem and being perceived as a trusted advisor within the partner community has been my key strength. I am a very result-oriented hands-on pragmatic leader with an eye for detail. This has always helped me build, manage teams, work in and with teams successfully across the globe,” she explains. “Let’s not underestimate our potential nor at any time that of others. Let’s not compromise on our dreams because we can all achieve them. Work hard, work smart. Most importantly, find work that you love and you’ll never have a job in your life”, she advices young aspirants. Simran Chhabra, gulf distribution manager at Microsoft.

THE WORKAHOLIC Passionate about anything she sets her mind to, Chartouny describes herself as a self starter, driven personality who values honesty and integrity. These she says are the skills that have helped her earn people’s trust ultimately accelerating her career climb in the industry. Chartouny joined EMC in 2008, having worked with a local company in Lebanon where she was responsible for the distribution of biometric security devices and HRMS applications in the Gulf. In her current role at EMC, she focuses on supporting the organisation’s numerous channel partners across the TEAM region with their demand generation execution efforts. “This can only be achieved by cultivating a solid relationship with the EMC partners, listening to their worries and concerns and working with them to overcome the challenges,” Chartouny says. With no one idol in mind, Chartouny says that admires the skills that different people bring with them and draws her inspiration from the people that surround her and their key strengths. “I sometimes emulate their personalities to make the right decisions and deal with pressing or exceptional situations. This is another reason why I enjoy working in the channel, it exposes me to people from various cultures and backgrounds and helps hone a versatile personality,” she says. Chartouny believes that at this stage in her life her professional achievements contribute to her personal life and is honest in admitting that she doesn’t try too hard to maintain the work-life balance. “Fortunately, I have supportive family and friends that appreciate that sometimes it’s about the quality of time spent together rather than the quantity,” she quickly adds. She adds that young women in the industry shouldn’t be let down by any stereotypical beliefs of what women can and cannot do or how they should act when in leadership roles. Chartouny explains, “The qualities of a leader, whether male or female, become self-evident after a few years in the industry. If you know your strengths and weaknesses and are committed to what you do, you will excel and succeed at having a proven track record. The rewards will then naturally follow.” Soussane Chartouny, channel marketing manager, Turkey, Emerging Africa and Middle East (TEAM) at EMC.


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

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COVER FEATURE Women of the Channel

THE TREKKER Beginning her career with a small PC vendor, Kajaria’ has never looked back since she made her first sale of 25 PCs. Following this first big order Kajaria acquire a taste for achieving higher targets and went on to join a prominent distribution company in India and spearheading a security business unit in her last organisation. Today, she manages the regional channel for Trend Micro leveraging her strong relationship building and networking skills. Kajaria says that she draws inspiration from the company’s CEO- Eva Chen. “Eva is a very charismatic personality and a true leader. I especially enjoy her almost child-like energy, positivity and go-getter attitude. Her passion for what she does is infectious and clearly visible; she speaks and even in her emails,” she says. She adds that her forte lies in her execution skills, cleverly saying that she enjoys defeating the myth that ‘60% of plans discussed in the meeting room are never executed’ when leading her team. Kajaria explains that the world within the channel is truly small saying that she is still in touch with people that she worked with over ten years ago. "Networking and the ability to communicate will help you go a long way. If you follow this up with planning and focused execution your success is sealed," she says. A firm believer in hard work, Kajaria lives by the rule that there are no shortcuts to success and one must keep challenging themselves while maintaining a ‘can do’ attitude to keep them motivated. “When leading a team, I focus on our strengths and work on our weaknesses. I always maintain my dignity and relay honesty when communicating with the team, this helps build trust,” she adds. A mother of two young boys, Kajaria says she is lucky to have a supportive partner who encourages her ambitious nature making the task of maintaining the work-life status not quite so difficult. Sushma Kajaria, channel sales manager at Trend Micro.

