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Contents

Dear reader, Welcome to the annual edition of the VAR COC Awards handbook. As with past few editions of the Handbook, you will find inside success stories of the winners and several insightful interviews besides a roundup of the Awards ceremony which was a glittering affair held at the prestigious and now iconic Meydan Hotel in Dubai on the 25th of March. The winners are those brands, companies and individuals that have been most visible and successful in the market from the channel’s point of view. They deserve every bit of the accolades that have come their way for their outstanding successes in the marketplace. The awards were contested in over 30 Categories. We received more than 1500+ total votes from the channel in the online survey hosted on www.varonline.com and the winners received the most number of votes in their respective categories. Besides the online poll, there was offline survey executed as well to help decide the winners. In addition to winners decided by votes, there were four Editor’s choice categories – Mobility Distributor of the Year, Consumables Distributor of the Year, Emerging Distributor of the Year and the award for Outstanding Entrepreneurship. The COC awards were the first Industry recognition awards and were launched in 2006. They have always reflected the views of the channel and continue to be much sought after Industry recognitions. My heartiest congratulations to the winners once again.

Vivek Sharma Founder & CEO VAR MEA Magazine Publisher: Vivek Sharma Managing Editor: R. Narayan Assistant Editor: David Ndichu Art Director: Faiz Ahmed

COC Awards Round-up Networking Brand of the Year Inkjet Brand of the Year Laser Printer Brand of the Year Multifunction Printer Brand of the Year Monitor Brand of the Year Business Laptop Brand of the Year Consumer Laptop Brand of the Year Security Appliance Brand of the Year Security Software Brand of the Year Projector Brand of the Year Emerging Brand of the Year Power Solutions Brand of the year Tablet Brand of the Year Storage Hardware Brand of the Year Best Channel Promotions of the year Best Marketing of the Year Accessories Brand of the Year Most Rewarding Channel Program Best Channel Training Initiatives of the Year External Storage Brand of the Year Consumables Distributor of the Year Security Products Distributor of the Year Networking Hardware Distributor of the Year Retail Distributor of the Year Components Distributor of the Year Best Retailer of the Year Champion Distributor of the Year Best After Sales of the Year Best Value Add Distributor Best New Product Mobility Distributor of the Year Emerging Distributor of the Year Outstanding Entreprenuership

Sales Director: Alishan Zaidi Sr. Sales Manager: R. Subramanyan Business Development Manager: Mallika Rego Sales Coordinator: Smitha Jithesh

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P.O. Box: 121075, Montana Building 404, Zabeel Road, Near GPO, Karama, Dubai-UAE Tel: 04-3705022 Fax: 04-3706639 Disclaimer: While the publishers have made every attempt possible to get accurate information on published content in this handbook they cannot be held liable for any errors herein.

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COC Awards Ceremony | Round-up

7th VAR COC Awards presented at Gala evening The 7th VAR COC (Choice of Channel) Awards were announced and presented at the Meydan hotel. This was the 3rd instance that we are holding the Awards here after 2010 and 2011.

The event witnessed a strong turnout of attendees from leading companies in the industry. The COC Awards are today much sought after recognitions in the region’s industry for they reflect

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COC Awards Ceremony | Round-up

the vote of the channel. The voting for the awards was done offline as well as on www. varonline.com over the past couple of months and shortlists of nominees was mostly drawn on the basis of historical data available with us from past surveys but new names were added as well based on our market information. There were some new categories added this year and a few were deleted. As the industry continues to change and evolve, it was necessary to bring in recognition for more categories that are part of the IT channel Business. Therefore we have introduced new categories like Tablet brand of the year, Power solutions Brand of the Year, Projector Brand of the Year etc. We have also extended recognition for distributors in different focus areas. The winners

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list was drawn on the basis of maximum votes polled. We have some Editor’s choice categories as well and the winners were decided on the basis of consensus of applauding the most deserving names in these categories. The winners were decided on the basis of maximum number of votes won.


COC Awards Ceremony | Round-up

Category

Winner

Networking Brand of the Year

Linksys

Security Software Brand of the Year

Kaspersky Lab

Security Appliance Brand of the Year

Dell Sonicwall

Inkjet Printer Brand of the Year

HP

Laser Printer Brand of the Year

HP

Multifunction Printer Brand of the Year

Xerox

Monitor Brand of the Year

Acer

Business Laptop Brand of the Year

Dell

Consumer Laptop Brand of the Year

Lenovo

Power Solutions Brand of the Year

APC by Schneider Electric

Tablet Brand of the Year

Samsung

Projector Brand of the Year

Epson

Storage Hardware Brand of the Year

Western Digital

External Storage Brand of the Year

Seagate

Accessories Brand of the Year

Belkin

Emerging Brand of the Year

TP-LINK

Most Rewarding Channel Program

Toshiba Gulf FZE

Best Channel Promotions of the Year

D-Link Middle East & Africa

Best Channel Training Initiatives of the Year

Norton by Symantec

Best Marketing of the Year

SanDisk Corporation

Best New Product

Touchmate 3-D tablet

Components Distributor of the Year

Asbis Middle East FZE

Security Products Distributor of the Year

Comguard FZ LLC

Networking Hardware Distributor of the Year Aptec - an Ingram Micro Company Retail Distributor of the Year

Metra computer - Gulf

Consumables Distributor of the Year

Despec MERA

Mobility Distributor of the Year

BDL Gulf FZCO

Best After Sales of the Year

Trigon LLC

Emerging Distributor of the Year

MES Technologies

Best Value Add Distributor

Mindware FZ LLC

Champion Distributor of the Year

Redington Gulf

Best Retailer of the Year

Carrefour Middle East

Outstanding Entreprenuership

HH Prince Walid Al Saud

Chairman, BDL Group

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VAR COC Awards 2013

Networking Brand of the Year

The Winner is a Brand that continues to have a groundswell of good market recall. It has been winner at successive editions and was recently bought out by another top networking Brand Belkin.

