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PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ

ISSUE 189 // SEPTEMBER 2012 // WWW.RESELLERME.COM

STRENGTH TO STRENGTH THE EVOLVING DEMAND FOR PC PERIPHERALS

PARTNER WATCH

VENDOR FOCUS

REVIEWS

HCL InfoSystems MEA is fast gaining ground in the regional SI market

Cisco Regional Services is headed the ‘Smart’ route with a big focus on SMBs

Nokia tries to make a comeback with the PureView 808

THE MONEY TRAIL

T H E I M P O RTA N CE O F T H E ‘ RI G H T ’ I N CE N T I V E P RO G R A MS


Dell recommends Windows® 7 Professional.

With Dell™ mobility solutions, every corner of the world becomes a secure extension of your office. Being on the move doesn’t mean you have to be unproductive. With Dell mobility solutions, featuring a 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor, your team can do business wherever they are, safe in the knowledge that our laptops stay as securely connected outside of the office as they do inside. Solutions include: Ŕ The new XPS™ 14 Ultrabook™. Inspired by Intel – designed to bring you an experience that's premium in every way Ŕ The Vostro™ 3360 – cost-effective without compromising on high performance Ŕ The Latitude™ E6430s – a high-performance business-class 14" notebook weighing just 1.75kg

XPS 14 Ultrabook. Inspired by Intel

Vostro 3360

Latitude E6430s

See how Dell’s mobility solutions can benefit your business at YourDellSolution.com/me/mobility

© 2012 Dell Products. Dell, the logo, XPS, Latitude and Vostro are registered or unregistered trademarks of Dell Inc. in the United States and other countries. Ultrabook, Celeron, Celeron Inside, Core Inside, Intel, Intel Logo, Intel Atom, Intel Atom Inside, Intel Core, Intel Inside, Intel Inside Logo, Intel vPro, Itanium, Itanium Inside, Pentium, Pentium Inside, vPro Inside, Xeon, and Xeon Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other trademarks or trade names may be used in this document to refer to third-party products (such as operating systems and software) included with the products offered by Dell and the entities claiming the marks and names of those products. Dell disclaims proprietary interest in the marks and names of others. Dell Corporation Ltd, Dell House, The Boulevard, Cain Road, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 1LF.


CONTENTS ISSUE 189 // SEPTEMBER 2012

HIGHLIGHTS 7

COVER FEATURE

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

VENDOR FOCUS 22

When the time is right Networking giant Cisco is shifting the focus to highlight the work of its regional services arm with the launch of initiatives like ‘Smart Care’ and ‘Collaborative Professional Services’. Debbie Mayfield, regional services sales manager at Cisco UAE, tells us more.

PARTNER WATCH 26

The business of IT HCL InfoSystems MEA may seem a young contender in the regional SI space, yet the company has already established a strong foothold in a region with a strategy that focuses on perseverance and transparency.

FEATURE 39

30

The money trail The subject of channel incentives is under intense scrutiny as both vendors and customers evolve in their demands from IT and the focus shifts to technology services

HOT PRODUCTS 46

Nokia PureView 808 We find out if a 41 mega pixel camera is good enough to help Nokia make its comeback.

47

HP Envy Pro Ultrabook Another contender in the Ultrabook space, this device takes the concept to a whole new level.

STRENGTH TO STRENGTH The peripherals industry is looking up as analysts continue to predict a growth in demand and sales in the year ahead driven by a host of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks. We speak to the experts to take a look at the regional dynamics of the market.

PEOPLE

49

50

Exceeding expectations

Recipe for success

Govind Haridas, storage and security business unit manager at Aptec Distribution

Amir Sohrabi, regional alliance manager at SAS, Middle East and Africa

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

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Fresh and first

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DIGITAL www.rwme.net DIGITAL SERVICES Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy P Maagma Web Developers Erik Briones Jefferson de Joya Photographer and Social Media Co-ordinator Jay Colina online@cpidubai.com +971 4 440 9100 Published by

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

As temperatures start to cool off in September, the air is filled with an eager anticipation as we prepare for the month ahead and there’s just one thing on all our minds- GITEX, GITEX, GITEX. This time around the folks at Dubai World Trade Centre have made it all the more exciting by announcing a shift in venue and dates for the much awaited GITEX Shopper, which will now be held from the 29th of September to October the 6th. This naturally means twice the work for all those vendors who have a significant presence across the consumer IT space but on a positive note it gives all those who would have been otherwise busy at GITEX Technology Week an opportunity to indulge in some tech shopping by leveraging some of biggest offers from heavyweight retailers such as Jacky’s, Sharaf DG, Jumbo Electronics and Emax, among many others. We at ResellerME are in the midst of our own plans for this GITEX. While both Shopper and Technology Week will keep us on our toes for the latest and greatest news updates from the event floor, GITEX Technology Week will see us hosting the first “ResellerME Hot50 Awards”. Not your regular run of the mill recognition ceremony, the Hot50 Awards is a unique platform aiming to highlight the services and marketing efforts of the largest technology companies in the region. In addition, the Awards will also feature a category dedicated to the consumer electronics space that will be open to reader voting. With 50 “hot” categories, this set of Awards is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the region that goes beyond revenue achievement to highlight the various marketing, logistics and other services that contribute to the growth of these organisations and the IT channel at large. So you can see, we’ve been pretty busy working out ideas to bring this community together to mark the achievements of the entire industry for we believe each and every member of the channel brings with them a unique flavour that gives the channel its vibrant personality. For more information on the ResellerME Hot50 Awards please visit http://www.resellerme.com/hot50/ and don’t forget to send in your nominations for the spread of categories. Whether you are a vendor, distributor, reseller, retailer or system integrator, there is a category for you and an Award may just make all your hard work worth it. We wish you the very best for your plans for the gigantic month ahead and will most definitely see you on the event floor. In the meantime keep the stories coming and share with us your thoughts and feedback on our brand new website www.resellerme.com or Tweet at us @ResellerME.

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

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HIGHLIGHTS News

Gulf Business Machines to offer IBM PureSystems Technology Demonstrator

Andreas Weiss, director of IBM Systems and Technology, GBM

Gulf Business Machines (GBM), a prominent IT solutions provider, recently announced the launch of the first IBM PureSystems technology demonstrator in the GCC region. The technology demonstrator, which is available to GBM customers around the region, is designed to showcase the capabilities of IBM’s new category of “expert integrated systems,” widely hailed as the evolution of a new, simpler era of computing. With the introduction of the new PureSystems family, IBM is unveiling major advances that point to a new era of computing technology that is designed to allow businesses to reduce the high costs and complexity associated with managing

information technology, the company said. The new Systems family offers clients an alternative to today’s enterprise computing model, where multiple and disparate systems require significant resources to set up and maintain. “The IT function is increasingly expected to drive innovation and address new business opportunities and it is apparent that IBM has developed PureSystems with this in mind,” said Andreas Weiss, director of IBM Systems and Technology, GBM. “As a company, GBM has always prided itself in its ability to bring its customers the very latest in solutions and yet again, with this state-of-the-art technology demonstrator, we continue to build on our legacy of excellence.”

SAP and DSOA unveil plans for an IT training and development institute in the UAE SAP and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) recently announced plans to launch a training and development institute in the UAE. The project will become the UAE’s first IT-specific education and development entity, representatives said. “The UAE’s Vision 2021 continues to serve as the fundamental framework for all Dubai-based entities,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority. “Dubai’s strategy is underpinned by technology, which is

supported by innovation, research and science as key pillars for the development of a knowledge-based economy. Today, the signing of this agreement further enhances Dubai’s 2021 Vision into moving to an economy that is based on the development and creation of UAE’s local Emirati’s skills.” The announcement is a key part of a four-year additional investment plan by SAP to up-skill local talent and drive sustainable innovation and growth in the MENA region. The institute aims to certify 2,000 new consultants

within the next four years, tripling the company’s existing consulting capabilities in the region, as well as accelerating and extending the localisation and Arabisation of SAP solutions to meet fast-growing regional industry needs, the company said. According to Sam Alkharrat, MD, SAP MENA, the premise for the institute is ready and will offer technical trainings on the subject of cloud, mobility, HANA, urban management and Islamic banking among others. The institute will not offer any sales related courses and will

offer programmes dedicated to channel enablement and recruitment. Through the range of training and certifications offered, SAP MENA will help its existing channel partners develop the necessary skill sets to diversify their own solution portfolios for sustainable business growth.

For more on the story, please visit http://bit.ly/QyGh5L

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HIGHLIGHTS News

Canon and Genetec showcase latest printing solutions in Oman Canon Middle East has further strengthened its line-up of printing solutions to meet growing demand from the corporate and office segment in Salalah, the company announced. Genetco, Canon’s authorised distributor in the Sultanate of Oman, facilitated the launch of a new range of cost-efficient laser, inkjet and office copiers through a series of product demonstrations aimed to further strengthen its presence in Oman’s robust IT market, it was reported. The product demonstration was also followed by a dedicated end-user seminar aimed at customers of Sonic Computers and Al Basma InfoTech who received a preview of all the latest print solutions. Targeting its corporate and government customers, Canon used the channel seminar to reveal and showcase features such as MEAP technology (multi-functional embedded application platform) which allows customers

to easily customise a print solution to meet their workflow needs. Attendees also experienced the quality of Canon’s unrivalled colour imaging technologies which gives corporate end-users a competitive edge when producing quality presentations, brochures and other important print collateral. Venkatasubramanian Hariharan, regional sales director, Canon Middle East said, “Canon has a very strong printer line-up in terms of technology, performance and range and is one of the key players in the printing industry, not only in Oman, but the wider Middle East region. With the new range of Canon print solutions, customers in Salalah can now maximise efficiency and utilise benefits through direct savings such as reduced running costs, lower power consumption and cost management.” “We are delighted with the turnout and the feedback from our guests on Canon’s

MEAP technology and also for the range’s unbeatable printing speed aimed at boosting productivity levels.  We strongly believe, seminars such as these enable us to further strengthen our relationships with customers and help gain a greater understanding of their needs,” added Hariharan. Ambuj Khare, GM of Genetco, said, “Canon has always offered state of the art products that combine cutting-edge technology and value for money along with meeting the expectations of the consumers of the Sultanate. The seminar provided an ideal platform for Canon to connect with the corporate segment and further consolidate its market presence.” “The Canon channel seminars series is also a great way of not only introducing the products, but also effectively engaging our customers and getting to know their business better,” concluded Khare.

Spectrum Training to offer SOA and cloud computing education in the Middle East Spectrum Training, a part of Spectrum group of companies and an IT Networking and Security training, certification and consultancy services provider in the Middle East region announced that it has joined hands with Service Oriented Architecture and Cloud Academy (SOAACA). The partnership will enable Spectrum Training to deliver a comprehensive training and services platform for SOA and cloud enabled business applications in the Middle East region, it was reported.

