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PeopleSoft strengthens local channel

PeopleSoft has committed to strengthening its channel within the Middle East, despite the wealth of human resources it inherited by buying JD Edwards earlier in the year.

PeopleSoft has committed to strengthening its channel within the Middle East, despite the wealth of human resources it inherited by buying JD Edwards earlier in the year. Rather than deploying its expanded sales, implementation and support teams in the Middle East, the vendor will instead arm its partners with more knowledge and support as it encourages them to picks off the smaller accounts and helps the vendor grow its business throughout the region.

"We have distributor in countries like Qatar, Saudi and Bahrain because of their size. There are a lot of deals here of a certain size [and] that makes it better for the Bahraini to deal with the Bahraini, the guy from Riyadh with the guy from Riyadh and so on. The primary element here is the sales contact and the relationship, rather than the technology, and we need to protect that," says Guy Dubois, executive vice president of international operations at PeopleSoft.

"We protect that by making sure the partners giving them what they need to deliver the technology," he adds.

Despite acquiring its UAE distributor, Dalma Computer Systems (DCS), the software giant has no immediate plans to purchase any of its other local distributor, promising instead to provide them with extra support and technical know how.

"You buy a distributor because there is either a business case for it in terms of entry costs or because you have a lot of customers that are asking you to come. It is usually a combination of the two and that is what happened here," explains Dubois. "At the moment, we could go and set up direct in Egypt, but is it the right thing to do at the moment? We have decided no, because of practices, connections, local knowledge," he says.

However, while Dubois says the channel will remain as is for the time being, changes could occur during 2004 as the vendor looks to grow its market share in Saudi Arabia, where it has yet to establish itself as one of the top two enterprise software players.

"Saudi Arabia accounts for about 60% of the GCC and it is no doubt the number one market in terms of size... We will do something in Saudi Arabia in 2004 because we have to strengthen ourselves and we have to help our partners over there to be stronger, particularly against our competitors that have a larger footprint. We have a need there, there is a need for an alternative to what is installed there at present, and it is going to be the big thing for next year," says Dubois.

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