October 2011

A special publication from Redington Gulf Value Division

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ESSN EMC Tripp Lite Check Point Cisco Red Hat Fujitsu

All eyes on the KSA market Power Trip Cisco streamlines EMEA ops Security business

Redington is a Value Added Distributor for the following brands in parts of Middle East & Africa


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HP’s cloud journey All eyes on the KSA market 09 Tripp Lite on UPS technology Security business Cisco streamlines EMEA ops 16 Eyeing regional growth Building a sustainable channel



Opening Note

Cloud computing is posing certain fundamental questions on the model of doing business.

n the recent past there has been a lot of hype on two topics namely the future of PCs and cloud computing. On PCs, the hype is not unjustified since some numbers indicate a 20% decline in home PC usage in 2010 over 2009. But, in the short-term, most industry forecasts indicate a rising demand for PCs but not at the same rate as some of the newer devices such as pads or smartphones introduced in the market. Cloud computing is another area which is posing certain fundamental questions on businesses and the model of doing business. I hope cloud computing does not become a fad amongst entrepreneurs and we are led to a cloud computing

bust just like the dot com bust. Redington Gulf is working on its cloud strategy which would look at adding value to both cloud builders and cloud resellers. This issue of ‘The ValuePlus Quarterly’ contains interviews with some of Redington Value’s vendors across technologies to give you a broad view on the vendor communities’ channel approach. I hope this would be informative for your businesses. Please write to me on with your views or suggestions. Sincerely, Raj Shankar Managing Director, Redington Gulf

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Looking Ahead
Dear Partner, It is that time of the year just before GITEX and also entering the biggest quarter for anyone who is engaged in the enterprise business sector. There is a lot of anticipation that the dampness of the last two quarters will be replaced by brisk closures this quarter. We at Redington Value feel the same that the quarter of October to December will yield significant results and help partners close the year on a high note. Looking at the developments around the world and especially in Europe, there is no doubt that there is a certain amount of uncertainty creeping into everyone’s mind as to how things will unfold for us in this region. At Redington Value, we see that the market fundamentals in this region are very strong and this justly reflected in our active pipeline. This is the same mood amongst most vendors we work with in this region. We also could give you a further tip by asking you to focus on unified communication, unified computing (storage and virtualisation) and security. These seem to be the top most wanted technologies in the region currently. Coming to our portfolio, we are more and more trying to strengthen the storage and security side of our business. To this end, we have made one of the most important announcements in the past few years as we have extended our strategic relationship with EMC to this region, mainly Saudi Arabia. Redington Group has a very successful relationship with EMC in India and Turkey. We are extremely proud to say that this relationship has been extended to Saudi Arabia. Storage is one of the most important aspects of technology which has seen tremendous growth and transformation over the years. With the cloud becoming more and more of a reality, storage and security take centre stage going forward. We are very clearly poised to help partners on these two pillars in the future. EMC will help taking us into the next orbit and help partners in the cloud era. Happy selling and we look forward to a great closure to the year!

Ramukumar Balakrishnan Vice President – Value Business Redington Gulf


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October 2011


HP’s Cloud Journey
As cloud computing garners momentum in the Middle East, technology vendor HP has been pushing initiatives around its Cloud Compute and CloudSystem offerings
While moving to the cloud offers powerful benefits, the shift is not trivial. Your customers need help—and they know it. Think of all the changes the information technology industry has undergone since HP was founded more than 70 years ago. The company has helped its customers through these earlier changes, and they trust HP to do it again. The company is up to the task. HP’s cloud offerings, including HP CloudSystem, use its powerful inventory of components and capabilities. The company has more cloud resources than any other vendor. HP deeply understands that cloud is a new design point, and it is building its cloud solutions with this new paradigm in mind. The cloud will be part of every business process. To this end, HP is factoring in the following cloud issues: • All enterprise applications will be designed to be cloud-enabled. • Every major business process will rely on a hybrid of cloud applications integrated with open systems. • Data privacy and compliance management will impact every industry• All business processes will require ‘borderless’ end-to-end security assurance. • Business and IT must synchronise change, from development to delivery. HP CloudSystem HP CloudSystem allows customers to build and manage services across the private, public and hybrid clouds of their choice. Single services view across private, public and hybrid cloud. In addition, multi-hypervisor, multi-OS, heterogeneous infrastructure enables intelligent automation and lifecycle management; application-to-infrastructure, scalability and elasticity. Built on proven and market-leading HP Converged Infrastructure and HP Cloud Service Automation simplifies cloud adoption by simplifying integration. According to Gartner, 20%of enterprises will have no IT resources by 2012, while 12% of enterprise workloads are expected to be in public clouds by 2013. Gartner says the public cloud service market will be $143 billion in 2013. CloudSystem HP has maintained that the move to the cloud and the full