THE ENERGISER “I remember thinking back in the day that I wanted to leave a mark in the world, I wanted to be a part of something really special, so I joined HP with that goal in mind, and I have never looked back,” says Ahmed. Ahmed joined HP Middle East in 2004 as a sales specialist for supplies in HP Middle East’s Imaging and Printing Group (IPG). Following a successful seven years in her regional role she was then promoted to her current role spanning the entire Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa region (MEMA). She adds that her performance in her role at HP IPG is perhaps driven by the fact that the results of her efforts are easily visible. “Seeing the results of hard work makes me feel great especially when a big initiative is launched through the channel or an HP channel program is taken up by other members of the channel. It is incredibly satisfying to know that your hard work is making a difference, here in the UAE and across the Middle East,” Ahmed says. Ahmed believes the very nature of working in the channel often leads one to neglect pursuing a healthy personal lifestyle. “Of course, it is very important for women who want to succeed in the workplace to spend significant time on their work, but a healthy personal lifestyle is also critical to a woman’s career ambition. This is why time management and the ability to prioritise are key to one’s ability to succeed in the industry,” she explains. Her exuberant enthusiasm both in her professional and personal life keeps her motivated and fulfilled. Her ability to adapt and settle into various teams is her key strength, she believes. She adds that if not in the channel she would probably pursue a career in lifestyle management or even the fitness industry for her aspiration is rooted on making a difference to people’s lives. “However HP is striving to achieve that goal every day, so I’ve never felt like I missed out on anything there. HP is such an amazing family to be a part of; where you really feel like you’re contributing to the future of information technology,” she says. Zeina Ahmed, commercial channel and business development manager, HP IPG, MEMA.


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

FEATURE Network Security

END TO END: THE SECURITY STORY The security landscape is rapidly evolving. We speak to distributors and vendors in the region to learn how they are leveraging this evolution and the transition in security investment patterns in the Middle East. “Ten years ago, employees were assigned laptops and told not to lose them. They were given logins to the company network, and told not to tell anyone their password. End of security training,” says Saeed Agha, regional manager at Cisco UAE. Suffice to say today the situation is far more complex as a combination of technology trends place immense pressure on IT teams to secure the network and the company’s digital assets. “Today, ‘millennial’ employees—the people you want to hire because of the fresh ideas and energy they can bring to your business—show up to their first day on the job toting their own phones, tablets, and laptop. They then expect the IT teams to figure out ways to use these devices to access work related as well personal information, anywhere and anytime. For the IT teams, this involves using a series of web and cloud applications that bring the integration elements the employees need at half the cost yet opens the networks up to huge risks,” Agha explains. Peter. C Geyentenbeek, EMEA channel director at Tripwire agrees. “Although virtualisation and cloud are changing the IT-landscape drastically the fact remains that you cannot outsource risk. Cloud computing actually makes the case for why automated security controls are essential. Whether systems and data are implemented in conventional ways or in the cloud, a


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

Saeed Agha, regional manager at Cisco UAE comprehensive set of automated controls are essential to ensure one’s security policy is in place and effective. You can’t outsource or virtualise control,” he says. The limited visibility associated with constantly migrating sensitive data in virtualised environments make the task even trickier. “In virtualised environments, it is very difficult to authoritatively ensure that all copies of a virtual instance have been permanently removed, if you wish to do so,” says Sebastien Pavie, regional sales director, MEA at SafeNet. Meanwhile, as more businesses embrace cloud computing and hosted services, cybercriminals are also looking to the cloud for moneymaking opportunities with cloud infrastructure hacking, Agha believes.

Geytenbeek believes that the growing incidence of security breaches is driving the adoption of the latest security technologies even further. “Breach is now a statistical certainty and the right technology investment are needed to quickly discover and remediate the effects of a breach before critical data is lost. This is achieved through a comprehensive framework of automated preventive and detective security controls,” he says. So how does this scenario affect the vendor and regional distributor landscape? We find out.

The distribution angle Regional distributors report an increase in revenue associated with security technologies. According to Mohan Punjabi, VP – ICT Infrastructure at InterTec, Middle East organisations are showing signs of increased interest in the IT security arena much like their global peers. While more people are engaging in both personal and business transactions over the web, the benefits of centralised IT infrastructures associated with cloud and virtualisation technologies have been offset by reports of intrusion and cyber attacks. Both public and private sector organisations have realised that cyber attacks are not restricted to IT infrastructure. The thought of intrusion, today, poses an equally imposing threat to other real time automated systems integrated or supported by IT on the back end such as utility, power, transport, machinery, biomedical, financial channels and every other aspect of life. “Therefore, to protect data as well as the IT environment, network security is becoming more and more essential. The security solutions that are fast gaining grounds with end users in the region today comprise of the security offerings for virtualised and cloud environment, log and event management, DLP and two factor or multi factor authentication solutions,” Punjabi says. He adds that InterTec has witnessed approximately 40-50% increase in the network security business over the last three years.

Stephan Berner, MD at help AG says, “We have seen a growth rate of 80% yearon-year over the last 3 years. There is a clear interest in distributed-denial-of-service (DDOS) prevention solutions. The reason for this is that the region has seen so many of these attacks in recent times and while they are still rather basic in nature, they can cause significant damage to both the enterprise’s business operations and its public image. Other key trends in network security have been modern malicious malware protection and mobile device security solutions.” Although, Bulwark Technologies, a valueadd distributor of network and data security solutions doesn’t report any concrete figures, the company’s MD, Jose Thomas, says that they have witnessed a significant increase in revenue year on year. “In some fiscal quarters, we have seen that the revenues from SMB sales has been more than that from high-end enterprise products and vice-versa. There is a shift in the way organisations today manage their IT security environments. They are looking for holistic and integrated solutions to protect their data and networks. There is a growing popularity for IT security appliances like UTM amongst SMEs and corporates,” Thomas says.

