By Stuart Wilson
Enterprise content management (ECM) software vendor FileNet has reaffirmed its commitment to a master VAR relationship with local systems integrator EBLA and plans to revisit the existing installed base in the Middle East during 2004.
Enterprise content management (ECM) software vendor FileNet has reaffirmed its commitment to a master VAR relationship with 140-strong local systems integrator EBLA. The two companies also plan to go back to FileNet’s existing installed base and up sell more applications from FileNet’s wider product suite.
“FileNet works with partners that have strong domain expertise and truly understand customers’ needs,” says Carlo Stellati, VP FileNet South Europe, Middle East and Africa (SEMEA). “In the SEMEA region FileNet’s channel consists of 28 certified partners as well as a direct team. As master VAR for the Middle East, EBLA has achieved high customer satisfaction ratings.”
“In this region, we tend to have departmental application deployments,” adds Stellati. “Now we want to extend that out to the enterprise level and develop additional business process management solutions.”
As well as selling to end-users, EBLA’s responsibilities also include assisting other authorised FileNet resellers in the region and providing support services. The company has offices in Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman and Bahrain. EBLA estimates that the regional market for ECM is worth US$20m in licences annually with service and maintenance revenues pushing the total value up to US$50m.
As a pure software player competing against rivals such as IBM and Documentum looking to sell ECM solutions, Stellati reckons FileNet’s focus provides significant advantages. “We have a level of independence allowing us to commit to various platforms and applications. Do you believe that IBM is paying a lot of attention to content management solutions running on BEA, Oracle or SAP?”
Hilal Arnaoot, managing director at EBLA, says: “The start of 2004 has been a strong period for us and we are seeing more and more large enterprises looking at ECM. From the region, Qatar is growing much faster than the rest and Kuwait is coming on strong. The UAE is slower than we expected so far. We are still dealing with some resistance to the way that people work with content. ECM solutions help customers move away from paper documents being shifted from desk to desk in order to be signed off and not everyone is ready to do this yet.”
EBLA has over 50 large customers in the region comprising some 20,000 seats. “We have already started approaching the installed base,” adds Arnaoot, “Some new deals and implementations have already been secured from this effort. If you lose your existing customers, you will not win new customers. We commit resources to existing customers and they remain EBLA’s priority.”
The ECM market in the Middle East remains at an early stage of development with a slow but steady pipeline of new clients. These characteristics make the existing installed base an attractive target for building incremental sales. In such a specialized market, FileNet’s decision to use EBLA as a master VAR in the Middle East has allowed it to build a deep relationship based on mutual commitment.