Riverbed calls out to Middle East partners

The growth of wide area data service vendor Riverbed is testament to the pace of the Middle East enterprise networking market. After modifying its partner programme and opening a new office in Dubai, Dr. Mohammed Karzazi, MEA regional director, says the vendor is ready to make even more noise in the networking sector.

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By  Julian Pletts Published  October 15, 2008

The growth of wide area data service vendor Riverbed is testament to the pace of the Middle East enterprise networking market. After modifying its partner programme and opening a new office in Dubai, Dr. Mohammed Karzazi, MEA regional director, says the vendor is ready to make even more noise in the networking sector.

You recently announced the ‘fortification' of your partner programme in the region. Talk us through what this means.

A couple of things are new with the partner programme including the creation of a new level of partnership, taking into account the different markets in which our partners operate in the region.

The new Riverbed channel strategy will also involve selectively recruiting partners with strong solutions expertise and good knowledge of their geographical market. Our goal is to ensure the partners take advantage of the sales, marketing and technical support they need to utilise Riverbed's skills and forge the market opportunity to grow their revenue.

Which partners are you currently working with?

We have a wide variety of partners. We have systems integrators and service partners, and also global partners, distributors and VARs. We work with a company called Naizak, which is our distributor for the area and they have a presence across the Middle East. Riverbed regularly reviews the performance of partners and they have local access to the partner team, to the ISS manager and the channel manager, who works very closely with our team.

They regularly review the partners' status in the partner programme and our channel can advance very quickly if they show the right dedication. As well as the programme, our new strategy is to increase our presence in this region and we have recently opened an office here and are hiring more partners in the coming couple of weeks. Our commitment in the Middle East is higher than before and from last year to this year we have almost tripled in size.

How will you judge whether your expansion in the region and the extension of your partner programme has been a success or failure?

Our business model is based around the channel so if they don't succeed then we do not succeed. Technical support for the channel, marketing and business development opportunities for partners are all important considerations for us.

What has lead to the expansion of your business and the reassessment of how you interact with your channel?

Over the last year we had a programme that classified a partner into one of two categories and we grew very well and moved from a small start-up to a big organisation.  Our channel network has grown.

It is now more dedicated to selling and implementing our solutions so we felt it was time to introduce a new programme for partners and look again at the way we were working with them. We want to enhance our old approach and make it much easier for partners to interact and work with us and now they can take advantage of a wide range of sales, marketing and technical support.

What is your perspective of the wide-area based service market in the Middle East?

There is huge demand and over the past couple of years we have been very successful. We are now a big name in the oil and gas and finance sectors. Any company that has more than one office is a potential customer. Even small businesses see the benefit of having our solution installed.

Just to give you an idea, the ROI for the customer is only seven to eight months. It should also be known that the bandwidth can be expensive in some areas in the Middle East and we are not only helping people to accelerate applications, we are helping them with IT and back-up consolidation. We have all of these features in one solution and it is relevant to any company that has more than one office.

What are your aims for the Middle East in terms of targets?

We want to do more than last year. We would like to reflect our global success in the Middle East by having more customers, more resellers and growing faster.

What will drive the wide-area data service market in future?

I see a booming economy here in the Middle East that looks like it is going to continue to grow. More IT companies and global organisations are establishing operations here and more local companies are acquiring outside of the region.

This will result in more offices and a need for collaboration across remote offices. They will need more back-up and security and their network will need to be more productive. Because of this, and because of the limitation of the wide-area network and application inefficiency, there will be more, not less, of a call for a solution to answer these needs.

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