Regional channel shows resilience

The 2012 Channel Middle East Awards showed how much the regional channel has continued on the path to maturity and innovation.

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Regional channel shows resilience
By  Manda Banda Published  May 26, 2012

The 2012 Channel Middle East Awards showed how much the regional channel has continued on the path to maturity and innovation.

Now in its fifth year, the annual Channel Middle East Awards paid tribute to the outstanding achievements of vendors, distributors and their reseller partners during the past year.

More than 350 senior channel executives attended last month’s gala dinner and awards ceremony, making it a memorable night for the regional channel community and an opportunity to network with partners, associates and colleagues.

The who’s who in the regional IT channel converged at the Westin Hotel in Dubai to honour the outstanding achievements of vendors and their channel partners during 2012 with a total of 22 awards being handed out.

The year 2012 was characterised by mixed economic indicators. While business in general improved, there were obstacles that impacted the Middle East IT channel.

We saw ongoing political change in some countries in the Middle East region with many hoping that these changes would kick start a new era in the region, with some markets opening up to new business investments.

In Dubai, we saw a spate of reseller runaways, a harsh reminder of the challenges and tough business climate that the local channel faced last year.

At the same time, we also saw many positives, such as the Dubai Computer Group moving quickly to address the runaway issue, and embarking on a number of channel and industry wide initiatives aimed at restoring confidence to the United Arab Emirates channel.

Yet, despite all these difficulties that those in the channel face today, there was a lot of good that came out from the regional channel this year.

The Dubai Computer Group’s landmark agreement with Dubai Customs, which saw duty charges on a wide range of IT products and consumer electronics being exempted, is one such example.

At the regional level, distributors continued to be more prudent in how they extended credit terms to their partners. In fact, many distributors looked for new markets or expanded their value offerings all in an effort to remain relevant to the market and the channel partners they serve.

The IT industry as a whole also presented new launches and new technologies that extended opportunities for the channel, in areas such as mobility, social networking, cloud computing, tablet devices and ultrabooks. As the market has continued to evolve, vendors are also increasing their investments in partner-led initiatives, training, certification and specialisation programmes.

What is common to all the companies that nominated themselves this year, is a crystal clear understanding of their core business values; the courage to re-examine what they do, how they do it and with whom they do it.

Although the Middle East channel is still about the business of selling products, the need for channel players to meet the changing demands of their vendor partners, and at the same time deliver the added value that customers have come to expect, has led the regional channel to mature rapidly.

The nominations that Channel received for this year’s awards showed the depth of expertise and innovation that is present in the channel today, and also showed that companies were prepared to take bold steps to boost their business.

So while there may still be uncertainty in the market, I have no doubt that the leaders in the regional channel will continue use all of their skills to drive a profitable business, and in turn contribute to a healthy and mature channel, that has entered a new phase of innovation and growth.

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