Nathalie Leignel Andersen, VP channel sales EMEA at Barco speaks about the company’s plan to develop a trained and qualified channel by opening its first training centre in the region
Talk us through your business focus this year in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).
Barco has experienced a great growth spurt in the MEA region in recent years, marking a phenomenal double-digit growth in the last six years. We are geared up for a strong 2019 with a focus on establishing more partnerships and expand our presence in the region.
Our mission around enabling bright outcomes is all about delivering added value and play an active role in helping customers achieve the greatest possible return on investments in Barco technology.
What is Barco’s strategy around working with channel partners to develop its business in the MEA region?
We find that there is a massive shift in the traditional transactional and on-premise service business, which is now skewing towards smarter workflows, remote managed services and domain expertise. As a result, we’ve seen a larger demand for training and skill development among our channel partners and have catered to this by establishing our first Barco training center in the region. We are working very closely with our partners in the region to ensure that the AV and IT convergence is benefiting our joint business.
Please elaborate on your strategy behind launching Connect! Partner program.
Barco’s strategy is aimed at optimizing the customer experience journey. We have subsequently deployed the Connect! partner program to reach this goal in collaboration with our channel partner network.
The company boasts an industry-first partner program to enhance the channel's technical capabilities to resell and support Barco innovative technologies, creating differentiation and enhanced profitability for our respective businesses. Our efforts are deeply focused on training and development, which yielded great results for us in 2018. We are empowering our internal and external stakeholders with product knowledge through the Barco University and training centres in the region, and thereby optimising the productivity of our enterprise product offering.
Beyond training, Barco has been investing in demand generation, which directly translates in a non- negligible number of leads transferred to our Gold and Silver Partners.
Can you provide some examples of trainings available in MEA?
The Barco ClickShare Certified Training Center was launched in partnership with FVC in May last year. It provides two classroom sessions for resellers, both of which provide hands-on exercises to demonstrate collaboration technology’s functionality, sales value, basic installation, management and configuration, tailored towards a broad enterprise audience.
The training also addresses the rising need for cyber security expertise, which is vital in the current fight against cyber-attacks. Upon completion of the training program, the trainer, trainee and company certificate are valid for two years before they must be renewed.
A similar route is charted out for Barco UniSee with our sales trainings and workshops organised jointly with our partners. The digital signage market is projected to experience strong growth across target sectors within the LCD market, including corporate, retail and hospitality. We hope to leverage this trend for Barco’s UniSee in the region.
Where do you see majority of your growth coming from this year?
We see massive growth in our enterprise offering, especially given the spurt of intelligent enterprises and the smart city outlook of the regional governments. We expect positive growth this year, given our advanced offerings to meet the market requirements, and well as strong training to equip resellers with the expertise to optimise the capabilities of the products.
Where would you suggest your channel partners to focus their efforts in 2019?
We recommend our business partners to push for network integration of our solutions, adopt our cloud services and pitch the security level of our products. Business models are gradually changing from the CAPEX to OPEX model and all our partners need to embrace those changes as fast as possible.
What competitive edge do you offer your partners above the competition and why should channel partners continue work with Barco this year?
Our biggest competitive edge is our innovative product offering in the enterprise space, which is both advanced and comprehensive. This, coupled with our value-driven offerings, helps us stay strong in our partner relationships. We have been teaming up with our distributors and partners to make the workspace in the Middle East smarter. We now aim to take our business further with solutions integrating hardware, software and services and enable our partners to enjoy selling futureproof solutions.
What is your roadmap for 2019?
We will continue to work towards building a stronger relationship with our partners in the region. We are looking towards establishing more partnerships and alliances and to expanding our presence in the entire Middle East and Africa region. Many new products are set for launch in 2019. Our enterprise strategy continues to be built around disruptive innovation so stay tuned to discover our full 2019 roadmap!