Incoming PSG boss gets straight down to business

Salim Ziade outlines top partner priorities as HP sees market conditions getting better

Tags: HP Middle EastUnited Arab Emirates
  • E-Mail
Incoming PSG boss gets straight down to business Salim Ziade believes 2010 will bring a more stable environment for channel partners in the Middle East after the challenges of the past year. (ITP Images)
By  Andrew Seymour Published  January 21, 2010

Empowering resellers to sell virtualisation, cleaning up channel inventory and making sure products are positioned correctly - those are just some of the tasks on new HP PSG chief Salim Ziade's agenda this year.

Although he insists his arrival in the PSG hotseat is not going to herald any wholesale organisational changes, Ziade admits that an improvement in market conditions will mean his objectives differ to those faced by his predecessor Anil Kumar during last year's "crisis environment".

Kumar resigned from his position last week after more than nine years at the vendor.

One of Ziade's foremost duties will be to ensure HP's burgeoning hardware portfolio is suitably positioned among the assortment of sales channels it oversees, especially as end-users are now demanding more personalisation from their PC devices.

At the same time, he is promising to drive a "much clearer" message for the company's Middle East partners.

"Firstly, everybody should know where HP stands, and where they stand, in the ecosystem. We will drive hard to get out of that confusion of a climate where everybody was trying to do everything [and move to] a more stable channel environment," he said.

Virtualisation also ranks highly on his initial list of priorities. He believes there are enough end-user POCs and trials going on to suggest virtualisation is finally about to take off in the region.

"We expect 2010 to be the ‘virtualisation year' in the market and we will push ahead in that direction," he vowed. "We are investing to develop a very focused network of resellers that can actually sell the virtualisation story and walk the talk to the customers. That is where we still have work to do."

On a country level, meanwhile, Ziade says efforts will be made to "balance" its business in the UAE, which has traditionally been a dominant market, with the rest of the GCC, Egypt and Levant, which are all territories with good growth potential.

One other issue that Ziade has pledged to keep on top of is the volume of stock in the channel. Relatively speaking, HP saw its channel inventory double between the peak of the Middle East market in mid-2008 and the height of the crisis last year.

That led to products being sold through channels they weren't intended for, creating confusion in terms of brand positioning. Ziade stresses the situation is not unique to HP, but insists it is something that has to be addressed.

 "We still have some work to do, but we are almost done with clearing up this bubble of inventory," he said. "We will have to maintain the lowest stocks possible to avoid the mistakes [caused by over-stocking] because the less inventory you have, the fewer chances of mistakes you face. I'd expect it to be back to normal before mid-2010."

With the PSG unit co-ordinating HP's local channel sales organisation, Ziade is set to play a major role in shaping channel strategy - something he is accustomed to having previously managed HP's Middle East channel prior to his most recent MEMA role.

So has the channel business changed since he was in that role a couple of years ago? Only in the sense that the market is now less merciful, he says.

"Whereas in the previous stellar growth environment you could get away with almost any mistake you made, today's environment is completely unforgiving. You can't miss a commitment to a customer, you can't promise a solution and not deliver, and you have to be really price competitive. The expectations are higher and the room for error is almost nil."

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code