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Elsag adds Emirates Computers

Italian IT services behemoth Elsag has struck a partnership with Emirates Computers to provide a route-to-market for its high-end enterprise solutions to potential customers in the Middle East.

Italian IT services behemoth Elsag has struck a partnership with Emirates Computers to provide a route-to-market for its high-end enterprise solutions to customers in the Middle East. The company has already put in place a teaming agreement with Mideast Data Systems (MDS) and has also entered into preliminary talks with Gulf Business Machines and Al Jeraisy Group.

Fabio Chiusa, marketing director at Elsag explains: “We have carried out major projects in the Middle East including with Al Rajhi Bank in Saudi Arabia. Elsag is now in the phase of looking to find a limited number of partners to deliver its solutions to customers in the Middle East.”

2,800-strong Elsag, part of Italy’s giant Finmecannica group, posted sales of Euro401m during 2003 and works across a number of vertical markets including finance, transportation and public administration. Having already carried out projects in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Elsag is now looking to expand its reach by securing deals in more countries across the region.

“The model we are pursuing in the Middle East is one whereby partners take the knowledge to the market,” added Chiusa. “They would act as the systems integrators and would help deliver Elsag solutions to the market.”

Elsag views the formation of local partnerships with strong systems integrators as a vital step on the path to building presence on the Middle East. “In this part of the world, the personal relationship — and the physical aspect of meeting face-to-face — is very important,” explained Chiusa. “This is one of the reasons why we need partners. They can contribute to the relationship with a potential customer before a tender has even been issued.”

The strong IT investment climate in the Middle East is a major factor driving Elsag to build up its Middle East activities through partners. “Europe is crowded and customers are looking for increasingly innovative solutions to justify IT spend,” said Chiusa. “Even then there is not much money to spend. In contrast, the Middle East looks ready for a period of strong investment.”

Elsag has also forged strong links with representatives from Iran and expects further investment from the banking sector as liberalisation begins to open the market up. Further partnerships in the Middle East between Elsag and regional systems integrators have not been ruled out.

“There will be no exclusivity in terms of vertical or geography in our partnership strategy,” added Chiusa. “I do not think it is commercially good practice. We are looking for an adaptive model of co-operation between Elsag and its partners. This region is very receptive and we have strong solutions and packages to bring to market. In Italy, Elsag also operates as a systems integrator. Here, we will leave much of that role to partners.”

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