“HP deeply understands that cloud is a new design point and it is building its cloud solutions with this paradigm in mind”

Introducing HP CloudSystem
Simplifies cloud adoption by simplifying integration HP CloudSystem allows customers to build and manage services across the private, public, and hybrid clouds of their choice • Single services view across private, public, and hybrid cloud. • Multi-hypervisor, multi-OS, heterogeneous infrastructure. • Intelligent automation and lifecycle management; applicationtoinfrastructure. • Scalability and elasticity. • Built on proven and marketleading HP Converged Infrastructure and HP Cloud Service Automation.

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“Some IT segments and vendors experienced challenges two years ago. I believe the security business and specifically Check Point has continued to be very active during this time”

exploitation of the cloud are best accomplished via an integrated systems approach. The vendor has built and delivered HP Converged Infrastructure to solve the data centre problem of IT sprawl, and now has extended it for cloud with HP CloudSystem. Lead with HP CloudSystem, but always sell the portfolio to retire quota and get customers on the path to cloud. HP is introducing a comprehensive, well-thought-out portfolio of products and services

HP CloudStart
Helping customers to get started with HP CloudSystem in as little as 30 days with a fixedprice, fixed-scope project. Based on CloudSystem Matrix (including application provisioning andmonitoring), HP CloudStart services establish a private cloud service catalog with up to four services integrated into customers’ backup and security environments.

designed to accelerate deployments of cloud computing solutions for public, private, and ‘hybrid’ clouds.


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All Eyes on the KSA Market
Havier Haddad, Channel & Alliances Manager - TEAM Region, talks about channel initiatives in the region and the partnership with Redington Value in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
What does your channel role at EMC encompass?
Havier Haddad:

I’m the channel manager at EMC, for Turkey, Emerging Africa and Middle East. In my role, I am responsible for developing the EMC incremental business lead by EMC’s different level and categories of partners, deploy the EMC Velocity Partner Programme in this territory and leverage all programme benefits and finally execute the local goto-market and coverage model. I am also responsible for building the channel team to develop the competencies of the Velocity partners and enable them to of-

fer a competitive value proposition to EMC customers and prospects. I also manage EMC’s strategic alliances with Cisco, VMware and others. What are EMC’s key channel priorities? EMC has been aiming to become the number 1 channel company of partners’ choice. We intend to do this by maximising partners’ profit from products sell-

ing and Services delivery. In addition, EMC has optimised its go-to-market with the best market coverage, through all market segments. The company is also building a solid network of committed, specialised and qualified partners and get them focused with EMC to approach jointly many market segments. Other aspects that we have been targeying include increasing the incremental business generated

and lead by our partners and enabling partners in cloud computing. Could you give a brief overview of the EMC channel partner programme such as number of years since launch, number of partners, feedback from partners etc. The EMC Velocity partner programme is an award winning partner engagement model designed to support the success of EMC channel partners. It is based on different partner tiers to address different partners’ capabilities and go-to market models.

