CTMEA chats to Mohammed Abdul Kabeer, Channel Sales Manager at regional distributor LQ Secure MENA on the company’s plans for the region and why the future looks bright.
CTMEA: What will be LQ Secure’s main focus in 2011 and what are your predictions for the Middle East channel for this year?
MK: LQ’s main focus will be to grow its business in other Middle Eastern countries by recruiting people on the ground. Channel partners who quickly adapt to a change and provide innovative/cost effective solutions to its customers will definitely see growth. The countries we will be focusing in 2011 will be KSA, Qatar, Kuwait and Africa.
CTMEA: The number of reseller companies closing down is increasing especially here in Dubai what does this tell us about the general outlook of the channel in the Middle East?
MK: The channel needs to realign its business policies to suit the current market conditions. I do not see the market conditions to be so grim that resellers are to hit the panic button instead of finding a solution. I feel unfortunate for those who took an early exit. I am confident that 2011 will be a growth oriented year for all of us.
CTMEA: What in your view as a distributor in this market needs to change to find a lasting solution to the credit issues that resellers are currently grappling with?
MK: The market should start seeking help from credit rating bureaus such as Dun & Brad Street and take a moderate approach towards extending credit.
CTMEA: What do you see as the immediate areas in LQ Secure’s business that will bring about opportunities for growth for the company?
MK: Information security business is showing constant growth as protecting the infrastructure and its asset continues to be the major objective for organisations. This year we also plan to add more solutions related to infrastructure management and network monitoring which we see as another key growth area.
CTMEA: What business challenges do you face as an IT distributor operating in a volatile economic climate that is still suffering the remnants of the 2009 global economic downturn?
MK: Achieving growth is a major challenge and it can be realised only through taking some concrete steps such as finding new markets, increasing your solutions offering as per the market demand and growing the channel base.
CTMEA: What can your channel partners expect from LQ Secure in terms of channel initiatives and programmes you have lined up?
MK: LQ is focused on helping resellers capitalise on emerging technologies and channel initiatives such as free trainings and complete on the ground pre sales support will definitely help in growing the business. We also help Channel partners to focus on the segment where they do not have expertise on the ground by offering pre- and post-sales support to them and we also provide consulting services if required.
CTMEA: What geographies do you cover from your headquarters in Dubai?
MK: Middle East and North Africa is the main target market for LQ
CTMEA: What products or technology solutions are you eyeing that will complement your current product portfolio?
MK: As virtualised environments grow, we are expecting security requirements to quickly follow and we are keenly looking to tie up with a vendor focusing on the same.
CTMEA: IT Security is one area where spending has continued even despite organisations cutting budgets. As a security solutions distributor, what are you focusing on in this segment?
MK: LQ is best known for encryption, content security and perimeter protection and this will continue to remain our key segment.
CTMEA: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia IT market has been touted as the one market this year that will spur IT growth for the Middle East IT market. What are your views about the KSA IT market?
MK: KSA is the largest IT market in the gulf and with a strong year on year growth which is significant and it will definitely remain to be a main target market for Value Added Distributors like us.
CTMEA: Is the KSA market important to LQ Secure and do you have presence in the KSA?
MK: KSA has been an important market for us and our main objective in 2011 is to establish on the ground presence by opening up a branch office.
CTMEA: Which countries in the Middle East and North Africa will you be focusing on strongly this year and why?
MK: KSA, Qatar and Libya. We see lot of potential growth in these countries based on the aggressive steps that the governments are taking.
CTMEA: From a technology and product perspective, what new technologies and products is LQ Secure tracking in the next two years?
MK: We will be closely tracking the developments in the Cloud, Content, end point Security, Storage and Email & File Archiving technologies, and we are keenly evaluating vendors in these segments.