What you need to know about enterprise storage in the Middle East

By Charbel Zreiby, Senior Manager, Channel Specialty Sales – META, DELL Technologies

How evolved is the enterprise storage market in the Middle East?

The enterprise storage market in the Middle East is one that is constantly evolving. There are many initiatives that are taking place within the region such as UAE Vision 2021 and Saudi Vision 2030 that are motivating organizations of all sizes to invest in their digital capabilities. In fact, a report by Future Market Insights, the Middle East data storage market is expected to register a CAGR of 14.4% till 2025.

At the heat of all that is the Data Capital, for that, organizations are looking to increase their investments in transforming their storage infrastructure and powering IT operations with a modern data center. This is imperative for the delivery of new levels of scale and performance. In this environment, Dell Technologies is capitalizing on its strength and expertise as a purpose-built solution powerhouse to help organizations across all sectors who may be seeking to transform their digital landscape with a strong storage foundation.

 What challenges do solution providers face when it comes to providing holistic enterprise storage solutions?

Traditionally, the main challenge faced by solution providers used to be about offering the right capacity while meeting certain performance metrics that will serve the customers workloads. With all the changes happening, the new challenge they face is now more about understanding where the customer is in their IT transformation journey and having the ability to work with them to build the ideal solution that will provide the desired business outcomes.

As a result, solutions providers should equip themselves with the right capabilities that will help them cover any solution from the application (cloud or native) down to the infrastructure layers such as storage, data protection, etc.

What impact is the enterprise flash-storage market having on the traditional storage market?

According to the recent Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index (the DT Index) that showcases the digital transformation progress of 4,600 mid to large-size companies, across 42 countries and examined the digital hopes and fears of business leaders, 45% of businesses in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia intend to invest in Flash technology.

The gap between computer power and storage performance has widened thanks to the increasing adoption of server virtualization, big data analytics and virtual desktop infrastructure in most of the industries (e.g. Banking & Finance, Media & Entertainment, Healthcare, Retail, etc..). Since hard disk drives cannot offer the necessary performance in terms of latency for mission-critical workloads, flash powered solutions are stepping up as a viable alternative. Additionally, Flash storage is evolving and we’re now talking about the Storage Class Memory (SCM) that comes with the promise of being faster than traditional SSDs. SCM is a storage tier, thus non-volatile, and considered an important building-block for high-speed data transfers, next-generation in-memory computing and scale-out clusters for computation and storage.

What types of business and industry sectors have led with enterprise flash-storage adoption?

With so many new and ambitious projects driven by an intense IT transformation play, the Middle East is home to some of the most forward looking enterprises across all industries who are investing in technology as a business driver. As organizations are keen to gain new efficiencies to deliver their services and gain speed to market, we are seeing an uptake of flash-based enterprise storage solutions in all shapes and forms across the region. The first adopters were mostly among the Telco & FSI sectors, yet flash storage took over rapidly across all market segments and industries

How is your company helping channel partners to identify the right verticals for enterprise storage solutions?

It is the responsibility of the vendors to empower their respective industry and channel ecosystem with applicable trainings, certifications and the right materials around the technology solutions they offer.

For Dell Technologies, the trainings and certifications are imperative and a must-have for all partners that want to be part of our Partner Program.  Furthermore, and specifically on Storage, we have built a comprehensive enablement framework to help them own the complete portfolio and create a champions community among our partners that will help them differentiate themselves from the rest

We work closely with them to assess, in and off the field, the strengths of their teams as well as the gaps they still require on a specific technology from qualifying the leads to positioning the right solution, understanding the competitive landscape and how to handle it until closure. It’s really an ongoing process which ensures continuity within the partners’ skills set.

How big is the skills challenge when it comes to the enterprise storage market?

A recent study by Dell Technologies stated that 30% of organizations in the region believe that lack of the right skillsets and expertise is one of the top barriers for digital transformation.

Our intention is to assist our partners in building their capabilities and adopting innovative strategies to enable them to respond quickly to new opportunities, new markets and new technologies.

Dell Technologies will continue to invest in developing and improving the necessary skillset by assessing them today and providing the precise training and certifications that will achieve the desired outcome.

As a result, our partners would become more efficient and profitable on the top line through selling their services offerings and will make rich back-end rebates that our Partner Program offers on all LOBs.

How can channel partners compensate declining margins in the enterprise storage hardware?

Based on my interaction and discussions with many of our partners’ executives, we see that there is a shift rather than decline of the margin when selling enterprise storage: the margin is shifting from being only on product selling to more of value add and much richer return on services such as deployment, data migration and application re-platforming.

At Dell Technologies, we believe it is our responsibility to help our partners drive a healthier business. On top of the product selling margin, we are pushing partners to get certified to be able to offer their services which helps them create and leverage new growth opportunities driving the top line. Equally important, from a bottom-line perspective, our Partner Program thrives on three core tenets: Simple, Predictable and Profitable and ensures partners have ample opportunity, business confidence and profitability regardless of their program tier. Our Partner Program reaffirms Dell Technologies’ strong commitment to the channel, provides very generous back-end rebates for partners and offers them a massive opportunity to go big and win big.

Get in touch to learn more about our enterprise storage solutions.

About the Author: Dell Technologies