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The SOA programme and methodologies are designed and developed software for interoperable services. The SOA design principles are used during the phases of systems development and integration. Whereas the Cloud Certified programme covers the fundamental topic areas pertaining to cloud computing and met minimum CCP qualifications by demonstrating proficiency additional area. Speaking on the occasion, Sanjeev Singh, MD at Spectrum Training said, “SOA addresses the challenge for legacy application to be turned into business

functions and services. Spectrum recognises SOA and cloud architecture as a framework which is vendor neutral and widely adopted and provides the knowledge by educating professionals on SOA and cloud benefits, skills, processes and tools required to manage, maintain and also future develop an SOA and cloud infrastructure” The company will deliver a vendor-neutral certification in SOA and cloud computing trainings provided by dedicated and highly trained instructors. Venkat R.S, VP, SOAACA said, “It gives us immense

pleasure to connect with Spectrum Training for our SOA and Cloud certification programmes. This is an effort from SOAACA to show our products and solution to the customers. This is a step to strengthen our programs and I am very sure that with its expertise, Spectrum will be able to offer our best training and consultancy services.” Spectrum Training has a number of training and lab facilities across the Middle East region such as in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Egypt among others


HIGHLIGHTS News

Comguard unveils nextgen UTM from WatchGuard in the region Comguard, a Dubai based value added distributor for IT security products and the authorised distributor for WatchGuard Technologies announced the launch of the new WatchGuard XTM 5 Series of Unified Threat Management (UTM). As next-generation UTMs, the new 5 Series sports the fastest throughput in its price class without sacrificing security efficacy, manageability and ease of use, the company claimed. WatchGuard notes that the New XTM 5 Series gains substantive performance improvements compared to the previous XTM 5 series models. Specifically, appliance packet filtering increased nearly 40%, gateway antivirus is 190% faster, intrusion prevention (IPS) is up 220%, and overall UTM performance is more than 150% improved, representatives said. “The new XTM 5 Series is powered packed with key security features as well as next-generation Application Control capabilities designed specifically to give midsize organisations an unparalleled solution to block the latest web threats, as well as the ability to improve employee productivity,” said Mohammad Mobasseri, senior VP, Comguard. Ideal for businesses with 50 to 500 employees, the new WatchGuard XTM 5 Series is available in four new models: XTM 515, XTM 525, XTM 535 and the topperformance XTM 545, it was reported.  Comguard is distributing all four models of New WatchGuard XTM 5 Series across the Middle East region including UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Egypt among others.

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Spectrami partners with LogRhythm for distribution in the Middle East region Spectrami, a value added distributor in the region, has partnered with enterpriseclass Log Management and SIEM 2.0 solutions provider, LogRhythm to distribute products and solutions. A single distributor across the entire region allows LogRhythm to streamline its channel operations, allowing the company to provide better support to all of its partners across the region. Anand Choudha, MD at Spectrami, said, “LogRhythm will not only form a key part of our portfolio but will also complement our existing product portfolio of next generation security solutions. By monitoring the logs and events generated by other security solutions in real time from one management console, LogRhythm is ideally positioned to help resellers and partners take advantage of a high growth market that is being driven by the need to automate and comply with increasing compliance requirements.” LogRhythm delivers the visibility and insight needed to detect, defend against

and respond to increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, efficiently meet compliance requirements and proactively respond to operational challenges, it was reported. Ross Brewer, VP and MD, international markets at LogRhythm said, “We are excited to have Spectrami as our distributor in the Middle East region. We are sure that their wealth of experience and extensive reach will help its partners and LogRhythm reap rewards in the fast growing SIEM market. LogRhythm’s awardwinning cyber security platform forms an attractive proposition for any channel organisation operating in the IT security space. By working with LogRhythm, partners receive comprehensive support and the backing of a truly global company with customer references in all verticals.” Spectrami is authorised to distribute Log Management and SIEM solutions from LogRhythm across the Middle East including UAE, KSA, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman among others.

Alfalak awarded top honour at Symantec Partner Awards 2012 Alfalak Electronic Equipment and Supplies, a provider of technology-based end-to-end solutions in the Middle East, has been awarded “Best Distributor of the Year for Norton Consumer” in the MENA region during the recently concluded Symantec Partner Awards 2012 in Dubai. Alfalak was recognised for consistently exceeding its targets both in the unmanaged and the managed segments each quarter, it was reported. Ahmed Ashadawi, president and CEO, Alfalak Electronic Equipment and Supplies said, “This is an important distinction that

reinforces the commitment of Alfalak to deliver unparalleled professional services and exceptional customer support, while ensuring optimum customer experience with Norton by Symantec. This is the third consecutive year the company has been recognised for its exceptional performance and we are proud to have once again surpassed all previous records to earn the distinction as best distributor. Moreover, this award is especially meaningful as Alfalak has been recognised out of 10 other distributors across the MENA region.”


HIGHLIGHTS News

SAP MENA appoints new lead for Saudi Arabia SAP MENA has announced the appointment of Ahmed Jaber Al-Faifi to the role of MD for Saudi Arabia. Reporting directly to Sam Alkharrat, MD, SAP MENA, Al-Faifi will lead SAP’s ambitious growth strategy and field operations in one of the company’s most dynamic markets, it was reported. An IT and telecommunications veteran with more than a decade’s experience across the Middle East, Al-Faifi joins SAP MENA from Zain KSA, where he held the position of COO, supervising networks, IT, sales, marketing, customer care, among other key operational functions. “I am delighted to welcome Ahmed to our team. In a market as strategically important as Saudi Arabia, it is critical that we have the right person to lead and grow our business. Ahmed has the background and vision to move us to the next level, and will be instrumental in driving our customer-centric innovation agenda focusing on cutting-edge, localised solutions related to mobility, analytics,

applications, database and technology and the cloud,” said Alkharrat. Al-Faifi joins SAP MENA at an auspicious time. A comprehensive study by IDC, the premier global market intelligence and advisory firm for the IT and telecommunications markets, recently placed SAP as the MENA region’s Enterprise Application Software (EAS) vendor front-runner, while Saudi Arabia ranks as the company’s largest market, with a strong showing in the manufacturing, utilities and oil and gas sectors contributing to a healthy 43.5% of all EAS business in the kingdom. SAP MENA is also in the midst of rolling out a four-year additional spend plan to up-skill local talent and drive sustainable innovation and growth across the MENA region. “More than ever before, SAP’s team across MENA is built to scale, innovate and deliver value-added solutions that can help businesses and organisations run better,” said Al-Faifi. “Saudi Arabia is in the midst of dramatic changes and its progress will

Ahmed Jaber Al-Faifi, MD, SAP Saudi Arabia need to occur with precision, efficiency and sustainability. I am proud to be a part of a company that is already influencing this exciting new reality, and look forward to supporting our Saudi customers and partners as we aspire to the next wave of growth and innovation,” he concluded.

help AG achieves elite status in Juniper Networks’ J-Partner Program help AG, a strategic information security consulting specialist in the Middle East, has earned the distinguished Elite status for Network Infrastructure and Advanced Security in Juniper Networks’ J-Partner Program. Juniper’s invitation-only Elite Partner designation recognises help AG as having met and exceeded stringent standards for customer satisfaction, personnel qualifications, training, and service, it was reported. “We are extremely proud to be placed at the very top rung of Juniper’s enterprise

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solution providers partner program,” said Stephan Berner, MD at help AG. “We are very particular about who we partner with as we believe that our partner portfolio should represent those vendors whose solutions best suit the needs of the Middle East market. We believe that Juniper’s range of network and security solutions are capable of addressing many of the key IT security concerns of the region which is why we continue to invest heavily in them. The elite status entitles us to a greater degree

of support from Juniper and we intend to leverage this to best benefit our customers.” By achieving the highest number of certified engineers with rigorous hands-on experience, the security specialist is now capable of reacting faster to any technical, commercial and organisation aspects relating to its business with Juniper. Taj El-Khayat, area director – Partners, Alliances and General Business, Middle East and Africa at Juniper Networks said, “We are very proud of our partnership with

help AG, and more so with the constant positive progress our joint engagement brings to our valued customers. The recent achievement of Elite status in the Juniper Partner Advantage program is a solid proof of help AG’s expertise and excellence in delivering Juniper Network’s disruptive innovation in the Networking and Security Infrastructure domains. We look forward to further mutual growth, and enhanced customer satisfaction as we continue this journey.”


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HIGHLIGHTS News

GITEX Shopper to be held at Dubai World Trade Centre With analysts expecting the UAE’s consumer electronics market to reach a record US$3.8 billion this year, and an ever-growing demand for exhibition space at GITEX Shopper, organisers of the region’s largest consumer IT and electronics show have announced the relocation of the show this year to the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). In addition, organisers have announced that GITEX Shopper will be held at DWTC from the 29th of September through till the 6th of October 2012, and will adapt opening hours based on visitor demand. “GITEX Shopper has enjoyed extraordinary success from the show’s very first edition, and with its historic move to the Dubai World Trade Centre, anticipation is at an all-time high. Our exhibitors have almost without exception required increased

exhibition space, and this move enables us to deliver that,” said Trixee Loh, senior VP, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), organiser of GITEX Shopper. “We have also increased the number of hours that the show is open, in a bid to meet the growing needs of the visitors, many of whom travel hours to attend GITEX Shopper. We are always looking for ways to increase value for all.” Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, is expected to offer the biggest ever sales extravaganza, with exclusive show offers, bundled deals, exciting competitions and launches of the latest technology products. Top regional distributors and retailers, including Al Falak, Al Sayegh, CompuME, E-City, EMAX, Etisalat, Geekay Games, iSTYLE, Jacky’s Electronics, Jumbo Electronics, Plug-

Ins, Sharaf DG, Tarsam, Touchmate and V.V. & Sons will also be present, representatives said. Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Middle East said, “This is the eleventh consecutive year Jacky’s Electronics is participating at GITEX Shopper. The show is undoubtedly the best platform to showcase the latest gadgets to shoppers in the UAE and Jacky’s will have a larger presence this year. With the show being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre which is a more accessible venue, we not only expect to see an increase in the number of customers but also new visitors to the show.” “Our experience in earlier years at GITEX Shopper has given us the confidence to increase our presence in terms of stand size this year. This expanded space will enable us to provide superior customer service in terms of range of products, store like experience in terms of touch and feel, faster billing and smooth checkouts. Customers will obviously have the best of offers from Sharaf DG, the largest electronics destination,” said Nilesh Khalkho, CEO of Sharaf DG.

Xperia ion launched in the Middle East

Sony Mobile Communications recently announced the Middle East availability of the recently launched Xperia ion smartphone – Sony’s latest offering from the Xperia range. Unveiled during an exclusive media gathering hosted at Levantine, Atlantis Hotel, the Palm Jumeirah by Sony Mobile Middle East and Africa, the announcement sees the region become amongst

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the first to receive the exciting new Xperia ion. The event included a demonstration of the featurerich smartphone, highlighting the phone’s key features. A 12MP HD camera allowing users to watch, communicate and share in razor sharp clarity on a 4.6” Reality Display – Sony’s largest for a smartphone.

