eChannel 20 January 2001

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By  Colin Browne Published  January 18, 2001

Editorial Leader|~||~||~|Dear colleague,

What would you do if today, a request for proposal on a major project landed on your desk, which could earn you a cool $5 million?

It would have to be a significant deal, so let's say to earn it, you would need to do a little legacy back-end to CRM front end integration, and tie in a currently non-existent call centre. Also, you would need to do some infrastructure improvements to enable your customer's network to handle the expected increase in traffic from the Web site which, by the way, is a part of this customer's proposed overhaul.

I'd bet that most of you would pass this up. The gut reaction will be that there is no way you can handle the project alone, and no way you are going to partner with anyone else. And anyway, you don't have the financing to take on such a project. Right?

We are about as far today as we have ever been from the concept of reseller partners with one set of skills, phoning up other reseller partners with a complementary set of skills, to pool their resources in order to put together complex solutions.

And we are equally distant from that point in time when resellers have sufficient funding that they can take on these kinds of projects without risking their entire businesses.

I'd like to say that there is a little light at the end of this particular tunnel, but the truth is that I can't personally see it right now.

Financing is a problem, and will always be one, as long as customers are used to ridiculous payment terms; the ones that go: "I will pay you in 90 days, or 180, or not at all perhaps, why are you bugging me?"

The sharing of projects will always be a problem as long as you continue to hold your business deals close to your chest, instead of opening up a little and working closely with others in your field, even in individual cases.

I have spoken to any number of top line solutions vendors in the Middle East recently, and they continue to echo the same concerns and veiled threats that they did when I took over as editor of CRN in October 1998: if the channel locally cannot handle bigger projects, then those from Europe or the Sub-Continent will be invited to do so.

So far that has been largely rhetoric, but exceptions to the rule have started to appear. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) invited an Indian firm called SeraNova to deploy its e-business systems. Zahid Tractors, the Caterpillar distributor in Saudi Arabia, called upon a company in Holland to help with their Lotus Notes deployment.

You cannot be all things to all men and do that well. At the same time, you cannot survive as a highly specialised horizontal and vertical player, if no-one will play ball with you. It seems clear though, that this is where the money is for big-project hungry resellers.

The conventional wisdom says that you do better when others are doing better. As long as you hold off on doing anything that may also advance your competitors, you will hold yourself back right along with them.

It's a problem you need to solve, and only the channel can do this.

As ever, you can reach me at:


Colin Browne
Editor - Computer Reseller News Middle East
ITP Middle East
PO Box 61480
Dubai JAFZ
Tel.: 971 4 282 9996
Fax.: 971 4 282 9599
||**||News|~||~||~|Cisco to train 100,000 Indians into Web experts by 2005
Cisco Systems will establish training academies in India to produce about 100,000 Internet professionals, in a move to combat an expected shortage of such personnel by 2005.
During a two-day visit to India at the start of an Asian tour, Cisco chief executive officer John Chambers said the company will establish 34 regional networking academies and use India as a major base for software development.

According to Indian Information Technology minister Pramod Mahajan, the world is likely to face a shortage of two million Internet professionals by 2005.

Chambers said a training drive in the United States had produced 100,000 qualified staff over five years. "I think this is a very reasonable number for India [as well]," he said.

In addition to investing about US$8.6 million to help set up these academies, Cisco will spend about $2 million to set up a centre to develop related technology skills.

The Cisco Networking Academy programme has about 5,900 academies worldwide now, with about 150,000 students learning how to design, build and maintain computer networks.

Chambers said he discussed with Mahajan how spending on Information Technology infrastructure will power overall economic growth in the coming years, and the importance of government-business partnerships.

Cisco already has two software-development centres in India, in addition to about 1,500 dedicated engineers working for Cisco in three Indian companies.

In the last quarter of 2000, Lebanon's University of Saint Joseph gained Cisco Networking Academy status, bringing the concept into the Middle East region.

The University, like its counterparts in India. is a training hub for other education institutions in the country, assisting them to develop their own capabilities in teaching the basics on Information Technology.

