Preparing for growth

Enterasys Networks widens its channel business in the Middle East.

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Preparing for growth Enterasys is working with a two-tier distribution model.
By  Manda Banda Published  October 16, 2011

When Enterasys Networks established its Middle East regional headquarters in the UAE three years ago, the company knew it was entering the market during a difficult economic.

Enterasys says it knew its brand lacked market recognition and it need to overcome that challenge if it was to make any progress in the Middle East channel.

Today, the networking solutions vendor has steadily grown its stature in the Middle East channel and the region as a whole, is one of the fastest growing markets in the emerging geographies. Enterasys attributes the steady growth that it has enjoyed in the short span it has been in the Middle East channel to the solid alliances it has formed with the distributor and reseller community.

Asli Aktas, regional director, Enterasys Networks Middle East, said the company set-up presence in the Middle East market during a difficult economic time, when organisations had financial constraints and were downsizing their operations. "Our market approach then was driven by open and honest communication with partners and customers which laid the right foundation for our business to grow from in the region," she said.

Aktas said initially, the lack of market awareness around Enterasys solutions proved to be the biggest challenge, so the company focused on customers demanding solid technology and superior services. "This plan panned out to be successful for us and the Middle East is now one of our fastest growing markets globally," she said.

Having recently moved into a new office at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Enterasys has also added more members to the team in Saudi Arabia and has opened a service stock in Dubai. The company says it has further investment plans for the next fiscal year and believes these initiatives are helping it to take its business to new heights in the region.

Aktas said Enterasys is working with a two-tier distribution model focusing on quality rather than quantity, so over-distribution of products is not an issue. "We spend our attention and resources on committed partners who make Enterasys an integral part of their solution portfolio and services offering," she said.

In Avnet, said Aktas, Enterasys has a distribution partner with a multiple geographical reach that include major markets in Europe such as: Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Australia. "This existing relationship brings in-house experience and best practices we can leverage here. Avnet´s focus and established presence in the Middle East and Africa region made it easy for us to align efforts in a market that both of our organisations are experiencing growth in," she said.

Aktas added that Avnet brings in a direct touch to resellers, providing assistance on the business development side. In addition, said Aktas, Avnet delivers logistics capabilities, additional stocking out of the European hub, financial value and a myriad of additional services beneficial to the channel in the Middle East.

Aside from leveraging Avnet's global distribution expertise, Aktas said Enterasys has the ability to track and monitor the success of its partner strategy in the Middle East under the umbrella of the Advantage Partner Programme. "This programme allows us to deliver the highest customer satisfaction ratings and in turn enables our partners to distinguish their business in the market, retaining profitability for their organisation," she said.

Christopher Green, sales manager, Avnet Technology Solutions Middle East, said the company enjoys a strong relationship with Enterasys in Germany and is looking to replicate this success in the Middle East. Green said the vendor has a great range of products and Avnet will be providing support to partners around enablement, marketing, business development and finance to ensure that together with partners the company successfully drives new business for channel partners and Enterasys.

Green said given what has transpired in the last three years in the Middle East where the industry was impacted by the global financial shakedown, there has been improvement, but it is still unclear what impact, if any, the current economic climate in Europe and the US may have on the Middle East region. "The Middle East has some great opportunities and we remain committed to supporting our partners with the resources, tools, products and services to take advantage of these opportunities," he said.

With a focus on the GCC countries, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Pakistan, Aktas pointed out that Enterasys predominantly works with VARs and SIs but the company is expecting to see the number of solutions providers increase in the short term as it opens new routes to the market through strategic alliances.

"All of our business is done through the talented channel community, with only occasional exceptions made for legacy global accounts primarily in the utilities and hospitality sectors," she said.

With the wireless, data centre, voice and video and cloud computing market gaining traction in the region, Aktas said the company is seeing enormous growth opportunities with the wireless portfolio and data centre solutions, not only in the Middle East but in other regions around the globe. "We expect this will continue but could also be outpaced by cloud computing solutions beyond the virtualised data centre environment," she said. "I believe dominant vendors will continue to bring decreased margins to the channel and resellers will more and more turn to alternative routes to stay profitable and provide end users with a distinct story that focuses on the customer experience. This is where we come in as Enterasys."

Avnet's Green concurs and said the company is targeting the education, hospitality, government, healthcare, building services and media vertical markets to ensure that Enterasys' solutions are widely adopted in these segments. "Enterasys has done a great job in establishing its operations in the Middle East and is continuing to drive brand awareness through its marketing activities," he said.

Looking ahead, Aktas is optimistic about Enterasys channel initiatives in the Middle East region. "Our partners can expect Enterasys' continuous commitment to the market, increased support from the expanded team and more awareness activities going forward. We will leverage the success we've had to date for future momentum," she said.

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