Speaking at the media gathering Rüdiger Odenbach, VP, Sony Mobile Communications, Middle East and Africa, said, “The Xperia ion, like its predecessor the Xperia S offers the most impressive display of any smartphone on the market, thanks to Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine technology. This is also our largest display on a smartphone, further enhancing the user experience. Add to this Sony’s xLOUD technology and Exmor R BRAVIA Engine for mobile, and the Xperia ion delivers our most powerful package yet.” Xperia ion delivers a stunning viewing experience with powerful 1.5GHz dual-core processor for faster performance and 12MP HD camera with Fast Capture letting users take

pictures in just above one second from standby mode, it was reported. The smartphone also integrates easy HDMI connectivity for one touch sharing with DLNA, and is near field communication (NFC) enabled, allowing users to content with each other and enjoy an increasing number of NFC applications and services as well as Xperia SmartTags, representatives said. Accessories are also available for Xperia ion including the SmartDock for Xperia ion which transforms your phone into a multimedia hub. Available officially in the Middle East from September 2012 for AED 2299, Xperia ion runs on Android platform 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).


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. 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.

Dubai P.O. Box: 32610, Dubai-UAE. Tel: +971 4 3426060 Fax: +971 4 3547779 Dubai Email: Info@trigon-gulf.ae P.O. Box: 32610, Dubai-UAE. www.trigononline.com Tel: +971 4 3426060 Fax: +971 4 3547779 Email: Info@trigon-gulf.ae www.trigononline.com


HIGHLIGHTS News

Tech Mahindra posts Epicor appoints WorkLogix as $281 million in global value added reseller for the UAE revenue for Q1 Tech Mahindra (TechM), a global systems integrator and business transformation consulting services firm exclusively focused on the communications industry, has released the consolidated financial results for its first quarter for the fiscal year 20122013, revealing over $281 million in global revenue for Q1 that ended on June 30, 2012. The company also posted operating profits worth over $60 million, which reflects an increase of 26% QoQ. For the MENA region alone, TechM witnessed a healthy growth surge, which was attributed to the company’s recent efforts to expand its solution footprint across six key pillars, which includes applications management, network services, security, value added services (VAS), infrastructure management services (IMS) and business process outsourcing (BPO). “The growth that we have achieved for the first quarter of the current fiscal year demonstrates our unique specialisation across the telecommunications market,” said Girish Bhat, VP, MEA sales and operations, Tech Mahindra. “The growth was mainly driven in by factors like controlling costs and the strong attention placed by operators towards increasing their revenues. TechM has helped address these issues by enabling businesses and operators to focus on core business and handle key functions like IT and networks. Over the years, we have managed to maintain strong relationships with leading operators in the Middle East region and with the takeover of Mahindra Satyam, we will have the strategic advantage of offering solutions that give our customers a full 360 degree view of their businesses.” Aiming to maintain a continuous growth streak, the company’s core focus for the Middle East region and the UAE in particular, will be on the telecommunications market, it was reported. For the remaining quarters of the year, TechM’s focus markets will include Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia, representatives said. The company also posted a global head count of 40,630 with 18% YoY headcount growth onsite in the Middle East.

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Epicor Software Corporation, a provider of business software solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail and services organisations, announced the appointment of WorkLogix Middle East LLC as an Epicor value added reseller (VAR) for the UAE. The partnership works to further expand the reach of Epicor across key growth markets while empowering more organisations with Epicor nextgeneration enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, the company said. WorkLogix is a specialist business technology firm offering a comprehensive range of products such as CADD Engineering and AV, surveillance and security solutions across the Middle East, it was reported. WorkLogix will now offer Epicor ERP to its clients across various industries with particular emphasis on the manufacturing and mechanical sectors.

The strategic alliance forms part of the long-term growth strategy of Epicor in the wake of the region’s rapidly expanding IT landscape. “WorkLogix has achieved considerable success as a highly respected technology company in the region which complements our presence and market expansion initiatives across various regional markets. Our partnership with WorkLogix is testament to our commitment to establish strategic alliances that allow Epicor to reach out to more target audiences and ultimately enable more business organisations to benefit from our industry-leading ERP solutions. We will continue to strengthen our network of channel partners to capitalise on the growing demand for technology-driven solutions in the Middle East,” said Anish Kanaran, regional director for Epicor in the Middle East.

Brocade organises four day training course for partners in the region Brocade has announced that it is scheduled to conduct a routing and switching training course for partners in the region. “The four day training session will introduce partners to the Brocade Ethernet switch and router family of products, the architecture, core features and benefits, and how they are utilised in the network. The class includes the basic configuration, operations, and management of the L2, L3 switches and routers using the Command Line Interface (CLI) for the interfaces, VLANs, and L2, L3 protocols.  This course serves as the foundation for advancing

in the understanding of networking technologies and features offered by the Brocade Ethernet family of products,” said Khaled Kamel, regional channel manager, MENA at Brocade. Costing approximately $2800 per person, partners who certify at least two engineers as part of this course are then eligible for Brocade’s APN Premier status. The company added that familiarity with networking basics and Brocade IP Networking Product Solutions are pre-requisites for the training scheduled to be held from the 2nd to the 5th of September 2012 in Dubai, UAE.


HIGHLIGHTS News

Mitsumi IT Distribution Africa headed for GITEX Technology Week 2012 Mitsumi IT Distribution, a prominent IT distributor in Africa, has signed a contract with Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) for participation at GITEX Technology Week 2012, the company announced. GITEX Technology Week 2012 runs from October 14-18, 2012 at Dubai World Trade Centre where Mitsumi will exhibit its product portfolio from renowned vendor partners such as HP, Dell, Acer, Toshiba, Lenovo, Samsung, Microsoft, BenQ and Tripplite among others. The Mitsumi Distribuion Africa stall will be located at A8-10, Hall 8 during GITEX 2012, representatives said. With GITEX having an “Africa in Focus” theme this year, the company is expecting an increase in the number of delegations from countries that have expressed interest like Algeria, Kenya, Libya, Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria,

Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tunisia among others, it was reported. Mitsumi’s participation at GITEX 2012 is to ensure the company’s commitment to showcasing the rich opportunities available in Africa and to cement and further grow its reseller and vendor partner base, the company said. Mitsumi IT Distribution has sales offices in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, South Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, Mauritius and Madagascar which adds up to 15 Warehouses and 8 Service Centres. Mitsumi regional geographical coverage and extensive customer base has made the company the largest and fastest growing distributor in Africa, it was reported. Jagat Shah, chairman and CEO at Mitsumi IT Distribution said “As part

of GITEX’s ‘Africa in Focus’ campaign, World Trade centre has concluded a series of successful GITEX roadshows in East, West and North Africa. Last year, we witnessed a huge increase in visitors from different part of Africa hence; Mitsumi Distribution has decided to participate this year. We realise that GITEX is an excellent platform to showcase our Africa operations and consolidate partnerships. At GITEX 2012, our main message and thrust will be to increase partnerships thereby, propelling our PC and components portfolio forward.” Shah said, “There are challenges, but we need to start having a different conversation about Africa where we always focus on the positive stories. For Mitsumi, the story of Africa is a story of progress, opportunities, growth and a story of political and economic vibrancy.”

help AG signs Verdasys for Enterprise Information Protection help AG, a strategic information security consulting specialist in the Middle East, announced that it has signed a partnership agreement with Verdasys, a provider of Enterprise Information Protection (EIP) solutions for the Global 2000. EIP is an emerging, fast-growing market which is driven by a new wave of technology, business and regulatory trends, and help AG though this new partnership is aggressively targeting this market, the company said.

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“The true strength of EIP solutions is that they adopt a holistic approach to defining and mitigating the risk to sensitive information moving across complete business processes. The benefit of this is that businesses can now share sensitive information freely and securely across both local and global offices, thereby greatly increasing collaboration,” said Stephan Berner, MD at help AG. “Verdasys is a leader in this revolutionary technology and we are confident that their range of solutions will greatly enhance our already impressive product

portfolio. help AG is known for our 24/7 local support service capabilities and we will be able to address all of the potential concerns of our Verdasys customers quickly and efficiently.” Verdasys’s Digital Guardian EIP platform makes it possible for businesses to manage sensitive information based on context and content while gaining visibility into the manner in which it is accessed by employees, partners and third party elements, representatives said. Graham Howton, channel manager EMEA at Verdasys

is confident that this new partnership will help Verdasys increase its market share in the region. He said, “We are very happy to sign on help AG as our channel partner for the Middle East. They have shown the eagerness to gain a deep level of understanding of our solutions and we are confident that this will translate into excellent customer satisfaction. We look forward to establishing ourselves as the leading EIP solutions provider in the region and believe that help AG will play a key role in helping us achieve this.”


HIGHLIGHTS News

Fortinet appoints Oxygen as distributor for KSA

Fortinet, a provider of network security solutions recently announced it has signed a partnership agreement with Oxygen, a value-added distributor specialised in mobility, wireless and security solutions, for the distribution of its entire suite of security solutions in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This appointment augments Fortinet’s existing distributorship with SecureWay in the country, it was reported. Oxygen, with its extensive channel network and long experience in the

enterprise wireless security space, will help foster Fortinet’s penetration into KSA-based businesses, the company said. Oxygen will be distributing Fortinet’s end-to-end IT security solutions, including the flagship FortiGate family of integrated network security appliances, as well as FortiWeb (web application firewall), FortiAP (thin wireless access point), FortiMail (secure messaging), etc. “We are very excited by our partnership with Fortinet, a recognised leader in network

security, whose solutions bring unmatched benefits in terms of protection, management and TCO to SMBs and larger enterprises,” said Khalid Laban, CEO at Oxygen. “This partnership is part of our strategy to augment our presence on the security market and we are confident that Fortinet’s comprehensive solutions suite will help us deliver an unmatched proposition to organisations in KSA.” According to officials, Fortinet chose Oxygen for their strong presence in major KSA cities, such as Khobar, Riyadh and Jeddah, and to their value-added offering. Also, Oxygen will be strongly committed to the Fortinet brand, investing in the creation of a dedicated team to carry Fortinet’s portfolio into the market. “We are very pleased to partner with Oxygen, who is coming onboard with an excellent reputation on the market and is ready to invest in our brand,” said Bashar Bashaireh, regional director for the Middle East Region at Fortinet. “Together, we believe this partnership will have a positive impact in extending our businesses in KSA region and help customers optimise their security environment for greater protection and cost efficiency.”

Barracuda Networks partners with Alpha Data for the UAE Barracuda Networks has announced an agreement with system integrator Alpha Data to resell its suite of security, networking and data protection solutions in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the rest of the Emirates. “Barracuda is building a network of channel partners with specific sector experience to service the increasing demand for our enterprise application, network and cloud security services in the Middle East,” said Sherif AbdElGawad, GM for the Middle East and Africa at Barracuda Networks.  “We

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selected Alpha Data due to its expertise within the financial and telecoms sectors and its particular strength in UAE which will be a key country of focus.” Amar Singh, division manager – Enterprise Computing System at Alpha Data, said, “We are delighted to work with Barracuda Networks as the demand for security solutions in the Middle East continues to accelerate.  As the reach of technology increases across the world and malicious activity grows with it, Barracuda is expertly equipped to deliver

to the sophisticated end-to-end solutions required to combat today’s cyber criminals.” Key to Barracuda’s regional growth has been its ability to deliver flexible security solutions for physical, virtual and cloud-based environments. In particular, the offering of cloud-based security platforms is proving key to resellers that are continually looking to ease internal processes and open up new revenue streams for the channel, representatives said. AbdElGawad concluded, “The Middle East is one of the

world’s bright spots for economic growth, and technology plays a huge part in this. To achieve its vision of further expansion and prosperity, installing the right IT infrastructure with the appropriate security layer is an absolute must. The demand for improved IT security has created the perfect storm for Barracuda Networks in the Middle East, and we are determined to provide partners such as Giza with the right tools to develop platforms that can be affordable, and customisable to meet end-user demands.”


