Shomail Ghalib, president & CEO at regional value-added distributor (VAD) TechAccess talks about the company’s value driven focus and how its enhanced stack of solutions is creating cross-selling opportunities for resellers in the Middle East.
Channel: Talk us through your company’s operations and the business strategy you have adopted for the Middle East channel this year.
Shomail Ghalib: Tech Access (TA) is a value-added IT distributor for global vendors such as Oracle, Hitachi Data Systems, Symantec, Extreme, Unify, NetScout and iVEDiX, with an expanding network of more than 250 enterprise resellers and partners across 16 countries in the Middle East, Levant and North Africa region. TA has been in the region for more than 13 years and as a top VAD in the industry, we work very hard to maintain this position. We have recently added four new vendors to our portfolio namely Extreme, Unify, NetScout and iVEDiX. These vendors complement our current IT solutions stack as they offer leading networking technologies and mobile analytics solutions. Our focus is to achieve success as the best VAD in the region by constantly adding in new solutions and services to our portfolio in order to develop our channel and to bring sustainable level of growth not only to our business but to our vendors and partners as well.
Channel: How has business been for TechAccess in 2014 in the Middle East?
Shomail Ghalib:This year has been one of our best years to date. Business across all vendors has been good and we have recorded excellent growth within our Hitachi Data Systems and Oracle portfolio this year. KSA has delivered breakthrough sales with GCC markets like UAE and Qatar showing growth as well. Egypt and other Levant territories have provided good business despite the political turbulence in that part of the world. Our focus for the remainder of the year will be the development of our HDS storage and Oracle software businesses. We also intend to leverage our enhanced stack for cross-sell opportunities within our existing channel base. This will also result in attracting new partners to our channel and hence enhance our ability to target a whole new set of verticals with our existing portfolio of products.
Channel: What has been your company’s focus in terms of channel development initiatives, programmes and bringing on board new vendor brands?
Shomail Ghalib: As mentioned earlier, the strategy is to offer an enhanced stack with complementing vendors to our channel. As a start, we hope to achieve this by introducing four new vendors who are leaders in their respective segments. Extreme is now a global player within the network arena and will help us complete our stack as we did not have a network player onboard. We are enhancing this proposition by adding network monitoring capability through NetScout and a strong unified communications proposition through Unify (formerly known as Siemens Communications) to our portfolio. As you may be aware, Unify is recognised as a global leader in the unified communications space. We believe that with the introduction of these new vendors with their own channel ecosystems on top of our existing offering of Oracle solutions, Symantec and HDS, will result in a highly diversified and well developed channel forming the base for our future growth.
Channel: How many vendor brands do you currently represent within your stable in the region?
Shomail Ghalib: After the addition of the three new vendors, we now have six brands within the TA portfolio. We are currently plan to increase it up to 10 vendors in the next two years.
Channel: What support are you receiving from your vendor partners whose brands you represent in the Middle East?
Shomail Ghalib: Each vendor has its own objectives, but typically speaking vendors look for strong product management, technical support and channel development from their VADs. Given the goals of each vendor, which could vary based on their technology, territories and strategy, we analyse their requirements and start collaborating with them to fulfil that effectively. Oracle is highly focused on product marketing and provides complete support in terms of collateral and development funds, HDS provides discounts on demo units as a support for proof of concepts (PoCs) in our solution centre and other vendors provide technical and channel support as well. As the extended arm of the vendors, we work very closely with them to align their business and sales objectives in order to produce maximum results.
Channel: What would you say is the most challenging channel issue at present in Middle East?
Shomail Ghalib: This is a question that I face on a day to day basis and I always tell everyone that there is not one issue that I can single out as most challenging. Typical issues like credit still remain however, from a channel point of view the overall economic and industry vertical growth bears a lot on our business. So for us, it is important to keep a tab on emerging and upcoming industries within our area of coverage. We will also be monitoring the development and success of the cloud offering in the region.
Channel: What core vertical markets is TechAccess helping channel partners to target with the range of products and solutions you have in your stable?
Shomail Ghalib: We have presence in government, healthcare, banking, telecom, education and we will be penetrating more verticals with the addition of the new vendors this year and beyond.
Channel: Where will majority of your company’s growth come from in the Middle East market in 2014?
Shomail Ghalib: As discussed earlier, due to our strategy we expect cross sales across the stack and expect continued growth in KSA & GCC region. Levant should also be mentioned as it has shown growth despite numerous external challenges.