eChannel 10 February 2001

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By  Colin Browne Published  February 10, 2001

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

In last week's leader I talked about the results of a multiple choice survey on, to which 92 people have now responded. It shows convincingly that there are more customers looking for after sales service and support when they buy an IT solution, than there are those that are concerned only with price - overwhelmingly so, in fact.

In an interesting response from a major Saudi Arabian reseller, however, customers are accused of double standards.

The reseller, which we will not name, in order to protect his interests, says that customers are not telling the truth when they say price is not the most important factor when they evaluate a deal.

"The fact is that customers do put a heavier weight on the pricing. They are correct when they say that they are more concerned on the after sales & support, as this is the false impression they are giving themselves. The truth of the matter is very different [to that which] they are saying," the reseller said in an email to eCRN.

"I have numerous has taken years for [our company] to be charging the solution pricing, but still we are far from what I think should be the deserving charges. Customer management initially agrees with you that the after sales matter a lot and makes you study and work out a solution for them...then once they understand the solution they don't think any more in the same manner and will make sure to corner you in cutting down the pricing. The best way is to bring in another reseller and show them our proposal - where we had spent days in working out a solution. Of course that reseller immediately will undercut our price," he says.

The reseller spoke in particular of a deal which, following the customer's awarding of the tender, was stripped down to its most basic parts. In fact, the customer took out more than half the value of the deal, presumably agreeing to pay only for the hardware, but none of the services. Those services, however, were still expected - but for free, instead of for the price stated in the original (and accepted) bid.

This leads us to a dilemma. Is it worth doing a deal when you are going to get nothing out of it? If your profits are going to be slimmed down to merely the hardware margins, can it possibly be worth your while doing that deal? The value to you must be in the profits generated through the services and support, but if you are going to have to offer these for free, then it becomes a dramatically less attractive prospect.

My advice would be, when you are faced with such a situation, to walk away. Leave the deal on the table and refuse to have your time wasted.

Perhaps it is time that resellers fired a few customers around here and we got the pecking order right at last.

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|~||~||~|Jordan rolls out high speed Internet in bid for Middle East leadership

Jordan Telecom's rollout of a high speed Internet infrastructure will benefit education establishments first, according to the company's chairman, Dr. Shabib Ammari. The network is being built now and will have the potential to deliver connection speeds of 512 Kbit/s and 1 Mbit/s.

"We are very aware that, as the new network builds out for national coverage, we need to focus on high speed access for education as a priority. The government is moving on a number of educational technology initiatives, and we are committed to supporting that process," said Amarri in his keynote address at the Convergence 2001 conference in Jordan this week.

Enabling Internet access for the education sector was identified as a key goal during the Dead Sea Forum on technology, held in March 2000. A year later, marking progress on the initiatives outlined at the Forum, the Convergence 2001 conference starts a series of moves designed to highlight and maximise the application of technology by Jordanian enterprises, as well as by government and educational institutions in the country.

Jordan's Ministry of Education has finalised a national syllabus for secondary IT education, and has set IT courses as a compulsory subject for the national 'Tawjihi' passing-out examination.

With an ongoing initiative to train teachers in IT skills and to equip schools with personal computers and Internet access, the Ministry's work at the secondary level is already resulting in increased focus on information technology education within the country's universities, where demand for technology-based courses has risen over the past year to make IT the third most popular course decision, from 10th a year ago.

"We are talking to the educational sector right now, working out how we can best ensure early and effective implementation of 512 Kbit and 1 Mbit Speed Line services to schools and universities to support their requirements," said Jordan Telecom Chief Technology Officer Jean-Louis Vareille. "Their feedback is being used to shape how we prioritise service provision as we move forwards with the introduction of services across the country over the next two months."

Jordan's new high-speed data network is based on ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexor) backbone infrastructure supplied by Alcatel and routers, access servers and IP (Internet Protocol) infrastructure supplied by Cisco Systems.

Canon Middle East becomes autonomous subsidiary

Canon has moved to Dubai Internet City. The announcement was made as Canon Middle East makes the change from being a local representative office to officially becoming a fully-fledged autonomous regional Canon subsidiary.

This is likely to mean that new Canon products are now more likely to appear in the local market at the same time as they will in the US and Europe.