Ingram Micro snaps up Aptec Holdings

Dr. Ali Baghdadi, founder and CEO of Aptec Holdings. Ingram Micro, one of the largest technology distributors and supply-chain services providers, is now set to acquire certain IT businesses of Dubai-based Aptec Holdings Ltd. The agreement will allow Ingram Micro to expand its reach by leveraging Aptec’s strong

presence in the value added distribution space in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. According to the company’s website, the acquisition is expected to contribute more than $250 million in revenue to Ingram Micro on an annual basis and is expected to close before the end of the third quarter of 2012, subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions. Dr. Ali Baghdadi, founder and CEO of Aptec, will lead the acquired operations reporting to Shailendra Gupta, senior executive VP and president, Ingram Micro Asia-Pacific, it was reported. “The acquisition of Aptec fits well with our strategic objectives to continue to build our higher margin specialty businesses while broadening our geographic reach to capitalise on higher growth markets,” said Alain Monié, president and CEO of Ingram Micro Inc. “The Middle East and Africa are robust and growing markets with total IT spending projected to

reach $80 billion by 2015.   Aptec has been highly effective in growing their business and enhancing profitability in these emerging markets and we believe this combination will further accelerate these ongoing objectives.  Aptec has a long-tenured, accomplished leadership team and we look forward to joining forces with them.” “We are excited to join with Ingram Micro. For more than 30 years, Aptec has focused on building the company through innovation, value-added service and an unwavering commitment to our customers and vendor partners. The combined strength of Aptec in the MENA and the global leadership and strategic vendor and customer relationships of Ingram Micro provide an excellent opportunity for expanded reach into new services, products and geographies and we expect the union to offer even more value to our combined community,” said Dr. Baghdadi.

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VENDOR FOCUS Cisco Services

WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT Networking giant Cisco is shifting the focus to highlight the work of its regional services arm with the launch of initiatives like ‘Smart Care’ and ‘Collaborative Professional Services’. Debbie Mayfield, regional services sales manager at Cisco UAE, tells us more. Could you tell us more about Cisco Services? The services business at Cisco involves professional services that help customers with kit design and implementation, to ensure they get maximum benefit and achieve the objectives they had in mind when they set out to purchase the kit. These professional services are sometimes initiated by Cisco alone and at other times in conjunction with our partners where we do part of the design or offer a part of these services to complement our partners. The other side of the business revolves around the maintenance contracts that focuses on overall hardware replacement. We have an extensive depot pool both here and across the Middle East so our partners don’t necessarily have to stock kit themselves. We do that on their behalf provided they have a maintenance contract with us and that I believe this is one of our key differentiators. The maintenance part of the services business is at this time the most exciting because it is evolving. This is where Cisco Smart Services come into play. One of the complaints I often hear, especially across the SMB space where coming up with capital cost is tough, is that customers or

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Debbie Mayfield, regional services sales manager at Cisco UAE


partners don’t see a benefit to a maintenance contract. This is only natural because you don’t see a benefit unless something breaks because only then does one get access to the Technical Assistance Centre, software updates or bug fixes. So if a network is coming along nicely a customer doesn’t see the benefit behind this upfront cost because they don’t need it. So what we are trying to do is evolve our services to be ‘smarter’, so there’s more proactive monitoring and health check within the services. That’s where the next generation of our maintenance services are going. How broad is the services arm? Traditionally Cisco services have been broken up into ‘proactive’ and ‘reactive’ services. The former revolves around network and security assessments, optimisation services, install base management, etc. These can be delivered by Cisco but we are actively encouraging partners to get involved. The reactive services are focused on making sure the networks are healthy and will not fail. Cisco Smart Net Services gives customers the ability to call the Cisco Technical Assistance Centre directly for advanced hardware replacement, bug fixes, software updates etc. There is a layer above Smart Net Services where customers can opt for Cisco to be directly involved in managing the network, which is the case with organisations in the critical infrastructure space such as national security, oil and gas, energy, transportation etc. These customers can avail a set of focused technical support services which is like the crème de la crème of Smart Net Services where Cisco is directly engaged with the customer who gets access to get access to a small set of engineers, a dedicated high touch engineer and an operations manager. A handful of our high end customers have that at the moment. In the ‘Partner Led’ space we have what we call Shared Support and some regions are beginning to sell Cisco Collaborative Services, which is a derivative of the former. The difference between Smart Net and Shared Support is that in the case of the latter the partner is in the frontline whereas in the former the customer can directly contact

Cisco. The fact is that in the case of Shared Support the contact interface is through the partner and only in unique cases where there is a hardware failure or if the partner cannot solve the problem, only then do we step in. The Cisco Shared Support Services fall on the maintenance side of the services business. Cisco Smart Care is on that same side, the only difference is that instead of just having a maintenance contract, we are getting the partners involved in the proactive and optimisation side of services, which gets them closer to the customer who sees the business benefit to their maintenance contract which ultimately helps build a long term relationship and retain the customer. Customers of Cisco’s Smart Care contracts are happy with the reliability of their partners

has really started to take off in and around the region. CPS gives the customers the assurance that Cisco is involved or the partners the security that there is another pair of eyes watching the design and operations. It helps boosts the partner’s standing in the eyes of the customer. How long has it been since you started talking about Smart Services and how much traction are you actually seeing from partners in that area? Smart Care, for instance, which is associated with the SMB space, has been available to our 2 tier partners since 2008 but I would say we didn’t really start pushing it until last year. We have over 400 wins just in the UAE, so it has garnered significant interest.

So what we are trying to do is evolve our services to be ‘smarter’, so there’s more proactive monitoring and health check within the services. That’s where the next generation of our maintenance services are going. who share quarterly recommendations on their networks and systems and the renewal rates for Smart Care are very high. On the professional services side we have recently launched the Cisco Collaborative Professional Services (CPS), which is strictly a partner driven business. One of the frequent requests we have from partners is that customers often want Cisco to endorse a design or have skin in the game, which is difficult, because we don’t typically endorse a design we weren’t involved in. So this is a great solution because our advanced services for the SMB space tend to be expensive, but this is a compromise that gives partners and customers access to a centralised pool of resources. We have a group of engineers that are in Bangalore that deliver this service remotely who work with the partners on the design and assessments and they will endorse it. So in a manner of a speaking, this is a way for partners to leverage Cisco Advanced Services without having to pay the high cost of service delivery associated with it, more so for SMBs. This

CPS has seen slower uptake in the UAE as compared to the rest of the region but this is a greater focus area for me this year. Although the growth has been marginal, there has been growth. With Smart Care I’m really happy because even though it has been available since 2008, we really only put the sales engine behind it this last year and have already witnessed over 50% growth this last year and there’s a lot of partners who have converted their Shared Support contracts to Smart Care Services. Are you targeting any particular vertical or business segments? My responsibility is for the UAE and I cover all segments. What I will say is that I feel I have a huge focus on the SMB segment this year because from a services perpective we haven’t traditionally spent enough time in this space and that’s why I’m excited about some of the programmes such as Smart Care that really helps us drive joint solutions to the market together where the partner is leading but Cisco is there to support.

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VENDOR FOCUS Cisco Services

So who are the right partners? Cisco Smart Care is seeing the most traction from partners who want to establish a managed service practice or have an existing managed services practice and want to incorporate these services within their existing portfolio. These partners are now able to do much more than just upgrades and fixes or renew contracts; they can offer proactive monitoring, security and network assessments on a periodic basis. I would say the right partner is one who really wants to get involved in the operational side of the customers business. If they’re a drop ship partner or a fulfilment partner this isn’t the right model for them. They need to be the kind of partners who want to develop an intrinsic relationship with the customers and want to be looked at as the customer’s potential IT arm.

sessions to keep partners updated. It is a combination of face-to- face and WebEx trainings; we also have the business development team here who go out many times on a one to one basis and are more than willing to meet partners who are serious about getting involved in the services space. Speaking of which we have a WebEx coming up on the new launch of Smart Care 1.9, we have changed the way we are praising it and quoting it because earlier partners depended on us for the quote, this reduces the lead time and empowers them to work out the best quotes which we see as vital for the uptake of these services. We also have a great services training that is available for our partners. It is a 2-day comprehensive online training that will discuss all our service offerings called the Cisco Service Expert Program. The training

Cisco Smart Care is seeing the most traction from partners who want to establish a managed service practice or have an existing managed services practice and want to incorporate these services within their existing portfolio. These partners are now able to do so much more than just upgrades and fixes or renew contracts; they can offer proactive monitoring, security and network assessments on a periodic basis. The profile for the customer is ones that don’t have a huge IT budget or IT staff and therefore lack the excessive capabilities to manage a scalable network; typically customers should have 50-600 users or 5-105 devices which is about the same thing. What about training? Depending on the service, we try and engage in trainings on a quarterly basis. In that we cover multiple services, it may just not be Smart Care but could also talk about Cisco Collaborative Professional Services. We also have online trainings and knowledge sharing portals, in addition we also engage partners via regular WebEx

will also talk about a test that partners can take to attain this certification. Partners often say that customers don’t understand the additional price that they need to pay for a service and expect it to be a bundled offer, how are you helping partners address this? This is one of the challenges we had with Smart Care initially, but the 1.9 release introduces an SKU based approach, similar to Shared Support or Smart Net so partners have the ability to package the best services and come up with creative quotes for their customers. We believe that this is one step in that direction and it is a good idea to look at

developing a programme that wraps our services arm around our hardware or product sales. Have you launched any incentive programmes in this area? Yes of course. There is a services component to the new Partner Plus Program.  It provides incentives for partners who are focused on the mid-sized partners.  There are product and service rebates associated with this new program, tied to revenue growth targets.  It is an invitation only program for FY13 and will be opened to Gold, Silver, Premier and top performing select partners. We have also announced a new Services Program that will not be available in the region until the October of FY 14. This is a rewards driven program with a big Smart Services component to it, so partners who are aware and understand the benefits of Smart Services will have an easier migration to the new program and will be ahead of the game. It will not be a mandatory part of the program but it is an incentivised option. This is one of the reasons why I’m trying to drive the focus this year so that we are not starting from scratch in FY 14 and a fair share of our partners are ready to reap the benefits of the new program. What are the plans for the next 12 to 18 months? We’re working on some incentives for partners to drive the business and will be announcing these over the next quarter or two. We are also working with distributors, particularly for the 2 tier space to get the word out there, so we’re looking at joint events in the UAE to spread the word. My objective is to have at least quarterly training and awareness sessions around Smart Care, CPS or what we call ‘Partner Led Service Programs’ in addition we will continue with the WebEx and will continue to send our business development teams out there to share the knowledge. I am excited about this year and ready to go to market with our partners for Cisco Services because for the first time in a long time we have programs in place to help drive the business, for partners and customers alike. So this year is all about Smart Care and CPS for me. //

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PARTNER WATCH HCL InfoSystems

The business of IT HCL InfoSystems MEA may seem a young contender in the regional SI space, yet the company has already established a strong foothold in a region with a strategy that focuses on perseverance and transparency.

