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CA: We're not closing Middle East office

CA moving to indirect model, but will retain Dubai regional office to service channel

Software vendor CA has scotched rumours that it is considering the future of its Middle East operation and hit back with the message that it is "here to stay".

The company has initiated a series of restructuring measures in recent weeks, largely involving a re-jig of the territories that it serves from its Dubai office. Since the beginning of the month, markets such as Russia and South Africa have been re-grouped with other regions, leaving the Dubai office to focus solely on the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

More significantly, CA has decided to axe its hybrid go-to-market approach and transition to a full-scale indirect model instead. That means CA will no longer handle end-user accounts directly, but push all the business through its key enterprise partners in the region.

The radical shift in strategy has resulted in the redundancy of 10 staff in end-user-facing roles from its Dubai office, but the vendor claims it will still be able to boast a workforce of around 40 people serving the region in channel-focused capacities. This will include marketing, channel programme and support staff at its Dubai regional office, and in-country pre- and post-sales channel staff in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

In smaller territories such as North Africa and Levant, meanwhile, CA is preparing to appoint master distributors that will be responsible for channel development, mirroring the type of model used by Sun Microsystems and Tech Access.

Peter Kwisthout, general manager for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey at CA, believes that market misinterpretation over how that distribution model would be implemented is to blame for speculation that CA planned to shut its regional office and franchise the business to partners.

"I think that rumour grew from speculation that because we were going to do master distribution we wanted to franchise the whole market, but that's not what is happening," he explained. "Then we were also focusing a lot in terms of these key markets and where the people would be focused. Part of that exercise was that there were a few end-user skilled people who had to move on because if you apply a channel-based driven model like this one and you want to be true to the model, you don't need a sales guy who is good at dealing with an end-account. The guys that do this will be the partners and we have to support them in driving that end-user engagement."

CA claims it is still in the process of recruiting a few more staff members as it looks to get the revamped structure up to the strength it wants. "This tells you that if we were shutting an office we wouldn't be hiring people now because it wouldn't be fair on them. We are here and we are here to stay," declared Kwisthout. "We will be more focused than before with more emphasis on the Middle East than we have ever had before, and I think that is good news."

Read the next issue of Channel Middle East for full details on how CA intends to implement its new go-to-market model and what it means for the company's Middle East partners.