“Channel partners seeking to join the Velocity Partner Programme can now do so with as little as five hours of online training, gaining the ability to service select markets”


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October 2011


The programme defines and develops a comprehensive strategic business plan with partners coverings all details such as revenue generation, sales and technical competency, sector focus, specialty and marketing planning and allows partners to specialise and focus on EMC Solutions. How are you engaging with volume resellers here in the Middle East region? EMC has done an excellent job by making it easy for volume resellers to deliver implementation and support services without having to invest in deep specialisation to join the Velocity Solution Provider Partner programme through the entry-level Affiliate tier. The relatively low barrier to entry for the Velocity programm, the new simple and affordable VNXe, and the market credibility of EMC makes it very attractive to be part of Velocity. It is a great strategy to empower a new set of partners to reach the vast SMB market, particularly the lower end of that segment. How can resellers become EMC partners? Channel partners seeking to join the Velocity programme can now do so with as little as five hours of online training, gaining the ability to service select markets with a limited set of EMC’s portfolio. Established existing partners will be able to leverage the specialty programme to expand their businesses into adjacent solution areas in order to expand the scope of their business. By investing in Velocity services, partners once forced to play the commodity game will

“The midmarket will be a big focus in Saudi Arabia with Redington, so the expectation is to have the mid tier offering getting the best attention”
be in a position to capture additional business through assessment, design, implementation, and support services. Considering EMC has recently extended its partnership with Redington Value in KSA, are there any specific opportunities the company is focusing on in the Kingdom? We are aiming to increase market share in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and address all the under and or non-covered market segments; such as small business, midmarket and low enterprise segments. How does EMC see Redington Value helping you achieve EMC’s channel objectives in KSA? The initial approach and plans with Redington for KSA are based on working with Redington to become the extended arm for EMC, targeting all capabilities of running the pre-sales cycle through Redington technology consultants, manage and work closely with a network of resellers in Saudi Arabia through Redington’s channel sales manager and help building the business, and all types of products services and support. Considering Redington Value’s presence across MEA, could we see the partnership extend in other countries in

the near future? The expectation is really high from this extension in our partnership to Saudi Arabia, and we are very positive that it will be another successful exercise with the Value Add Model Redington is taking. So, there will be definitely high chances to replicate this success into other territories in the region. What products or solutions will be high on your agenda for your channel partners in the region? Midmarket will be a big focus in Saudi Arabia with Redington, so the expectation is to have the mid tier offering getting the best attention. However, the target is to have a full leverage from EMC’s rich portfolio of information infrastructure solution and cloud services. This is the value that EMC is adding to Redington’s exiting portfolio.

October 2011

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Power Trip
ValuePlus talks to Vipin Sharma, Vice President Sales, Tripp Lite MEACIS on the company’s surge in the UPS and power management space, and the channel support services it has implemented in the region.
How does Tripp Lite stand out from its competitors within the power management industry? What is your value proposition to the Middle East market? Vipin Sharma: Although the company is one of the only three energy protection manufacturers in the world able to offer a true ‘enterprise solutions,’ Tripp Lite is the only company that can also offer an ‘integrated’ offering. This is an important differentiator and distinction, supporting the sustained growth of our business even in the midst of a global economic crisis. As manufacturers, the company uses open system modular design, so that clients can choose which sectors within their infrastructure they wish to update or improve with Tripp Lite’s solutions. Other brands, for example, use a more closed or limited proprietary design, frequently compelling clients to replace the entire infrastructure, although most of it may be recoverable and useful. With Tripp Lite, companies can significantly optimise costs, since they can start by taking advantage of the resources they already have available within their current IT infrastructure. How has the company grown worldwide in recent years? What is the status of sales in Middle East region?

Vipin Sharma: Tripp Lite’s sales have grown at a rate of a 20% per year worldwide for the past five years through innovative business strategies and healthy company practices. The company has managed to expand in a variety of vertical markets in more than 60 countries globally. Its portfolio includes the newest state-ofthe-art technology within the industry, with the best price-performance combination. In Middle East, this growth achieves an

average of 15% year after year, although it must be clarified that this varies a great deal by sector and region. What mechanisms does Tripp Lite apply for implementation and technical support of these business solutions and its protection products in general? Vipin Sharma: In the Middle East, a comprehensive technical support service via a toll free

number 800-TrippLite has been launched. This will speed up the process to resolve any problems the customer would have with Tripp Lite products. Each Middle Eastern country has an authorised service support centre that is fully stocked with spares and certified technicians that are trained by us. What role does Tripp Lite solutions play in ensuring business continuity? (For ex-

