Focused approach

Mohammad Mobasseri talks about the company’s channel plans for the Middle East and how it’s creating the right infrastructure for partners

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Focused approach
By  Manda Banda Published  February 19, 2014

Mohammad Mobasseri, chief executive officer at regional value-addedd distributor (VAD), EMT Distribution talks about the company’s channel plans for the Middle East and how it’s creating the right infrastructure for partners.

Channel: Talk us through your company’s operation and what business strategy you have adopted for the Middle East channel?

Mohammad Mobasseri: We are a value added distributor and being a VAD, we focus all our energies to enable our channel partners to ensure they can serve their customers on their own as best as possible. We are 100% channel-oriented and partners are our pillar of strength for the business. EMT’s business strategy revolves around strengthening our channel, expanding our product portfolio that can deliver better margins to us and our partners. We intend to invest heavily in infrastructure and resources that can create a healthy and enriched channel community across the region.

We also plan to invest in awareness and visibility for our brand through marketing campaigns, participating in big events like GITEX Technology Week, which allows us to build a solid platform. In addition, our business plan aims to help our vendor partners to expand their reach across the region. Geographic expansion is also part of our business strategy this year and as we progress, we will be looking to recruit more people on ground at different locations to serve our channel effectively.

Channel: How has business been since setting up base in the Middle East region for your company?

Mohammad Mobasseri: We are part of a global distribution house that has been in this sector for the past 15 years with offices in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines and Austria. The company has been actively engaged with the region with niche products, but it has only been a couple of months that we started our direct operations in the region by setting up an office in Dubai, which oversees the entire operations in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. Following the opening of our regional office in Dubai last year, we have received a lot of positive traction from the market and we are confident to carve out a niche for our business across MEA.

Channel: What has been your company’s focus in the Middle East channel in 2013?

Mohammad Mobasseri: As described earlier, our main focus remains on strengthening the channel, expanding and enhancing our product portfolio that can deliver better margins to us and our partners. We intend to invest heavily into infrastructure and resources focusing on lesser turnaround time and faster delivery that will ensure better return on investment for our partners.

Channel: How many vendor brands do you currently represent within your stable at the moment?

Mohammad Mobasseri: We presently have unique products and solutions offerings in our portfolio powered by best-of-breed technology vendors. These include Kaspersky Lab, 2X, Secunia, Catbird, ESET, Ikarus, Infowatch and DeltaTSL. We anticipate to add a few more vendors in our portfolio soon.

Channel: What support are you receiving from vendor partners whose brands you represent across the Middle East region?

Mohammad Mobasseri: Our vendors are very supportive because they see the market potential and the future growth and they believe in our plan, business development programmes and the contribution to the channel partner and their own businesses. In addition, they are monitoring the market progress and performance closely to ensure that they give us the right support when its needed.

Channel: Does your company have a partner, loyalty or rebate programme in the Middle East?

Mohammad Mobasseri: Currently, we have product wise loyalty and rebate schemes in place. However, we are developing our own partner loyalty programme, which will be unveiled to the channel in the region soon. The initiative will give much more benefits to channel partners across the Middle East.

Channel: What type of channel partners are you engaging with in the Middle East market?

Mohammad Mobasseri: We are offering complete security and IT solutions suitable for all segments and verticals, so that they are able to serve all customers and all the major geographies in the region. We have channel partners serving different segments. We have partnered with value added resellers (VARs), system integrators (SIs), enterprise-focused solution provider partners and xSPs.

Channel: What are the core vertical markets that your company is helping channel partners to target in the region?

Mohammad Mobasseri: As per our strategy, we are not going after specific verticals because our products and solutions are not specific to any industry segment. The mix of our reseller base is broad enough to target all verticals at the same time.

Channel: Does your company have subsidiaries in other countries in the Middle East? Are you looking at setting up subsidiaries in other parts of the Middle East and Africa region?

Mohammad Mobasseri: Given that we recently set up the Middle East operation, geographical expansion including setting up subsidiary offices and having territorial presence is part of our roadmap going forward in the region.

Channel: How do you rate the Middle East IT channel in terms of business opportunities and potential for the products you supply?

Mohammad Mobasseri: The Middle East region is a growing market with huge potential not just for us but the IT industry at large. There are many countries that are still emerging economies and we strongly believe these countries will keep the growth engine going for some time. Even economies in countries like UAE and KSA that are more mature than the rest of the region still have huge demand for new technologies and services. Overall, we see a great potential in the region but at the same time the market is highly competitive.

Channel: Where will majority of your company’s growth come from in the Middle East market in 2014?

Mohammad Mobasseri: We are expecting majority of growth for our business to come from GCC countries. Aside from that, we anticipate African markets to also contribute to our growth story this year.

Channel: What new channel initiatives, programmes or schemes will you be rolling out this year?

Mohammad Mobasseri: We are in the process of launching our new partner programme that would also include loyalty, incentive schemes and rebates for our channel partners, which we are confident will give lots of benefits to them.

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