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Founded in 1976, HCL InfoSystems initially specialised in the assembly of micro processor based devices and soon introduced Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first indigenously produced desktop computer around the same time as IBM and Apple did in the USA. In 1991, the company embarked on a journey of expansion reaching out to enterprises in the Far East and Americas with their ITES services. Today, HCL InfoSystems is one of the largest system integrators in India. In 2012, HCL successfully completed the acquisition of a Dubai-based company called NTS, that began in 2010 and thus was born HCL InfoSytems MEA. Today the very same company boasts partnerships with major vendors such as HP, Microsoft, CA, Autonomy, SAP, Oracle and EMC among others. In addition, HCL InfoSystems has also successfully launched the HCL Mobility line of tablets and smartphones that are available across all major retailers in the region. Shivkumar Gopal, CEO at HCL InfoSystems MEA says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We describe ourselves as a business IT company, what that means is we provide solutions keeping the business in mind. A major part of our offerings are vertical driven, we call these lines of business (LOB), and each comes with a dedicated delivery and domain expertise. As a global company, HCL decided to invest in a local entity because we saw huge potential in the local market as well as the broader region. Post recession

most companies have realised the potential of IT and view it as a profit centre that contributes to an organisationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to enhance revenues and reduce operational expenses. This has created an opportunity window for players like us to leverage a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;first mover advantageâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; in niche areas of IT infusion linked to revenue driven growth.â&#x20AC;? Gopal says that HCL InfoSystems MEA has a strong focus on the BFSI market having worked on 85% of the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s BFSI sectorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s physical security implementations. In addition, the company boasts a managed services contract with a prominent gulf airline, with HCL provisioning their crew scheduling needs, flight engineering, pilot briefing, ERP in addition to their HelpDesk operations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our strategy is to establish a stronger presence in the telecom and e-commerce and the vertical focused application space and we are also working on creating more value for our customers by providing applications to cater to the enterprise business requirements via our HCL Mobility line of products that are mostly based on the Android OSâ&#x20AC;? he adds. Gopal believes that IT investments in the Middle East are on the steady rise particularly across the managed services space. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The nature of doing business has changed, CIOs now are looking at cost cutting and consolidation and focusing on how they can bring value to the business through innovation. The scope and definition of managed services however varies across

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our strategy is to establish a stronger presence in the telecom and e-commerce and the vertical focused application space and we are also working on creating more value for our customers by providing applications to cater to the enterprise business requirements via our HCL Mobility line of products that are mostly based on the Android OS.â&#x20AC;?

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business domains. For instance, across the BFSI segment, outsourcing the back office which is essentially non IT could be seen as managed services. The line between IT and non IT is still blurry in the region. However, the region is fast maturing and more organisations are investing towards their focused goals. In the Middle East, remote infrastructure management is not a standard practice. Companies here prefer a hybrid model that requires people on site or a model that has dedicated outsourced staff within the account. Local expertise is always an added advantage to doing business here. With our understanding of the market trends, we are geared up to meet the customersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; requirements. We are happy with the way the market is looking and the business we are doing. Although we are still taking our initial steps in the region, I must confess that we are moving pretty fast,â&#x20AC;? he adds. On the topic of cloud adoption, Gopal says that while CIOs in the region are keen on investing in any technology that enables cost reduction they are most focused on provisioning maximum data security. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cloud is technology that needs to be properly projected to customers instead of using it as a buzzword. Vendors and partners have positioned the cloud as a solution in their portfolio and not as a solution that the customer requires.â&#x20AC;?

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When making the correct choice is everything! ...We step in close to our customer in every way

UAE / Jebel Ali +971 4 8811191 a.saji@despe.ae

Authorized Distributor

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


PARTNER WATCH HCL InfoSystems

This ability to push the right products to the right customer at the right time is what Gopal believes is the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s key differentiator. â&#x20AC;&#x153;HCL is a company that believes and works on references. We work hard and smart through an LOB based approach towards making every customer a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;reference-ableâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; customer. We study the market and shape ourselves based on what the market demands. We give our clients and

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partners access to a local pool of technical resources. We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to compromise on quality and always work towards exceeding expectations at a price that is beneficial to both parties. Over the last two years we have achieved this goal and are proud of our successes. We consciously think and understand requirements, realise our own delivery capabilities, define the scope of work and price expectations to ensure we do not promise what we cannot deliver,â&#x20AC;? Gopal states. HCL InfoSystems is equally picky about its choice of vendor partners. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We believe in the concept of marriages, where one covers anotherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s weakness with a considerable strength. This is what we bring to our vendor partners. We work on a win-all strategy that benefits the entire ecosystem, we are seen as a SI with keen business acumen- a reputation we pride ourselves on. We quote to win and learn from the losses, so we work with our partners on all fronts, from pricing to business strategies. We partner with vendors not just for the prices they offer but for their ability to support us and their ability to add value to the existing business. Most of our relationships with our key vendors have been in place for more than 20 years and we have grown together creating value for each other,â&#x20AC;? explains Gopal. Gopal says that while the company has enjoyed significant growth there is still some way to go. â&#x20AC;&#x153;At HCL we believe every challenge leads to an opportunity, so while some may see the MEA market as abounding in challenges we see mounds of opportunity here. We build our strategies with a clear mission and vision so as to mitigate any possible challenges. In business, the core strategy remains constant however success is defined by how an organisation adapts its strategy to align to larger external changes.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;While we continue to focus on our current strategy, we will also look out for changes in the external landscape and investment patterns to ensure we stay ahead of the game. On the vertical business front we are actively shifting our

Shivkumar Gopal, CEO at HCL InfoSystems MEA

focus to the education and healthcare sectors. In the case of the former, we will leverage the steady experience we have in the education sector in India where our dedicated business unit has specialised in the deployment of virtual classrooms, creating student information portals and digitisation education content. We will take this a step further by Arabising digital content and venturing into the application of RFID and security deployments to help parents and students feel safer. On the healthcare side, HCL InfoSystems will partner with third party vendors or OEMs to cater to infrastructure and other specialised solutions,â&#x20AC;? he concludes. //

No of employees in total: 150 No. of certified engineers: 70 Offices: UAE and Qatar Warehouses: UAE and Qatar Collection points or service centres: UAE and Qatar Geographical footprint: UAE, Qatar, KSA, Oman, Kuwait

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COVER FEATURE Peripherals Channel

Strength to strength The peripherals industry is looking up as analysts continue to predict a growth in demand and sales in the year ahead driven by a host of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks. We speak to the experts to take a look at the regional dynamics of the market.

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The world of PC peripherals is changing fast with analysts and industry experts highlighting the growth in demand for the innovations in the peripherals space. Peripherals vendors have quickly shifted their focus from traditional desktop PCs and laptops to creating a range of paraphernalia for smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks alike. From keyboards, mice and printers to docking stations and other accessories, the peripherals industry is experiencing a make-over. Prasanna AR, sales manager, MEA, at G-Form says, “The demand for PC peripherals has always been in full throttle across today’s markets, with people expecting something new and exciting every time. This translates true to the saying that we cannot sail with old technologies for long. To be able to make your presence felt in today’s markets, companies need newer technologies and products. We are now in what experts refer to as the ‘Post-PC Era’ and we constantly push our design and engineering team to create the most innovative yet aesthetic accessories for smart phones and tablets. These devices are now part of our daily lives and even service providers are offering higher bandwidth and data packages to leverage on the demand for tablets and smartphones. These invaluable new

Prasanna AR, sales manager, MEA, at G-Form

tools can do everything to a point that it outperforms the traditional PC desktop and laptop. The numbers we see are really impressive and this is just the tip of the iceberg – this being a developing country, we see a huge number coming our way in the next few years.” Many see Intel’s Ultrabook push as creating room for a greater range of customised peripherals and the company recently reported that over a 100 peripherals based on the Thunderbolt

The demand for PC peripherals has always been in full throttle across today’s markets, with people expecting something new and exciting every time. This translates true to the saying that we cannot sail with old histories for long. To be able to make your presence felt in today’s markets, companies need newer technologies and products.

connector technology will become available by the end of the year. “The number of Thunderbolt devices in the market will grow as the connector technology expands from Apple computers to Windows PCs. We have 21 Thunderbolt devices in things like storage and displays in the marketplace. We have a hundred targeted by the end of the year, and hundreds of Thunderbolt devices targeted by the middle or end of next year,” said Kirk Skaugen, corporate VP and GM of Intel’s PC Client Group, at a recent event in San Francisco. A recent report by Euromonitor International made predictions specific to the UAE. “Computers and peripherals will increase in volume at a CAGR of 9% over the forecast period, while value sales will also grow at CAGR of 2%. This points to declining average unit prices across computers and peripherals as laptops, netbooks and desktops all approach maturity and even tablet PCs become more affordable following the launch of this category in 2010. The average unit price in tablets and other portable computers will decline from its peak of AED 2,700 in 2010 to as low as AED 890 by 2015 in constant value terms. Portable computers will continue to dominate computers and peripherals, with 2.4 million units expected to be sold in 2015 compared to just 176,000 desktops. 966,000 laptops will be sold during 2015, while 1.3 million tablets and other portable computers will be sold. Netbooks will lag far behind tablets and other portable computers with volume sales of 217,000 units in 2015,” the report said.

Crossing the hurdles While analysts wait for the growth and innovation to come, vendors have already shifted their focused efforts in this area, crowding the market with products leaving distributors to battle the intense competition.

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COVER FEATURE Peripherals Channel

Distributors, on the other hand, are countering this competition by arming themselves with a selective portfolio of leading brands, investing in a skilled pool of resources and introducing bundled offers that gives customers access to a host of after sales support. Industry professionals believe that this strategy creates a positive vibe in the mind of the customer who then believes that the reseller is a specialist in the field and values his or her satisfaction. Ehsan Hashemi, COO at Golden Systems Middle East (GSME) says, “Since the beginning of 2012 there have been major opportunities for computer peripherals and accessories as predicted by market analysts in the beginning of this year. We feel distributors need to gear themselves with the right tools in order to be able to survive the rivalry. Distributors need to work on providing added value to partners by continuously offering enhanced aftersales services and support, sales and product training and compatible prices. The increased demand for mobility products, notebooks and tablets has elevated the demand for peripherals and accessories accordingly.

Ehsan Hashemi, COO at Golden Systems Middle East

“The oversupply of peripherals in the market from different vendors has intensified the competition amongst distributors. GSME mainly focuses on quality products, which are more exclusive compared to the available stock in the market. We pride ourselves in the quality and the level of after sales service and support we offer our resellers. Further,

Since the beginning of 2012 there have been major opportunities for computer peripherals and accessories as predicted by market analysts in the beginning of this year. We feel distributors need to gear themselves with the right tools in order to be able to survive the rivalry. Distributors need to work on providing added value to partners by continuously offering enhanced after-sales services and support, sales and product training and compatible prices. 32

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we strongly believe in the value of effective partner training and education and place a huge emphasis on this practice. Moreover, due to overflow of the peripherals in the market we guarantee further support for our partners by offering them competitive offers on regular basis and incentives through our Avardz loyalty program.” Mehdi Amjad, CEO of Almasa IT Distribution, adds another perspective: “It used to be the case that price would be the biggest differentiator between competitors, but with the rise in technology and the consumers maturing enough to know exactly what want, price competition has become thin. This is why our main focus at Almasa is services, with a high rate of downloading and sharing product turnover isn’t as high as it used to be now customers are looking for the best service that provides them with quick results. This also assists resellers in promising their customers reliable services and warranty’s that will create that bond between business and consumer.”