"The Middle East has been a particularly successful market for Canon," said Mohammed al Gergawi, director general of DIC. "We, as their partners, shall offer them the ideal grounds to facilitate such a growth."

Canon's move to DIC comes at a time when it is promoting the concept of "Imaging Across Networks" in the Middle East. The initiative is aimed at putting Canon's know-how to work in order to help organisations increase their efficiency, and is based on the idea that the company's technology will break down the barrier between the "physical" world of printed images and information and the "digital" world of computer networking.

Gordon Jones, newly appointed president of Canon Middle East, commented that the company's staffing as well as support and logistics would change dramatically as a result of the office's new status.

"We are now in the perfect place to deploy sophisticated customer support and logistics systems to more effectively work with our distributors and resellers across the Middle East," said Jones. "We have recently added six more people to our management team and expect to bring in more skills during the coming months. Our new offices at the DIC will give us the technology advantage, and our status as a full subsidiary gives us the flexibility and weight to really drive our market here."

Local company sets sights on e-security services

UAE-based Paramount Computer Systems (PCS), an e-security provider, has announced a partnership with a Finnish network security company that it hopes will improve its e-security solutions. PCS will now integrate Stonesoft Corporation of Finland's StoneBeat product range into its solutions for customers in the financial services, government, telecom, corporate and oil sectors.

The Middle East is in the infancy of the new e-security revolution that has recently taken off in the US and Europe. Awareness of a growing number of solutions on the market is beginning to grow in the region although as yet there is still not enough knowledge nor options available. This agreement will come as welcome news to many organisations in the Middle East that are starting to realise the importance of e-security in the e-business era.

Harish Kunnath, MD of PCS, believes that the new solutions provided will help companies focus on their core businesses rather than worrying about e-security issues. "The Internet has brought tremendous business opportunity," he said. "[But] with this comes serious challenges. A segregated approach to network security is no longer enough."

Kunnath said that PCS's new solutions will help provide comprehensive, effective protection against multi-pronged network attacks. This kind of security is still rare in this region but PCS is striving to ensure its customers are kept abreast of security advances in the Middle East.

Interactive Technologies gets major funding boost

Interactive Technologies, a UAE-based e-commerce application development company, has secured a multi-million pound funding from German giants Deutshe Bank. The US $3 million funding is the second such capital injection that Interactive has received after Armada International, a technology fund backed by Deutsche Bank, also invested heavily in Interactive.

Interactive will be using the new money to develop a portfolio of Internet and technology-related businesses in the region. "We are privileged to have secured this latest stage of financing to underpin the continued organic growth of Interactive," said Ziad Tassabehji, founder and CEO of Interactive Technologies. "However, the benefits extend beyond the financial, and offer our international partners and ourselves mutual, reciprocal access to each others' networks and relationships," he explained.

For Deutsche Bank, investing in the Middle East represents an important element in the bank's strategic expansion plans. Michael Phillip, a member of Deutsche Bank's Global Management Board, said, "We have chosen Interactive to extend our network in the Middle East because it is an established company with a proven track record extending back to some of the earliest Internet applications in the region. Equally important, it is led by a managerial team that shares our entrepreneurial vision."

The deal is a major boost for Interactive at a time when much uncertainty surrounds the global IT markets with signs that the US economy is slowly and wildly fluctuating stock markets. The quest to secure venture capital and large-scale funding is becoming increasingly competitive in the rapidly growing Middle East IT industry. "The local venture capital model didn't work for us," said Tassabehji. "We wanted to work with someone who has the same vision."

Deutsche Bank's investment in Interactive demonstrates that institutional venture capitalists from Europe and the US are more likely to be interested in latter stage investment opportunities when companies have a proven and viable business model.

Lotus pushes 8,000-strong channel to deliver bigger opportunities

A broader product mix and more sophisticated customers have led Lotus into alliances with a new breed of partners while evolving relationships with existing channels.

New Web-based tools will be rolled-out to keep the company's 8000-strong army of small- and medium-sized resellers abreast of corporate strategy and product information. At the same time, Lotus is forging stronger and deeper partnerships with global systems integrators, ISVs, hardware manufacturers and service providers.

"We are maintaining relationships with our 8000-plus resellers - we want to support them - but we will be concentrating on partners that deliver the greatest opportunities," explained Ken Bisconti, vice-president for Lotus' World-wide Partner Organisation.

