25 Middle East channel champions you need to know

Middle East channel executives you need to know.

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By  ITP.net staff writer Published  October 28, 2008

Middle East channel executives you need to know.

Systems integrators

The corporate reseller and systems integration market in the UAE has evolved into one of the most sophisticated in the entire region, with a wealth of real estate, government and construction projects driving demand for enterprise solutions.

In terms of pure IT services, MDS, Emirates Computers and Injazat - a joint venture between Mubadala Development Company and EDS three years ago - occupy the podium positions, but the deeply fragmented structure of the market means there is always a competitor to keep them on their toes.

As a result, selecting five names from such a vibrant and heavily-populated market was a difficult task, although few would disagree with the choice of MDS' Sami Abi Esber in first position. He heads a group that comprises several enterprise-focused systems and solutions subsidiaries including EBM, PACC and eSolutions, making him an influential figure in the systems integration landscape.

Giving him a run for his money is Hani Harik, president of expansive Emirates Computers - an integrator with a solid presence throughout the UAE. Given that new vendors to the region sometimes prefer to use a one-tier channel model, the corporate reseller and systems integration market carries added significance in the UAE.

The faces on your left are just five of the many senior executives in charge of companies shaping the local integration arena. Their counterparts in organisations such as Key Information Technology, Seven Seas, CAD Gulf, CADD Emirates and Raqmiyat, to name just a few, would equally be deserved of inclusion, as would executives from some of the international newcomers that have entered the regional fray such as Dimension Data Gulf's Siddeek Rahim.

1. Sami Abi Esber, President, Mideast Data Systems Holding (UAE)

Sami Abi Esber is a veteran of the Middle East IT channel who has helped transform MDS UAE into one of the most formidable integrators in the market with expertise in data centres, SMB infrastructure and enterprise software. Despite the external pressures facing the corporate reseller channel in the region, 400-strong MDS succeeded in achieving revenue growth of 25% last year and is expecting a similar result this time around.

The HP and IBM specialist's ability to create business units targeting new market niches has helped it gain an edge over competitors.

2. Hani Harik, President, Emirates Computers

Under Harik's expert guidance, Emirates Computers continues to go from strength to strength in the enterprise market. Although it is best known as a Dell specialist, the Abu Dhabi-based outfit remains an accomplished Cisco and Nokia partner. As well as building a powerful UAE presence, Harik has engineered the company's expansion into Saudi Arabia.

3. Fayez Ibbini, Managing Director, Alpha Data

With revenues of more than US$160m a year, 650-strong integrator Alpha Data provides a dependable route to market for major international vendors such as HP, Microsoft and Symantec. Ibbini's stewardship continues to result in annual sales growth as well as the extension of a long list of clients in the real estate, healthcare and hospitality sectors.

4. Tony Alam, Managing Director, CNS

Originally founded as Al Bawardi Computers, Itqan has evolved into one of the region's top integrators with a staff of more than 100 professionals. Al Jabi has been with the company for a decade, rising up through the ranks to take on the general manager's role two years ago. The firm specialises in security, knowledge management and ERP solutions.

5. Feras Al Jabi, General Manager, Itqan

Originally founded as Al Bawardi Computers, Itqan has evolved into one of the region's top integrators with a staff of more than 100 professionals. Al Jabi has been with the company for a decade, rising up through the ranks to take on the general manager's role two years ago. The firm specialises in security, knowledge management and ERP solutions.

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