COVER FEATURE Peripherals Channel

Riyaz Abdulla, regional sales director, Middle East and East Africa at Targus Middle East, says the company’s partners can leverage its product development strategy as a key differentiator that takes into account detailed customer insight and a thorough understanding of their needs. Another hurdle that peripherals vendors and distributors face is associated with the burgeoning grey market and counterfeit trade. While the grey market can lead to losses in volumes through authorised channels, the import of fake products seriously hinders a customer’s perception of quality. G- Form’s Prasanna agrees, “Everybody seems to believe in the maxim, ‘The whole world is manufactured in China.’ With this in mind, companies today worry about the looming issue that Chinese counterfeit products can simply take over the international markets. With most products manufactured in China—standard, quality and affordability stands out as factors that drive the competition. What sets our company and our products apart is our maintenance of ‘Standard Quality’ practices and the commitment to offer these products at an affordable price range, where the counterfeit competition dies by itself.” According to him, the company is involved in a range of activities aimed at educating the company’s partners to help them gain a better understanding

Mehdi Amjad, CEO at Almasa IT Distribution

of the products that also gives them the confidence to go to market with G-Form’s latest launches. These initiatives include quarterly product reviews and brush up’s on both old and new line of products. G-Form has also assigned a product sales manager to the channel market who is a subject matter expert focused on the needs and requirements of the market.

Over the last few years, we have encountered counterfeit Targus products on an ad hoc basis. In such cases, we try to work closely and in full cooperation with the UAE Economic Department, which is one of the leading government organisations spearheading the campaign to curb piracy and counterfeit activities. We are working closely with our channel partners, and keep a close eye on the market place for fake products.” 34

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“Over the last few years, we have encountered counterfeit Targus products on an ad hoc basis. In such cases, we try to work closely and in full cooperation with the UAE Economic Department, which is one of the leading government organisations spearheading the campaign to curb piracy and counterfeit activities. We are working closely with our channel partners, and keep a close eye on the market place for fake products,” says Abdulla. He adds that the company protects its products by patents and has a strong legal team that follows up on violation of these patents. GSME has invested in several measures such as after sales service and Return Material Authorisation (RMA). “All our products carry our company’s hologram. Resellers can only avail our after sales services and RMA provided that their products have our hologram.


In addition, we work very closely with our vendors in order to provide attractive incentives for our loyal customers, thus encouraging them to exclusively promote genuine products,” says Hashemi. Almasa’s Amjad has a positive opinion on the whole situation. “Although it is not of major concern to business it is something we at Almasa are aware of, it obviously has an effect on the market but it is very short term because once the customer has a bad experience with a counterfeit product they find it easier and better to go with the authentic version. The key to addressing the issue is to educate resellers on these products, what we do is sometimes purchase the counterfeit products and demonstrate to the resellers the major differences between real and fake. That then allows the reseller to educate the consumer on the cons of buying counterfeit products, with an emphasis on services that are non-existent when dealing with fake products,” says Amjad.

peripherals that fit their needs. Secondly, we always look for vendors who plan for a long term commitment so that we can build that relationship over the years, as we have done with vendor partner Asus,” explains Amjad. Prominent regional value added distributor, Redington Gulf has recently launched its Lifestyle Division which according to its GM, Saad Khan is the company’s initiative to capture the booming IT and electronics accessories

Boosting strategies

market. “Simply put, this new division ventures out to be a strategic supply chain distributor connecting leading peripherals and accessories brands with the channel and retail partners across the Middle East. This division is a testament to the opportunity we see in the market,” says Khan. According to Khan, the company sees the lack of a regular supply of products and stock availability. “Redington with its proven track record in both areas will be able to address this gap which will set Lifestyle apart from all its competitors. Our partners can leverage the dedicated sales team which will differentiate and complement the Lifestyle strategy.” The company has invested in a selective portfolio of brands that covers the various ecosystems such as home, office, car and personal gadgets such as tablets and smartphones.

Industry experts say that times where competition is increasing and margins seem to be getting tighter, success depends on the reseller or distributor’s ability to reassign their focus to the fast selling products. With the industry heading down the route for mobility, resellers and distributors must now keep their eyes open for the needs that may not have been fulfilled yet. They must look to constantly innovate and improve the standards they have set. “Selling everything and anything will not get you anywhere for it will only make it harder to focus on products that are making money. When selecting a vendor Almasa’s approach is to limit our selection to no more than two competitor vendors in a specific market segment. This allows our team to know our vendors products and to properly equip customers with

Hashemi recommends resellers and distributors to practice creativity and go beyond the trading mentality to actually understand what the customer needs. He believes that as resellers of the products, they are in a position to enlighten the customer and correct them if their choice of product may not actually suit their need. Promate follows the same strategy. Yasir Alkaar, director at Promate EMEA, says that the company is focused on the retail end of the market and thrives

Everybody seems to believe in the maxim, ‘The whole world is manufactured in China.’ With this in mind, companies today worry about the looming issue that Chinese counterfeit products can simply take over the international markets. With most products manufactured in China—standard, quality and affordability stands out as factors that drive the competition on creativity. “We are truly dedicated to delivering the most specialised and original electronics peripherals. We are equally devoted to finding an answer to each and every one of our consumer’s demands. Customisation is king, no single product is perfect and we at Promate are here to make sure the consumer has every available option they could wish for. We find a niche in the market or identify something that is lacking in a particular product and fill that gap,” Alkaar adds. According to Alkaar, the company’s goal is to find the potential in a product, create something unique and offer that to the customer even before they know they want it. “We are a lifestyle technology brand and our USP is the way we bridge the gap between the technological latest and the day to day needs. Some companies are just

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COVER FEATURE Peripherals Channel

manufacturers, others are simple lifestyle gurus, we are the link between the two and the way we seamlessly incorporate modern technology into a customer’s daily life marks us out as something special,” he states. Seeing the current state of affairs both vendors and distributors are looking forward to the future in store, anticipating change for the better. “The success of Apple and Samsung smart phones and tablets has had a very positive impact on our accessories growth in the region. This year, we are looking for continued growth based on additional launches from Apple and Samsung. In addition to all of this, we are eager to launch our home entertainment solutions in the near future which will be key to our success. The local demand and market response to our diverse lines of lifestyle products has been exceptional across the majority of the Middle East. We are keen to continue strengthening existing business in the region by developing the relationships we have formed with our local distributors,” says Youssef El-Arif, sales manager, MEA at Belkin. “The peripheral market will continue to grow along with the rise in market demand. This market will remain to highly competitive due to the vast number of existing vendors and the new ones joining the stream. Our plan is to focus on exclusive products, increase our value

added offerings, provide continuous high quality after sales service and educate our partners by conducting regular training sessions and seminars,” adds GSME’s Hashemi. Targus’s Abdulla says that the peripherals industry is still growing with a bright future ahead as consumers have the tendency to own multiple accessories for the various devices they own. “From a global perspective, there are only a few markets that are showing positive growth and the Middle East and Africa region is one of these few regions that is showing positive growth in the economy. We are working towards capitalising on this and continue our investment in terms of resources and marketing initiatives to take advantage of this growth as we continue to penetrate in country across all the countries in the region,” he adds. Amjad agrees stating that as technology is only getting smarter, consumers become increasingly dependent on their products to assist them in their everyday life which only means that this stream of business will continue to reap lucrative benefits. “Markets throughout the region are opening up and a surge of consumers are looking for the best products and solutions for their daily lives or business. That is why Almasa understands that the key to staying relevant and becoming a leader in the distribution market is to

We are a lifestyle technology brand and our USP is the way we bridge the gap between the technological latest and the day to day needs. Some companies are just manufacturers, others are simple lifestyle gurus, we are the link between the two and the way we seamlessly incorporate modern technology into a customer’s daily life marks us out as something special 36

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Riyaz Abdulla, regional sales director, Middle East and East Africa at Targus Middle East

keep up with the trends, technology is evolving every day and so should the business around it,” he says. “The UAE market is expected to grow by 20% as compared to 2011. Tablets and smartphones have replaced the bulky desktop computer and to a certain extent also the notebooks. This transition gives rise to an increase in both productivity and efficiencies. Etisalat alone holds around 3.5 million users, with du not being too far behind. Even if we compute a simple 10% of users choosing to purchase accessories or peripherals, we are still looking at big numbers. We are working on key tie ups with telecommunications companies and have invested in online marketing and are now keeoing our fingers crossed as we wait and watch,” concludes G-Form’s Prasanna. //


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FEATURE Incentive strategies

THE MONEY TRAIL The subject of channel incentives is under intense scrutiny as both vendors and customers evolve in their demands from IT and the focus shifts to technology services.

The economic recession of 2008 has left its mark on the IT industry, with enterprise customers looking at IT as the department responsible for enhancing performance while simultaneously lowering costs. While vendors have gone all out in promoting buzzwords like cloud computing, software-as-a-service and consolidation, customers have found themselves debating the true scope of these technologies and partners are in the midst of revising their business models in order to capture

and effectively deliver these technology services in the near future. An essential part of each of these business models is the incentive strategy because the channel acts an intricate part of the vendor’s go-to-market strategy. Not only are the vendor’s channel partners responsible for driving the sales of their products and solutions but their direct link with the customers, which puts them in a position to influence the customers’ perception of the brand. These incentive programs serve as motivation to encourage the partners to

go above and beyond their sales targets to retain the customers. As members of these partner organisations are not directly employed by the vendor in question, without these incentives they may not necessarily share the enthusiasm about driving business. “Channel incentive programs are extremely important for our business to drive sales, not only do these programs help in capturing market share but they also help promote greater loyalty with our partners who then collaborate with us on building a strong customer-base,

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FEATURE Incentive strategies

enable us to launch new products, enhance margins, reduce cost of sales, increase product adoption and even help us attract more partners to help us expand our geographical reach. These incentive strategies promote cross selling opportunities and ultimately help us strengthen our relationship with partners in order to maintain a strong sales cycle,” says Mario Gay, GM at Mindware. Ciaran Forde, VP- Enterprise, Middle East and Africa at CommScope agrees: “Programs play a significant role in the technical and commercial dynamic that exists between CommScope, its partners and the customer. They are an excellent vehicle to highlight new products, technologies and trends. They help keep the commercial and the personal aspects of these relationships alive and vibrant. Selecting the right cabling solution is important, but selecting the right organisation to design, install and maintain those solutions effectively is also key to a customer’s business. The benefits they generate for the partner and client can clearly be a differentiator. Programs can easily be interpreted as an expression of a company’s commercial personality which again differentiates a company.” Meera Kaul, MD at Optimus Technology and Telecommunications, believes that while reward programs may not necessarily be strategic to a channel business, it creates a great value add for an organisation’s channel strategy. “Incentive programs are designed to drive positive partner behaviour, strengthen loyalty and invariably increase sales. Due to introduction of new methods of sales in technology, recompensing partners during their entire partner lifespan is an operational way to keep their business, maintain commitment, as well as endorse and drive returns,” she says. Dan Smith, head of integrated marketing for the Middle East and Africa region of Xerox’s Developing Market Operations, says, “As long as incentive