The re-alignment of the Lotus partner strategy is in-step with the company's overall mandate to widen the base of Lotus customers and deepen the use of the company's solutions in existing accounts.

Lotus will be working with ISVs targeting high-growth markets like customer relationship management, sales force automation and supply chain management in an effort to help them develop software for Lotus platform products, said Bisconti.

At the same time Global Systems integrators like Cap Gemini and Accenture will be courted to develop deeper Lotus skills that they can take to their largest customers.

Brand new ways of getting Lotus technology into the hands of customers could come via alliances with service providers including ASPs, ISPs and mobile application service providers. Wireless will be a particular focus of attention as a connection mechanism into Lotus backend services. The company will build on existing relationships with industry giants like Nokia and Ericsson to drive this process forward.

Closer integration with IBM will create additional benefits for Lotus and IBM resellers, argues Bisconti. He dismisses theories that with the king of direct selling - IBM - exercising greater influence over Lotus, sales opportunities for channel partners will evaporate. "Partners need to understand that IBM recognises the need to build and develop a stronger indirect channel," he said. "In fact, IBM looks at the Lotus Partner Organisation as a real best-of-breed indirect programme operator."

Resellers selling IBM, Websphere, Tivoli and Lotus solutions will benefit most, argues Bisconti, because they will be presented with clearer messages on how the solutions interoperate. "Partners today are being visited separately by the different parts of Software Group. Now they will get unified contact which should improve service," he concluded.
||**||Incentives|~||~||~|Cisco Rewards now on for big prizes
Cisco Systems will reward qualifying resellers with new Audi TTs, Breitling watches, stays at the Burj Al Arab, and other spectacular prizes, for their exceptional sales of Cisco equipment.

To qualify for prizes, resellers must register with Cisco by hitting the link below, and then accumulate points towards these stunning prizes.

A full breakdown of points and values, and all you need to start collecting is on the Web site once you hit the link below.

To enrol in Cisco Rewards, you will require a Cisco Connection Online (CCO) User ID and Password. To obtain this, you need first to be registered as a Cisco reseller.

For further details, click on this link:

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.
||**||Training Diary|~||~||~|ARE YOU HOSTING A RESELLER EVENT?
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.


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 11-15: 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

February 20-22: Sun Educational Training Centre. Storage Management with DiskSuite training: Join Sun Microsystems for training on storage management.

The training course is priced at $1875.

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

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|~||~||~|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

Tech Data FZ LLC: Sales, Financial, and Marketing positions
Distribution without Limits!! These are wide-ranging roles in an environment that is creative, progressive, challenging and rewarding and the growth plans for the region are phenomenal.

Director of Sales: develop and ensure implementation of sales strategies and concepts in line with the company's strategies. Direct and control sales operations with the team to achieve agreed upon revenue and margin targets of the company within the company's strategy and to contribute to the country's annual operating plan. Ensure superior customer satisfaction.

Finance Director: you will ensure all projects and initiatives contribute to agreed strategic objectives, advise on maximizing collective income where opportunities impact on various divisions. Responsibilities include financial planning and a strong control regime in a multi-site environment and you will be charged with bringing a broad based knowledge of economic, financial and commercial trends and offer detailed leadership in the finance, treasury and accounting functions

Marketing and Communications Manager: develop and ensure implementation of Marketing strategies and concepts in line with the company's strategies. Direct and control the marketing operations and resources to support the Sales, Finance and Operations functions in achieving agreed upon targets within the annual operating plan.

Apply now: contact Zakeera Vidler HR Manager in full confidence on

||**||Next Month|~||~||~|In Next Month's Computer Reseller News Middle East


Skill shortage in the channel
It's discussion time for recruitment, training, and consultancy firms as they and their vendor/reseller customers tell us where the shortages lie, why they exist, and what can be done about it.

Wireless Networking
It is new and exciting and offers a wealth of unexplored opportunities for resellers the channel. We look at what that opportunity is and where it lies.

Retail differentiation
In the computer street-area of every Middle East city, there are a collection of retailers, lined up, one by one, all apparently selling the same things in the same way. But some are successful and some are not. We'll look at what they are doing to make the difference.

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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