Mindware builds Dell channel

Distribution powerhouse Mindware is continuing to develop small and medium business (SMB) focused channels for Dell in Saudi Arabia during 2005.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  April 28, 2005

Distribution powerhouse Mindware is continuing to develop small and medium business (SMB) focused channels for Dell in Saudi Arabia during 2005. Mindware has already created a strong route-to-market for Dell products in the Kingdom and has been using this week’s Gitex Saudi Arabia as a platform for meeting both existing and potential business partners. Dell and Mindware signed a distribution agreement in 2004, allowing the latter to resell a range of the former’s products targeted specifically at the SMB sector. These products include Optiplex desktops, entry-level servers, printers and storage area network (SAN) solutions. With more than 20 employees in the Kingdom and local stocking points, Mindware is investing the necessary resources to ensure that it is capable of serving both the in-country reseller community and its vendor partners in the best possible fashion. Jacques Chammas, managing director at Mindware, stresses the importance of the Saudi Arabian market to Mindware: “The Saudi Arabian IT market probably represents over one-third of the entire Middle East market. And the products that are sold in Saudi Arabia are staying in Saudi Arabia. There is no re-export to speak of and there are significant IT budgets being spent. This year, analyst projections estimate that approximately 600,000 PCs will be sold in Saudi Arabia,” he says. As well as providing product fulfilment in the Kingdom for Dell, Mindware is also examining how best to develop its after-sales service capabilities. “Dell is appointing more resources of its own on the ground in Saudi Arabia,” says Chammas. “We are now working with them on how to develop the service capability and really reach out to the SMB space.” With many independent resellers in Saudi Arabia, there is often a fuzzy line between consumer and SMB-focused partners. “There are a lot of resellers with showrooms that are targeted at both consumers and SMBs,” says Chammas. “SMB customers can come into the showroom or the reseller’s extended sales force can go out to them. That is why we are working with Dell in getting the products into these showrooms as they are a valuable way of reaching SMBs,” he adds. Mindware is also playing a major role in the provision of key components to PC assemblers in Saudi Arabia. While several local brands have emerged in the Kingdom, there remains a thriving culture of build-to-order PC configuration carried out by small independent retailers and dealers. “There are a few brands buying components in large quantities. Many of the small shops — that actually sell PCs from major brands such as Dell — also have an assembly facility. When you are assembling 50 PCs, you don’t need a fully-fledged assembly line. If a customer wants a specific configuration, the shop will build it. Many of these shops sell both branded and white box PCs,” Chammas explains. With some vendors still lacking meaningful resources on the ground in Saudi, the role of distributors such as Mindware — both from a volume and value perspective — is vital when it comes to providing both local support and channel reach.

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