Meera Kaul, MD, Optimus Technology and Telecommunications

Chantelle Tavid, marketing manager at Golden Systems Middle East (GSME) says value added offerings to the partners are the most crucial factor in this competitive market. “Continuous partner satisfaction increases their loyalty to our company, which often results in return business. Building customer loyalty has been the forefront of many businesses in the growing competitive market where hundreds of companies jostle for customers. Valuable loyalty programs along with establishing strong relationships with customers are major motivating factors for the channel ensuring long term business,” he adds. These incentive programs or loyalty schemes, as Tavid calls them, provide both distributors and vendors with a platform

They are an excellent vehicle to highlight new products, technologies and trends. They help keep the commercial and the personal aspects of these relationships alive and vibrant. Selecting the right cabling solution is important, but selecting the right organisation to design, install and maintain those solutions effectively is also key to a customer’s business. The benefits they generate for the partner and client can clearly be a differentiator.” programs drive desirable behaviour then they can be a significant differentiator. It is important to target the outcome you desire. Xerox does this by targeting different communities of people and different incentives also play their part. This encourages loyalty in the channel, and therefore differentiates our brand from other players. In terms of end users, this can be a knock on good effect where behavior of adding value and customer first can be encouraged over box shifting or pure targeting of revenue achievement.”

to help understand the partner’s business strategy and needs in turn helping them build long strategic relationships that are mutually beneficial for both parties.

Adapting to survive Kaul says incentive programs are best utilised when they have targeted goals. For instance, If the goal of an incentive programme is to increase sales volumes, customers with high sales growth potential must be targeted. Should the goal of an incentive program be to increase customer

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FEATURE Incentive strategies

loyalty, the program should be targeted towards increasing repeat business from the customers. Every incentive program must have a resonant value proposition and set appropriate linked awards to enable its own success. “The channel should be incentivised for pay-as-you-go (cloud computing) sales based upon the lifespan worth of the deal rather than unit price since this is the factual value of the deal. Manufacturers and providers need to create an incentive compensation model with monthly, quarterly or annual recurring revenue in their sales structure to calculate sales rewards congruent to the actual sales. Vendors must also integrate their incentive strategy into a single points-based system to design the incentive scheme warranting that all stakeholders in the channel are able to sustain tangible benefits through earning and redemption opportunities that support the partner’s business strategy and also cause an incremental shift in the desired partner behaviour,” she adds. Tracy Delphia, senior marketing analyst and Vaughn Aust, VP, Client Solutions

Mario Gay, GM at Mindware

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The channel should be incentivised for pay-as-yougo (cloud computing) sales based upon the lifespan worth of the deal rather than unit price since this is the factual value of the deal. Manufacturers and providers need to create an incentive compensation model with monthly, quarterly or annual recurring revenue in their sales structure to calculate sales rewards congruent to the actual sales” at hawkeye wrote in their article titled ‘ChannelViews: Channel Incentives In An Evolving Landscape’ that incentive programs must go beyond the ‘cash is king’ strategy because a major portion of these incentives is normally used to cover the partner’s operational costs and not necessarily being used for strategic benefit. “Channel organisations are under increasing pressure in the new economy to demonstrate ROI effectiveness. However, it is admittedly challenging to point to the value of cash incentives when vendors are unable to track how these incentives are being spent once they pay the incentive to the partner, for instance they cannot easily break down what percentage of the incentive is being used for operational costs and what is being reinvested for future growth. There are non-cash incentives that partner organisations can redeem points for that have strong value, such as pre-packaged marketing plays, demo units, training and certification, and marketing support. These ‘non-cash incentives’ allow vendors to provide incentives and rewards for promoting its products and solutions — a win-win situation for manufacturer and partner.  And because metrics are available for closed-loop marketing activities, the spend of point-based, company-level incentives enables ongoing ROI measurement and insight that is completely lost when

vendors pay out cash rewards,” Delphia and Aust wrote.

Taking note Mindware seems to have followed a similar strategy by revising their channel incentives over the last year to offer special cash spiffs, travel programs, gift certificates, gold program rewards and the point reward system. Gay says, “Most of these programs generated clear ROI results which in turn enabled us to measure the program in depth. The travel program, for instance, was promoted separately for Microsoft under the name of the Hi Flyer program, and as a cross selling campaign for Dell and Symantec that included a trip incentive for the eligible partners who were able to close targets in the specified period of the scheme. Both the travel campaigns were extremely successful and generated more business that was evident both in terms of revenue as well as partner loyalty.” In July this year the company has launched the ‘Mindware Fulfillment Incentive Program to add further value for their channel partners. The program was structured with the intention to reward the participating channel partners and involves a partnership with Majid Al Futtaim for the incentive payout via a Visa pre paid card  that is valid for the duration of three years from date of issue and is


conveniently  redeemable at all operating merchants accepting Visa worldwide. “We have already paid out incentives with the newly introduced program for promotions related to Intel, Microsoft, Dell and Symantec, proving its success. The best part is that all partners have to get on board  Mindware’s Fulfillment Incentive Program is register to one of the Mindware promotions communicated to them by our sales team or that are available on our website, and achieve the sales targets as clearly mentioned in the promotion. On fulfillment our sales team will confirm and verify eligibility to release the pre paid Visa card in his or her name and rewards will be loaded as soon as we have acknowledgment of card receipt by the partner. The aim we hope to achieve from this program is that it will improve performance while retaining our channel partners and will motivate our sales team which in turn only helps the success of our business,” he says.

will automatically be upgraded to the next level. Optimus channel partners are able to redeem their Wafa points against options such as vendor led paid training programs, air travel ticket to attend Optimus training initiatives, purchasing Optimus professional services, payment for next sales transaction, credit notes to be used against accounts payable and participation in various Optimus-approved redemption plans,” says Kaul. GSME too has the Avardz loyalty programme which is a permanent incentive scheme. “Establishing performance metrics for loyalty programs remains a key challenge for most businesses as ROI is focused purely on financial measure and thus is a little restrictive. We measure our program’s success by monitoring our partners’ level of participation and engagement across the program based on number of product registrations, value and number of points redeemed, number of referrals from

Establishing performance metrics for loyalty programmes remains a key challenge for most businesses as ROI is focused purely on financial measure and thus is a little restrictive” Optimus Technology and Telecommunications has in place a tiered loyalty program to help partners earn points for their continuous and consistent business. “From completion of on-boarding process to positive credit history to sales, the ‘Wafa’ program is categorised into loyalty levels of Fida, Dahab and Blatin. All new partners enter the program at the Fida level and through continuous business, graduate to Dahab. Partners can move to the Blatin status depending on their sales volumes with Optimus in the year. If a partner crosses their targeted revenue criteria in a fiscal year, the partner

existing partners, etc. We continuously ensure that our program strategy is relevant and meaningful by monitoring and analysing our partners’ engagement pattern and feedback,” says Tavid. Smith says that Xerox follows a dual approach to offering rebates and incentives. “This has not changed for Xerox in the last 12-18 months with rebates and discounts being offered upfront to secure new opportunities and ensure the channel is encouraged to seek out new and incremental opportunities. On the other hand back end incentives are also offered to encourage the addition

Chantelle Tavid, marketing manager at Golden Systems Middle East (GSME) of value and the correct solution for the end customer and we will further build on our program to offer more services prepackaged and aimed at SMB’s in 2012, we will also bring new products to market in 2012 which will offer significant incremental opportunity to partners. The program itself will be amended to ensure that partners are rewarded for driving these two value elements of the Xerox portfolio. We continue to support our partners through training and co-op marketing funds in addition to offering our registered resellers and distributors comprehensive managed print services among others,” he states. Forde says that CommScope takes its partners’ interests very seriously and is working on a revised program and structure that better suits customers, partners, and the broader industry, leveraging the full breadth of CommScope technologies and solutions. “CommScope also implements an annual business planning and review process with our BusinessPartners, supported by regular collaboration throughout the year. The program we offer includes forums for

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FEATURE Incentive strategies

training and education. Regardless of level, CommScope invests in all of its partners by providing a wide range of programs and services, such as sales and marketing support, extensive technical training and real-time access to product information, designed to augment their product and business needs. In fact, our partners receive many of the same resources and tools as CommScope’s own engineers, including standards updates, CommScope Labs reports and white papers, creating a seamless connection between our expertise, partner’s technical abilities and their implementation,” Forde explains.

Looking ahead Clearly, incentive programs have already begun looking at providing benefits beyond the usual cash pay outs. More regional vendors and distributors are beginning to actively investing a degree of creativity in their incentive strategy by providing support services and provisioning other essential to boost the partner exists potential. No doubt then that while channel roles extend continue to evolve from mere hardware trade to service delivery the incentive programs would need to focus on more than just projected numbers to evaluate partners based on their own investments in creating a skilled pool of people and resources capable of extending a vendor’s services to a customer. Delphia and Aust wrote, “Whether a vendor is selling traditional software or hardware — or is expanding their solution set with more services offerings — incentives remain key to channel success.  Traditional transaction-based revenue models are giving way to recurring revenue models: vendors know this and partners know this.  In a Darwinian channel, those that adapt, survive. That means we are seeing more partners with multiple revenue streams — both transaction-based and subscription-based — as they begin to morph their business model.”

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Ciaran Forde, VP, Enterprise, Middle East and Africa at CommScope

programs every time the channel landscape evolves. A focus on the true value of a sale means that as the channel changes, only variables used to calculate the value of sales need to be modified to keep an incentives program timely and relevant.  An integrated, points-based approach for both company- and individual-level incentives makes it easy for global programs to adapt to local conditions and swap out currently valued rewards ‘purchased’ by partners with a single incentives currency,” they further added. According to research firm CompTIA, 63% of IT firms will focus on establishing cloud-based delivery models within the next year and nearly half (46%) of companies are moving to a managed services model, while 39% are transitioning from transaction-based product sales to recurring revenue models. This naturally means vendors can no longer focus on

Whether a vendor is selling traditional software or hardware — or is expanding their solution set with more services offerings — incentives remain key to channel success.  Traditional transactionbased revenue models are giving way to recurring revenue models: vendors know this and partners know this.  In a Darwinian channel, those that adapt, survive. That means we are seeing more partners with multiple revenue streams — both transaction-based and subscription-based — as they begin to morph their business model.” “Clearly, incentives for a channel populated by hybrid partners — those who pursue multiple revenue streams — and vendors who also are expanding their sources of revenue, will remain an integral component of channel programs. There is no need to start over or redesign incentive

rewarding partners for hardware sales and must begin to focus on the investments a partner makes in technical training, earning certifications and their own infrastructure to enable effective service delivery. How this will translate in the regional market only time can tell. //


HOT PRODUCTS Review

NOKIA PUREVIEW 808 Just when you think Nokia doesn’t have much to offer anymore, they bring you the phone that promises what the highest end DSLRs can’t deliver, 41 Mega Pixel photos! Yes, 41 and yes, mega. Sound too good to be true? Let’s find out.