US$100 million deal to boost the Internet in Egypt
Egypt's Noor Advanced Technologies will provide an alternative to current ISP models for high-speed Internet access, through a deal with Cisco and NCR, valued at a massive US$100 million.

The project, the first phases of which will be rolled out by the end of the year, will make Noor one of the region's biggest Internet and communications services providers.

The communications network, based on Cisco's multiservice IP+ATM technology, will give both residential and business customers access at 60 nodes around the country, with multiple tens of megabits-per-second data links to the rest of the global Internet, and hundreds of megabits-per-second of bandwidth available for broadband access within Egypt.

"[Egypt] will be the centre of Internet technology for the region. The network that Noor has created with the help of Cisco and NCR, will give Egyptian businesses the technology platform they need to take the lead in the digital economy," said Basel Dalloul, chairman and CEO of Noor Advanced Technologies.

Noor says it will provide users with a variety of communications services, including narrow- and broadband Internet access, portal services, public ATM, and IP services, public Frame Relay services and VPN services.

"This network is based on some of the most advanced networking technology yet seen in the region. It uses the latest Cisco MGX and BPX multiservice IP+ATM carrier-class switches. Because the network infrastructure supports voice, video, and data, Noor can easily create new services to meet new demands," says Yasser Elkady, Cisco country manager for Egypt.

NCR, a Cisco Gold Partner for the region, will do the implementation work for the Noor network backbone. NCR area director Nidal Abou-Ltaif calls the project the biggest Internet infrastructure in the region.

Lucent to supply Foundry switches in reseller agreement
Those orders you placed on Lucent recently, may be filled with Foundry Networks switches following an agreement which sees Lucent take on the role of heavy-hitting Foundry partner.

Not only will Lucent resell the entire family of Foundry's ServerIron Web switches on a world wide basis, but Lucent's integration and consulting divisions will offer ServerIron switches as an integral part of their Internet traffic and content management solutions, Lucent says.

"Lucent brings tremendous world wide reach with its experienced sales force, support infrastructure, and the consulting and integration service organizations," said Bobby Johnson, president and CEO of Foundry Networks. "This will help Foundry in building a sustainable franchise in the Web switching market that's been strategic to Foundry's success. Our alliance with Lucent will help our new account growth, which presents significant opportunity for Foundry's Layer 2/3 switches and Internet routers as well."

Internet content delivery and distribution is an emerging technology with the potential to make the Internet faster, more flexible and more useful. Growing demand is creating a significant opportunity for content producers, but new technology is needed to speed massive amounts of content, such as audio and video, through the Internet. This technology is being developed to make the Internet infrastructure more accommodating to more applications, yet easier to use.

Intel goes toe-to-toe with 3Com through Xircom buyout
Intel took further strides along the path to becoming a networking challenger by buying Xircom for roughly US$748 million.

In a statement, Intel executives said bringing Xircom into the fold will allow the company to extend its reach into the market for networking and communications products, where Intel has been focusing more of its efforts recently.

Xircom, which has 1,900 employees and posted $496.2 million in sales during the fiscal year ending last September, specialises in PCMCIA 'credit card' devices for connecting portable computers with corporate networks as well as the Internet.

The company's products include The "Real Port" and "RealPort2" integrated PC cards.
When the transaction is completed, which executives said should be before the end of the first quarter of this year, Xircom will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel and part of Intel's recently-established Network Communications Group.

"The acquisition of Xircom provides Intel with an award-winning line-up of products and technologies in the fast growing mobile computing area," Mark Christensen general manager of Intel's Network Communications Group, said in a statement.

"Xircom's strengths in small-form-factor design combined with our silicon expertise will allow us to provide customers with new and innovative solutions for linking mobile computing devices to corporate wired and wireless networks," Christensen added.

EBI rolls out ASP service to banking customers
Emirates Bank International (EBI), long a technology innovator, is stepping into the ASP fray with a new service, due to roll out later this year.

Though EBI admits that an ASP service is not strictly in line with its role as a provider of financial services, the opportunity to hit a whole new client base in this fledgling service space is too good to miss.

