Cloud push

Spiros Rafailovits, general manager, UAE and Gulf at Logicom, talks about channel business prospects, cloud marketplace and why partners should continue to work with the company in the Middle East market.

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Cloud push Rafailovits says Logicom runs multiple training sessions and various proof of concept activities for all the brands it distributes.
By  Manda Banda Published  July 18, 2018

Talk us through your company’s operations and what business strategy you have adopted for the Middle East and North Africa market in 2018?

SPIROS RAFAILOVITS: Logicom aims to be the technology distributor of choice for providers to the commercial and enterprise market. Our strategy this year continues to evolve around enhancing our reach to these markets by growing our field sales coverage and our solutions portfolio. At the same time, we are very focused on improving our go-to-market and introducing new tools, and this has led to significant investments in the Logicom Cloud Marketplace as well as all other partner facing platforms. Through these tools, we aspire to deliver new digital capabilities to our channel and guide them to the path of digital transformation, on which we all need to be.

We have also invested significantly in empowering our partners to transform, through skill development and building demo capabilities. Throughout 2017 we developed a number of Logicom Café sites across multiple Logicom offices in the region. These venues within the Logicom sites are dedicated to our partners. We run multiple training sessions and various proof of concept (PoC) activities for all the brands we distribute. Our partners are welcome and encoraged to host their end user customers to showcase various solutions that revolve around collaboration, data centre and cloud technologies. This investment has been paying off and Logicom sales engineers are kept fully utilised and booked in partner sessions. Together we are building capabilities in the provision of new solutions to different problems and challenges. In 2018 we want to add security capabilities to these experience centres. We aim to continue to evolve as the channel’s value solution trusted advisor.

How has business been for Logicom in the first half of this year in the region?

SR: We have seen growth of almost 10% during our first six months of operations in 2018. This is not surprising, as during the last 12 months we have been observing the same growth trend. Given the current tough political and economic climate in the region, we are happy with this trend but we cannot rest as business is very demanding and there is no room for complacency. We are always looking to improve our partner deliverables and to add to our solutions portfolio.

What has been Logicom’s focus so far in 2018?

SR: The continuous evolution of our GTM and skill development in all our product teams allow us to keep focus on solutions and drive the business to the elements where we see opportunities to grow. We have kept away from opportunistic deals that are shallow and have no repetition in the business. We have taken the harder route of developing and driving specific solutions and architectures, especially around Datacentre and Cloud.

Your company has been ramping up vendor partnerships. What is behind your new vendor alliances?

SR: Our portfolio of products coincides with our strategy. We do not want to carry a brand for the sake of carrying an extra logo. All our portfolio contributes towards the company’s strategy in solutions building for the commercial and enterprise markets. For us to be successful, all of our vendors need to be on board with us and co-invest in our partner strategy. This is an element of the successful relationships we have managed to establish with our vendors. We always aim to be focused and dedicated to our vendor partners, irrespective of their size or bottom line contribution to our numbers.

Logicom in 2017 launched its Cloud Marketplace Platform. How will this benefit channel partners and support their business growth in the region?

SR: Logicom Cloud Marketplace is the simplest and quickest path for any partner to embrace the new digital era and to become a virtual cloud reseller in no time, creating a sustainable and profitable business for the long-term.

Logicom’s cloud services portfolio includes the most innovative and marketable cloud services available in a platform that is simple to use, fully self-managed, and that allows resellers to offer their unique services and to offer them seamlessly with all the cloud services.

What vendor solutions are already on your Cloud Marketplace Platform currently?

SR: Logicom Cloud Marketplace already hosts the services of more than 20 vendors and this list is growing fast. Our major vendors include Microsoft, IBM and Oracle with other vendors like Acronis, Bitdefender, Skyckick, Nomadesk, Zoho, Qorus, Nimble and several other solution vendors completing the solutions portfolio.

It is important to note that key to Logicom’s Cloud strategy is to partner with innovative and selected cloud vendors to help them scale fast to all of Logicom’s countries. To cater for this strategy implementation, Logicom applies a structured go-to-market process that includes both market awareness through digital and traditional media and channel enablement with training sessions and workshops, webinars, marketing material, face-to-face meetings and many more. Additionally, we are open to have local independent software vendors (ISVs) on boarded on the Logicom Cloud Marketplace and be available across the region.

What offerings will Logicom be providing through its Cloud Marketplace Platform and how can resellers tap into these cloud services?

SR: The Logicom Cloud Marketplace offers a wide range of cloud services covering the following key categories: collaboration, business applications, security, infrastructure, migration and, backup and disaster recovery.

All these services and upcoming offerings are available to our resellers through a single account in Logicom Cloud Marketplace. Also, our cloud resellers can access marketing, FAQs, recorded webinars and many more from Logicom’s cloud website at https://cloud.logicom.net.

The regional channel has been impacted by the credit crunch. How is Logicom helping its channel partners to overcome challenges related to credit issues?

SR: Logicom has not changed its strategy. We have been persistent in supporting our partners with credit during the prosperous and challenging times. We have been diligent in our market analysis irrespective of the market conditions. I am proud to say that we have been a strategic pillar to our partners, providing the right credit to fuel their development and avoiding surprising them. Markets and partners need stability. By being consistent and predictable in our engagements, we have allowed our partners to grow with us.

What core vertical markets is Logicom helping channel partners to target with the range of products, solutions and services you offering to channel partners?

SR: The commercial segment will always be the important focus area for distribution because of the opportunities of scale and replication. However, our portfolio of solutions is growing significantly and allows us to cover most verticals in the region. Our size, our peoples’ skills and the vendor solution set we can provide allow us to address multiple opportunities successfully.

What channel programmes, incentives or rebate schemes are you pushing in the market this year and the first half of 2019?

SR: Logicom has been executing its very own Partners First Programme, which highlights our efforts to contribute towards a better developed and more competent channel landscape. The programme offers tiered access to rebates earned on business developed, vendor specific specialisations and training managed by our team of pre-sales individuals, dedicated account management as well as allocated marketing funds for reseller white labelling and event or initiative management. The programme is also tailored to that of the partners we engage with, ensuring alignment between our vision and that of our resellers. It is a win-win scheme that drives the success of true channel development.

What will drive your business growth in the year ahead and how is the company preparing partners to capitalise on opportunities that will emerge?

SR: Past success is a vindication that we are on the right track and our strategy will be to continue to deliver the same consistent go-to-market to vendors and partners. At the same time, digital transformation is the great enabler of technology investments at the moment and clearly an area where we have made strategic investments. We believe the derivatives of transformation will continue to be extremely relevant and important in the years to come and we are fully focused on building on security, cloud, data centre and mobility solutions to continue to enable our partners on the digital transformation journey. We will also be announcing a number of exciting news in the near future, so we would like to ask our partners “to stay tuned.”

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