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ample, via data centres and virtual environments and / or with cloud computing)? Vipin Sharma: Tripp Lite’s has some of the leading solutions for the energy protection in market on the data centre side (server farms, handling of remote installations, server clusters for cloud computing, etc). Tripp Lite offers the broadest product line for these mission critical applications, with devices including UPS single phase and three-phase systems (with capacities of up to 480kVA), rack systems, PDUs, and KVM switches for IP applications and console server administration. Radiating from the data centre, Tripp Lite products protect and support the backbone of a company, in distributed server racks, VoIP/ telecom closets and switch closets. At the computer workstation level, Tripp Lite products protect and support individual computers. Thirty years ago, Tripp Lite revolutionised the energy protection industry with the first UPS system designed for PC protection and support. Today, it continues to provide the most innovative and affordable energy protection for this segment of the market. Its complete range of related solutions may be added to this, including voltage suppressors, line conditioners, hubs, switches, and cables. How does Tripp Lite address the topic of environmental protection? Vipin Sharma: The demand for reliable energy is exceeding the current supply capacity, more so in this part of the world i.e. Middle East. This reality arises from

the KVM switch and console server product lines, which reduce redundant hardware through a centralised administration plan. These ‘green’ Tripp Lite solutions originate from our corporate policies that focus on waste reduction and promoting recycling. All Tripp Lite products comply with RoHS regulations and this means that they meet the strictest standards in the reduction of six hazardous substances. What other avenues does the company use to promote greater brand awareness and visibility? Vipin Sharma: Driven by our corporate policies that focus on keeping consumers well-informed, both in the business and consumer segments, Tripp Lite conducts training, events, seminars, informative editorial and personal support as part of its comprehensive marketing campaigns in the region. An example is the recent holding of a twoday ‘Critical Application Partner Training’, which the company hosted for its existing partners and prospective CAP clients. The training was held to help companies enhance their abilities solve power quality issues and also focused on increasing personnel’s level of expertise and knowledge of all aspects of 3-phase system development and maintenance. The initiative is part of the company’s wider GCC outreach campaign aimed at empowering its channel partners and enhancing their skills and knowledge on the latest industry technologies. In addition to this, Tripp Lite is using the Web to offer complete online product training and certification programmes.

“The ‘green’ solutions originate from our corporate policies that focus on waste reduction and promoting recycling”
the need to seek ecologically responsible solutions. Tripp Lite is catering to these needs with the development of energy-efficient products in all categories. Consumers need more efficient ‘green’ solutions for energy management, as well as cost effectiveness. To reduce energy costs for its users, the company has begun using UPS systems with a variety of energy optimisation features and optimised rack systems. These also promote an efficient cooling and energy environment in the data centres. To reduce the client’s capital costs, Tripp Lite has expanded


The ValuePlus Quarterly

October 2011


Security Business
The IT security market in the Middle East has continued to grow because of a number of factors. Recently, ValuePlus sat down with Coskun Goktan, Country Manager, Check Point Turkey and GCC to find what Check Point is doing to help its partners grow their business in the security segment.
What has been Check Point’s channel focus for the Middle East market in 2011? Coskun Goktan: Check Point has been active in the Middle East market for more than 10 years. During that period, we have always worked with selected value added partners and brought the best security technology to our customers through our strategic partnerships. In your view, has the IT distribution segment recovered from the economic upheaval of two years ago? Coskun Goktan: Some IT segments and vendors experienced challenges two years ago. I believe the security business and specifically Check Point has continued to be very active during this time. We observed that our customers set a high priority for keeping the correct security infrastructure and executed successfull projects. More vendors are looking to work with value-add distributors in the Middle East. How is Check Point engaging with its distributors such as Redington Gulf? Coskun Goktan: There are several topics that our value added partners provide invaluable contribution. Our requirements from our distribution partners provide six basic security technologies in majority of our projects, which are Firewall, VPN, IPS, URL Filtering, Application Control and DLP. The engine behind these technologies is our 3D security vision where we combine policy, people and enforcement for unbeatable protection. From and end-point perspective, we again provide total security approach and in addition we have innovative leading solutions such as Abra GO which turns any PC to a corporate desktop. Briefly explain your geographical coverage plan for the Middle East and other emerging markets? Coskun Goktan: Our regional office in Turkey is responsible for 20 countries in Middle East, where GCC is a key region. We are part of the Asia, Middle East and Africa territory within the Check Point organisation. What in your opinion should value add distribution cover? Coskun Goktan: As security is such a dynamic market, distribution is first of all the school for the system integrators’ technical consultants to stay up to date on technology enhancements. After successfull completion of these knowledge transfer cycles, our

are beyond the basic finance and logistics services. For example, knowledge transfer is extremely important in the dyamnic security environment. In the Middle East region, due to the distributed nature of several countries, knowledge transfer requires consistent team work between vendors and channel partners.

