Gaining speed

Sphere Networks is working to spread its wings globally and establish itself as a player of note in the area of network management systems.

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By  Sathya Mithra Ashok Published  February 2, 2009

Sphere Networks is working to spread its wings globally and establish itself as a player of note in the area of network management systems.

Sphere Networks, the home-grown provider of network management systems, is aiming to take its products and strategy outside the UAE to other GCC countries, even as it starts to train its eyes on global expansion.

"We are not here to be a small player. We have big plans outside the region and we have multiple things lined up that we are going to push forward. We are going to push Sphere forward on the map to make sure that we are one of the best players in the market," says Mohamed Hamedi, CEO and founder of Sphere Networks.

We are not here to be a small player. We are going to push Sphere forward on the map to make sure that we are one of the best players in the market.

The company, whose investors include the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) and Intel Capital, is planning on launching its operations in Saudi Arabia to start off its growth in the region.

"The expansion would probably touch upon KSA first, opening offices there, because we cannot ignore that market there, it is huge. We have got a couple of ways we can do that and we are exploring those at the moment. We might go the partnership route.

Alternatively, we are going for a second round of funding later this year - around the middle of the year - that might involve creating a business or buying a business in KSA and setting that as our engine for growth in that region," says Justin Doo, VP sales and marketing at Sphere Networks.

While refusing to give a definite timeline for expansion, Doo stresses that Sphere wants to make sure the underpinnings of the move are solid and reliable before taking the next step, in order to add better value to customers and partners. The move to KSA will be the first step of a larger strategy to take the company to more countries, which it hopes to do in the next few years.

He adds that Sphere will specifically be targeting mid-sector companies, for whom solutions proposed by larger competitors could prove to be an overkill.

"Network management systems and solutions are still in their infancy in the market sector that we want to go into. So we have accepted that not everyone is going to be able to buy our technology, not least because they don't know why they need it.

There is a small handful of CIOs in this region that have the ability to weather this financial crisis, and they are the guys who will fight not to have budgets cut. The guys who can defend their position are the ones that we are looking for and the ones that we are going to work with. I doubt the others will get it," says Doo.

According to both Doo and Hamedi, Sphere will work to educate potential customers on the value that their product can provide in helping companies do more with less during pressing financial times.

"They have to look at it from the business perspective. Most of them have existed in a growth industry. Most middle managers globally have never run a business in this environment of a downturn, so a lot of people do not have a reference point.

We can help them as they prioritise the spending of money. With our strategy we believe we have a far better chance of pulling out at the other side in profit than a number of bigger companies," concludes Doo.

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