The value add While these distributors credit increasing figures to the rising demand for security solutions, they also believe that their ability to add value to a vendor’s existing solutions has helped them sustain this growth. “At help AG we specialise in IT Security. It’s one thing being able to make a successful

pre-sales and sales-pitch, but it is much more important to deliver the consultancy and implementation services with handson experts and a strong local support team. We maintain a very strong technical team and invest heavily in research and development. In fact, 80% of our workforce is divided between technical engineers and consultants. We have deployed our vendor products across our internal IT infrastructure so that our engineers are accustomed to working with the solutions we offer,” says help AG’s Berner. He adds that the company’s strong focus on achieving the highest partner status also differentiates its offerings as a distributor. “Over the years we have achieved the highest possible partner level with a number of our vendor partners, such as F5 Gold Unity Partner, Palo Alto Platinum Partner, Symantec Encryption Solution Specialist, Symantec

Sebastien Pavie, regional sales director, MEA at SafeNet

Although virtualisation and cloud are changing the ITlandscape drastically the fact remains that you cannot outsource risk. Cloud computing actually makes the case for why automated security controls are essential. Whether systems and data are implemented in conventional ways or in the cloud, a comprehensive set of automated controls are essential to ensure one’s security policy is in place and effective. You can’t outsource or virtualise control”

Data Loss Prevention Specialist, Symantec IT Compliance Solution Specialist and Blue Coat Gold Partner. We have even signed support partner agreements within multiple partner programs. This has not only allowed us to excel in technical solution delivery to customers but has also strengthened our vendor relationships,” he adds. Punjabi says that InterTec’s 15 years of operations in the regional network security arena has earned it the credibility and a reliable relationship with vendors and customers alike. In addition to this, the company provides pre-sales consultancy, on-going implementation support with SLAs and project management capabilities. “These capabilities are coupled with quality initiatives at each stage of our offerings, as we are an ISO 9001:2008 certified organisation. Further, we ensure that all the relevant resources are trained and certified across their field of operations be it sales, presales or technical services,” adds Punjabi. “We deliver value to the vendor solutions through in-house technical assistance, channel growth and development through training, pre-sales support and post-implementation customer services. The quality of our internal team, technical resources and expertise along with the constantly expanding reseller network is no doubt Bulwark’s key differentiator,” says Thomas.

Support systems Reseller training, distributors believe is imperative not only to keep these partners abreast of the emerging opportunities but to equip them with the skills required to sustain a competitive edge. “We believe that resellers are the brand ambassadors of our vendor partners and hence they need to be equipped sufficiently with the necessary knowledge and support to take the products to the market. Hence, we empower them through training sessions on a regular basis, which are sales and product oriented and accredited by the vendors. The training programs are designed to help the resellers stay competitive and realise their full potential to provide best business benefits to the end-users,” explains Thomas.

MAY 2012

Reseller Middle East


FEATURE Network Security

Berner agrees saying that help AG believes that the ‘human’ factor plays a critical role in network security and therefore must never be overlooked. “This is why we conduct awareness training sessions focused on organisational aspects including people, processes, procedures and policies. help AG offers customised training options wherein customer requirements are turned into hands-on training sessions on how to maintain, administer and troubleshoot their network security infrastructure. In addition, we have recently been recognised as the authorised training partner for Palo Alto Networks. This knowledge is shared in basic and advanced certification trainings with existing and potential customers,” he says. “InterTec offers training programmes for end users focused on knowledge transfer, detailed training for deployed solutions as well as formal procedures offered by the respective vendors. Apart from these, we conduct regular technology workshops at various customer premises,” says Punjabi.