Where will your growth come from and what will drive that growth for Check Point this year? Coskun Goktan: As the worldwide provider of security solutions, Check Point is growing both worldwide and in the Middle East region, on continuous basis. From a gateway perspective, we


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October 2011


distributors should support the demand creation cycles of system integrators. We support and prioritise the marketing cycles of our channel partners where our distibutors are consolidating the plans for system integrators. Without knowledge transfer, demand creation and strategic marketing support, distributors would basically stay with fullfillment type of operations which would not be sufficient for our business plans. Which verticals is Check Point targeting with the Redington partnership? Coskun Goktan: While we do not have any contractual limitations, Redington is mostly delivering our appliance based mid size gateway solutions to the channel. Check Point introduced a new concept of security power this year, which is a new benchmark metric that allows customers to select security appliances by their capability to handle realworld network traffic, multiple security functions and a typical security policy. Redington was mostly active on mid size solutions around 300 security power units. We are encouraging Redington channel to learn and utilise in their projects the industry’s fastest security appliance, which delivers 14,600 security power units. How strong is the Check Point brand in the Middle East IT security channel? Coskun Goktan: Check Point is an exceptional vendor that prioritises channel partners for marketing cycles. We work 100% through channels and we keep this fact for planning and ex-

ogy and channel partners where our partnership is not on commercial basis only, security business by nature requires significant technical competence, to be combined with commercial plans. The good news is that we have our technical consultants who are in the field every day to to present our localised latest technology update to our partners. From a commercial perspective, our channel managers are working partner by partner, project by project, to provide the optimum solutions. Major security vendors have been losing market share to start-ups. Have you been affected by this here in the Middle East? Coskun Goktan: Losing market share to start ups could be more relevant to non focus vendors that provide security solutions next to another core business. This is true for different markets as well, if a focus vendor comes up to compete with a tactical solution, customers may see a different value proposition from this new focused vendor. In the security market, there were both types of offerings, where Check Point has always been focused and committed to security. We believe Check Point is at the optimum scale today, where our ability to execute is very high as the largest security focus vendor listed on the Nasdaq with a market capitalisation above $11 billion. In addition, security is all we do, Check Point provides its customers with uncompromised protection against all types of threats, reduces security complexity and lowers total cost of ownership.

“Some IT segments and vendors experienced challenges two years ago. I believe the security business and specifically Check Point has continued to be very active during this time”
ecuting our marketing cycles as well. So in most cases, our channel partners are leading where the Check Point team is supporting. Having said that, Check Point is a worldwide player that has been securing the Internet since 1993. Some of the customers include all Fortune and Global 100 companies so yes we have a very strong brand to support our partners’ sales and marketing cycles. What are some of the challenges that your channel partners are experiencing at the moment in the Middle East? Coskun Goktan: The basic model of Check Point is the same everywhere, where our channel managers and technical consultants are in the field, together with our channel partners to solve issues case by case. The issues have a broad range, starting from queue of demo units, to frequency and locations of authorised trainings and sometimes to support enhancements. We are committed to supporting our partners for all their needs on a sustainable basis. ValuePlus Quarterly: Does Check Point have a partner programme for all it channel partner in the Middle East? If so how is this being rolled out in the Middle East? Coskun Goktan: Our partner programme is transparent and presented on our Web portal. We developed the optimum ecosystem of market leading technol-

