A promising year

The third Channel Middle East conference held at the Oberoi Centre in Dubai’s Business Bay examined how to ignite growth in the Middle East IT industry as regional channel players look to 2014 as the year that will see business improve drastically.

Tags: EMT Distribution (www.emt.ae)Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company IDC Middle East and AfricaSAPSystems integrator
  • E-Mail
A promising year More than 100 channel executives from the UAE attended the third Channel Middle East conference.
By  Manda Banda Published  January 27, 2014

So between them, enterprises and consumers are driving demand for social media, mobile computing, analytics and cloud, all of which are collectively known as the third platform.

Rangel pointed out that the third platform is going to drive a great deal of channel activity in 2014.

Galal cited PayPal research that showed a significant worldwide bump in those products the Middle East IT channel sells, but only 10% of that revenue is coming to the region. He believes that salespeople working in the Middle East IT channel are “trained to recite the specs of the product, but not to sell it”.

Both opening speakers balanced the discussion around challenges and opportunities. One thing, however, is clear: 2014 will be a key year for the channel, as players will be forced to embrace the changes that are now upon them, or struggle to find revenue.

PC not dead

The decline of the PC was a central topic of debate at the conference, but a team of expert panelists sought to put a different spin on the beleaguered form factor, with more than one claiming that rather than seeing the death of the PC, the channel was merely witnessing a broadening definition of the term “personal computing”.

“How we define the PC as an ecosystem is expanding,” said Saibal Banerjee, lead, OEM Distribution and Reseller, Microsoft.

Tablet shipments have been in startling ascendancy this year, reaching year-on-year growth of 208% in the second quarter, thereby surpassing PC shipments for the first time, according to figures from IDC.

Asem Galal, managing partner, Gala & Karawi Consulting and moderator of the panel discussion, suggested “95% of PCs run on Windows; 95% of mobile devices do not run on Windows”.

Such rapid change, panelists agreed, was a huge challenge for the regional IT channel. As Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co continue their dominance of a market they exploited before other manufacturers were able to mount meaningful challenges, how will these other vendors peel consumers away from the two market leaders?

Tony Saade, director, Brand Strategy, Commfirm World, believes the answer lies in the added extras consumers get from handsets, such as preloaded apps and those available through the hardware’s supporting ecosystem.

“When consumers shop for devices, they shop for [products] that empower them to do more,” he said.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code