The back end Berner says that vendors need to do more when it comes to training associated with security. “Vendors need to focus much more on technical expertise, quality and customer satisfaction. Too often the emphasis is only on selling the box. This might work in the consumer market but certainly not for enterprise businesses. In addition, I think

vendor programmes should offer benefits that encourage partners to invest in their training, certifications and demo labs,” says Berner. Punjabi agrees saying that vendors need to focus more on building awareness in the region. “Vendors need to bring more awareness and training programs for end users, including proof of concept activities, so as to boost their confidence enough to invest in network security solutions, while helping them understand how to build a comprehensive business case to justify these investments,” he adds. Thomas feels that vendors are already doing a pretty good job in providing continued support both on the sales and technical end of operations in addition to joint marketing initiatives. “Handholding exercises in the initial stages of the relationship are

Mohan Punjabi, vice president – ICT Infrastructure at InterTec

We have seen a growth rate of 80% year-on-year over the last 3 years. There is a clear interest in Distributed-denial-of-Service (DDOS) prevention solutions. The reason for this is that the region has seen so many of these attacks in recent times and while they are still rather basic in nature, they can cause significant damage to both the enterprise’s business operations and its public image. Other key trends in network security have been modern malicious malware protection and mobile device security solutions.” 42

Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

essential and we do the same with our reseller partners,” he says. Berner points to a few other challenges associated with the network security market and deployments in the region. “Too many people want to take a shower without getting wet. For a successful implementation, both the customer and the VAR need to be committed to deploying the product, solution, technology or project. There can’t be anything in between. Time is always of the essence which is why planning and flexibility are so important. Another problem in the Middle East market is that enterprises are focused on products rather than solutions. They base their IT purchases on information obtained from research agencies and on the popularity of the vendor without consideration and not based on what their actual requirements are,” he explains.

Looking ahead Despite these hurdles, distributors are optimistic about the future of the network security market . “Security is not a one-off investment; organisations need to re-assess and reevaluate their existing security systems on a periodical basis, while embracing new technologies and adding new business applications. Security evolves with business needs and the changing IT environments in the organisation. Hence, businesses should be geared up to handle these threats by proactively building a strong defence. IT security is no longer seen as a stand-alone issue, but as a part of the larger critical business strategy. With the explosion of mobile technologies and virtual environments, the demand to invest in the right solutions to keep risks at bay will only grow further. Having noted this trend, we have consciously begun expanding our security portfolio, while expanding our reach through a larger reseller channel spread across the GCC,” says Thomas. Punjabi concludes, “With the heavy adoption of VOIP and unified communications solutions, customers are also beginning to realise the need to protect voice communication and information therein. We are working with some of our principal

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FEATURE Network Security

companies and getting ready to offer VoIP security solutions to our end-users in the market place. With these initiatives in place, we seek to capitalise and prosper in terms of our overall market share.”

The vendor story In the chain of events, vendors too have reported a significant increase in revenue from various security solutions and products. Swivel has seen an exponential increase in demand for strong and two factor authentication over the past two years in a direct correlation with the growth in cloud services adoption, says Fraser Thomas, VP international at Swivel. “Many organisations have recognised the vulnerability of moving their applications and data into the cloud and outside the local network security shield. This has led to more businesses looking to implement Swivel as the proxy authorisation platform for managing access to applications such as Office 365 and Google Docs using the same 2FA process as for their VPN access to their corporate networks. Swivel revenue has been growing at over 20% per annum for the past four years and is projected to continue at or above this rate for the foreseeable future. The company now has customers in over 34 countries and a total of over 1 million users,” he adds. “The demand for security has become more complex; users not only have to secure the on-site infrastructure but also must have strict policies in place for the

Jose Thomas, MD, Bulwark Technologies


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

cloud based services. This combined with the consumerisation of IT – social media, web 2.0 and BYOD drives the demand for next-generation firewalls and secure remote access solutions. SonicWALL, as a security vendor, has seen its revenues grow by approximately 40% in the Middle East last year (2011) and is anticipating a similar growth in 2012,” says Florian Malecki, senior product marketing manager, EMEA, SonicWALL Similarly, Saad Khan, regional MD, Middle East at Ciena says that the company is witnessing growing interest in its encryption solution from businesses across the board – not only in the Middle East, but also in Europe and the US. “The benefits of an optical layer encryption solution are clearly starting to get recognised – especially in bandwidthintensive and latency-sensitive applications, where the encryption solution integrated with the transport layer allows deployments that minimise the number of network elements, while still adhering to the highest security standards,” Khan says. SafeNet has witnessed tripling revenues from 2007 to 2010, according to Pavie. “The outlook for the region remains strong and in fact we are forecasting a robust acceleration in 2012. The expected regional growth rate this year in our market space is in the range of 20% to 25% with some segments growing faster than others. We reckon that private cloud, network upgrade and DR projects in both the government and commercial sectors will keep driving the demand for high speed encryption. But also new e-government and e-banking service initiatives spreading fast across the region are definitely contributing to such demand,” he explains.

Building blocks In a bid to leverage this explosive growth in demand for the latest security products, platforms and solutions, vendors are investing in the regional channel through sales and technical training in addition to marketing support and other initiatives. Cisco has long been known as a leader in channel partner initiatives, and currently more than 80% of its business is handled through the channel, according to Agha.

