GBM planning to make impact

System integrator Gulf Business Machines focuses on building on strong customer base and personnel to become a regional powerhouse

Tags: BahrainCisco Systems IncorporatedGulf Business MachinesKuwaitManaged servicesOmanSystems integratorUnited Arab Emirates
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GBM planning to make impact We are absolutely going to continue our investments. - Miguel El Khoury, director of integrated networking and security services at GBM.
By  Sean Robson Published  May 17, 2009 Network Middle East Logo

In the midst of a period of reduced spending, slashed budgets and general uncertainty Gulf Business Machines (GBM) remains confident of its ability to not only add value to the region but also to grow and prosper.

"We believe that GBM is strong, with a strong customer base across the region and strong teams across the region. We have a large and highly certified product line, and we believe that even though our main partner Cisco may be impacted in the market they will still come out with new and emerging technologies," said Miguel El Khoury, director of integrated networking and security services at GBM.

I believe today is all about how you reduce your capital expenditure and operation costs.

El Khoury admits that customer behaviour has undergone a change as they purchase products based on their immediate needs, and so GBM is now challenged by demand for less expensive ‘good enough' solutions.

"Previously customers looked for best of breed products together with a vendor and a partner who could add value to them but now they may need to go to cheaper solutions to simply fulfill their requirements," noted El Khoury.

In order to develop its market share further and find new streams of revenue the networking distributor is focused on diversifying its offerings. GBM is looking to get involved in integrated networking and site services (INSS). "There are three pillars which comprise INSS, the active component in which Cisco obviously plays a major role, the passive part which is made up of cabling and such and finally the site services which are aimed at datacentres and physical centres," explained El Khoury.

GBM plans on working even more closely with its vendors to see how much technology can be used to help its customers to reduce cost. "We need to be as close to our customers because in such a shaky market they want someone who is solid and reliable," said El Khoury.

It is an inevitable fact that with IT managers being forced to cut their budgets that companies like GBM need to find new approaches to selling solutions. El Khoury believes they key to this is smart selling which requires an understanding of the specific verticals and the respective needs.

"Some verticals are impacted more than others; however the spending is different from one vertical to the other. Today is the time for smart selling. If you go to a customer and tell him that he needs to change his infrastructure he will be sceptical but if you can give him a solution that you will reduce operational costs by 30-40% or increase market share then he will be all ears," noted El Khoury.

In terms of the verticals that GBM will be aiming its focus El Khoury says that his team has identified those sectors which are holding firm and have adapted the vision and strategy.

"Security is one aspect where customers will continue to buy. Worms and spam have been increasing exponentially and that is why we believe security for large enterprises is a solution that they will continue to buy," he explained.

Part of this demand will be fueled by the rise of standards and regulations being imposed on organisations and so GBM is positioning itself to offer a range of solutions across the market.

GBM has offices across the Gulf including Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait with no immediate plans to expand further. "We are absolutely going to continue our investments but there will be more strategic investment in resources and new technologies," El Khoury said.

In terms of new streams of revenue and interest being created El Khoury admits that managed services are beginning to grow in popularity. "I believe today is all about how you reduce your capital expenditure and operation costs and I think managed services can be one of the key factors as more customers are starting to move towards this," he said.

In terms of future impacts on the region, unified communication (UC) has long been touted as the next big thing but struggled to gain widespread adoption. El Khoury predicts that the changed situation may speed things up. "I think with the crisis going on deregulation will probably come on board, more competitors may emerge to play a role and thus other services will come like VOIP, video and more."

Although business has become a little more difficult than ever El Khoury does believe that the crisis will prove beneficial to the region.

"The market is transforming and this crisis will lead to a mindset transformation of the IT arena. People are maturing," emphasised El Khoury.

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