Sage to show off fast, flexible and simple solutions at GITEX 2014

Channel Post speaks to Keith Fenner, the Senior Vice President of Sales at Sage ERP Africa and Head of Sage Middle East, about demand for ERP and CRM solutions, the general market trends in the Middle East and Sage’s plans for GITEX 2014

Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President Sales – Sage ERP Africa and Head of Sage Middle East.
Keith Fenner, Senior Vice President Sales – Sage ERP Africa and Head of Sage Middle East.

What technology trends have you seen in the Middle East and Africa market over the past few months?
The single biggest trend has been mobility and the need to transact business processes on the smart device not purely an enquiry function. This combined with other connected services such as stock optimization has seen the market start to transition to a more end user focused strategy.

How has the regional ICT market grown over the past few years?
The Middle East has grown strongly over the last few years with the UAE and KSA leading the way. The announcement of Expo 2020 has driven excitement back into Dubai and we see many new projects commencing. KSA has always been a traditionally strong market which we have exciting plans for in the next few years. The lower gulf and Levant have also been an area of interest for us with increasing marketing efforts driving more product awareness.

Which ICT products are in demand in the MEA region? Has there been a major shift in what the consumers want in ICT products?
Larger businesses may have outgrown their existing ERP systems of be at the right time in the lifecycle to replace existing systems. ERP and CRM are still in high demand but competition is strong and Sage has taken steps to differentiate ourselves through mobility, cloud and connected services across our product portfolio.

Which technologies do you think are the most-wanted technologies in the MEA region for sectors such as enterprise, SMB and end consumers?
Customer experience is the culmination of end user experience and technology drives that through usability. It is vital we develop and deliver highly usable solutions in the Middle East.

Usability comes in many forms but to us its allowing strong capability across the mobile and smart device spectrum as that’s the reality today. End users expect their ERP and CRM systems to operate in a similar way to Google, Linked In and other widely used platforms. To do this we had to re-imagine ERP and deliver not only strong functionality but a user experience that is second to none across web and mobile platforms.

What do you plan to achieve through GITEX Technology Week and GITEX Shopper this year? Can you please share your plans?
For us it’s all about awareness of Sage as a brand and an ERP and CRM leader. We have a range of products from SMB to SME to Mid-Market which perfectly suit the market and a partner community ready and able to deliver. Many of our partners will be joining us at the booth with Sage Executives available in our VIP section for discussions, interviews and advice.

Do you plan to launch any new products or technologies at GITEX Technology Week and GITEX Shopper this year?
The focus will be on the launch of Sage ERP X3 v7, our global mid-market offering that delivers on the promise of mobile and web. We will be showcasing the extreme usability if offers combined with fundamental features and modules to deliver simple, fast and flexible ERP.

What’s going to be your theme at GITEX Technology Week this year?
Our theme is fast, flexible and simple solutions. We want Sage to stand out in the Middle East as a vendor that delivers to small, medium and large businesses. We believe in our Customer for Life strategy and will be announcing migration platforms to enable our customers to move between ERP solutions from Sage whilst maintaining full transactional history and data, all delivered in the Cloud.

Do you have plans to conduct raffle draws, give away gifts and so on for end consumers this year?
Of course, Gitex wouldn’t be the same without it. We have many giveaways to announce but maybe the one I can mention is some Formula One excitement at Abu Dhabi, the final race of the year.

What channel strategies are you going to follow this year?
Sage Middle East is a channel company. We pride ourselves on delivering world class service to our growing channel across UAE, KSA, Lower Gulf and Levant. We have had the pleasure of signing on many new partners in the last 12 months so for me it’s a combination or more strategic signings regionally as well as up-skilling the existing Partners for the new dynamic world of ERP we are re-inventing.

Do you have any specific engagement for your channel community this year at GITEX?
Yes, we have dedicated booths for our Partners and opportunities to sponsor and be a real part of the experience. We are confident that Gitex will deliver on its promise and help us drive our business forward.