Stephan Berner, MD at help AG “Partner-led is a change in the way Cisco approaches its sales coverage model, and the initiative is designed to put even more emphasis on being a channel-based go-tomarket vendor. Cisco will rely even more on partners for sales to the mid-market and SMB spaces, and to make that happen, Cisco will reward partners for their investments in the SMB and mid-market,” he says. According to him, Cisco has three types of partner programs the Cisco Resale Channel Program, the Managed Services Partner Program and the Cisco Outsourcing Channel Program. In addition, the company offers specific Cisco Certifications such as the Cisco Certified Network Associate Security (CCNA Security) curriculum that helps partners develop a customer’s security infrastructure, recognise threats and network vulnerabilities and mitigating those threats. “This program emphasises core security technologies, the installation, troubleshooting and monitoring of network devices to maintain integrity, confidentiality and availability of data and devices and competency in Cisco’s security offerings,” Agha explains. Mohammad Ismail, Middle East regional manager – enterprise security at Gemalto says that the company has a long standing belief that partners complete the technology picture for its end customers. “Recently, Gemalto introduced several packaged offers that allow partners to focus on specific verticals where there has been strong demand for authentication solutions, such as healthcare

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FEATURE Network Security

and defence among others. This allows partners to layer in their specific applications and provide their regional expertise as they reach out to and deploy solutions within these vertical markets,” he says. In addition, the company has provisioned a certification process that involves a weeklong training session on a bi-annual basis. “This training covers market trends, marketing tools, sales strategy and a full technical workshop for partner pre and post sales engineers,” says Ismail. Gemalto also conducts quarterly seminars to discuss the latest product news, lead generation efforts, and marketing tools available to the partners in addition to an annual event, where partners are able to come together with the company’s top executives, familiarise themselves with Gemalto’s strategy and get an overview of the products and tools that will be available to the partners to enable their success. “This annual session took place just last month in Istanbul, Turkey. In addition to these training options, partners receive regular communication and have access to many resources through a partner portal. Partners are granted access to these resources once they have joined the partner program,” adds Ismail. Similarly, SafeNet organises regular partner training sessions that focus on emerging trends and opportunities. “This year there will be a particular focus on virtualisation, cloud security and a number of new solutions that we are bringing to market,” says Pavie. CommScope provides a security specialisation certification within the CommScope BusinessPartner Program

that provides partners with access to a comprehensive product portfolio, extensive sales support, marketing tools and technical resources designed for the security market. “As part of the Business Partner Program, partners can also leverage our knowledge base via an online portal, which provides a growing library of historical technical solutions to common and difficult problems. The knowledge base is continuously updated by our engineers with new content based on customer support issues,” says Ciaran Forde, VP, Enterprise, Middle East and Africa, CommScope. “Channel partners also benefit from the CommScope Infrastructure Academy – a full education and training program covering our solutions, and other industry related qualifications. Most of our course material is delivered online, but we also roll-out classroom training as required, both for our

Florian Malecki, senior product marketing manager, EMEA, SonicWALL

The benefits of an optical layer encryption solution are clearly starting to get recognised – especially in bandwidth-intensive and latency-sensitive applications, where the encryption solution integrated with the transport layer allows deployments that minimise the number of network elements while still adhering to the highest security standards.” 46

Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

channel and in some cases our customers. We offer training and certification programs that focus on the critical skill-sets and business requirements needed to deploy and maintain successful security infrastructure solutions. For security specialisation partners, CommScope offers technical support, and engineering resources to assist with complex site deigns, proposals and specification review,” explains Forde. ProClub is part of SonicWALL’s key channel initiative says Malecki. It is a technology forum to discuss core technology queries and share best practices within the technological community and aids in the selection of the right beta partners for extensive testing. The forum enables easy access to the state-of-the-art lab that houses all the latest products for testing and POC purposes. The company also offers a CSSA certification focused on network security in addition to trainings specific to product areas, including backup and recovery, remote access, wireless security, email security and management solution certification trainings. Tripwire resellers can leverage the company’s Preferred Partner Program to leverage opportunities for attractive margins, marketing sales support and accredited training and certification partners, enhanced product discounts, and a deal registration mechanism that ensures protection for selected resellers. “Our partners are the back-bone to our growth and hence we work closely with them in taking our products to different geographical markets. We have chosen distributors who are well-equipped to empower the resellers with the knowledge to position our solutions better in the market. For instance, in the Middle East we have teamed up with Bulwark Technologies, key distributor for Tripwire which has the capabilities and the resource infrastructure to impart knowledge to the resellers through product and technical training sessions. We support distributors with marketing initiatives or activities aimed at channel growth and development. For instance, with Bulwark Technologies, we jointly host reseller awareness meets and participate in trade events,” says Geytenbeek.

