“The consumers and end users are very tech savvy in the Middle East and always look forward to trying new technology. Tablets and smartphones have been selling a lot and are expected to increase in 2013. Resellers have already started focusing on these products but as we go into 2013 we expect a lot of competition and would caution the resellers to  be careful. There are also some government regulations in UAE which make it mandatory for the manufacturers of these products to get TRA approval before selling,” said Rughwani.HP has introduced tablets for the enterprise space, and is expecting a lot of growth in this segment. Vishnu Taimni, PPS Middle East channel manager at HP said: “With Windows 8 we should expect to see a lot more tablets being introduced. For example, the ultrathin and lightweight Windows 8-based tablet  HP ElitePad 900 is a true tablet for the enterprise that is tailor-made for Emirates’ KIS application.”

Taimani believes: “Offering customised applications or solutions around tablets and smartphone usage is key. The Middle East has a massive population, which is in the younger bracket and loves to experiment and buy new technology. Resellers can definitely catch-up with the growing trend of tablets and smartphones and capitalise on the popularity among residents.”

Market gurus agreed that the year ahead will be challenging, but with that comes the promise of a better tomorrow. Even in the midst of political struggles, diminishing margins and raging competition, there is still room for growth. Businesses will have to learn to adapt, become more specialised and well trained, as well as aim to create value for the customer, say pundits.

“There’s always a ‘what if’ question that decision makers have to juggle with when considering what to do with their businesses in the New Year. The tough economy around the world is also a factor that affects business sentiment; no one can claim to be fully insulated from what’s going on around the world,” said Saifuddin.

Dr. Baghdadi said: The estimated GDP growth rates along with revolutionary technologies will drive the market. However, know how will require investment in training and certification and financial investment will be required for this transformation.”

Lockie of Westcon Group agreed and added: “Financing and cash fluidity will be challenging; other than that the ability for the channel to concentrate on mid-market growth and solutions selling in the space will be central to the winners and losers this year.”

Whatever the outcome, the channel has seen its share of good and bad days, and it has proved time and again that it can and will find solutions to any problem it has faced. Change is the need of the hour, and those who understand how to work with change and evolve will emerge champions of the trade.