Inkjet & Laser Printer Brand of the Year This year, there are three awards in the printer segment. The winner in two of these categories is a company that continues to have a strong lead in the segments. HP’s print division, now merged with its PC group to create a new Printing and Personal Systems Group (PPSG) is a major pillar of HP’s revenues and profits and offers an expanded portfolio of hardware and software.

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VAR COC Awards 2013

Monitor Brand of the Year It is a tough segment with the ongoing shift towards Mobility but a few brave vendors are focusing on the category and have also come out with some innovative models. Acer, the winner of this category edged ahead of competitors in the survey and is a manufacturer that continues to deliver sleek looking models to market.

Multifunction Printer Brand of the Year Introduced for the first time this year, this category included a shortlist of printer manufacturers who offer multifunction models in the market. Not surprisingly, the top spot in this category was secured by Xerox that is known to offer a comprehensive portfolio in the Multifunction market and also backs it with solutions and services.

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Business Laptop Brand of the Year With the growing emphasis on Mobility, it was fair to bifurcate the Laptop category into Business and Consumer categories in the survey as there are separate trends in the two categories. In the Business segment, the top 3-4 brands fight it out quite hard and it is clearly reflected in the survey as well. Dell which has greatly broadened its Business notebooks portfolio, offering durable machines with state of the art designs, manageability and security features, emerged the winner.

Consumer Laptop Brand of the Year The consumer segment has different buying behavior in comparison to the commercial segment, when it comes to Laptops and other Mobility products. Lenovo, a brand that has gained great ground in terms of market share and is offering a wide range of consumer models under its Ideapad Series, gets the maximum votes from the channel in this category.

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Security Appliance Brand of the Year | Dell SonicWALL

Next Generation firewalls from SonicWALL are raising the level of protection in an era of powerful and complex threats. Shahnawaz Sheikh, Regional Director, Dell-SonicWALL Middle East & Turkey speaks about the company’s growth and roadmap in the aftermath of its acquisition by Dell.

Poised to lead Is there a growing demand for security appliances? Discuss Dell Sonicwall’s growth in the region? There is a growing demand for Next Generation security appliances especially from customers who are realising its value. Customers are now replacing their old hardware appliances and software solutions opting to go with NGFW appliances. Dell SonicWALL has shown significant year on year growth by increasing the installed base of Next Generation Firewall. How does cloud computing deployment influence demand for security appliances?

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The concept of cloud computing is anywhere anytime access, so when you have deployment like this naturally you will have users connecting from–all around the world- using the cloud application to connect and as such security becomes a major concern even for the cloud providers to protect their environment. It also becomes a concern for companies who have hosted the application from the cloud. All parties want to make sure that the connectivity originating from multiple different end point devices is secured and is coming from authorised users. As a result there is the constant demand for security appliances influenced in

a cloud computing environment. Discuss demand for other appliances you offer including CDP, Mail security etc – are these meant for the SMB environment customers? Email security is designed for small to medium to large enterprises and is scalable. It is available in multiple deployment options such as Software only, Appliance or Virtual Appliance and Hosted Services. In the case of hosted service, mails are routed to the Dell SonicWALL infrastructure and get processed to check for spam, phishing and viruses and business policies. Clean mails are then directed


to the customers’ servers CDP is specifically designed for the SMB environment with up to 400 user networks. Continuous Data Protection (CDP) is a next-generation data backup and disaster recovery solution that automatically preserves and protects businessrelevant data assets against loss from file, device, and location based disasters. With support for Windows, Linux and Mac OS through a single Web GUI, CDP provides granular, globally enforced policy controls over the entire end-to-end backup operation. Becoming part of Dell – how has that influenced your approach to the channel and customer segments? Becoming part of Dell has definitely been a great move for us. We in the Middle East region have access to a broader market, both channel and the end-user market. Many of the Dell customers who have procured Dell servers, storage, networking, etc. are now looking for the security that goes with it. This is an opportunity for Dell SonicWALL to leverage on this and take our technology to all Dell customers across the region. At the same time we now have new partners who were existing Dell partners adding the security products to their portfolio offering.

We have been working on a new channel program expanding on our legacy programme designed for the emerging markets. It will apply to all, ie., Dell partners. Dell SonicWALL partners and any new resellers who wants to sign-up with us. Discuss your engagement with the SI channel? We have been doing this for many years now. We follow the

integrator and update them on new products, new ideas to generate revenues and software services. There is a continuous engagement with these partners in knowledge transfer and sharing business ideas using internationally renowned practices. For example managed services are a successful business model in mature markets as a result.

“Many of the Dell customers who have procured Dell servers, storage, networking, etc. are now looking for the security that goes with it. This is an opportunity for Dell SonicWALL to leverage on this and take our technology to all Dell customers across the region.”

traditional approach but from time to time we try to add new tools and new approaches so that partners are continually updated and as a result invest in us because we create new business avenues and continuous profitability for them. As a result these partners continue to grow the business in different avenues relying on our brand and technology. From time to time we go back to our system

We advise our partners to start offering an opex model of business operation in addition to the traditional capex model. Since this is an emerging market for some type of businesses one would start seeing success if they are early birds start at the right time of the market potential. So in this regard we are continually educating our partners and sharing the best practices.