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CISCO Streamlines its Business in EMEA
Restructuring aimed at enhancing portfolio strategy, simplifying operations & accelerating expense management in the Europe Middle East and Africa region.
Cisco is making a number of targeted moves as it aligns its operations in support of the company’s network-centric platform strategy. These moves include business decisions that will affect its portfolio strategy, simplify operations and accelerate expense management. Decisions announced in the coming weeks and months, the networking giant moves into fiscal year 2012, will ensure that Cisco successfully executes against its five company priorities: • Leadership in Core (Routing, Switching, and Services), which includes comprehensive security and mobility solutions • Collaboration • Data Centre, Virtualisation, and Cloud • Video • Business and Technology Architectures According to the vendor, during this process, the company has implemented the following action plan: Simplify and focus the organisation on the operating model Cisco is streamlining the organisation and overhauling its business model dramatically. The company is making it easier for customers and channel partners to do business with it and speeding up internal decision-making. Align the cost structure given transitions in the marketplace. Cisco has stated that as part of a broader initiative, the company will take out $1 billion in cost from its fiscal year 12 expense run rate. Changes to how it does business are also expected to ensure a lower cost base going forward. Divest or exit underperforming operations. As the networking major has already started to do, it’s examining its operations through the filters of the five company priorities and comprehensive metrics. Deliver value to shareholders. We are working on both the financial and operational fronts to deliver value to shareholders for their investment and support. We have already initiated a quarterly cash dividend, are

October 2011

will take out $1 billion in cost from its fiscal year 12 expense run rate.


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continuing our stock repurchase program, and are focused on making changes that improve our operations and help us realize consistent profitable growth and optimisation of our domestically available cash. Redefining EMEA As Cisco builds the EMEA organisation, the principles behind the changes are to improve the customer, channel partner

and employee experience. In addition the company is aiming at simplifying its operating model in order to create greater focus on the five priority areas. The company says by removing some of the complexities that existed in a multi-theatre organisation structure, it can further accelerate growth in the business, internal decision-making, productivity in the field and most importantly, focus on delivering value to its channel ecosystem and end-user customers. These changes along with the continued globalisation of the company and its operations move Cisco towards truly understanding the need for different approaches across different countries and cultures. Part of becoming more global is moving decision-making

“Removing some of the complexities that existed in a multi-theatre organisation structure will accelerate growth in the business”
closer to customers – in the time zones of customers and the language of customers – thereby enabling the company to respond more quickly to market changes, customer needs and competitive threats. As a consequence, Cisco states that the EMEA region will have profit-and-loss responsibility, which is a significantly different way of running the company. It means the region will be accountable for revenue, gross margin and profitability, allowing entire EMEA operation to measure the business more holistically and ensure that every investment and employee is positively influencing the financial situation of the region. These bold moves have led to a company reorganisation in which Africa moved to be under EMEA led by Anthony Vonsee instead of emerging markets. Vonsee used to lead emerging Africa and afterwards North Africa and Levant.

The principles behind the changes in the region are to improve client experience
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Eyeing Regional Growth
ValuePlus talks to George DeBono, the new General Manager at Red Hat Middle East and Africa on his vision for the company and how the open-source software vendor is cementing its channel presence and growing its footprint in the region.
You have taken on the role as regional GM at Red Hat. What is your vision for the company in the Middle East? George DeBono: The vision for the Red Hat business in the Middle East is to firstly raise awareness of the advantages that open source and open standards bring to organisations. This is key and if we can execute this successfully, it will help our various channel partners to grow their businesses and in turn help us grow ours. What is Red Hat’s channel strategy in the Middle East region and which geographies does the Dubai head office cover? George DeBono: Out of our office Dubai, we cover the Middle East and North Africa regions. Our current strategy is to refocus on a few key partners who have already developed business practices and skills, both technical and sales, in the Open Source arena. Additionally, we will continue to recruit and educate those additional channel organisations that are willing to embrace this very disruptive software which changes the overall IT landscape. What has been the company’s focus for 2011 with your channel partners in the region? George DeBono: My focus, given the fact that I have just arrived in the Middle East, has been to get to know the major players. The team and I have developed a plan around growth, which has already required me to add resources to our ever growing channel team. This will help us share the load, and as such also focus on more countries and develop (with our partners’ help) more markets and opportunities. The role of a distributor is constantly changing. How are you engaging with your distributor Redington to ensure that the alliance remains relevant? George DeBono: We are working very closely with the team in Redington’s Value Distribution business to ensure that they are delivering the right support to the channel ecosystem, while also evangelising the benefits of open source. My team and I hold regular reviews along all sides of our businesses, from sales pipeline reviews to marketing and lead allocation. This is being done in order to ensure that we stay very closely aligned and that our objectives are