FEATURE Network Security

Following Dell’s strategic acquisition of SecureWorks the company now offers partners in the Middle East an opportunity to add to their existing security portfolio, a proven selection of security services to help protect IT assets, comply with regulations and reduce costs — without having to build internal security expertise from scratch, according to Basil Ayass, enterprise product manager at Dell, Middle East. Ayass also says that Dell has also signed up with a partner in Saudi Arabia to establish a security operation centre built on the Dell SecureWorks deep security expertise and solutions to extend enhanced security services to customers in the region. “Excellent channel management is critical to our business. We continue to invest in this area with resources focused not only on channel sales but also with additional resources focused on engagement, enablement and development in the security landscape. At Dell, we are building a strategic security software portfolio to address the needs of our customers with key assets in the fast-growing and highly profitable IT security solutions business. For instance, our acquisition of SonicWALL gives Dell access to unique intellectual property resources and technology that position us well in fast-growing parts of the software security business. With Dell’s Partner Direct Program, partners can leverage our intellectual property to establish a unique selling proposition and vertical expertise

Mohammad Ismail, Middle East regional manager – Enterprise Security at Gemalto


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

through continuous trainings and roadshows while simultaneously enhancing their own competency,” says Ayass.

Future forward Vendors believe that the shift in threat patterns and the overall security landscape will continue to drive the demand for security solutions, while simultaneously creating huge opportunities for the channel community to expand their security offerings at better margins. Says Geytenbeek, “The last few years have witnessed a transition in the security landscape, from focusing on stand-alone security products to realising the benefits of wider security management solutions. We are now witnessing the next stage, as the world looks to technology to deliver risk management solutions that are integrated and comprehensive.” “I believe that 2012 offers excellent business opportunities for the channel and especially those that continue to invest in solutions that enable customers to take control of their infrastructure. As customers have evolving complex IT infrastructure they are looking for trusted and knowledgeable partners that can advise them and are able to assist them with implementation, while vendors are looking for partners who are capable of positioning the product and maintaining a competitive edge while delivering superior service standards,” he adds. Gemalto’s Ismail agrees. “The security landscape will continue to rapidly change as companies accelerate their adoption of cloud-based services as companies will look for stronger authentication technologies in a bid to enable the creation of trusted online identities. The greatest thing we can provide to our partners is a solution that is based on standards and provides flexibility for the customer to introduce stronger identity controls in line with their risk profile and budget constraints. This is why we consciously invest in training our partners so that they may provision and enhance the flexibility of our offerings as they work with customers to design a specific solution to meet the risk profile,” he says. “The distribution and reseller channel has acknowledged and factored in the

Ciaran Forde, VP, Enterprise, Middle East and Africa, CommScope major trends in the security technologies landscape. In 2012 the already wellestablished security specialist distributor and reseller channel should keep growing, while in parallel broadline distributors and resellers are expected to accelerate the integration of security components and aspects to their overall portfolio. On top of that the channel is also actively developing its value-added services offering and capability overall but also more specifically when it comes to security in order to be able to effectively engage customers and ensure their expectations are met while integrating security solutions and supporting their implementations and evolving needs,” predicts SafeNet’s Pavie. “SonicWALL will continue to focus on delivering the right product offerings that meet current challenges, coupled with trainings and putting in place the right infrastructure, equip partners with the skills and knowledge needed to leverage these trends and capitalise the ‘early bird’ advantage as the next 12 to18 months witnesses more changes in the areas of virtualisation, consolidation and cloud services,” says Malecki. With vendors and distributors focused on delivering best-in-class security products and services, now all end users have to worry about is finding a partner that understands their unique pressure points and helps them deploy and maintain a security infrastructure customised to fit their enterprise environment and culture. //

INTERVIEW Niranjan Gidwani

TO NEW HORIZONS The 45 year old distribution stalwart is venturing into fresh waters. Niranjan Gidwani, the Eros Group’s deputy CEO tells us what lessons the company deems essential for this journey. What would you say are the key strengths of the Eros Group? Over the 45 years of operations, Eros Group has focused on understanding and establishing connections right through various channels including the organised trade, hypermarkets, speciality electronics stores in addition to independent retail or the local souqs and the re-export channels. In addition to the width of our brand portfolio, the depth of our operations serve as an added advantage for customers and partners. For instance, we are the only company with branch operations across all the Emirates with a senior level manager and a service and support team. And finally, I believe, that our ability to negotiate and collaborate with principles to establish scenarios that open up significant market opportunities for all parties involved is an added advantage. Whether this be in terms of negotiating the right retail prices or branding options.