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Security Software Brand of the Year | Kaspersky Lab

Swift strides Kaspersky Lab has made swift strides to the top in the region and has a strong recall as a security software Brand today. No wonder, it emerged the Security Software Brand of the Year at the 7th COC Awards. Tarek Kuzbari, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab Middle East and Turkey speaks to VAR Magazine about the company’s initiatives.

Please comment if the higher penetration of the Internet is prompting consumer demand for Internet Security Products more vis-a- vis standalone AV? With respect to AV as a product, it is different in relation to the Consumer and the Corporate Business segments. There might be consumers who want to use the AV engine from Kaspersky but Firewall from another. For sure there is a gap because AV doesn’t offer all functionalities. Having said that both KIS and KAV target different user types in the consumer segment. So there has been no perceptible drop in AV sales.In the Corporate Business segment, it is a separate

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story as an AV solution with basic functionalities may not be enough. Advancedfeatures like virtual keyboard, application control etc would be required. Please elaborate on your recent partner engagement initiatives We held a channel conference recently where we had partners from different coming in. There were Technology and product roadmap updates, partner feedback etc. We are introducing the Kaspersky Affiliate Program to partners in the Middle East. This is a unique initiative in the region in order to give our many partners in the Middle

East an opportunity to boost their business. In addition to the significant commission rates, as part of this program, affiliates will get access to localized links and creative resources to promote the latest products and launches. Through this initiative we hope to generate innovative ways for partners to boost their business while simultaneously contributing to the growth of Kaspersky’s leading edge solutions in the region. Are you looking to recruit new partners? We are looking for partners with specific capabilities like for instance selling Virtualisation security products. We will have partners in the enterprise Business who can take the onus of selling 1000 licenses and more into the segment. We have grown 14 % year on year in our B2B segment. We see a great potential in the Business segment and would be making greater efforts to grow the Business volumes. Elaborate on your retail go to market strategy We have substantially increased out retail reach. We have retail focused distributors in place. We will pursue to increase our sell out through our channel.In KSA, we have achieved considerable growth. Our team is frequently engaging the market through visits. We have sub-distributors in place and where we don’t we will add. We will add more premium partners and trusted partners.


VAR COC Awards 2013

Projector Brand of the year The Projector Business is one of the dynamic segments currently and several innovations have come in including short throw, 3-D interactive etc which cater to rising expectations from consumers and Business users. Epson, the Brand that emerged on top of the polled votes is recognized for its wide range of products in the segment.

Emerging Brand of the Year This category recognizes the brand that has made great inroads into the region’s market and the channel. The name that came up most frequently in the votes polled was not a surprising choice by far. TP-LINK is one of the fastest rising brands in the region’s industry with an impressive product portfolio and a strong channel commitment.

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Power Solutions Brand of the Year | APC by Schneider Electric

APC by Schneider Electric, the critical power and cooling business unit of Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management, has been named ‘Best Power Solutions Vendor of the Year 2013’ at the 7th VAR COC Awards. Nassif Yazbeck, Partner Account manager at APC by Schneider Electric speaks about the company’s focus on the SMB segment in the region

Power up Please elaborate on your focus in the SMB segment in the region? Based on the regional development, APC by Schneider Electric has a comprehensive portfolio of products for SMB and SOHO users. Our focus for the SMB segment is to simply offer the best in class, robust solutions for commercial or residential application. As recently announced, we have developed an ‘ISX in a box’ preconfigured and pre-tested data centre solution, for the SMB market. They come with racks, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), cooling and Sch-

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neider Electric’s latest innovation – Struxureware management software. The solutions are available in four sizes that deliver a maximum IT load of 32kW, 64kW, 80kW and 96kW respectively. Since the quality of electric supply in countries like the UAE is much better than in many other part of the world, do home segment buyers put investments in power backup and protection solutions on the backburner? From the buyer trends that we have been analysing, the SOHO and SMB business segment is

growing, and the rise is partly attributed to the demand for products that fail, instead of protection. Protection for an online gaming connection, internet photo processing and VOIP are increasing because of the growing need to stay connected through social network and social networking activities. ‘Staying Connected’ has become a way of life, and more of a dependency. Influentially, our UPS, Line-R surges are benefiting largely because of these growing trends. At Schneider Electric, quality and reliability are paramount. Our products are embarked with


the latest technology to enable protection, even when it comes to your home IT equipment, like the LCD TV, Home Theatre system and so forth. Discuss your channel strategy/ specializations in the SMB segment? One of our channel strategies is the ‘The Channel Partner Program’ (CPP) initiative by APC by Schneider Electric is designed to align channel partners with key industry trends and business opportunities. The program offers more clearly differentiated program levels that reflect partner core competencies and area of expertise. With four different levels of the Channel Partner Program (Registered, Select, Premier and Elite), periodically we have a Field Expansion Program in place with the prime function to engage with partners to develop sales and engineering competencies for our SMB segment. We work through our strong network of dedicated channel partners. Our channel engagement strategy is based on five critical success factors – channel profiling, alignment with business opportunities, empowerment, enablement and profit.

