Time of transition for channel

Emerging pockets of growth may soothe the channel’s concerns

Tags: AMD (www.amd.com)EMC CorporationUnited Arab Emirates
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By  Andrew Seymour Published  November 2, 2010

Last month's GITEX Technology Week provided a timely reminder that there is still plenty of life left in the Middle East channel.

Although the impact of the credit crisis continues to weigh heavily on the market's shoulders, the feeling of uncertainty is starting to make way for some much-needed stability in many corners of the market.

That's not to say the anxiety has disappeared altogether. You only have to look at the fear created in the Dubai channel from Metropolitan Computer's recent exit to understand why many resellers are still extremely nervous about things, but at the same time there is enough evidence to support the theory that the Middle East market remains a bright prospect for companies operating in the IT sector.

GITEX was interesting for a several reasons. Firstly, the number of companies exhibiting from outside the region - in particular Asia and the Far East - went a long way to demonstrating that the Middle East remains a place where scores of manufacturers desperately want to build channels, but often have no real idea of how to properly go about it.

If you are a channel company that is not so much interested in volumes as the opportunity to market products or solutions that serve a specific niche or sit within a sector that is not overly-populated, then GITEX proved there are vendors out there that can meet such requirements.

Mark my words, part of building a successful channel business in the future is going to be about identifying the vendors and manufacturers that can offer something a little bit different and then making their proposition work for your business.

Several other key themes dominated this year's show, not least the topic of cloud computing.

Everybody from AMD to EMC gave their two pennies worth, illustrating how consumed vendors of all descriptions have become with this emerging technology area. Some are offering products that facilitate cloud services, others are hosting cloud services - whatever the scenario every vendor has a ‘cloud strategy' and they are grappling to ensure their names are associated with this industry buzzword.

The numerous discussions on cloud have certainly left everyone agreeing that the hosted model is the way forward, but it is somewhat juxtaposed with the feeling that nobody is 100% certain how the market is actually going to play out and what their long-term role will be.

Another area that caught the attention this year was the Mobile Apps and Contents World section of the show, which brought together mobile handset providers, such as Nokia, with the application developers that have found themselves at the centre of what is already a multi-billion dollar market.

As with cloud, the opportunity is clearly huge for the channel but it is up to companies to understand where they fit into the bigger picture and what they need to do to ensure they are correctly positioned to serve the business that will come their way.

Business is no longer served on a plate these days, but developments at GITEX indicate that the chances of growth are good for channel companies capable of finding their USP and harnessing a long-term vision. 

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