Niranjan Gidwani, deputy CEO, Eros Group

How do you go about brand selection? Essentially, we try not to create internal competition and work with brands that enable synergies. For instance, we look for brands available at optimum price points or choose a brand whose product range complements that of another brand. So far we have been fairly successful in distributing Japanese and Korean brands, about four years ago we decided to take on a few European brands and are also looking to take on known Chinese brands base on customer demand. As volume players, another element that we are careful about when selecting a brand is its ability to scale operations. Therefore,

any brand that we believe isn’t likely to hit a sizeable market share or volume within 18 to 24 months of operations we wouldn’t be too keen on. Over the last one year, we have consciously decided to insist on taking on new brands that offer a Pan Gulf or Pan Gulf and East Africa footprint. Objective being in the next 24 months to 36 months time we would like to enter these markets albeit in small steps, we would like to groom these brands and products in much the same way we have our existing portfolio. As a group, we also try and take on brands that can positively impact the group’s


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

operations and those that don’t need us to help build brand recognition. For instance, the reason we chose Samsung is that the company itself dictates an aggressive sales policy and exhibits market leading innovation that rubs off on us. We do business in as transparent a manner as is possible, within legal boundaries and often taking considerably longer than others to make a decision. This is because we follow a consensus building approach to decision making, which also means once we are decided on a course of action, the implementation and execution of strategy is fairly rapid. Could you list out your in-country operations? Different brands have different agency and distribution agreements. For instance, the agreement with Samsung is solely focused on the UAE, whereas the one with Hitachi is for operations across nine countries, TCL across seven countries and Kandy across five countries. Our core business is focused on the UAE, with 60% of our revenues generated here and about 80% of our staff based here. In addition, we work with sub distributors across Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. A year ago, we opened a small office in Qatar and have set up a registered company in Tanzania. We have also opened the first showroom outside of the UAE in a mall in Dar-Al-Salaam, Tanzania. These are all examples of small exercises we have invested in to test the waters and see the rate of growth in these markets in the next two to three years. As I mentioned earlier, we are in no hurry to expand, we take our time to carefully make a decision and perhaps this is why we have been fortunate enough not to have suffered any significant losses throughout our 45 years of operations. Over the last two to three years we have witnessed revenue growth of approximately 60%-70% in the GCC. East Africa too has grown at the rate of 70%-80% a year, but it is important to note that the base we started with was comparatively small.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Unlike many of our prominent competitors the Eros Group never had a strong IT division; our primary focus was in the areas of mobile, electronic appliances and digital conversion products. In the year since we have created a new business group to fill this gap, bringing in Samsung laptops and notebooks, we have generated approximately Dhs125 million in turnoverâ&#x20AC;? Therefore, although we have so far been an in-country distributor we are now moving towards adopting a regional model. Unlike many of our prominent competitors the Eros Group never had a strong IT division, our primary focus was in the areas of mobile, electronic appliances and digital conversion products. In the year since we have created a new business group to fill this gap, bringing in Samsung laptops and notebooks, we have generated approximately Dhs125 million in turnover. Describe your generic channel activities in terms of logistics, operations and support. We handle all the essential end to end requirements for a distributor. Right from placing orders with the principle, that often requires order forms up to a few weeks or months in advance, to transportation and warehousing. We have warehousing facilities spread across the emirates including one in Al Quoz, Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi. This means that at any given point in time, we can stock approximately 600 40feet containers of material, we turnaround anywhere between 700-800 containers a month. I would call this

a sizeable operation for a market that is only eight million strong in terms of people. In addition we are in the process of building a warehouse in Dubai Industrial Park and are looking to build one in Sharjah. How do you then select partners? We consider a number of aspects when selecting partners including credit worthiness, capability of the partner to push the product at our price point, the location of the store and the branding space available. Depending on these parameters we then decide on the scale and volume of business we want to do with a respective partner. Within the UAE 60% of our revenue comes from organised retail, 25% through independent retailers and balance comes either from re-export parties or those that ship to other regions with the principlesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; permission. More businesses are beginning to prefer dealing with the organised retail channel and category by category the souq or independent retail business is slowing down, this dynamic is definitely considered during partner selection. What are some of challenges that you think vendors tend to ignore? Vendors need to realise that the channel or retailer are prone to playing the gaps between a distributor and vendors relationship to the hilt. For instance, if vendors blindly agree to pay an amount the retailer demands when a distributor could negotiate the same at onefifth the price, the net result is that retailers begin acting like leasing agents. They tend to focus on making money from branding where they should be focusing on making revenues from actual product sales. The amount of money spent is sadly crazy. Another challenge that we face has more to do with the inherent culture of this market than to do with the vendors. The nature of business in this region is that customers are looking for premium products with quality, service and support at the lowest prices. Customers must realise that from the time the product is manufactured our margins our fixed, while our costs are constantly increasing, they should more willing to pay a premium for a product that meets the highest standards and delivers a superior experience.