Each success factor has clearly defined processes that allow our partners to gain an in-depth understanding of the company’s world-class, energy efficient solutions and leverage them to be more customer-focused in their business approach. How do you engage with SMB sector companies that are on the growth path and will have

is at the centre of our thinking. Are installation and integration services offered through partners? No, installation and integration services are mostly offered through Schneider Electric. Our network of partners and integrators is highly skilled and as a manufacturer we do not involve ourselves in the integra-

“Our channel engagement strategy is based on five critical success factors – channel profiling, alignment with business opportunities, empowerment, enablement and profit. ”

scaled up requirements year on year? We realise and value the importance of the SMB sectorwhich has proven to be a growth engine for many of our products and solutions. In terms of engagement we are focused on providing SMB clients with the best in class, scalable products supported with first rate around the clock customer service – this

tion process. Naturally, we will make exceptions from time to time, but this is generally when an end user requests our direct involvement. This is generally the case with very large projects. Our focus has always been on ensuring that our partners have a total understanding of Schneider Electric solutions, representing a reflection of our own service.

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Tablet Brand of the Year | Samsung

Raj Varma, GM, IT Sales Group at Samsung Gulf Electronics speaks with VAR magazine about the company’s focus on Tablets.

Charting steady growth

Raj Varma General Manager - IT Sales Group, Samsung Gulf Electronics

The Tablet market seems to be growing exponentially and Samsung seems to be in a pivotal role. What is the outlook for the region? Within the region Samsung has seen that both consumers and enterprise users are still rapidly adopting new technology, largely due to our tablets’ thin and light form factor and powerful computing capabilities. IDC reported that the Middle East and Africa (MEA) tablet market posted a much better than anticipated overall market growth of 129 percent year-onyear for 2012.

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In the GCC, Samsung has experienced significant growth in the Tablet division with a 214% year-on-year growth as of December 2012. This growth was as a result of the success of the launch of the GALAXY Note 10.1 and the GALAXY Tab 2 series (7.0 and 10.1), which have continued to sell consistently from the previous quarter. As we move into 2013 and continue launching new and innovative devices, we expect that this growth will continue increasing. Samsung is currently leading the Tablet segment in the GCC as consumers in the region respond well to our

new products, such as the newly launched GALAXY Note 8.0, which offers a seamless user experience, unrivalled multi-media performance and productivity in a thin and lightweight design. With a reengineered S Pen, creating a sophisticated mobile experience, the Note 8.0 delivers the perfect fusion of portability and everyday productivity making it a pioneering pocket sized solution for every situation. According to IDC’s Worldwide Tablet Tracker, worldwide shipment of tablets grew 139.1% year over year in the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13). Tablet shipments


Samsung sees traction in mobile communication devices totaled 49.9 million units in the first quarter, surpassing that of the entire first half of 2012. It is clear that with growth fueled by increased market demand for smaller screen devices, tablets have shown no sign of slowing down. According to IDC, Samsung performed very well globally, we grew our shipments of tablets over the fourth quarter. By the end of the first quarter in 2013, we achieved 17.2% market share, which equates to 279.8% yearon-year growth from 2012. Do Phablets cannibalize sales of Tablets? It is clear by the increase in worldwide tablet shipments that consumer’s still view tablets as an important device. Samsung caters to a diverse audience and we work to provide them a range of hand held devices that suit their unique needs. Consumer trends show that people are buying smartphones with bigger screens because they want to have the most immersive viewing experience possible on their portable device; however this does not seem to be impacting the sales of tablets. With significant success on the tablet front, how has that influenced your outlook and strategies towards Notebooks /laptops? Although the expansion of tablets in the global market is fierce, the original characteristics of Notebooks such as productivity and performance will always remain as the key demand of consumers. Samsung will still focus on delivering a wide range of Notebooks to satisfy consumer demand, including the Series 9 Notebook as well as our emerging devices such as the ATIV Smart PC. Our strategy for our notebook category remains the same, to lead the global Notebook PC category by offering the most innovative and technological advanced devices.

Regionally, customers across the Gulf responded positively to the launch of two of Samsung’s flagship hand held products, the GALAXY S III and the GALAXY Note II. This gave Samsung significant traction when it entered 2013. In 2012, Samsung recorded a 214 percent increase yearon-year in mobile communication device sales for 2012 spurred on by these flagship product launches and as comprehensive portfolio of midrange feature phones, smartphones and tablets. Hayssam Yassine, Head of Telecommunications Group at Samsung Gulf Electronics says, “We expect that mobility products, or hand held products, such as Samsung’s smartphones and tablet range will continue to drive the market share in the lower Gulf markets in 2013 as we continue to launch new and innovative products that are in-line with our customer’s expectations in the region.” Highlights: • Within the UAE specifically Samsung recorded a 302 percent increase year-on-year in mobile communication device sales as of Q1 2013 and according to the GfK Retail Audit data, 46.8% quantity market share for Mobile-Smart Phones in UAE as of Q1 2013. • In Qatar Samsung achieved solid growth in Qatar with a recorded 93 percent increase year-on-year within mobile communication device sales as of Q1 2013. Samsung has led the smartphone market in Qatar for the second consecutive year. • In Oman Samsung recorded 52 percent increase year-on-year within mobile communication devices sales as of Q1 2013. • In KuwaitSamsung recorded a 127 percent increase year-on-year within mobile communication devices sales as of Q1 2013. • In Bahrain Samsung recorded a 283 percent increase year-on-year within mobile communication devices sales as of Q1 2013.

