CommVault takes tier-one approach

CommVault's revised channel strategy aims to drive Middle East growth

Tags: CommVault Systems Incorporated
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CommVault takes tier-one approach CommVault’s Colin Summers say the pair’s partnership in the Bahrain market will help one another to penetrate new enterprise accounts.
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By  Andrew Seymour Published  January 28, 2011

Data management software vendor CommVault is on a mission to ramp up its business in a number of markets throughout the Middle East. And a revised channel strategy is central to the company achieving that goal.

While the global recession has put the kibosh on the Middle East expansion plans of numerous vendors during the past 18 months, it could be said the opposite has been true for enterprise back-up and data protection specialist CommVault.

The company has gone from two people to more than 15, opened an office in Saudi Arabia to supplement its existing HQ in Dubai, and increased its overall level of investment in the region. This regional development drive has also been accompanied by a shift in channel strategy, a move that is very much ongoing.

“We are a 100% channel company, so any business we do is in partnership with the channel. And over the last six months or so we have been selecting and recruiting new partners across the Middle East,” explains Colin Summers, an IT veteran and one-time boss of 3Com Middle East, who joined CommVault as regional manager this time last year.

Select group

Recent customer events held in conjunction with local partners in Bahrain, Kuwait and Jordan provide an indication of the Simpana software developer’s determination to take its proposition to untapped markets.

Such ambitions are underpinned by a revamped channel strategy that has led to more emphasis being placed on working with a highly select group of tier-one partners. In Bahrain, for example, it has appointed Zayani Computer Systems as its exclusive Gold partner and tasked the solutions provider with developing its business in the country. A similar arrangement has been established in Jordan with storage reseller Offtec, while in larger markets such as KSA and the UAE it has pledged to work with just two or three partners.

“It depends on the market size really,” says Summers about the prospect of working with one key integrator in each market. “What we are very aware of is that we don’t want to kill the revenue or the margin opportunity for the partners,” he adds.

The transition to a single-tier sales model has seen the NASDAQ-listed company turn its back on the classic two-tier distribution structure initially deployed in the Middle East and currently used in Europe.

CommVault no longer works with Tech Access after the pair reached an agreement to end their relationship — “I don’t think it really suited either company at the time,” says Summers — while its association with Magirus in the Middle East has also ceased.

“Magirus is a regional distribution partner for us in Europe, very strong in markets like Germany and the UK, but the prime focus is really to keep to a small [number of] proactive SIs and partnerships throughout the Middle East,” says Summers.

Enterprise opportunities

By forming close relationships with favoured first-tier partners, CommVault believes it will gain access to enterprise opportunities quicker and easier than it could have expected to before.

That faith is certainly reassuring news for resellers such as Zayani, which naturally want to see a return on the investments they have made in acquiring technical skills and accreditations.

“We have a long commitment to the Bahrain market in the IT infrastructure and business solutions space, but we always felt there was a hole in our offering as far as the end-to-end portfolio was concerned,” said Neil Desai, boss of Zayani’s enterprise unit. “And when we looked at CommVault we found it was the right fit for us in terms of technology and support.”

For CommVault, meanwhile, the aim is to build on the momentum created over the past 12 months. Summers is confident the company can do that: “I think the key difference now is that we are really taking this market seriously, far more seriously than we have ever taken it before.”

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