Right to partner

John Spoor, regional manager, Middle East and Africa at WatchGuard, outlines how the company is cementing its channel alliances as it looks to raise the tempo in the Middle East security segment.

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Right to partner Spoor says the company's focus this year has been expanding partner alliances.
By  Manda Banda Published  November 25, 2013

John Spoor, regional manager, Middle East and Africa at WatchGuard, outlines how the company is cementing its channel alliances as it looks to raise the tempo in the Middle East security segment.

Channel: Briefly outline what WatchGuard’s channel focus has been in the Middle East this year?

JS: We have cemented our dedication to the Middle East this year by opening a new region office in Dubai. The main focus this year has been expanding our partnerships throughout the region. We look at many different aspects when deciding about potential partnerships and one of the issues is looking for businesses that are skilled and knowledgeable in specific products or services.

Channel: How has WatchGuard split its channel coverage in the region?

JS: We are in the early stages of developing new channel relationships in the region. WatchGuard looks to create relationships with partners throughout the region, rather than focus on capital cities. In terms of specific skill sets, as explained before, we look for channel partners with a selection of different skills. For example, partners with specific skills and knowledge in cloud and BYOD services are an asset.

Channel: How is the company helping its channel partners in Middle East to capitalise on the numerous IT security opportunities?

JS: WatchGuard is different to many other companies in the security space because we pride ourselves on being 100% channel. To elaborate, WatchGuard has never and will never have anything to do with the sale side of business. We confidently allow our partners to support this area and we guide them by sharing any business leads that come our way. We also reinvest into our partners by hosting events, sharing information and attend regular update meetings with them.

Channel: What channel programmes and initiatives is WatchGuard rolling out in the regional channel this year?

JS: Every quarter we launch a range of initiatives and promotions to reward the channel and drive incremental revenue.  This quarter we are running a programme called Red Gives Gifts which incentivises the sales person working for the partner.  You can potentially earn up to $2000 for selling one of our enterprise class boxes.

Channel: Out of the various IT security offerings the company has, where do you see most of your business growth coming from in 2013?

JS: We have seen positive growth throughout all our product ranges, but we have had a lot of interest in our Unified Threat Management (UTM) solutions. This year has seen many high profile data breaches both globally and in the region. Due to this, businesses are becoming more aware that it only takes one weak link in a network for a hack to gain entry. Our UTM services provide security protection throughout the whole network.

Channel: What are your channel partners finding challenging in the regional market at the moment?

JS: Although we are definitely seeing an improvement in the regional market conditions, customers are still hesitant to invest heavily from a capital point of view and operating expenses are far more attractive to the finance managers.

Channel: How many distributor partners does WatchGuard have across the Middle East region?

JS: We have f distributors in MENA, two in the UAE, one in Egypt and one in Morocco. We are continuously providing high level training to our partners to ensure that they are capable of supporting our customers to the required standards. Expert and professional partners much meet required minimum standards which they are then rewarded by providing higher levels of discount.

Channel: Who do you consider your fiercest rival in the regional market when you poll your channel partners?

The UTM market is extremely competitive and there are excellent companies out there. However, we prefer to focus on our own strengths rather than worry about what the competition are doing.

Channel: What new channel programmes, rebates schemes or initiatives can your channel partners expect from WatchGuard this year?

JS: In 2014, we will be launching ‘Security Pays’ in the region, which is our credit card incentive scheme for our Professional and Expert partners. Every time a WatchGuard box is sold we will reward the salesperson by putting credit on the card.

Channel: What will be key for WatchGuard in the Middle East in 2014?

JS: We will be developing our services and sharing new products with the market and continue to help solve security issues for businesses of all sizes.

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