I’d hate to start a review like this, but design is where this device fails on so many levels. It’s heavier and bulkier than any other phone on the market. Probably even bulkier than most phones released two years ago. At almost 170 gms with a thickness of almost 14mm, you won’t like how this phone feels in your pocket, if there’s any good reason for someone to bring back

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those belt-clipped phone cases, this phone would be it – Please don’t though. Just don’t. Forget weight and dimensions, the main problem we can see with this phones design, is how exposed the camera is. It bulges out of the body leaving it no chance of any protection if you end up dropping the phone. Scratching or breaking probably the only reason why you bought this phone in the first place. Apart from that, the PureView comes in three colours, black, white and red. It fashions a 1.3 GHz ARM 11 processor that runs the Symbian based Nokia Belle OS, and comes with 512 MB RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, and support for SD cards up to 32 GB. The 4” AMOLED screen has a very disappointing resolution of 360 x 640 pixels, which counters the point of having a really high resolution camera. The phone comes with all standard connectivity options including Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC, HDMI and a micro USB2 port. The Camera This is probably the only reason one would look into buying this phone in the first place, the 41 mega pixel camera with Carl Zeiss optics. The overall photo quality was great in good photography conditions. Meaning when

you have enough light and a good depth of field, the photos were very colourful and bright, and surprisingly sharp. However, they tend to get a little grainy in lower lighting conditions. Although the 41 mega pixel photos were massive and sharp, we still didn’t see the point of packing all of those pixels into a camera phone. It feels as just a slight improvement from a 12 MP camera photo; don’t expect it to be almost three times as better, that’s not going to happen. Video quality was impressive with 1080p full HD at 30 frames per second, lighting conditions did again affect the quality as expected. Software Nokia seems to want to stick to Symbian and push it till the last minute. As it might be easier on the battery, it still feels like an outdated operating system for today’s smart phone revolution. Most of the software is standard and pretty much what you’d expect from any Nokia phone released in the past few years. The photo editor comes with a few extra features but nothing jaw dropping at all.

RATINGS: HARDWARE

7/10

PERFORMANCE

6/10

VALUE FOR MONEY

5/10

If you really hate carrying more than one device while travelling, if 12 mega pixel photos are just not good enough for you anymore, and you have lots of extra space in your pocket, then the Nokia PureView 808 might be just the phone for you. Just keep in mind that the camera is the only (however slight) advantage you’ll get with this phone.

 This review was done by Fahed Sabbagh – proud geek and passionate blogger. You can catch him wax poetic on all things geeky at www.nerdyface.com.


in microphone, and Audio in and out jacks. The sound quality on this device is definitely one of the best we’ve ever seen on a portable device! Software and Performance HP ships the Envy with Windows 7 Professional (64 bit) or Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit). The overall performance is very good, as is the case with most Ultrabooks in the same range. We always say, don’t expect games with heavy graphics to run smooth on the Intel HD graphics chip, this machine however does provide a reasonably powerful performance for most of your standard graphics needs. The device comes with HP’s CoolSense technology keeping your Ultrabook’s temperature acceptable most of the time, we didn’t experience any excessive heating while using the Envy. It also comes with wireless music and wireless display (WiDi) capabilities, and HP includes loads of software and utilities to manage various tasks and maintenance procedures. The battery 4-cell Li-Ion promises 8 hours of uninterrupted performance, and unless you’re playing games or really pushing the limits of performance, it will deliver.

HP ENVY PRO ULTRABOOK HP has been charging into the Ultrabook market with quite a few devices of all sizes and capabilities launched in the past few months. Here we’re looking at the 14” HP ENVY Pro Ultrabook. Design and Specifications The 14” sturdy red and black body is also available in all-silver, and weighs just over 1.8 kg, yet somehow still feels a bit heavy and bulky for an Ultrabook. HP may have wanted to offer the bigger screen option as part of their lineup to those are looking for it, while still maintaining the battery performance and light weight of an Ultrabook. Like most recent high-end laptops from HP, the envy is covered with a brushed aluminum type cover, and a soft-touch base that make it really easy on the eyes, durable and easy to carry.

It comes with a Core i5 processor from Intel, up to 4 GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000, 320 GB 7mm SATA II hard drive, and an Intel 32 GB mSATA Flash Cache Module. The LED backlit screen is bright with vivid colours, and supports up to 1366 x 768 pixels of resolution, so it’s not a full HD model which is quite a disappointment. The device has 2 USB3 and 1 USB2 ports, an HD webcam, HDMI output and an SD card slot. The Envy comes with HP Play service supported by an audio set from Beats Audio as a standard feature, it includes magnificent speakers and an integrated subwoofer, a built

RATINGS: HARDWARE

5/10

PERFORMANCE

7/10

VALUE FOR MONEY

5/10

This device really stretches out the Ultrabook concept to its limit, sometimes pushing a bit too far. If you don’t mind the big screen size (with no HD), and are not very specific about shaving off every last gram of weight, you’re in for an acoustic feast, aspiring musicians will love this device!

 This review was done by Fahed Sabbagh – proud geek and passionate blogger. You can catch him wax poetic on all things geeky at www.nerdyface.com.

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PEOPLE Govind Haridas

Govind Haridas, storage and security business unit manager at Aptec Distribution

Exceeding Expectations “I like to leave my unique signature in anything I touch – be it a thing or a person. Right from a very young age, I hated to be part of the crowd. People never forget experiences – so I try to bring a ‘wow factor’ in the experiences I give them – be it my family, friends or colleagues. Everyone should benefit from their association with you and I bring the same qualities to work by focusing not just on customer satisfaction but on ‘customer delight’. I believe that a person’s ability to succeed and grow depends on his or her ability to build and maintain people’s trust which is built only when one delivers on commitments. Trust is the basis of any long term relationship, personal or professional and once this is established, the rest is given,” says Govind Haridas, security and storage business unit manager at Aptec Distribution. A social being by nature, Haridas values both his professional and personal relationships and has made these the focus of years of hard work and clear communication. “Working in the channel has made me more responsible. Apart from being responsible for the success and welfare of your team members, as an executive responsible for the organisation’s channel initiatives, I have learnt how to look beyond

personal successes and encompass the entire ecosystem of people and organisations that I work with. I am well aware of how one decision can impact all these people and so there is a tremendous onus to create a win -win situation for all stakeholders. 15 years ago, Haridas began his career in the telecom industry but four years later found himself looking for a more challenging and perhaps more enriching career. He says that he then made the conscious decision to delve into the world of IT, “which is so dynamic that one can never say that one has arrived – there is something new to learn every day,” he explains. “I have worked across the dynamic markets of the Asia Pacific, India and most recently the Middle East and. In my roles I have had the opportunity to evangelise Information security when it was in its nascent stages and promoted concept such as IT outsourcing. Today these domains have matured and become the mainstay of the IT industry. And now we are all witnessing the eventual transition to cloud services. The shelf life of an IT product or service is only till the ‘next big thing’ replaces it. The rate of change in our industry is so very dynamic compared to a decade ago. Last month a giant like Kodak filed for bankruptcy while an infant company like Instagram is bought for a billion dollars. All the traditional rules are being re-written making it all the more exciting for those of us in this industry who are willing to learn, adapt

and grow,” Haridas states. It is this aspect of the IT industry that makes working in the channel worth the effort for Haridas. Not only does he enjoy the ability to influence the strategies and successes of the company’s channel partners, he also relishes the constant interaction with people from all walks of life. He says, “The exposure and visibility one gets by being part of the distribution channel is fantastic. Programs are created and driven for the whole region rather than one small country in addition one gets to work with, interact and learn from the cream of the industry. The experience of working with industry captains across both vendor and reseller organisations to ensure the channel grows consistently is undoubtedly what I enjoy the most.” While he remains passionate about work, Haridas finds solace and comfort when he is with his wife and two children. “All the tensions of the day melt away when I see my daughter’s smile. My son engages me in his various games and as a family we travel together, got out for movies and shop incessantly. Although she understands my work pressures, my wife does joke once in a while that she would like to swap places with my Blackberry,” he says. A voracious reader, he hopes to one day be a more peaceful, blissful, healthy and spiritually aligned soul. “I definitely hope to leave indelible mark and leave the Earth a better place than I found it. My greatest dread is to go as just another statistic,” Haridas says.

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PEOPLE Amir Sohrabi

Amir Sohrabi, regional alliance manager at SAS, Middle East and Africa

Recipe for success Amir Sohrabi comes with 22 years of extensive experience working across prominent organisations spanning Europe, Asia, Middle East and South America and is currently the regional alliance manager at SAS responsible for the company’s operations across the Middle East and Africa. With a bachelor’s degree in management and economics in addition to a master’s degree in management information from George Washington University in the USA, Sohrabi says that his most remarkable achievement lay was the success of his own start-up managed services company, which he operated and maintained for seven years, before positioning it for a successful acquisition. Despite his considerable experience, Sohrabi does not consider himself to be a techie; he says “I would rather consider myself as an old-school futurist who understands technology as an enabler and the equaliser for greater change. My experience in the industry has only affirmed my belief in the impact technology can have on people’s lives and there’s still more change to come.” Sohrabi describes himself as a result oriented professional with a passion for emerging markets and talent development. “I am a people person by nature and find the

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constant interaction with members of the channel as enjoyable as it is challenging. I enjoy being able to create a value proposition through channel partners as I believe that the channel is an integral part of the ecosystem. In addition, l get great satisfaction from enabling local partners to provide value to the market and take pride in local enablement and fostering talent and leadership,” he says. Sohrabi adds, “I am a tenacious person who is not easily discouraged. I am also an out-of-the-box thinker who thinks of the team first, putting them before me. I like to be in the middle of a complex issue and being the one to resolve it.” Like many others in his field, Sohrabi finds disconnecting from work a tad difficult, something he counters by actively coaching children in sports during his free time. “I manage by getting involved with coaching younger kids in sports during my free time. Being a parent coach allows me to totally disconnect and help develop youth--which is a way of giving back to society. In any sports arena one can teach tenacity, honesty and team work and then you can see it all come together on the field. There is a great feeling of satisfaction in witnessing this sort of development in kids,” he explains. Aside from his love for sports and the

outdoors, Sohrabi finds Zen in the kitchen and enjoys cooking up the occasional culinary delight. “Cooking is a great release for me especially if I am outdoors, particularly when I cook for friends and family. Cooking also keeps me humble,” Sohrabi says. Interestingly, he lists collecting fountain pens as a hobby and rewards himself for personal and professional accomplishment by purchasing unique fountain pens. A man with a disciplined routine, Sohrabi begins his day with a work out and a healthy breakfast, something he believes is vital to a healthy mind and soul. His early morning fitness regime gives him the frame of mind to chart out his plan for the rest of the day and prepares him for the numerous client and staff meetings. He is careful to be at work on time and prioritises his workload to ensure he is home in time for dinner with his family. “Ten years from now, I would like to be in a leadership position for an organisation that gives me the opportunity to help develop its talent in leveraging technology to help solve complex problems. My ultimate dream is to be in a position that will allow me to utilise my years of experience in helping develop and nurture an organisation, while at the same time affording me the opportunity to spend quality time with my family,” he says.


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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