How would you describe your growth strategy? We at the Eros Group are looking to adopt a regional distribution model while simultaneously expanding the depth of our operations by introducing our existing brand portfolio into newer markets. We intend to replicate the distribution models we adopted in the UAE to grow operations in other countries one step at a time. For Africa in particular, we are on the lookout for business partners with prior experience of the market as well a keen understanding of the systems and legalities needed to import and stock goods. As a group, we are also looking to invest outside of the consumer electronics business and are in talks to either venture into the food franchise business or health and wellness industry. With so many plans ahead of us, we are sticking to our model and taking our time to decide on the right course of action, in the meantime we are looking to include new brands within our existing portfolio that enhance our offerings and contribute to our growth and expansion plans. //


MAY 2012

Reseller Middle East


PEOPLE Saji Anthony

Despec’s dedicated team player

Saji Anthony, Sales manager, Southern Gulf region at Despec MERA

Saji Anthony describes himself as ‘appealing, aggressive and assertive’ and a true professional never shies away from continuous learning. These are perhaps the characteristics that have helped him accelerate his career climb that began in New Delhi, India, followed by Riyadh and finally in Dubai. With 15 years of experience in the IT industry spanning both OEM and distributor operations, Anthony now works with Despec MERA in the capacity of sales manager for the Southern Gulf region. “Being a very challenging role, I consciously invest my time and effort in building the right team by putting in place the right training programs to support the area managers and aid them with planning and monitoring regional sales in addition to forecasting goals. I am constantly on the look-out for ways to improve the sales process and try my best to incorporate the latest technologies into our sales systems to automate the system and achieve the highest levels of accuracy and decision making efficiency,” he says According to Anthony, his extensive years of residency in the Gulf region have helped him understand the diverse market dynamics in the region and establish some key industry contacts. Anthony adds that the three year long global recession was perhaps the most challenging time to meet business objectives. The three years also turned out to be the richest learning experience of his life where he used strong networking and relationship building skills to develop the organisation’s overall market share. In addition, he says the company’s constant support gave him the strength and determination to achieve his goals. With a wife and six year old daughter, Anthony says he is a family oriented and religious individual who is careful to unwind with his family after a long day at work. In addition to his passion for music, movies and reading, Anthony’s technology vices include his iPhone, BlackBerry and Internet TV. A firm believer in the concept of social networking, Anthony adds that while he does spend time interacting with friends and family through these networks, but never does so at work.

MAY 2012

Reseller Middle East


PEOPLE Eng Taha Khalifa

The homegrown Intel Specialist Engineer Taha Khalifa has grown through the ranks at the Intel Corporation, beginning his career with the IT giant in 1995 following his Master’s Degree from the Dundee University, Scotland in 1994. Khalifa kicked off his career in the United States with the Intel Architecture Group (IAG) and Software Solutions Group where he assumed many senior engineering, marketing and management positions. Today, Khalifa is regional director for the Reseller Channel Organisation (RCO) at Intel in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Passionate about technology and the impact it has on people’s lives, Khalifa believes his career graph through Intel resembles a learning curve. “I learned to appreciate diversity and respect radically different opinions; this helped grow my understanding of the world and knowledge of people. We have such an inspirational vision for Intel to connect and enrich the lives of every person on earth. Feeling that I’m a part of this vision has been very enriching,” he says. He adds that the rapidly changing world of technology is apt for those who are willing to learn and exceed expectations. “The ability to help customers grow their businesses by providing them with a competitive advantage and sustainably growing their business model is something that comes naturally to me and I truly enjoy it,” says Khalifa. A person who aspires for continues growth; Khalifa leaves no stone unturned when it comes to education, believing this eagerness to learn as being his professional strength. For instance, I earned my MBA while working as an engineering manager at Intel; this helped me switch from the technical track to the business track at the organisation. Being at the leading edge of technology means you need to continuously learn about emerging technologies and products and how they meet customers’ expectations and demands. Even an organisation as large as Intel is careful to learn, adapt and evolve to keep growing, this explains the company’s move into the smart phone business,” he explains. A fairly health conscious individual, Khalifa takes careful time to unwind after a day at work. “I enjoy travelling and spending time with my wife and two kids when am not working out at the gym. I particularly indulge in catching up on sports when I have the time,” he says.


Reseller Middle East

MAY 2012

Eng Taha Khalifa, regional director for the Reseller Channel Organisation (RCO) at Intel in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

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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