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Computer Associates charms UAE channel

Computer Associates (CA) charmed more than 100 members of the UAE reseller community during the Dubai leg of its regional Total Protection Channel Roadshow last week. With a channel-friendly model and fast-growing regional operation, CA claims to be laying the foundations for significant Middle East sales growth during 2005.

Computer Associates (CA) charmed more than 100 members of the UAE reseller community during the Dubai leg of its regional Total Protection Channel Roadshow last week. With a channel-friendly model and fast-growing regional operation, CA claims to be laying the foundations for significant Middle East sales growth during 2005.

“There are more than 100 people here representing more than 50 companies,” said Saeid Marashi, regional channel manager at CA. “My mission statement is no direct business. All of our business will go through our partners and it will be based on long-term relationships with them.”

Since taking over the running of its Middle East operation from its regional representative in late 2004, CA has embarked on a rapid expansion policy and is communicating its regional vision to partners and customers alike.

“After the handover of the operation last year, some people were slightly apprehensive and wanted to meet the new team face-to-face,” explained Marashi. “Over 100 people attended the roadshow in Riyadh and 50 turned up for the event in Jeddah. Since those events, we have already started to see the orders coming into distributors.”

Having appointed value-added distributor Mindware alongside Tech Data and Aptec, CA is hoping to boost sales of ‘volume’ products through its two-tier channel. CA is also working hard to establish a network of premier partners capable of delivering its ‘value’ products aimed at enterprise customers.

“CA has 1,300 products meaning extensive breadth and depth and the ability to work on different platforms,” said Marashi. “We are focusing on three key areas: security, storage and enterprise management. The volume products are available through our distributors who are also able to provide technical support.”

Distributors are upbeat about the investment that CA has made in the region. “Support has been an issue in the past,” explained Ilyas Mohammed, business unit manager security, storage and networking at Aptec. “I spoke to a very committed CA reseller who previously had concerns about the level of local support. That has all changed now and the support infrastructure is in place. We have already started activities and promotions to generate more CA business in the region.”

Beyond the Middle East, CA’s regional operation also expects to add French-speaking North Africa to its remit during the first half of 2005. Currently serviced from France, CA is expected to switch responsibility for these markets to its Middle East operation in the coming months. CA has already soft launched a call centre facility in Lebanon with French, Arabic and English speakers to serve partners and customers.

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