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Storage Brand of the Year | Western Digital

products such as the 1TB and 2TB variants have been enjoying strong growth as consumers store more data or are keen to back-up their existing data. WD has also observed healthy demand for robust, high capacity SMB storage owing to growing sales and interest in our WD Sentinel DX4000 small business

of smartphones and tablets and the tendency for people to use these devices to create content, and given the limited amount of local storage on these mobile devices, consumer are increasingly opting for NAS devices that can function as cloud storage. WD’s My Book Live and My Book Live Duo NAS products and My

Thriving on a strong lead Khwaja Saifuddin Senior Sales Director, MEA & South Asia, WD Product category wise, which have been the fastest growing in the region for WD? WD has a diverse range of products that target the consumer, prosumer, SMB and enterprise segments. Thanks to the explosive growth of data and the need to store and consume this data, high capacity products have enjoyed strong growth recently. With regard to the internal drive segment, 3.5-inch internal drives boasting 1TB of storage capacity whether they are from the WD Blue, Green or Black family have been strong. With our 1-to-5 bay 3.5-inch SOHO NAS optimized Red drives, sales of the 3TB variant have also been growing steadily. From an external hard drive standpoint, again, the higher capacity WD My Passport

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Western Digital was the winner of the Storage brand of the Year. The Company continues to grow its leadership across storage product segments and market territories. Khwaja Saifuddin, Senior Sales Director, Middle East, Africa & South Asia, WD discusses trends in storage market and WD’s focus areas. storage server. Is there a growing consumption of external drives – are buyers looking to own more than one external drive? There two types of external hard drives, direct attached storage (DAS) and network attached storage (NAS). DAS products typically connect to a PC or notebook directly via an interface such as USB, Firewire or Thunderbolt, whereas NAS products connect to a router or WiFi access point and can then be accessed by any machine connected to the same network. Both DAS and NAS devices are in demand owing to different drivers. Thanks to the explosive growth

Net N900 Central router offer storage that’s accessible locally, as well as remotely (known as Personal Cloud) at no extra cost other than the price of the product itself. Consumers can store their data on these products and stream the content directly to their smartphone or tablet via WiFi, 3G or 4G connectivity. Since NAS devices are typically not designed for portability, consumers that own these storage products also own DAS products that are used for a variety of needs such as backup or sharing content with family or friends. On the other hand those without NAS devices tend to buy one or two DAS products to either extend the storage capacity they have, backup data or just to share content with friends and family.


In short, yes, today’s consumers are more likely to own more than one external drive. How do you see demand trends for your 3.5 inch external drives and portable drives? Owing to the sheer amount of content that is being created and stored today, high capacity external hard drives based on 3.5-inch drives are in demand. With up to 4TB of storage on offer in a single drive system (My Book) a consumer can comfortably expand their available storage to be used however they see fit. On the portable drive front, again, as storage requirements continue to increase we have been experiencing greater demand for higher capacity products. To tackle this demand WD last year released the 2TB My Passport drive. This drive is powered by the USB3.0 port itself and WD is in the unique position of having the only 2TB drive in this portable formfactor on the market. How has the hard drive component business in the region’ channel been faring? What are the shifts? The market for internal hard drives is currently in a state of flux owing to several factors, which includes changing computing models. As consumers increasingly opt for mobile computing devices such as notebooks, ultrabooks and tablets, there has been increased

demand for storage for these products. This is because in most cases the default storage offered by these devices is limited. Consumers have a choice here; they can either opt for external DAS or NAS products to supplement their storage or, alternatively, upgrade the device’s original internal storage system. It’s for this reason that today WD’s Blue 2.5-inch drive family is available in a variety of capacities (up to 1TB) and thicknesses ranging from 9.5mm (standard), to 7mm and more recently 5mm. The 7mm and 5mm drives are suitable for use in thin and light devices such as ultrabooks and tablets. OEMs are also integrating our 5mm WD Black SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive) into their thin and light devices. The benefit of SSHD is that you can enjoy high performance owing to the drive’s flash component, while you also have access to high capacity and a reasonable cost owing to the standard hard drive bit of the drive. In terms of 3.5-inch desktop integration there are some markets where demand has reduced but this void is gradually being filled by sales of smaller 2.5-inch drives for the reason’s discussed above. That said the 3.5-inch segment is, on the whole, still healthy as today users are opting for our WD Red 3.5-inch drives (introduced last year), which are designed specifically for SOHO NAS systems with between 1-to-5 drive bays. The market for NAS enclosures

is expected to explode in the coming years and as such WD is well positioned to capitalize on this with our Red products. There is also healthy regional demand for our 3.5-inch enterprise and AV drives the latter of which are ideal for use in digital security systems. You have a focus on large capacity and high speed products for the enthusiasts/ professional markets. Please discuss the market TAM for this in the region and WD’s presence in this space. Globally the need for high capacity storage that is fast and reliable is on the rise and the Middle East region is no exception. WD has a vast number of products that fit this criteria including the WD Black hard drives that offer up to 4TB of capacity and have a 7,200rpm spindle speed. These drives are covered by a five year warranty. Going a step further WD also offers the high performance VelociRaptor hard drive with capacities topping out at 1TB. These drives offer superlative performance thanks to their 10,000rpm spindle motor and 64MB of cache memory. On the external front WD’s recently introduced My Book VelociRaptor Duo featuring two 1TB 10,000rpm VelociRaptor drives and the Thunderbolt interface, is one of the fastest external hard drive solutions on the market today.

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Best Channel Promotions of the Year Award | D-Link MEA

D-Link MEA has stepped up its channel engagement through more detailed programs that take care of the channel’s needs to increase their Business. The vendor picked up the Best Channel Promotions of the Year Award at the COC Awards. Sakkeer Hussain, Sales and Marketing Manager at D-Link Middle East & Africa speaks about the company’s close coordinated work with its partners.

