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Blue Coat sets sights on service partners

Blue Coat aims to develop depth of channel services offerings in the Middle East

Blue Coat, the security solutions and WAN optimisation specialist, has revealed that it plans to launch a partner programme aimed at creating specific service partners in the region.

The vendor is currently holding its annual partner conference at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, where yesterday it unveiled the Blue Coat Service Partner Programme which will be similar in nature to a global service partner programme it rolled out recently.

Nidal Taha, regional director for the Middle East and Turkey at Blue Coat, insists he is happy with the current work of the company's channel, but says that the creation of service dedicated partners will allow it to capitalise on the revenue rich value market.

"Every partner is able to add margin and value to our products after going though a qualification process. 20% of our revenue comes purely from services and service renewals," revealed Taha. "A service partner should represent all types of Blue Coat services, from professional services, consulting, support and frontline helpdesk. This service partner programme is a very complex programme and it should contribute a good amount of revenue to those partners."

Taha then went on to explain that Blue Coat is not looking for current alliances to join the programme and will instead be recruiting new partners for the purpose.

At the conference the vendor told partners that the Middle East accounted for roughly 6% of the $81.4m global revenue it made in its most recent fiscal quarter. Taha says that one strategy that he plans to implement to up this percentage by moving Blue Coat's business into new territories in the region. He explained that the majority of a partner recruitment push that is to begin at the outset of May will focus on developing a channel in Turkey.

"We are heavily focusing on Turkey because we feel we are not capturing the right market share there," said Taha. "50% of the growth that we are going to do in our partner base will be in Turkey itself. We have been analysing and watching Turkey and looking at other vendors and we have realised that the Turkish market should contribute over 0.03% of the worldwide revenue. That is not our ratio today and we need to match that ratio."

Just over a year ago Blue Coat in the Middle East had a handful of partners. After invoking a strategy that involved rapid development of its regional partner network there were a great deal many more faces at this year's partner conference in Abu Dhabi. But, evidenced by these two announcements, the vendor still has serious plans for its partner base here.

"We believe that Blue Coat is here to help our channel partners make margins," said Nigel Hawthorn, EMEA marketing manager for Blue Coat, "There are some vendors who, it seems, are in conflict with themselves. They say we have channel partners, and that they want to work with them, but then they go and introduce their own direct touch services and consultancy. That is not our plan. We have always tried to encourage our channel partners to get trained."

Hawthorn continued: "Our belief is, to make a good partnership, everybody has to be able to make profits. That means encouraging our channel partners to offer pre-sales services, maybe, web assessment programmes, consultancy services and support services afterwards. We are there to help the channel offer these services but we would like them to deliver them to the end user," he concluded.

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