Selling hosted services the Qatari way

MEEZA, a Qatar Foundation joint venture, is bidding to capitalise on growing regional interest in hosted services and software-as-a-service (SaaS). Its growth aspirations also hinge on developing partnerships with fellow IT providers, explains Ann Ritchie-Cox, the company’s recently-appointed director of strategic alliances.

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Selling hosted services the Qatari way
By  Andrew Seymour Published  November 3, 2009 Channel Middle East Logo

What is MEEZA's core business?

MEEZA is a managed IT services and solutions provider that offers a wide range of services to clients, from creating and managing IT infrastructure to providing technology consulting.

M-Vault 1 - MEEZA's tier-3 data centre - is located at a highly secure facility within the Qatar Science and Technology Park and delivers 99.98% availability, the highest level offered from any commercial data centre in Qatar. MEEZA is seeking to participate in accelerating the growth of the region through the provision of managed IT services and solutions to the market.

How strong is your headcount and geographic presence?

There are approximately 76 employees. MEEZA currently targets all industries in Qatar. We are aiming at the GCC and will target the MENA region in the future. MEEZA's target market includes SMEs, government and non-governmental institutions, real estate, healthcare organisations, finance and many other sectors.

MEEZA has previously stated that it is seeking to partner with other companies. What kind of partnering model do you have?

Value added reselling. MEEZA is on a mission to be the preferred managed IT services and solutions provider in the Middle East and North Africa. As one of the fastest growing IT companies in the region, MEEZA is seeking to partner with companies that are as dedicated and passionate about delivering the IT advantage as we are.

What kind of companies is MEEZA looking to partner with?

MEEZA is currently expanding its wide range of managed services across the region, particularly in the GCC market. While this is in process, MEEZA aims to create a partnership with valued added resellers, where there will be an opportunity to enhance their own services. This opportunity will develop the significant need for IT services and solutions across the small and medium business sector.

Do resellers need to have a background in certain technologies to work with MEEZA?

Companies do not necessarily need to have an IT background, however it is essential that they utilise IT in their internal infrastructure. MEEZA will be able to not only provide the solution to the potential partner's IT infrastructure, but also allow the prospect to sell their own product or services backed with highly experienced IT support to enhance their proposition.

How can you ensure there won't be conflict with potential partners? After all, other companies will presumably have their own set of customers and competitive interests.

Partners may brand MEEZA's service with their own when selling to their customers. The reason this is implemented is to help the partner build customer loyalty and differentiate their brand from others by using the strength of their brand image in the market.

How can MEEZA help resellers generate recurring revenue streams?

Through this partnership, this opportunity will generate annual recurring revenue rather than relying on income from one-off deals. Therefore VARs will be able to protect their cash flow, which will allow them to plan strategically.

Analyst reports suggest that the majority of Middle East businesses still need a lot of convincing about the benefits of SaaS. What is your strategy for responding to the doubts that end-users may have?

The feedback from our customers suggests that SMEs are becoming more receptive to new technology, especially if it is cost- effective, totally secure, scalable and something that allows them to focus on their core business. MEEZA is positioning itself as a thought leader in the local market. We strive to ensure that our target audience is educated about the benefits of managed services or providing SaaS.

How competitive is the SAAS market in the region and do you see it becoming more price-aggressive?

The market place in the region is busy and competitive, therefore it is important for MEEZA to differentiate itself. MEEZA's main objective is to add value to its resellers and help them with their end-users by providing expert support and service.

When it comes to SaaS, what role is there for the channel beyond just hosting a service for the client?

The role of MEEZA's IT experts will be to listen to the customer's needs and build and propose the best possible solution. MEEZA will ultimately enhance the quality of the service provided by the VAR or the partner to the end-user.

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