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Formula for efficiency

Miguel Angel Villalonga, GM at Emitac Enterprise Solutions It is not so prosaic that you find systems integration (SI) companies that span over three decades and are still doing business successfully in the cutthroat IT solutions selling and integration game. It is even harder if the company focuses on providing SI solutions, IT professional services and support services for the hard to please, yet lucrative and most sought after enterprise customers.

Most small and big SI companies in the region would like to play in the IT enterprise market, as deals in this sector are lucrative and huge, yet the capital investments that have to be made upfront are prohibitive for many. But why do many system integrators fail in a market segment that is the most sought after and offers the most lucrative of deals? Is their lack of understanding the market dynamics and what it takes to be successful at this level the main reason for their failure? Is the lack of capital the main reason for their failure? There are no straight forward answers to these questions but Emitac Enterprise Solution’s dominance and prolonged business life in the region is a journey that other system integrators should try and follow.

For Emitac Enterprise Solutions, a subsidiary of the Bukhatir Group, a UAE headquartered company, the story is a different one in many ways. The company has not only demonstrated business longevity in the Middle East, but continues to be successful at the highest level of the ruthless IT enterprise market. Its story is one that inspires, motivates and should be emulated by its peers in the region.

As a SI company whose business spans over three decades, Emitac has not only established itself as a brand name in the SI space but continues to excel in providing to its enterprise clients data centre solutions, enterprise managed services and support in the Middle East market.

Having been in the business of IT integration for such a long time, Emitac is aware that to succeed and continue sustaining such prolonged existence in the IT sector, the company cannot afford to rest on its laurels.

This is why the company has reinvented itself by launching a new managed services arm. The company has some renewed confidence and is charting a new course for itself all in an effort to continue growing and cementing its position in the region especially during these tough economic times.

In addition, the company is also extending its scope and boosting its services offerings with the inclusion of the Managed Services Division. That transformed buoyancy and self-belief coupled with strategic joint ventures with its peers in the region and alliances with IT vendors of best-of-breed products has helped Emitac establish itself as a regional SI of note.

Since its inception in 1976, Emitac has been growing from strength to strength blending the latest technologies with impeccable business acumen and meeting the most challenging requirements of the fast evolving enterprise IT landscape.

Today, Emitac boasts extensive and strategic vertical focus and a well trained and talented workforce of over 500 professionals. To this end, Emitac addresses almost the entire market spectrum, spanning various verticals like banking and finance, healthcare, Government, education, oil and gas, telecommunications and the private sector.

Strengthening scope

Having recently extended its scope with the inclusion of the Managed Services division to its business and widening the focus of SI areas, Emitac has also strengthened its value proposition for enterprise customers.

Miguel Angel Villalonga, GM at Emitac Enterprise Solutions says the company has managed to stay focused on the enterprise segment for such a long time because it has established itself as a brand and not relied squarely on the vendor brands represents.

Villalonga says it is vital for Emitac to continue selling and pitching itself as a brand in the region as doing so is one sure way of gaining the much needed customer confidence and trust. “Other than our core focus of SI, we believe that we have a role in ensuring that we are trusted business advisors to our clients,” he says.

He says having been a HP Preferred Partner through the years in the Middle East region, Emitac has had to attain and maintain the highest partner certification levels in the market. In addition to the HP certifications and specialisations, Villalonga says Emitac has certifications with Cisco, Juniper, Microsoft, Symantec and HP ProCurve.

“One thing that has worked to our advantage is the fact that Emitac hasn’t been that company that provides every IT solution to everyone,” he says. “Our offerings are niche and specialised and revolve around integrating data centre, networking, software and professional services and support.”

Software push

As margins on traditional IT hardware products have continued to decline largely due to the commoditisation of these products, software presents a huge revenue stream for savvy system integrators that have invested in the right software consulting and implementation skills.

Villalonga agrees and goes on to say that in addition to the company’s strength in data centre technologies and solutions, Emitac is also strong in IT governance issues and has been at the forefront of assisting its customers in various verticals like banking and finance, healthcare, Government, education, oil and gas, telecommunication to meet their regulatory IT governance requirements.

With this in mind, Villalonga says the company has been growing its software portfolio and services as this is an area in the region that still presents system integrators with decent margins and recurring revenues.

“Software services are growing at a fast pace in the Middle East region,” he notes. “There are several reasons for this but one reason that comes to mind is that businesses are embarking on huge software rollout particularly in the areas of EPR, document management and education systems management.”

Villalonga says the services opportunity presented in the IT software space is huge hence Emitac has been growing its software portfolio. “There is no doubt in my mind that the software opportunity can only continue to grow in the region,” he says.

That said, Villalonga believes Emitac will benefit from it partnership with software vendors Microsoft and HP. He singles out the growing HP software portfolio as one to look out for as the vendor has made strategic software acquisitions over the last two to three years. “As a loyal HP partner, we believe the vendor has the right product mix that meets our vision and business goals in the region,” he says. “It makes sense that as HP grows its software portfolio, we should grow with it.”

He says that while acquisitions and mergers are part and parcel of the IT industry, it is how the post merger or acquisition is handled in terms of consolidating the products that matters most and makes a difference. “For us as Emitac, who are a loyal HP partner in the region, it is vital that we invest in skills development as HP grows its product array.” On its part, Emitac has attained the HP Preferred Partner status for software and is also the authorised services partner for HP in the region.

Regional competition

With the recent entrance of Dimension Data into the Middle East market, one of the global system integrators with footprint in over 40 countries, Emitac is well aware of the competition that this new entrant brings to this market.

Villalonga says Emitac welcomes Dimension Data and any form of healthy completion in the region. He believes Emitac is well positioned to continue providing enterprise solutions to its clients because it has a great understanding of the local and regional market. “We certainly welcome any competition into this market,” he says. “The key to succeed in any market is to be able to differentiate your offerings from your rivals.”

To this end, Villalonga says Emitac is well positioned in this market because it has good understanding and knowledge of how do conduct business in the region. In addition, the company has established branches throughout the region and partner with its peers in some countries in the region in order to people on the ground.

With other branches in Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain and joint venture initiatives in Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Emitac says it has what it takes to continue growing its business in the Middle East.

Looking ahead, Villalonga believes Emitac’s new strategies will add to an already strengthened offering that should help it whether this economic storm. How the system integrator manages to stay ahead of its rivals in the region is something that only time will tell. For now, Emitac knows that it cannot rest on its past successes.

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