Striking a balance

Ehsan Hashemi, COO of Golden Systems Middle East, chats about the company’s business diversification and how it is helping resellers to jump onto the value bandwagon.

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Striking a balance
By  Manda Banda Published  November 19, 2013

Ehsan Hashemi, COO of Golden Systems Middle East, chats about the company’s business diversification and how it is helping resellers to jump onto the value bandwagon.

CME: What is the state of the IT distribution sector in the region?

EH: The IT distribution sector has become increasingly vital in the region and we are seeing many distributors move away from “box-moving” and getting into the VAD space. The most critical aspect of developing a successful VAD model must be based on quality and this implies that distributors should provide superior quality services and continuity when providing solutions and to their channel partners.

CME: With the role of distributors constantly changing, how have you managed to stay relevant to your partners?

EH: Distributors that want to continue growing in this segment should concentrate on training, implementation, design and configuration as these are at the core of any distributor. Although many distributors are not able to add full implementation functions to their business models, they must always provide reliable service and superior. The “new age” distributor must complement its customer service with sales functions.

CME: How challenging is the distribution sector at the moment?

EH: Supplying products to the channel is just one aspect, but to distinguish your operation from your competitors, distributors need to get involved at every level of the business with partners. To rise to the challenge, we place a huge priority on working more closely with our vendor and reseller partners on training, knowledge transfer, pre- and post-sales support, and strong RMA programmes. We also ensure that our team is fully trained before servicing the channel.

CME: As margins continue to slump and consumerisation of technology growing, how are you managing to stay afloat and remain competitive?

EH: We always put great emphasis on reliability and over the past 16 years that we have been in this market, we have insisted on keeping close alliances with our partners, offering our sales people and resellers regular sales training and seminars across the region. We have also introduced the AVARDZ Loyalty Programme, a reward scheme for sales people at reseller companies all in an effort to mitigate the challenges they face in the market.

CME: Is it more difficult for distributors to add value to the solutions they take to market?

EH: Providing value-added offerings to partners is the most crucial factor in this competitive distribution landscape. As most distributors are jostling for increased business in an effort to return customers in a highly cutthroat market, providing value-added services has become an imperative. The intense competition among distributors and increased customer demands has influenced the channel’s profit margins which has forced some distributors to cut back on their value offerings.

CME: How are helping reseller and vendor partners with the current array that you represent?

EH: Our vendor partners treat us as an extension of their own business. Our product and sales teams go through extensive training before taking or engaging any reseller partner in the market. We ensure that our team is fully equipped by making them undergo rigorous training to get certifications.  On the partner side, we hold regular demonstration workshops for channel partners and end-users to get firsthand experience on a wide range of products in our stable.

CME: How can distributors sharpen their expertise to benefit vendors and resellers in the region?

EH: From both the monetary and product portfolio perspective, it is important to balance exposure and specialisation. From the monetary standpoint, distributors have to make sure that they have enough capital to invest in the business in order to do a great job with the brands they represent. Essentially, they have to be fiscally sound to meet the market’s demand. From a product stand point, they need to ensure that they do not become too centralised on one brand.

CME: What does the future hold for Middle East distributors?

EH: The distribution industry is facing a very unique set of challenges and there is really no way to tell what the future holds for IT distribution.  Nonetheless, the latest trends show an emphasis on value-added distribution and services. We feel that these trends will continue as the regional market continues to show maturity.

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