Building Effective Partnerships Elaborate on your channel partner program – are there separate tiers of partners; are there any recent changes? We created our channel partner programme in a way to represent a mix of various elements such as product trainings, rebate structures, promotions, marketing and branding support, with the ultimate goal to increase D-Link’s market share. While having fixed elements, it remains still flexible when it comes to the customization of a percentagewise usage of each part of this mix. Our channel presence is in an advanced stage, we have managed to build effective partnerships with partners which

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can be categorized as business and consumer segments. In the consumer segment we have a three-tier program: Power Retailers, Gold Partners and Diamond Partners. In the business segment however we have Empower partner and System Integrator partners. All partnerships throughout the Middle East are based on this model, whereas partners receive different benefits in direct line with their commitment and the fulfilment of their targets. Working through our existing distribution channels, we are providing enrolled partners with considerable support and rewards for achieving verifiable D-Link targets on a revised, quar-

terly basis. These targets, both qualitative and quantitative, are providing excellent benchmarks for strong, sustained growth in the region. Additionally, D-Link MEA has worked keenly to collaborate with its partners on many marketing projects, including store branding, magazine, newspaper and online advertising throughout the year. To improve the overall technical know-how and skills set of our partners, D-Link introduced a new online education portal, http://academy.dlink.com. tw/elearning_p.asp. Here, our partners are able to receive a plethora of IT networking


information and obtain further certifications that will help them along their career path. Are there structured lead generation services for partners? We have several lead generation mechanisms in place. Our in-house telemarketing team for example works constantly on creating new business prospects. Besides, we are generating leads through our website, advertisements in end-user magazines such as Stuff, our Facebook Account, etc. Every emailor phone call we receive will be qualified, developed and then sent to our distributors, who will then dispatch it to the adequate partners. Have there been additional product line-ups introduced over the past year through the channel that increases the portfolio of D-Link products they sell? We launch new products nearly every other week. Innovation is a prerequisite for D-Link and our R&D departments are working eagerly to ensure our customers will be provided with products developed based on the latest cutting-edge technology.A few months back we introduced new routers working with the new 802.11AC specification with plenty of new models being launched in the successive months. We are very excited about these new products which enable a higher data throughput on the 5GHz band, since to date we are the first networking ven-

dor to offer equipment based on the new AC standard.   D-Link has engaged its trusted partners through a series of promotions on an ongoing basis. Are these an integral part of your channel strategy? Throughout the year we carry out many promotions geared at various customer groups. Depending on the product range to be furthered, we develop special incentive programs for partners, resellers, system integrators and merchandisers of power retailers whereby we offer rebate schemes or programs to reward them with gifts. How has D-Link looked at increasing sales of SMB / Business grade products? Is there a separate engagement with systems integrators for instance? We started working intensely with system integrators since 2009, which is the time when we started promoting a wide range of business solutions.During that period we implemented special partner programs for our Business Solution Partners, depending on the size of their business. Our SI and Business Solution partners are benefiting from anextensive array of support mechanisms that we put into place, which includes bi-monthly technical trainings also for their customers, lead generation through telemarketing activities, discount and demo samples, free installation guidance, access to priority technical phone & email

support, dedicated field & engineering support, and so on. We are currently launching a partner portal furnished exclusively for the Business Solution and System Integrator Channel. The objective of this partner portal is to provide them with the necessary support material in terms of firmware, manuals, marketing materials, etc. It also serves as a platform for information sharing and as a source of motivation by incentivizing partners through reward programs. What are the challenges that D-Link and its partners are looking at to strengthen sales turnover? Pricing represents a constant challenge for us. The markets are extremely competitive and price politics are aggressive. For our customers to fully benefit from our products we are providing value-added services, such as the Cloud services which allow consumers tocreate a personal cloud to manage their routers, storage devices or IP cameras via the mydlink app or mydlink website, from anywhere at any time. These added benefits are distinguishing us from our competitors and have helped us positioning our product range during the last year. Another difficult factor in selling our products is based on the varying restrictions and regulations for wireless products in different countries, which has led to extended shipping and sales cycles.

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VAR COC Awards 2013

Best Marketing of the Year This Award recognizes the brand that is perceived to have made the most significant efforts at increased communication with its various channel segments. SanDisk finished on top in this category by virtue of its strong ongoing communication initiatives with the retail channel.

Accessories Brand of the Year Manufacturers of accessories for Mobility products including Laptops, Netbooks, Tablets and Smartphones were on the nominee list. This is a segment that has thrived with the boom in the Tablet market. Mobile accessories and consumer technology specialist Belkin, known for its innovative product designs was the winner yet again.

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Most Rewarding Channel Program | Toshiba

Please discuss Toshiba’s channel program in detail for the region? Toshiba has been working on a program called Profit For Performance (P4P) for the past 6 years. Toshiba’s aim has been to keep the program consistent and to reward partners who are consistently at pace with Toshiba. By doing so, the partners stand to gain additional monetary benefits. Toshiba focuses on two areas of the channel that fulfills the customer experience. This includes the Channel Partner (owner or management) and the Channel Sales Staff. Toshiba targets to give the end customer a complete sales experience. This is achieved by ‘Profit for Performance’ (P4P) and Sell and Win (S&W) incentive scheme. The P4P rewards the channel partner for ensuring the right mix of products, ensuring training of their staff, properly displaying Toshiba products, ordering timely, participation in promotions, and displaying good in-store POS among many others. While the S&W program ensures that the channel sales staff is trained from time to time to continuously improve their sales skills and knowledge of Toshiba products and ultimately, to provide the customer a good purchase experience. Both of

