Partner Watch

Steady direction

Logicom Dubai has experienced exponential growth since its inception. Demetris E. Demetriou, GM at Logicom Dubai takes us through the company’s history as he discusses larger plans and more value add services for customers and partners in the region

Founded in 1987 as a company specialising in software and training, the Logicom Group is today one of the region’s leading IT distribution companies.

Noting the need for a company that connected internationally recognised vendors to locally based resellers, in 1992 the group decided to venture into the IT distribution business. Following its initial years of success dealing in PCs and PC components, in addition to peripherals, the company slowly began expanding its product portfolio to include networking, telecommunications and software solutions. Around the same time, Logicom also embarked on a journey to expand its geographical reach and set up operations in the Middle East with its first subsidiary in Beirut, Lebanon. This was followed by an office in Dubai, UAE in 2001.

In 2006, the company built its its own distribution facility in Jebel Ali, UAE while simultaneously setting up offices in Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain with small warehousing facilities. Logicom also offered its channel partners stocking and credit facilities in addition to channel development initiatives, pre-sales support and consultancy.

While the group has continued to focus on all these initiatives for the channel, it has also made a conscious effort to evaluate and revise its portfolio to stay on top of changing market dynamics and customer demands. “While we have made strategic investments to leverage the significant interest in cloud technologies, we have also diversified investments in the components business having witnessed large OEMs take a larger share of the cake from local assemblers. To counter these changes, not only have we invested in boosting our vendor relationships but also on enhancing our exsting offerings by focusing on value,” says Demetris E. Demetriou, GM at Logicom Dubai.

Today, the company operates across 22 countries and serves more than 8,000 resellers through its full-fledged wholly owned subsidiary companies. It boasts long term profitable relationships with vendors like Cisco, HP, Microsoft, Intel, Nokia, Kingston, Adobe, APC by Schneider Electric, WD and many others.

“Over the last 10 years we have seen an average growth of 20% year-on year. As the UAE market continues to recover from the long drawn recession both the enterprise and SMB segments continue to show larger IT investments. Cloud computing technologies are also gaining ground in the regional market following the heavy adoption of these technologies in the US and Western European markets” he says.

To cater to the increasing demand for innovative ICT solutions, Logicom Dubai has consciously invested in technology forums and demo labs to help partners gain a firsthand look and feel of the latest solutions on the market. For instance, the company has recently launched a Cisco Lab and an HP Lab that houses the latest unified communications and all-in-one desktop stations from the vendors. These initiatives have seen a huge response from the company’s channel players who can access these labs to not just experience the technologies but also use them to demonstrate solutions to their own customers.

“In the constant pursuit of value creation, Logicom capitalises on the fervour and passion of its people in order to provide the best service to its customers. Rising on the most recent technology trends we aim to be one step ahead, always ready to meet the evolving needs of our customers. We host the Logicom Technology Forums and roadshows every quarter to keep our channel updated on the new technologies, new channel programs and credit offering updates,” adds Demetriou.

Although the company hasn’t formally ventured into the African market, it focuses on distribution in the markets of North Africa through its Beirut office. In addition, Logicom has set up telesales team for Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Demetriou adds, “Even though this is a very big market with great potential, we are taking a very cautious approach due to the big risk factors involved in the region. We believe that within the next year we will be in a position to decide the future of our expansion in Africa.”

Demetriou believes that although vendors have invested in setting up qualified teams in the region, they need to help distributors support larger channel activities and initiatives. “ICT distribution is a complex, capital intensive and low margin business that requires distributors to offer credit facilities, manage real time stock supplies and availability in addition to recruiting the right people. All of these are big challenges and we need vendors to support us with market intelligence in order to avoid bad debts. They need to provide credit schemes and help us find practical ways to fight grey while assisting us develop our own people. Most importantly, vendors need to maintain a constant stream of demand is for the products and help map the total addressable market effectively. This will ensure that distributors are maximising the Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) while delivering the expected results to the vendors,” he explains.

Having said that, the team at Logicom Dubai is optimistic about its future and has worked out a focused plan for the next 18 months.

The company is now working on constructing a new state of the art distribution facility in Jebel Ali and expects to have it ready before the end of the year 2012. The distribution centre includes ample office space with training and demo lab facilities in addition to 8,000 square metres of warehousing capacity. The facility will also host a data centre that can be used to test and review the latest solutions and will be open to the company’s channel partners

Logicom is also investing in opening more regional offices and warehouses in Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. In addition, Logicom is especially focusing on setting up its subsidiary in Iraq and is gearing it to begin operations in the near future.

“We continuously strive to add vendors to our portfolio that make the difference while complementing our existing offerings. Logicom is specifically looking at vendors that can partner with us to provide solutions in the cloud computing as we believe this trend will soon offer huge growth opportunities for both the customers and resellers. Simultaneously, we are working towards building a team of dedicated experienced personnel who share the company’s commitment and passion for technology excellence by designing targeted programs in order to attract, develop and retain talented people within our organisation,” concludes Demetriou. //

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