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October 2011


in fact our channel partner’s objectives as well. Does Red Hat have any direct accounts that it handles in the region? If so in which verticals are these accounts and how have you lessened the conflict of interest with your channel partners? George DeBono: We have recently implemented a Key Account strategy where we are beginning to work with a few very key market maker accounts across the region. Whilst on the surface, this may appear to be in conflict with our partners, the reality is that it works very well for our channel. Our objective with Key Accounts is to help build and drive an overall account strategy, and by being able to answer two key questions – what is the customer’s pain and who are they looking to for guidance?, we are better able to directly support our partners in their efforts to secure business. We still remain a 100% channel based fulfilment business, and have no intention of changing this. What is the split of your channel ecosystem (VARs, solution providers, system integrators, resellers, ISVs and independent hardware vendors) in the Middle East today? George DeBono: The core of the business is focused around the reseller community. However, given the nature of our products, in 99.9% of all cases, there will be an ISV’s solution driving the requirement, and an IHV’s involvement around the platform. If I throw back to the two key questions, typically, it is an ISV’s offering that is the answer to the first, and a solution provider or SI that is the answer to the second.

Has Red Hat launched its various partner programmes in the Middle East? George DeBono: We are currently reviewing all our programmes to determine which are best suited to our market. This will be an ever evolving, ongoing process. We will leverage from the successes of the various programmes we have already run but also look to other regions to see what works, and then determine how we need to modify it for our partners in the Middle East. How many Red Hat certified partners do you have on your books in the Middle East region? George DeBono: Across the various levels we have in our partner programme, we currently maintain in excess of 200 active solution provider partners. How important is the system builder or IHV community in the Middle East to your business? George DeBono: Hardware is a key element because if there is no hardware, then we have no opportunity. Even with the talk around cloud, it must be remembered that cloud too is just a delivery platform, and as such requires hardware. How are you addressing this channel at the moment? George DeBono: Red Hat at the corporate level maintains a healthy relationship with the major players and chip manufacturers. Locally, while I do not have dedicated resources working with these partners, we are working with them strategically to the benefit of the customers and markets.

How challenging has the Middle East software market been for Red Hat in the last three years? George DeBono: Over the last three years, we have seen an increase in interest in our offerings, not just in the Middle East, but globally. This is in part due to our value proposition and subscription based model, which provides customers across the board, significant savings whilst delivering an enterprise-ready set of offerings and solutions which are in use by the top local and global companies in all industry verticals. What is your perception of the operating systems market in the Middle East at the moment? George DeBono: Buoyant – the increased investment that the multinationals are making in the region is resulting in new data centres, IT projects and the like. This investment is due in a large part to the growing business requirement to expand that our local companies are feeling, and executing against. This has resulted in many new and exciting opportunities for us and our ecosystem with existing, new customers and prospects. Who do you consider as your biggest competitor in the Middle East when you poll your channel partners? George DeBono: This is a good question. In terms of our biggest competitor, in some respects it is ourselves. Many companies in the region are using community based variants of our offerings, without understanding the underlying risks of this strategy. Whilst these variants are very close and in fact lead our enterprise certified ver-

sions, they are in fact supported by a community of developers on a best efforts basis. What Red Hat provides for both our infrastructure and middleware products is a stable, certified, endorsed environment that has a full 24 x 7, follow-the-sun support team that is available to companies that have active and current subscriptions to our products. How does Red Hat scope the Open Source Middleware market in the Middle East and what would be your strategy to tap the opportunity? George DeBono: The middleware market across the region is still largely a fledgling one, with some countries more advanced than others. In terms of how do we tap into the developing opportunity, that is simple. It comes down to identifying the right channel partners and working with them. Middleware requires a reasonable amount of services delivery work in order to be a successful deployment, and as we will not build a body shop of resources, we need to work with those partners that can deliver those skills for our customers. What can your Middle East partners expect from Red Hat in the next 12 to 18 months? George DeBono: More visibility and more aggression. We need to make the various countries in the region know that we are here, are serious about the market, and that there are great partners out there than can help them deploy our offerings successfully.