John J. Maliakal Head of Channel Business, Middle East Computer Systems Division, Toshiba Gulf

At the Frontline John J. Maliakal, Head of Channel Business – Middle East, Computer Systems Division At TOSHIBA GULF FZE speaks about the company’s focus on Frontline channel sales.

these ensure that the customer is made aware of the latest products and their queries are clarified from the sales personnel in choosing the most ideal product for themselves. Toshiba has had a separate program for frontline sales execs in the past. Is that still on? Toshiba considers the frontline sales executives a very important part of the channel. They are the first point of contact with the end customer. Toshiba endeavors to keep them empowered through product trainings and helping them improve their sales skills. Furthermore, the sales staff that

performs exceptionally also gets rewarded. Elaborate on your retail go to market strategy Toshiba has dedicated account managers who work directly and closely on a weekly basis with the power retailers.Since the volumes are high and the end customer more on the high end of the business, there are a few activities which are important and to be managed within time. This includes ensuring the right product mix based on the sellout trend 1. Ensuring the right volume of products are available within the

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given configuration based on the sellout velocity 2. Working closely with the retailer to ensure our promotional plans are synchronized with theirs. When all conditions remain same (market growth, political situation, technology etc.), having a wellrounded and accepted channel program gives a huge mileage as the benefits it yields include are both short term (monetary benefits on achieving targets) and long term (consistency rewards, account management, consultation and advice, trainings to staff etc.). It purely depends on the advantages of the program. The P4P program does not only focus on the tangible benefits but also includes intangible benefits. Alternatively, how do you help traditional channel increase their sales? Our main promoters are our existing partners. The program is simple to understand and our aim is to ensure that the partners achieve their agreed targets. At Toshiba’s end, we work to ensure that the rebates are released on time to all partners who met the requirements. We have been consistent for the past several years which resulted in the trust the partners have with the brand. At the same time, the sales team constantly updates the partners with their progress and this helps the partners keep track of their performance.

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Courting the channel Norton by Symantec continues to consolidate its channel Business as its 2013 products have been well received both in retail and the channel. Tamim Taufiq, Head of Consumer Sales, MENA speaks about how the 2013 suite of products have been faring in the market. Elaborate on how Norton is working closely with channel in reseller and retail segment – what have been your engagements to increase sell out? We monitor closely the channel on both segments so we can tailor the right solution and approach in order to delight our partners and address their requirements. We collaborate with our customers to plan the business ahead which results in a relationship based on trust. We also provide partners marketing and sales tools, such as Norton Partner Portal, which is a one-stop shop for our partners, where they can find marketing and sales tools and benefit from several trainings and special promotions. The portal also includes Social Media content, latest product information and channel news. They can even download their free Norton License; all in one location! All they have to do is go to www.nortonportal. com and register. We also offer several business models


Best Channel Training Initiatives of the Year | Norton by Symantec

that can fit any opportunity and give the added value in doing business with Norton. What are the ongoing training interactions for frontline sales / merchandisers in retail outlets? In addition to all the educational tools that we are providing such as online sales certificate, our team is interacting on a daily basis with our market partners to provide the right education and updates. Moreover, we have fixed merchandisers strongly familiar with our strategy and objectives that work with all our retailers to maintain and protect brand image and accommodate any in store requests. Last but not least, we also provide our partners through Norton Partner Portal the option to order marketing materials directly to their stores and the tools to train their staff. Do you have dedicated engagements with staff of larger power retailers for instance in terms of driving awareness / education and information? We engage with staff of large retailers through our merchandisers and on the ground team whenever we have the opportunity. We strongly believe that educating staff about cybercrime is crucial given that cyber crime is a serious matter especially with the increase of online activities nowadays.

Is there a separate engagement for decision makers at resellers? We engage with each individual at resellers in the most effective way depending on his role. We train and educate their sales staff, share our vision and set strategies with decision makers.

potentially facilitates the final outcome of higher sales? We position our training to educate about online threats in general and to explain the features we provide to address consumers’ concern and protect the stuff that matter to them.

Does it pay to have an informed, trained sales resource who can provide consultancy to prospective buyers in retail stores, especially in large countries of KSA for instance? In other words, has ROI been proven from channel training? We strongly believe that real success results from strong cooperation and mutual understanding. We aim to educate our partners and help them not only understand the products, but most of all that we address real threats and that cybercrime is not a future story but a real issue that people should protect themselves from. Further more, we look into training end users and families as well and provide them with several tools like Norton Online Family to protect them and their children. According to Norton Cybercrime Report, the total net cost of cybercrime in 2012 was SAR 2.6 Billions in Saudi only and forecasted to increase in 2013.

Do you run awareness campaigns around specific product launches – Please discuss successes of previous campaigns like the Mini campaign for instance in 2012. We do run campaigns around specific product launches that are mainly focused on cybercrime. We also provide various reports which show real numbers of what people and companies lose. Additionally and as mentioned previously, we also focus on educating families regarding children online safety –a growing concern. Finally, we run a program to award our partners for their loyalty and commitment. For example, in 2012 we did the Mini campaign that gave our partners the chance to win a car and other valuable prizes. It was followed by the Kenya trip program that provided one the most rare and amazing experiences according to those of our partners who participated.

Is training the channel also a sureshot way of grabbing channel mindshare, that

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VAR COC Awards 2013

Consumables Distributor of the Year

An Editor’s Choice Award, it went to Despec, a Distributor that has been most active in the Consumables Business and is associated with leading Brands in the segment.

