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McAfee rings the changes in Middle East

Chooses to bring in security VAD ComputerLinks as a replacement for Redington

Antivirus software vendor McAfee has re-jigged its distribution set-up in the Middle East by bringing in security VAD ComputerLinks as a replacement for Redington.

The change has added further fuel to channel speculation that McAfee will eventually move towards a more streamlined model that utilises one VAD and one volume player, leaving the company to select between existing distributors Aptec and Mindware.

McAfee’s recently-appointed regional director of channels for emerging markets, Daan Hakkert, declined to elaborate on whether this was the plan, insisting there would be no further adjustments “for the moment”.

The addition of ComputerLinks represents McAfee’s first attempt to engage with a security-focused VAD in the Middle East, and Hakkert maintains it is a timely move given the increasing size of its security offering.

“Our product portfolio has seriously expanded through acquisitions that have been made and we want to be seen as a trusted security advisor. With that approach you need a value-added proposition where you are able to explain the different technologies to customers and partners and actively support that,” explained Hakkert. “That needs a different type of solutions-handling and it is something that ComputerLinks has proven it can do in the past because it is solely an IT security distributor.”

ComputerLinks’ appointment is poised to be accompanied by a strong channel push from the vendor, which will see more emphasis on educating and expanding its existing VAR base through greater certification and loyalty incentives.

Hakkert believes ComputerLinks has a key role to play in facilitating that objective. “What I expect - and what they are doing - is to actively promote the McAfee solution, enable their channel, demonstrate the technical expertise to support the products and expand the channel programmes,” he said.

Plans are also in place to bring additional channel manpower on board following the departure of channel manager Samer Malak to rival Symantec, where he is now overseeing the company’s partner strategy in Saudi Arabia.

“The intention is to hire two new channel managers in the region, instead of one as it was in the past,” revealed Hakkert. “We want to enable our channel and because we have this expanded product portfolio there needs to be more attention on this. We are focusing more on the region and therefore we are putting the resources in there.”