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3Com plans roadshow

Networking vendor 3Com will embark on a regional roadshow calling at eleven cities during December 2004 to highlight three focus areas: security, voice and wireless.

Networking vendor 3Com will embark on a regional roadshow calling at eleven cities during December 2004 to highlight three focus areas: security, voice and wireless. The roadshow will target both partners and potential end-users.

Wael Fakharany, regional general manager Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at 3Com, speaking at Gitex, said: “These are the three hot areas that 3Com is really investing in. Obviously, we want to keep our SMB presence where we have Aptec and OnLine as distributors, but wireless and security are top priorities.”

“We will announce our voice roadmap on December 1st and will also have a roadshow running from December 4th to December 20th that will cover 11 cities across MENA,” he added. “This roadshow will talk about these three market areas where 3Com has both the intellectual property and the software.”

Despite having a broad product portfolio aimed at the SMB and SOHO segments and sold through distribution, 3Com is also looking to increase its exposure in the enterprise networking space. 3Com’s joint venture with Chinese networking giant Huawei is the vehicle of choice for expanding the product portfolio.

“We are launching more than 125 new part numbers through our joint venture in the next few weeks,” added Fakharany. “3Com is using Huawei and the joint venture to leverage in the cost benefits of manufacturing in China. We have 2,000 engineers in China and another 1,000 in our Taiwanese design centre.”

With 3Com’s product portfolio expanding fast, the sales teams needs to be acutely aware of the scope of solutions they can offer. “It is a challenge to keep following up on the product range,” explained Fakharany. “We are moving the sales force to start selling in a completely different way. If they go to a customer that has a Nortel or Cisco network, they still need to be aware of the opportunities to sell solutions based around wireless, security or voice.”

At the SMB level, the competition to recruit and retain channel partners with genuine market reach has been intensifying as more and more vendors crowd into the sector. “It is tough to build this channel,” said Fakharany, “But I think it is even tougher at the enterprise level. I do believe that we are either number one or number two in every Middle East market in the SMB space. 3Com has the channel, the distribution model, the rebates, the prices, the promotions and the correct placement. As we scale our products and our people we need to build the other side of the equation and capture the enterprise space as well.”

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