InterviewsOutlook

Don’t Be a Box-Pusher

Mario M. Veljovic, the General Manager at VAD Technologies, speaks to Arabian Reseller about how 2018 was for his company, the opportunities 2019 will bring along and what the channel community needs to focus upon to be successful in the upcoming year

How was 2018 for the industry and your company?
The second half of 2018 has given us strong growth, as there was a very high demand for our portfolio of products and solutions. The demand came in from end-users, who were in the process of optimising their ICT infrastructure, improving their physical security set up and in the process of completing their digital transformation journey.

What sort of opportunities did 2018 bring along?
The year 2018 brought many opportunities as companies were focused on achieving digital transformation.

Did you face any challenges in 2018?
The weak first half and decline in margin have been a challenge in 2018.

What were your key achievements in 2018?
We are fortunate to have a complete product and solutions portfolio. Our business focus and our channel eco-system allowed us to show strong growth in a very challenging market environment.

What promises does 2019 bring along?
The UAE and other parts of the Middle East expect better GDP growth rates and as we move closer to major events in the region, the investment volume will increase.

Do you see opportunities on the market with Dubai Expo 2020 just around the corner?
Definitely. Expo 2020 is a major event, which will bring along lots of opportunities ahead of the event taking place. In addition, there will be more opportunities after the event concludes since it will drive an increase in FDI (Foreign Direct Investment).

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2019?
Converged and Hyper-Converged solutions will stay at the centre stage in 2019. Hence, I urge channel partners to choose vendors with the broadest alliances to ensure they can comprehensively address this segment. Customers are tired of complex to manage infrastructure and are now turning to flexible, agile and scalable solutions.

What will be your key focus areas for 2019?
As end customers in the region across all business verticals are looking to improve profitability and business sustainability, automation and ultimately digital transformation, related skills and know-how is in high demand. Channel partners should get involved in such projects and discussions from the very beginning to fully capitalise on this opportunity. Don’t be a box-mover – be a business consultant and look at anything-as-a-service.

What milestones have you set for 2019?
Margin will remain under pressure in 2019, as the market is yet to fully rebound and finally offer significant overall growth for all partners again. So, it’s key to look at new technologies and services that offer better margins. Channel credit and financing always stand high on the list of most pressing issues, and partners should choose their trading partners wisely to maintain a healthy cash-flow.

What would you like to do differently in 2019, when compared with 2018?
The current business climate is characterised by too many vendors, with too many partners, fighting for a limited number of opportunities. The only solution is to stay focused and continue to be very close to your customers.

Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products/applications to your portfolio in 2019?
We are fortunate with our product and solutions portfolio and our channel eco-system, as it allowed us to show strong growth in a very challenging market environment. However, like everyone, we too are affected by declining margins and need to further enhance our portfolio with new technologies and services to compensate the gap.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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