EBI is planning to evolve into a technology service provider to the region's other banks, many of which cannot afford either the expertise or the technology associated with offering e-banking solutions.

EBI intends to make its own technology platform and systems expertise readily available to other regional banks in the form of ASP partnerships. "As opposed to being isolated and having a system only for Emirates Bank and the Emirates Bank Group, let's open it up and use this experience, and provide these services to other banks," says Mohammed Al Jallaf, senior manager, electronic banking services, EBI. "We're looking to become a type of ASP," to the region's banking community."

EBI is currently in the midst of overhauling its own Internet infrastructure to create a platform, which it can then make services available to other financial institutions.

EBI's ASP proposal will save local banks investing in people to put together sophisticated e-banking solutions, says Al Jallaf, a point which he believes crucial, in light of the difficulties EBI itself has had in recruiting personnel for the initiative.

Canon rolls out slew of new scanner devices
Canon Middle East went scanner mad in the middle of the week, with the launch of an entirely updated range of flatbed products. The scanners on offer today are some of the slimmest and quietest flatbed scanners available on the market, as wide as an A4 page, and an inch high.

They feature resolutions from 300 x 600 to 1220 x 2400 dots per inch resolution (optical), to 42-bit colour depth and reproduce the most subtle of trillions of shades of colour variation, says Canon.

"Business and home users in the Middle East are taking to technology at an astounding rate. The first wave of technology adoption was PCs now we are seeing a massive boom in the associated peripherals that turn a PC into a gateway between the physical and digital world to give PCs eyes," said Gordon Jones, general manager of Canon Middle East.

"A high quality scanner allows the home user to save pictures electronically to share with family and friends around the world on the Internet and scanners allow the business user to share and archive any printed material instantly."
||**||Incentives|~||~||~|Mindware & Microsoft - FREE MOBILE PHONES - LAST WEEK
Sell Windows Millennium Edition and collect your free Alcatel, Ericsson, and Nokia phones from Microsoft.

Buy 25 units from Mindware and you get an Alcatel Club DB, 50 units, and you can take home an Ericsson T-10, 100 units will see you talking into your new Nokia 3310, 150 units makes you the owner of a Nokia 7710, and buy 200+ units and grab the sensational Nokia 8210.

Make sure you get the distributor's invoice, fill out the claim form before the offer closes and collect your free products from the OEM Department at Microsoft in Dubai.

Offer ends January 15, 2001.

For further details, please contact Basma Allouh on (UAE) 971 4 397 3888 x9276.

Tech Data and Oracle — Points Make Prizes Offer - LAST WEEK
Join Tech Data and Oracle for Points Make Prizes to claim prizes.

For every US$1000 worth of Oracle products or support you purchase from Tech Data you gain 1 point.

Offer ends January 15, 2001.

For further details, please contact Ewa Jop on (UAE) 971 4 302 6738

3Com Focus Cash Mania
3Com launches its new promotion giving you the opportunity to start the new year with $$$ of cash!

Every month, based on the highest % of overachievement on monthly targets, eight winning companies will be announced!

At the end of the quarter, based on highest % of overachievement on quarterly targets, 15 winning companies will be awarded with cash!
Quarterly winners will be announced in the first week of March and will be awarded up to $5,000 for a Gold Partner, $3,000 for a Silver Partner, and $1,500 for a Bronze Partner.

Valid for Focus partners only on invoiced purchases from authorized distributors from 4 Dec 2000 to 4 March 2001.

For further details, please contact Focal Point on (UAE) 971 4 331 9533.

Special Discounts from Mentor Systems
Mentor Systems (L.L.C) offers special discounts for Dealers on Financial Accounting Solutions.

Sell the TOTAL Accounting System to your clients, based on 4GL, Delphi and MS-SQL. Completely Internet ready. Fully suited to the UAE market's requirements, and covering the following modules: Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Inventory (Multi-Location), General Ledger (Multi-currency), Post-dated Cheques Module, Landed Cost calculation.

