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In the cloud
[November 01, 2009]

In the cloud

(Computer News Middle East Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) As companies in the Middle East region are looking to adopt cloud computing base technologies, CNME chats to Ann Ritchie-Cox, Director of Strategic Alliances at MEEZA, one of the GCC's fastest growing technology companies on how her company is accelerating this in the region.

CNME:Cloud computing is still in its nascent stages as far as technology adoption in the region and perhaps across the world goes. How is MEEZA looking at accelerating this in the region? AR:To accelerate Cloud Services in the region, MEEZA is building the required IT infrastructure including our M-Vault data centres. We are investing in the latest technology so that our clients don’t have to. Additionally, we are focused on educating the market about Cloud Services so that companies can plan to take advantage of the many benefits.As MEEZA expands, we will broaden our scope to focus more on delivering Managed IT Services and Solutions to companies across the GCC. To do this, we are setting up a Channel to sell MEEZA’s Services. Our channel partners will help us to more effectively service the small and medium business segment with Cloud Services.

CNME:Which solutions are likely to take the lead as far as customer adoption goes? AR:Solutions that clients use on a day to day basis that require a large amount of IT resources to maintain and are easy to offload will be first in terms of customer adoption. This includes e-mail and document management as well as CRM and ERP solutions. We find that our clients appreciate being able to hand off the maintenance, security aspects and implementation of these applications as it allows them to focus on their core business.

CNME:How does your channel model work, since you yourself are a large solutions provider who sources technologies from vendors such as Cisco, Microsoft etc? Would you expect to work with existing partners of these companies in trying to resell the solutions that you configure? AR:We are looking for channel partners from many sources. We find that good channel partners are those who truly understand the needs and challenges of small and medium businesses. Some of these could be hardware vendors, software vendors as well as companies such as financial institutions or telecommunications companies who have a significant SMB base and want to offer software as a service as a value add to their client base.

CNME:Which SAAS solutions would you be pushing under the cloud computing model? AR:The first MEEZA cloud services offering will be Software as a Service released to the market later this year. This includes initially Hosted exchange and SharePoint and will be expanded to include hosted ERP and CRM solutions as well as offering Managed IT Services offered via the cloud.

CNME:You are apparently looking at appointing partners in GCC countries that would help address the SMB market. What kind of ideal partner profile would fit into your go to market strategy? AR:Companies that fully understand the small and medium business segment and want to work in partnership with MEEZA to deliver the Software as a Service and Managed Service value proposition to these clients.

CNME:What are these reseller partners expected to fulfil in terms of support services? AR:This will be on a case by case basis and depends on the business model of the partner. But, MEEZA is flexible on this and is able to offer a broad range of support services from first line support through to full service management to assist our channel in delivering service excellence to clients.

CNME:How many partners would you look to have across the region and in specific markets? AR:We are looking to partner with the best in the region according to the products and the end-user relationships that they have. This is a long term strategy and we are focusing on quality partnerships rather than quantity. In terms of regions, the mission of MEEZA is to be the preferred Managed IT Services and Solutions provider in the Middle East and North Africa, so we are looking for these types of partnerships across this region.

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