Middle East IT sector back on positive side

DUBAI — The Middle East’s information technology sector is experiencing steady recovery as sales of IT products are once again gaining ground, according to a top official of Hewlett Packard.

By Alvin R. Cabral

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Published: Sat 17 Apr 2010, 10:22 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:44 PM

In a telephonic interview with Khaleej Times, Salim Ziade — the newly-appointed General Manager for the HP Personal Systems Group — said the company is confident on the prospects of the region’s IT sector in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

“We are heading towards exciting times,” he said, referring to the uptick in sales of IT products and solutions, adding that more and more people — especially in the region — are once again on the lookout for the latest in the sector. Ziade said that the economic landscape has “changed dramatically,” prompting firms to adjust to the conditions the times call for. This, according to him, was how HP was able to strategically navigate through the crisis.

“The first thing we did (during the crisis) was to get out of denial mode… some people did not (even) realise that we were hit by the crisis… if there is a problem out there, we need to react to it,” Ziade said.

He furthered that HP was “lucky” not to be greatly affected by the crisis, and that it had to “navigate (through the crisis) without cash issues.”

HP — which employs over 1,000 in the Middle East, with over 400 in the UAE alone — seeks to “transform the buying experience in the region” by providing what consumers need and want.

“The UAE is one of the best places to do shopping,” Ziade said. “We try our best to make it an enjoyable, gratifying experience (for the consumers).” One of the aspects that HP is focusing on is how to satisfy the booming demand of IT services in the region, something which Ziade refers to as a “challenge” for the company.

HP, which invests over $2 billion annually in its business, is the Middle East’s leader in the retail of both desktop and portable computers, with a 28 per cent and 24.8 per cent market share, respectively. It ships close to 60,000 more units of the latter than its closest competitor.

Ziade added that consumer response in the IT sector is very “encouraging,” and that HP is looking forward to meeting the needs of those in the region.

“I will never be satisfied until we get the best customer experience,” he concluded.

Partner Sales Academy launched

Meanwhile, HP Middle East’s Imaging and Printing Group, or IPG, announced the introduction of its Partner Sales Academy in an effort to support the firm’s partner companies in collaring new and high-value businesses. The first training of the academy recently took place in Dubai.

The IPG Sales Academy was conducted for 45 of the Middle East’s key Imaging and Printing Resellers, with an aim of equipping HP’s Channel Partners with the skills to proactively propose and deliver solutions to customers for significant cost reduction and cost avoidance.

“We understand the value in providing customers with cost effective and cost-reducing solutions and for that reason it is imperative that our partners are equipped with the skills to demonstrate this to them,” said Ernest Azzam, HP Laser and Enterprise Solutions Business Manager.

· alvin@khaleejtimes.com

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