Dell to talk about its vision for future-ready IT at GITEX 2014

Channel Post speaks to Shams Hasan, the Enterprise Product Manager for Middle East at Dell, about the company’s plans for GITEX 2014

Shams Hasan, the Enterprise Product Manager for Middle East at Dell.
Shams Hasan, the Enterprise Product Manager for Middle East at Dell.

How has the regional ICT market grown over the past few years?
At Dell we are observing the maturing of a particularly exciting trend, the Middle East is experiencing an interesting tipping point in Customers’ understanding and acceptance of industry trends, as well as their consequent demands from vendors. Around five years ago, customers reached out to IT vendors, described a business problem and asked for a solution around isolated technology verticals. However, today Customers are often more tech-savvy and understand the boxes that are involved better than the vendors. They don’t seek solutions anymore but want value-added collaboration in engagements and partnerships for the long-term.

The Middle East’s expectations of IT – today – find strong synergies with Dell’s mission, point of views, and breadth of technology offerings. Dell delivers innovative standards-based, zero-legacy, modular end-to-end technology solutions that are easier to buy, use, and grow, and are ready for the constant change a growing Middle East can expect.

In today’s Middle East IT market vendors cannot add value by providing isolated technologies – storage or compute or networking. Today, Customers want all-in-one end-to-end solutions, which provides them speed with precision, flexibility with security, and control with excellent management of the services, all with a reasonable TCO and future protection.

Which ICT products are in demand in the MEA region? Has there been a major shift in what the consumers want in ICT products?
It is important to appreciate the diversity of business interests and positions in our region when looking at priorities or ‘demand’. The Middle East is going through an unprecedented time in history – from growth spurts in certain countries, to historical changes in others. A lot of the positive developments and directions are supported by the highest order of leadership and vision – country level National Visions & Development Strategies – which recognize the importance of technology’s role in enabling, maintaining and developing the economy and vision.

Meanwhile enterprises and SMBs range within a diverse set of positions and stages in terms of technology challenges, priorities, and business strategies. Some of the broadest concerns and consequent priorities or demands that we see in today’s Middle East market are in the areas of: storage, convergence, and security.

Storage: Offerings of products and services for storage have gone through rapid changes in the technology and services. This trend in the vendor space parallels the explosive growth of created data and the value of data around the world. While this is a priority globally, IT leaders in the Middle East understand the need to be even more dynamic – to catch-up with the global position and be equipped with best-in-class solutions that are ready for the growth strategies of their businesses and their region. Concerns and priorities vary from companies which were originally at the forefront of embracing storage technologies having to now revisit their strategies, to SMBs that have the advantage of looking at a fresh approach but a disadvantage in experience.

Hence, accepting these business demands and industry trends, what is clear all-round is a shift from monolithic single-function, box storage devices to flexible, intelligent technologies that bring speed, scale-up, scale-out, and automation whilst lowering TCO and protecting the Customers’ investments – Dell is well-positioned in this regards with our storage solutions that: redefine the economics of storage with Flash at the price of disk, bring extraordinary I/O performance and application acceleration with Fluid Cache for SAN solutions; and our IP, investments, and alliances into software-defined storage strategies.

Convergence: As businesses in the Middle East region plan for growth and expansions, technology leaders are asked to step out of the operations role and partner with the business strategically. Mandates on what IT leaders need to be able to do with technology grows deeper in the data centre, and climbs higher in the demands on services and solutions.

IT leaders look for solutions and synergies that go beyond just the silos of technology verticals, slash the burden of management, and enable peace of mind. We are seeing increased interests and plans for the adoption of converged infrastructure solutions that lower operating costs, speed up deployments, and drive simplicity, where datacentre infrastructure platforms are agile, efficient and high quality.

A great example of this is our award-winning PowerEdge VRTX solution that caught the market by surprise last year at its introduction. Called by many as “One of the most innovative server designs of the year” the VRTX is the first integrated IT solution designed specifically for remote-office and small-office environments. Dell makes convergence easier and natural for large enterprises and possible for SMBs!

