3Com vows to expand Middle East channel

Networking vendor 3Com has pledged to expand its Middle East channel, adding distributors in areas where it feels it is lacking coverage as well as building closer links with the second tier reseller community.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  December 17, 2005

Networking vendor 3Com has pledged to expand its Middle East channel, adding distributors in areas where it feels it is lacking coverage as well as building closer links with the second tier reseller community. “We are working intensively to identify where the gaps are in our distribution and channel coverage,” explained Khalid Khan, marketing manager Middle East and North Africa at 3Com, speaking at the recent Digital Business Channel event in Fujeirah, UAE. “We have identified the targets and we are going after the, We are continuously working on further strengthening our channel base in terms of penetration and expansion.” 3Com recently strengthened its distribution channel with the appointment of Redington as a partner in Saudi Arabia. According to Amanulla Khan, distribution and SMB manager at 3Com Middle East and North Africa, further changes are in the pipeline. “We do not see the Middle East as one region where you can sit in one country and distribute into all the others,” Amanulla Khan explained. “We have divided the Middle East into territories and appoint distributors accordingly. Levant remains a challenge for us. Together, Jordan and Lebanon is a substantial business but individually do not need a distributor per country. With Iraq rising fast and much of this business going through Jordan, those two countries could become a territory.” “What we are working towards in the next quarter is to have two distributors really working in Saudi Arabia,” he added. “That is why we appointed Redington. We have three other distributors covering Saudi Arabia, but two of them, OnLine and Tech Data work out of Jebel Ali and the third, Aptec, still needs to make more investment within the Kingdom itself.” As well as ensuring its broadline distribution partners offer strong in-country presence, 3Com is also looking for specialist distributors offering skill sets tailored to specific technology areas such as switching, security and wireless. “We are talking about distributors with value-add skills in relation to technology segments,” added Amanulla Khan. “For mobility, we may need a distributor that understands the retail segment and also sells PDAs and notebooks.” 3Com recently launched a new partner programme in the US and the Middle East team is now gearing up to introduce the scheme in this region. One of the driving forces behind the new programme is the need for 3Com to increase its reseller breadth. “The programme ties in with the recruitment of specialised resellers,” added Khalid Khan. “Certification and specialisation will be a key focus of the programme. It will also tie in with an academic programme that we are launching, which will work with universities to increase the levels of education on 3Com systems.” 3Com is adamant that it has the marketing message, product portfolio and channel initiatives required to recruit more partners in the Middle East. “We offer open standards and open architecture and we need to make sure the channel understands this,” added Amanulla Khan. “When it comes to the channel, 3Com is the only vendor in networking today that offers partners a decent margin. Ask resellers what they think about Cisco and they will say, ‘Where’s the margin?’”

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