InterviewsOutlook

Power Management Remains a Major Challenge for the Middle East

Arabian Reseller speaks to Frank Ackland, the Managing Director for Middle East at Eaton, about the company’s key plans for 2019

How was 2018 for the industry and your company?
Power management remains a major challenge for the Middle East, and the need for more sustainable and energy efficient infrastructures is positioning companies such as Eaton as a more strategic partner for businesses in the region when it comes to developing their vision. Therefore, Eaton has experienced double digit growth in 2018 again, and we are expecting similar trend in 2019.

What sort of opportunities did 2018 bring along?
We have seen that the majority of growth is driven by government spending regionally, particularly in the healthcare and education sector. The GCC states also count amongst the most advanced countries in the world when we look at the Smart Government initiatives.

Did you face any challenges in 2018?
The commercial sector, such as dynamic cities such as Dubai and Riyadh, is still mainly driven mega-projects such as Expo 2020 and the NEOM project. Most of the existing businesses eco-system is struggling to implement a proper digital transformation strategy, resulting in a lack of opportunities for the wider channel partner network.

What were your key achievements in 2018?
Regionally, Eaton performed exceeding well when it came to winning iconic projects such as the ICD Brookfield Tower, Riyadh Metro, Bahrain International Airport and the  Gulf Data Hub (Dubai) to name a few. Eaton has taken major strides in winning prestigious projects throughout the GCC and we will look to continue this momentum into 2019.

What promises does 2019 bring along?
We expect 2019 to be a solid year despite the macro-economic uncertainty, mostly driven by existing projects. Regional governments have announced ambitious spending plans for the year ahead they will keep pace in their spending which should result in the right level of funding. Moreover, key event dates such as Expo2020 are adding even more pressure to accelerate the pace even more.

According to you, which technologies will be in demand in 2019?
Multi-clouds architectures have raised a lot of interest from businesses looking to transition smoothly into new business models. IoT adoption in various industries is also driving new Edge Computing needs. These trends will drive demand for more agile infrastructures. Eaton invested hugely in new technologies related to power management and bridging the critical gap of connecting the physical infrastructure with the virtual one.

Eaton Intelligent Power Manager Software, for example gives better choice to customers to choose between a CAPEX or an OPEX investment model, helping businesses to be more flexible to address future evolutions.

This year we will see new challenges arise around recruitment in the channel. In an environment of political uncertainty and low unemployment levels, channel partners will need to continue striking the balance between hiring skilled yet affordable staff. Working out how to access the millennial workforce will be key, but tapping into this talent source can be difficult to navigate.

Channel organisations will need to consider different incentives to attract millennials, from training and revenue generation rewards to implementing new technologies and clear processes that can be agile to change. With a key focus in the UAE and Saudi Arabia on Emiritisation and Saudization respectively, the channel needs to focus on providing training and knowledge to make sure they have an easy transition into the industry.  In this way, they can make themselves more appealing to millennial talent and set themselves up for a successful 2019.”

What will be your key focus areas for 2019?
Eaton will continue to develop, evolve and push through our products throughout the region. Our strategy in 2019 will be to have a clear focus on the areas of business where we have clear market differentiation.

On the channel front, we are working on demand generation activities through better brand visibility and promotions. Eaton is also working diligently on driving specification with key consultants, government authorities and utilities.

Despite reports of doom and gloom about political uncertainty in 2019, we see plenty of opportunity in the channel next year – from increasing appetite to strengthen cybersecurity to companies growing their smart tech stable through AI-powered technology. The market may be relatively flat, but by combining deeper levels of engagement, further development of new customers aligned to a clear strategy and strong commitment levels, Eaton is looking forward to another year of growth.

Do you plan to enter new markets or add new products / applications to your portfolio in 2019?
Eaton is present throughout the region where we cater the needs of customers from across various sectors. As stated previously, we have won many prestigious projects regionally despite stiff competition and we will look to consolidate our presence in respected markets.

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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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