Make up-to 30% margins for selling the above solutions.

For further details, please contact:

Join Mindware with Microsoft and Xerox for this special promotion
Buy Microsoft Office std. at the current market price of US$410, Mindware will give you a Xerox C8 Inkjet printer at no extra cost. There is a minimum order of 5 units.

Offer is valid while stocks last.

For more information, please contact Rabab Hasan or Anuradha Basu at Mindware Dubai. Tel: (UAE) 971 4 221 9789/224 6240, or email:,, or

Join Saudi Business Machines for huge savings with IBM
SBM are offering a massive 50% discount on IBM RS/6000 servers: Top-rated Web server, High Density Packaging of Internet and Internet Applications, 64-bit performance and availability to handle your most demanding e-business, ERP, business intelligence and database applications.

For further information, email: or Tel: (KSA) 966 2 660 007

Mindware and Intel Express Router Promotion
Join Mindware and Intel for excellent pricing on Express 8000 & 9500 routers.

Intel Express 8000 series routers:
Part numbers:
ER8100ST: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 1 x ISDN BRI
ER8100FR: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 1 x WAN serial port
ER8210EU: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 1 x WAN serial port, 1x console port

Intel Express 9500 series routers:
Part numbers:
ER9510ST: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 1 x ISDN BRI, 1 x Serial WAN, 1 x
ER9515ST: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 1 x 10 Mbps LAN, 1 x ISDN BRI, 1 x
serial WAN, 1 x console/Async
ER9530EU: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 2 x Serial WAN , 1 x console port/Async
ER9535EU: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 1 x 10 Mbps LAN, 2 x serial WAN, 1 x

For more information, email:

Tech Data & Novell: Small Business Suite 5 Offer
Tech Data and Novell are offering a special pricing on Small Business Suite 5. Small Business Suite 5 - unique market pricing is still available

Server + 5 user ONLY $372 (00662644339047)
Server + 10 user ONLY $533 (00662644339054)
Server + 25 user ONLY $904 (00662644339061)

For further details, visit: or Tel: 971 4 3346 952

Novell is also offering FREE Small Biz training. For further information, email:

Intel Network Interface Adapters pricing deal
Intel is offering IPIs a special pricing deal on Network Interface Adapters. This preferential pricing allows IPIs to buy a 20-pack at the same card unit cost as an 80-pack.

For more details, visit:

Intel Server rebate offer
Increase your margins on Intel server products with extra rebates on the PRO/100+ Server adapter.

For more details, visit:

Are you offering any special promotions?
Do you have a special promotion that you want to inform the channel about?

We would be happy to include any incentive programmes or special promotions that you are running each week in eCRN.

For more information - please send full details to Dealer Incentives.

For more information on the Middle East IT Reseller Channel - visit Computer Reseller News Online TODAY.
Do you have any events for the industry that you would like to see listed here?

If so please send a message to Events Diary today and we will add the listing in a future edition of eCRN.

January 28: Hewlett-Packard E-Services seminars.
For further information and to register, email:

January 29: Hewlett-Packard E-Services seminar. For further information and to register, email:

January 30: Hewlett-Packard E-Services seminar. For further information and to register, email:


January 23: HP Storage Seminar, Sheraton Jumeira Beach Hotel. For more information and to register please email:

January 29-Feb 1: Sun Educational Training Centre. Fundamentals of Solaris training: Join Sun Microsystems for training on Solaris.

The training course is priced at $1875.

For further information and to register, email: or Tel: (UAE) 971 4 3366 333, or visit

January 14-18: Sun Educational Training Centre. System Administration II training: Join Sun Microsystems for training on system administration.

The training course is priced at $2250.

For further information and to register, email: or Tel: (UAE) 971 4 3366 333, or visit

January 21-25: Sun Educational Training Centre. TCP/IP Network Administration training: Join Sun Microsystems for training on TCP/IP network administration.

The training course is priced at $2500.

For further information and to register, email: or Tel: (UAE) 971 4 3366 333, or visit

February 4-8: Sun Educational Training Centre. System Administration I training: Join Sun Microsystems for training on system administration.

