Software distribution has been touted as the brave new world – much talked about in the past decade, and finally an explosive growth opportunity thanks to the roles software as a service (SaaS) and cloud services have played over the years. The expansion of services opportunities around software solutions, even as hardware margins continue to slip has made this area of IT even more attractive.
For Al Roman Technologies, which will be celebrating its 20th anniversary milestone in the software space in early 2011, the move to grow its software portfolio and regional footprint wouldn’t have come at a better time than now.
Roy Mathew, MD at Al Roman Technologies says as the company is approaching its 20th anniversary in February 2011, it continues to revolutionise the business world by developing and marketing best-of-breed software products. “Our goal is to create new ways to help SMB organisations to automate financial and operational processes to become more productive and efficient in today’s market situation,” he says.
Mathew says from the beginning of 2010, the company has experienced significant increase in revenues compared to last year and there has been a much better response from channel partners. “With the increasing number of opportunities in the Middle East, we have opened a branch office in Abu Dhabi in April this year,” he says. “We have plans to expand our operations to Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia in the near future.”
He adds that currently the company has 15 employees in its Dubai office and three in newly set-up Abu Dhabi office. “At the moment, we don’t have any subsidiaries in other Middle East countries,” he says.
Mathew says although the company did witness a slowdown in IT spending last year, in line with the overall business outlook around the world, IT spending behaviour has remained conservative due to uncertainty in the global economic environment. However, Mathew says the company has been one of the few IT distributors in the region that has survived and sustained the storm of 2009. He adds that the company achieved this by enhancing workforce performance and productivity within its operations factors. “Our top priorities were cutting cost and expenses, improving customer services, gaining operational efficiencies and managing business risks,” he says. “Moreover, commitments to our existing clients during the crisis helped us to get more business from them.”
Mathew says Al Roman Technologies’ channel partner programme is built on commitment, value and innovation. He adds that the programme has tools and technologies that can help resellers build their business and increase revenues. “We are committed to supporting our resellers every step of the way,” he says. “Our reseller programme lets partners decide the level of participation that is most appropriate for their business and provides the highest return based on their value proposition,” he says. “We have set the stage for success that supports our reseller partners at every step, from pre-sales to field support.” Mathew explains that the programme has been designed in part to help partners so that they can add Al Roman’s innovative solutions to support their product portfolio and differentiate themselves from the competition. “Our reseller programme allows them to determine where their organisation best fits,” he says. “Each product enables them to develop new opportunities and increase their value-add by offering best-of-breed solutions to their customers.” He says the company has set the stage for success with training, sales and marketing tools, superior service and support and incentives to promote success.
Mathew says Al Roman Technologies is already known in the Middle East market for bringing best of breed software solutions which are focused on mission critical business requirements. He says the Middle East region has always been open for new ideas and technologies. “The products and services provided by Al Roman are designed to facilitate the customers to stay committed to their core business competencies,” he says. Our best-in-class solutions have been specifically designed and developed to allow full scalability to suit any conceivable future needs of our customers.”
In 3i-Infotech, Sage Pastel, Squirrel Systems, Insphire, Frontline SSM, BuyerEase, RapidBuilder, SoftTV, Sage Line 50, Artech and ACT, Al Roman Technology has on board the most comprehensive best-of-breed business applications and software solutions.
Mathew says in addition to these brands, this year the company has decided to plunge into the software anomaly and emerge with Orion Advantage. According to Mathew, Al Roman signed up with 3i Infotech in July 2010. “3i Infotech (EMEA) is regionally based in Dubai and Sharjah with over 500 highly qualified personnel who service and support our channel partners and end-user customers across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA),” he says.
He points out that Orion Advantage, a software package designed and developed by 3i Infotech, enables organisations to integrate all areas of business and increase operational efficiencies across the enterprise. “It helps boost customer satisfaction through better control over costs and enhanced profitability,” he says.