External Storage Brand of the Year The External storage drives market has been an exceptionally growth driven market in the past few years and is now being driven by Terabytes, aesthetic designs, ease of use etc. The yearly rise in shipments is the result of greater demand from the consumer segment which continues to clamor for storage. Seagate was declared the winner with in what was a tight contest between the top few contenders.

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Security Products Distributor of the Year

The award recognises the distributor who is perceived to be the specialist of choice when it comes to Security products. Comguard, a company that continues to make its claims in the segment stronger year on year, was the winner in the category.

Networking Distributor of the Year This award recognizes the distributor who won maximum number of votes among competitors in the category for its expertise in distribution of networking Brand and products. Aptec, an Ingram Company that has had a focused networking business unit for several years now, was the winner of this category.

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VAR COC Awards 2013 Retail Distributor of the Year The award recognizes the distributor that has a strong retail focus and a large retail friendly portfolio to offer. Metra, a distributor of several leading brands in retail and works with leading retailers, was the winner of the category.

Components Distributor of the Year This year, the COC Awards have included recognitions across several domains since distributors have their specific areas of strengths. The Components Distributor of the year category recognises Asbis as a distributor with a vast portfolio of component brands and which is rated highly by the channel.

Best Retailer of the Year This award is for the retailer who is perceived to have the most impact in terms of IT retail across the region as indicated by voters. Carrefour was a clear winner ahead of the other power retailers.

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Champion Distributor The award recognizes the channel’s most favorite distributor of the year for their overall efforts at channel development and facilitating sales and profitability through their initiatives. Redington Gulf, widely reckoned to be the leading distributor by sales volumes in the region and also known for its Best practices emerged the winner. Redington Gulf has won the recognition in the past as well.

Best After Sales of the Year

The channel votes for the distributor who delivered best in class after sales service to its partners with a sound RMA policy that facilitates a faster turnaround time with products under warranty. Trigon walked away with the award in this category.

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VAR COC Awards 2013

Mobility Distributor of the Year

An editor’s choice category, the award recognizes the distributor who has a strong focus in Mobility as a domain and is associated with the Technology leaders in the space. BDL, widely reckoned as a dominant player in the category, was the winner of the category.

Best New Product

The winner in this category has to be a Product that was seen as being innovative in its category when launched last year. The award goes to a Brand that has been known for its vast range of products and is now focused on the Tablet category with several new innovative models coming along.

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Educating and empowering the channel VAR Magazine is the leading B2B publication for the MEA IT channel with the widest readership among the region’s reseller community. With nearly 150 print issues to date, the publication plays a pivotal role in keeping the MEA IT channel well informed about the latest industry events and announcements that could potentially influence their business decisions.

VAR MEA Magazine

VAR Magazine also publishes a bilingual edition for the Saudi Market. The Arabic /English edition brings out perspectives on the trends in the strategic market of KSA based on conversations with local industry spokespeople that augment further understanding of the market.

Pioneering training series for frontline sales Conceived by VAR Magazine, ‘In Search of a champion’ is a series of multi-brand training workshops for frontline IT salespeople and serves as a platform for sales talent development. The format enables interactive training in classroom environment where sales lessons are imbibed. Participants are graded throughout their participation and champions receive grand prizes at the end of the year. Over the past couple of years, ‘In Search of a Champion’ has drawn wide appreciation from all participants and brands that have been associated with it. With its unique format and process, the event is trusted by leading Technology brands in the channel to keep the frontline sales staff abreast of product, Technology and market updates. It is currently organized in the UAE and KSA markets and is very soon expanding to other MEA markets.

IT Business Networking VAR Conclave is a series of networking platforms envisioned in several flexible formats as standalone events as well as in partnership with leading regional ICT expos across the GCC. VAR conclave fosters channel partnership opportunities and helps clinch strategic business leads across strategic markets. It includes one-on-one focused meetings between participating exhibitors and leading resellers. It is also an ideal platform to showcase products and technologies.

An essential read for the Value add IT channel The Integrator is a magazine that offers strategic insights to the systems integrator and the value add reseller channel. The magazine offers path breaking features and other content including case studies, expert columns, Round Table discussions that focuses on Industry trends which are opening up new frontiers of opportunities for the SI channel. The magazine has the intent of demystifying Technology trends for facilitating the channel’s learning of the same and empowering their decision making in Business. The magazine is distributed to an exclusive database of systems integrators and VARs in the region.

For sales queries, please email info@var-mea.com. or contact Tel: +971 4 3705022, Fax: +971 4 3706639

To read online log on to: www.VARonline.com


VAR COC Awards 2013 Value Add Distributor of the Year The award applauds the winning distributor for its Value add initiatives in the channel, based on product and solutions range available, pre sales support, training and other forms of support provided to the channel. Mindware, a distributor with a strong portfolio of brands including Citrix, Brocade,Dell etc is one of the largest value add distributors in the region and is the winner in this award category.

Emerging Distributor of the Year This is an Editor’s choice Award that goes to a distributor that with a fast rising profile and association with leading brands. MES has created an impressive portfolio of brand in a relatively short time and has a fast improving reach across territories.

Outstanding Entrepreneurship

HH Prince Walid Al Saud Chairman, BDL Group

This was the lone individual category of this year. The winner of this category is Prince Walid Al Saud, Chairman of BDL Group of companies, a Business visionary who has shaped the growth of a company and continues to be actively involved with further expansion.

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