Growth plan

As Microsoft Dynamics has continued to ring in changes to its channel programmes, Karim Talhouk, MBS lead, Gulf, wants channel partners to follow his blueprint for growth in the Gulf region.

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Growth plan
By  Manda Banda Published  July 22, 2012

As Microsoft Dynamics has continued to ring in changes to its channel programmes, Karim Talhouk, MBS lead, Gulf, wants channel partners to follow his blueprint for growth in the Gulf region.

Microsoft Dynamics has continued to cement its channel programmes and operations in the Gulf region. Over the last three years, the business applications division of Microsoft has sharpened its channel focus, enhanced its business applications portfolio and revamped its partner programmes all in an effort to grow its business in the Gulf.

Karim Talhouk, MBS lead Microsoft Dynamics in the Gulf region (excluding Saudi Arabia), wants channel partners in the region to follow his plan, one in which the channel is the centre of all MBS products, services and cloud offerings.

Although Talhouk can’t predict the future, what he does know is that resellers, VARs, system integration and solution provider partners are key to Microsoft Dynamics’ success going forward.

The Microsoft Dynamics of 2012 is no longer just about developing ERP and CRM solutions, and supplying these applications using a generalist horizontal approach to market, but it’s about industry focus, domain expertise, certifications and specialisations, he says.

Getting this strategy right is not easy but Talhouk knows that the company’s next big gambit will be getting its partners in the region to fully embrace these initiatives and vertical industry focus if it is to continue making inroads in the SMB and enterprise segment of the market.

“Our strategy in the Gulf region is to work with all our channel partners and help them to focus on industries rather than have a generalist approach to market. This is something that our end-user clients are already appreciating, as there is no longer a holistic approach, where partners are offering everything,” he said.

He said the business and industry vertical focus is something that Microsoft Dynamics is taking very seriously and the company has indentified five main industries namely retail, manufacturing, wholesale and distribution, professional services and public sector, where it would like solution providers, VARs and system integrators to specialise in and develop domain expertise.

New strategy

Using his sales operations know-how and management muscle, Talhouk has charted a new course in the hope of providing that better experience for Microsoft Dynamics partners in the Gulf region. “The industry focus comes with the launch of our new product Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 that was unveiled in 2011. Microsoft has for a long time been known as a major player in the SMB market. Today, we have more than 2,000 customers in the Gulf region excluding the KSA market and it’s a big number and growing,” he said.

Talhouk said in the past two years with AX 2012 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM offerings, the company has been aggressively playing in the enterprise sector. In fact, he attributes the positive response from the market to the focus Microsoft Dynamics has entrenched on verticals as this strategy is yielding dividends for the company and channel partners. “Today, with AX 2012, we are competing in every deal in the Gulf with our rivals mainly SAP and Oracle. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, I wouldn’t say we are competing, but rather winning each and every deal that our partners bid. It is a strong offering backed by a solid partner ecosystem that supports the product. The challenge with CRM products in the past has been that it’s not easy to use and benefit from it,” he said.

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