In addition to the channel programme that Al Roman Technologies offers it channel partners, the company has also developed a product based programme which is already being rolled out to resellers so that they grow their business in the Middle East region. Under this initiative, resellers are allowed to choose the most appropriate products from the Al Roman Technologies’ broad portfolio that makes it easy for them to participate and provide the best return based on their value proposition: sales revenue
Training, certification requirements, service and customer support options.
Mathew says partner training increases resellers’ competitive advantage through the latest sales strategies and advances in networking technologies. “We offer service and support options that provide them with the flexibility and choice,” he says. “Whether they want to deliver their own brand of service or prefer to offer a value-added total solution directly from Al Roman that allows them to focus on their core business.
He adds that depending on the reseller’s infrastructure and choice, they can choose between the two options.
Mathew explains that the first option is for resellers who prefer to focus on their core business, but wish to offer a value-added solution directly from Al Roman Technologies. The other available choice is meant for channel partners that wish to remain the primary point of support contact for end-user customers, selling and delivering their own brand of service while having access to the distributor’s technical expertise, software support when needed. “This is a flexible offer designed to allow resellers to provide their own set of value-added service and customer support,” he says.
With IT markets like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remaining resilient despite the challenging business climate, Mathew says over the last few years Al Roman has seen a definite growth in the IT market from the KSA. “Saudi has the biggest IT market in the Middle East and also it is a highly competitive market,” he says. “I think the Saudi IT market is poised to touch the highest mark by the end of this year. The KSA government’s spending in areas that complement economic growth such as IT adoption is likewise boosting growth prospects.”
Mathew says according to a recent royal decree, the Kingdom’s expenditure for the new fiscal year has been pegged at around US$144 billion, increasing from around $126.7 billion in 2009. “Saudi Arabia remains a vibrant IT market with increasing technology adoption across all sectors,” he says. “Recent statistics have revealed that computer hardware sales in the KSA including PCs, notebooks, peripherals and accessories will record a compound annual growth rate of 7% between 2009 and 2013.
He adds that as far as Al Roman is concerned the KSA is an important market for the company, its channel partners and end-users. “We have plans to start an office in KSA in the near future,” he says. “KSA’s IT market is this year set to generate revenues of around $ 4 billion in 2010.”
This, says Mathew, is going to retain the country’s status as the largest IT market in the Gulf. The company plans to reach its due position in the thriving Saudi IT market by expanding its product and service portfolio and focussing on added value for customers,” he adds. “Our ultimate commitment is to our customers and our primary goal is to significantly enhance the quality of our services to them.”
Mathew acknowledges that while the Saudi IT market is the largest in the region, it is also a highly competitive market. “We need to maintain high levels of creativity and customer relations in order to achieve a large share in that market,” he says.
With a powerful range of flexible, reliable and user friendly solutions, Mathew says Al Roman provides the right answers to the day-to day business challenges faced by customers and empowers them through channel partner to achieve great success. “We are committed to working together as one team to provide cost effective and reliable IT solutions to businesses in the UAE and neighbouring countries in a professional, efficient and friendly manner,” he says.
He explains that having kept a close relationship with its channel partners and end-user customers in the Middle East region, the company has witnessed growth in revenues particularly in the UAE, Qatar, Oman and KSA. “We are strengthening our sales and marketing team to build on the success that we have achieved over the last few years in the region,” he remarks. “We will basically continue to do what we do best, which is to help our channel partners so that they can in turn help their customers to automate their business processes and achieve superb results.”
Furthermore, Al Roman will not be relenting in its quest to grow its software portfolio. This year our main aim is to introduce Orion Advantage as an all in one solution to our customers. We strongly believe that 2010 will turn out to be a prospective year for us. We aim to increase our reach and address the needs of this growing channel market,” he says. “Our goals are set on providing cost effective and reliable IT solutions to the channel and businesses in the Middle East.”
Regional distributor Al Roman Technologies is growing its software portfolio, a move the company believes will help it strengthen offerings to partners in the Middle East. Reseller finds out what is behind the software play.