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Building a Sustainable Channel
Hussein Shehab, Channel Director, Fujitsu Technology Solutions Middle East, is spearheading Fujitsu’s efforts to build up a sustainable partner base in the GCC and Levant. Value Plus caught up with Shehab to find out more about channel initiatives the technology vendor is driving in the region.
Fujitsu now has a different internal structure in the region to the one it had before rebranding from Fujitsu-Siemens. What can you tell us about your new structure? Hussein Shehab: Fujitsu has reorganised itself around three business lines : Product, Maintenance and Services. In each of these, we endeavour to bring world leading offerings to our channel partners and their customers in the Middle East. How have you repositioned yourselves in the Middle East to ensure that both distributors and the channel at large are benefiting from this new structure? Hussein Shehab: Redington which was earlier distributing into the UAE only is now a regional distributor for all products across the Middle East and Levant. This means that customers now find better pricing and availability of Fujitsu products than ever before. Briefly outline some of Fujitsu’s key channel expansion areas this year. Hussein Shehab: Fujitsu’s Select Partner Programme has taken off in the Middle East region and we now have a fair representation in all countries that we address. Channotebook, desktop and server manufacturing facilities near Munich and we intend to continue this and most importantly enhance our relationship with key channel partners. We have seen more and more vendors favouring value add distribution. How are you engaging with your distribution partners to ensure that they are actually adding value to the Fujitsu solutions they sell? Hussein Shehab: We are working on the first BTO facility in the Middle East, where our distribution partners will have the capabilities to build and stage servers and storage infrastructure in the Middle East. This is currently being done out of our facilities in Germany. This move will further enhance availability. On the maintenance front, we have already beefed up our number of certified engineers and spares supply chain in the Middle East. What is behind Fujitsu’s enhanced channel focus in the Middle East region? Hussein Shehab: Our organisation’s policy is to conduct business through and with channel partners and all steps being taken and processes being set up are to support this strategy. What is your perspective of the cloud computing, virtualisation and other cloud-based managed services? Hussein Shehab: Fujitsu was one of the world’s first companies to offer platform

nel partners are classified as Partner, Select Partner or Select Expert depending on their expertise and business they do. What is the next stage for Fujitsu when it comes to partner engagement in the Middle East? Hussein Shehab: We have already begun empowering our channel partners with joint marketing programmes, funds, trainings and on field support. We recently invited around 20 channel partners from the region to our


The ValuePlus Quarterly

October 2011


“Fujitsu has reorganised itself around three business liness: Product, Maintenance and Services. In each of these the company endeavours to bring world leading offerings to channel partners and enduser customers in the Middle East region”
as a service (PaaS) services in Japan and Europe and we strongly feel that cloud services will have a sizeable impact on SMB businesses in the future in the Middle East geography. With the Middle East channel experiencing credit issues, how best are you helping your distributors and resellers to cope with credit challenges in the channel? Hussein Shehab: For end-users, we offer financing models which help them with infrastructure procurement, thus removing the burden on our partners. Additionally, taking cognisance of the credit issues in the channel, we are extending all possible support to our partners – and frankly, due to our long term relationship practices, we haven’t been impacted so much. What technology and trends is Fujitsu tracking this year? Hussein Shehab: Fujitsu intends to make a strong play in x86 servers Primergy, and online and back up to disk with deduplication Eternus range of storage solutions.


Fujitsu was one of the first vendors to offer platform as a service in Japan & Europe

October 2011

The ValuePlus Quarterly



Redington Channel Updates

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4. SonicWall’s ‘Master Pitch’ training hosted in June in the UAE

2. Trend Micro Iftar in KSA

5. Emerging Markets Technology Conference in Nigeria & Ghana, July 2011

3. Trend Micro’s ‘Worry Free’ partner training held June in the UAE

6. Emerging Markets Technology Conference in Nigeria & Ghana, July 2011


The ValuePlus Quarterly

October 2011