The training course is priced at $2250.

For further information and to register, email: or Tel: (UAE) 971 4 3366 333, or visit

February 18-19: Oracle Sales Champion Training: a 2 day, 'fast track' sales training for sales managers and representatives of Oracle partners.

Oracle Sales Champion training will focus on the sales positioning, pricing and licensing of the Oracle product, as well as business practices.

An annual roadshow for both new and existing Oracle partners, Oracle Sales Champion training will show partners how to match the customer's e-business needs with the correct Oracle solution.

The course is essential for partners wishing to become an Oracle Certified Solution Partner, and is available by invitation only.

For further information, or to register, contact: or

January 31: Hewlett-Packard E-Services seminar.
For further information and to register, email:

February 4-5: Oracle Sales Champion Training: a 2 day, 'fast track' sales training for sales managers and representatives of Oracle partners.

Oracle Sales Champion training will focus on the sales positioning, pricing and licensing of the Oracle product, as well as business practices.

An annual roadshow for both new and existing Oracle partners, Oracle Sales Champion training will show partners how to match the customer's e-business needs with the correct Oracle solution.

The course is essential for partners wishing to become an Oracle Certified Solution Partner, and is available by invitation only.

For further information, or to register, contact: or

For more information on the Middle East's computer industry - why not visit - the region's leading business and technology web site.
||**||Recruitment - NEW|~||~||~|SEARCHING FOR CHANNEL PERSONNEL?
Are you looking to hire experienced channel people to expand your business? Why not advertise your positions to over 3,000 registered members of the Middle East reseller channel for FREE every week in eCRN?

If so please send a message to Recruitment today and we will add your job listing to the next edition of eCRN.

Hewlett-Packard: Corporate Channel Managers
Hewlett-Packard is looking for three people (1 in each of Dubai, Cairo & Riyadh) to manage HP's Corporate Channel.

The managers would work with large PC dealers in territories spread across 11 countries who have direct contracts with HP as well as manage the HP VAR Channel which sells high-end solutions.

Required experience: reseller channel knowledge in the region plus solutions sales experience. The ability to work at all levels in a reseller organisation and an understanding of channel issues. The right individuals are likely to be working today for either another IT vendor, a distributor, a software house or a reseller.

APPLY NOW: Please send an email attaching a CV to
||**||Next Month|~||~||~|In Next Month's Computer Reseller News Middle East


The 'new' IT distributors?
Delivery of any goods to a customer relies on the safety and care of the package, but mostly, the speed of which it can be delivered. IT distributors may have this down pat, but more generic logistics companies are encroaching on that territory.

State of Online Sales in the Middle East
Despite the fantastic figures cited by analysts about US sales online, the Middle East is behind, and by a long way. There are so few successful online B2C sites in the region, and those that could be termed ‘a success’ are struggling to command any siginificant sales. Is it still too soon for businesses to rely on people shopping online?

SMB Networking
Pointing out the business benefits of networking to small businesses and getting them to understand what it is that they can do and can have, is the key to success for the SMB reseller in this vast market.

The Channel in Partnership
What would happen if you were awarded a contract, worth a couple of hundred thousand dollars in profit, but your expertise is stretched to the limit and beyond in actually fulfilling the deal. Would you enlist the help of another VAR that does have the expertise you are lacking? Where does this happen in the Middle East today?

Behind the Scenes: financial trends; who is winning and who is losing; company acquisitions, mergers, and sell-offs.

Fast Forward: finding new solution add-ons to increase your overall margins.

E-Business: technologies and trends in this emerging channel opportunity.

Logistics: logistics, shelf life, and product cycles and how they affect the channel.

Upstarts & Startups: companies bucking the trends and new technologists with no respect for the status quo.

Infrastructure: the big-project VARs and what they are working on now.

Dealers Wanted: information on all the new vendors looking for resellers in the Middle East.

If you think you have anything to contribute to one of the above features - we would be very happy to hear from you. Contact CRN editorial at ||**||

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