Security: As the Middle East region recoups from recent exposés in security and data privacy, this topic is at the forefront in the minds of IT and business leaders in the region. Additionally it is a growing priority and concern with industry trends such as explosive data growth, virtualization proliferation, insufficient visibility and counter measures, and BYOD. A major shift in this area is Customers’ understandings that when you rely on legacy IT security solutions that operate in silos, the resulting gaps and complexity can kill efficiency and squander resources that you could be investing in your business.

Consequently today we have seen Customers investigate and look into holistic solutions that are future ready and address security from the client to the data-center to the cloud – whether a Customers is currently on it today or is planning for it for tomorrow. Dell has a unique value proposition around security solutions that place the data at the center and bring and visibility into security throughout the enterprise. IT leaders understand the concept of being either an inhibitor or enabler of the business. It’s surely true in security too.

Being too lax on security means too much risk, but applying too much security means your end users can’t do their jobs. Dell seeks to provide customers with a balanced approach to security. We believe security should be simpler, more unified and connected to the business – it should be an enabler to the business and not get in the way. Dell has an industry leading position in security with a portfolio of well-known products and brands for Customers to develop a Connected Security Strategy with Network security solutions such as SonicWALL, data/endpoint security and management solutions such as Dell Data Protection software and KACE, identity and access management solutions with our extensive Quest portfolio, and security services with SecureWorks.

What do you plan to achieve through GITEX Technology Week and GITEX Shopper this year? Can you please share your plans?
At GITEX Technology Week 2014, Dell will showcase its latest portfolio of end-to-end software and technology solutions designed to help customers of all sizes integrate, optimize, and automate their infrastructure, applications, and IT service delivery and management. Dell will showcase its Connected Security offerings and services that provide a complete lifecycle approach to enterprise protection that help customers in the Middle East address challenges brought on by industry mega-trends such as cloud, security, mobility, enterprise modernization, the consumerization of IT, as well as the explosion of data growth.

We will also be launching new products that will be displayed and supported with experts on-site for discussions so that end users and channel partners can take a closer look. Along with many server upgrades we will have: Networking solutions including the Dell Networking Z9500 – the largest fabric switch positioned for software-defined networking with 512 10G non-blocking ports in a tiny 3U form factor; the new Dell Storage SC4000 Series arrays and a portfolio of software-defined storage and converged solutions – Dell storage solutions are helping redefine the economics of Enterprise Storage.

Dell will also be showcasing its latest offerings in the end-user-computing space, some items on display will include the Dell OptiPlex 9030 All-in-One – the industry’s most secure PC, along with the Dell Wyse 5000 series All-in-One thin client, 7000 series quad-display thin client, and Xenith 3 zero client. Visit Dell on stand CLD-6 in hall six.

What’s going to be your theme at GITEX Technology Week this year?
A Vision for a Future-Ready IT – Scale Smarter, Manage Easier, Innovate Faster.

Do you have plans to conduct raffle draws, give away gifts and so on for end consumers this year?
At GITEX Shopper this year Dell will have an Alienware stand where we will be launching great new products; we will be launching new product bundles and holding exciting competitions and giving away prizes as well!

What sort of channel strategies are you going to follow this year?
With the evolution of the Middle East as discussed above, we are also seeing great interest in the channel eco-system to go beyond a fulfillment role and meet the Customers’ call for value-add partnerships in co-creating solutions. Dell values Channel Partners and understands the huge advantage they bring in their regional markets as well as their domains.

Consequently Dell Channel Partners are also in a great position with Dell’s large portfolio and flexibly manage and reach aspirational goals whilst maintaining a unique position in the market for their customers. This year – with the significant developments at Dell – we are ensuring our Channel Partners are not left behind; Dell is investing in developing channel programs for the Middle East to help Partners accelerate their business and improve their capabilities and expertise around Dell Enterprise and software. We are also motivating and enabling partners to develop core-competencies in the many Dell lines of business.

Do you have any specific engagement for your channel community this year at GITEX?
We are supporting all our retail partners at GITEX Shopper as well as many Distributors and Preferred Partners at Tech week. With a splendid past year we are planning to thank our channel partners and will be inviting them to a celebration.