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Channel premiers

1 of 61
channelA round-up of the most influential executives in the regional IT channel.

The regional IT channel landscape is faced with a number of challenges including credit issues and low margins. Channel companies are constantly on the lookout for new avenues of growth and how best to upskill in order to maximise the opportunities present with emerging technologies. The players that focus on staying ahead of the curve and evolve their strategies with the changing times are the ones who can sustain business profitably. We draw inspiration from the top 60 who’s who of the regional IT channel industry, including vendors, distributors, SIs and resellers, and applaud their vision and commitment, which keeps our industry ticking over.

1 Aditi GangulyName:
Aditi Ganguly
Company:
Lenovo Middle East & Africa
Designation:
Director Channel Operations

Years in the company: 11

Years in the IT channel industry: 19

Biggest achievement till date: Grand store project for Lenovo India – 1000 plus exclusive outlets setup followed by the global Lenovo way champion award in Beijing

Your mentor in the industry: Alex Li, VP, Lenovo India

Company focus for 2015: To focus on automated unified channel setup

Percentage of channel sales: 100 per cent

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Channel capacity planning tool

Issues in the regional channel:  Diversity in channel structure across MEA

Key to grow profitably: Focus on building profitable channel capacity

2 Ajay Singh ChauhanName:
Ajay Singh Chauhan
Company:
ComGuard
Designation:
Chief Executive Officer

Years in the company: 10

Years in the IT channel business: 30

Biggest achievement till date: Seeding firewall technology at a time when it was only being launched by Cisco back in 2000, for more than 100 channels.

Your mentor in the industry: Sanjeev Krishnan, Regional Director, IBM

Company focus for 2015: To drive emerging technologies such as cloud, virtualisation, Big Data, storage and IoT

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Virtualisation, cloud, Big Data, analytics, IoT, storage, cyber-security, ITSM and SaaS
Issues in the regional channel:  Some partners aspire to become distribution channels themselves, thus dealing with vendors directly, which in turn results in a lot of avoidable misperceptions.

Key to grow profitably:  Being in-line with niche technologies and having superior engineering support

3 Dr. Ali BaghdadiName:
Dr. Ali Baghdadi
Company:
Aptec – an Ingram Micro Company
Designation:
President, Technology Solutions, META region

Years in the company: 30 plus

Years in the channel: 20 plus

Company focus for 2015: To continue our emphasis on services and increase our portion of value advanced solutions. Cloud is another major area of focus.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Analytics solutions and Internet of Things

Key to grow profitably: By cashing in on opportunities in emerging technologies and being able to adapt to market changes swiftly

4 Amanulla KhanName:
Amanulla Khan
Company:
Belkin International MEA
Designation:
Director

Years in the company:  Cisco/Linksys since May 2009 and moved to Belkin in March 2013 with the Linksys acquisition

Years in the channel: 20

Biggest achievement till date: We have been able to create a channel network that has driven the brand to take the leadership position in the home and SMB networking products in the region.

Your mentor in the industry: It will be extremely difficult to pick one but my 8 years at Computer 2000 / Tech Data laid the foundation for my professional and personal growth and I owe the little success in my professional career to every individual in this organisation.

Company focus for 2015:  To retain brand leadership and recall rate

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Big Data, Cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Issues in the regional channel: Lack of education and training

Key to grow profitably: Innovation will continue to be the prime driving force to increase profitability and growth.

5 Amjad Fathi Al OmarName:
Amjad Fathi Al Omar
Company:
Sariya IT Distribution
Designation:
General Manager

Years in the company: 6

Years in the IT channel industry: 13

Biggest achievement till date: Being able to partner with three vendors in the same quarter and best VAD award from vendor in 2012.

Your mentor in the industry: There is no specific person or  an organisation but everyone who is involved in the channel business.

Company focus for 2015: To increase profitability by increasing geographical reach and empowering channel by introducing financing programme called ‘Advantage’

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Cloud and backup solutions especially for the top enterprises for B2B and identity protection for B2C

Issues in the regional channel:  Channel partners are still not concentrating on the support side. Other issues include lack of product knowledge, profitability and credit issues.

Key to grow profitably:  I believe channel partners should get better knowledge about products and they should invest in human resources of certified engineers. Once there is a steady support system for product and end user, everything else will come automatically.

6 Anand ChoudhaName:
Anand Choudha
Company:
Spectrami
Designation:
Managing Director

Years in the company: 4

Years in the channel: 12

Biggest achievement till date: Being able to create a very closed network of reseller partners across the Middle East for niche and specialised technologies on security and storage

Your mentor in the industry: I have learned a lot from the field working with channel partners themselves. Every day gives me a new learning and every challenge, a new opportunity.

Company focus for 2015: To bring in added value to the reseller partner eco-system and ensuring they are trained and skilled.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: APT, Vulnerability Management, SIEM, Copy data management, privilege and identity access management

Issues in the regional channel:  Skill sets and focus on emerging new technologies

Key to grow profitably: There are healthy margins for our channels in the products that we represent

7 Arun ChawlaName:
Arun Chawla
Company:
Trigon
Designation:
Chief Executive Officer

Years in the company: 18

Years in the channel: 25

Biggest channel achievement till date: Shown constant growth year-on-year, both top and bottom-line

Your mentor in the industry: My boss – Yehia El Halaby

Company focus for 2015: To support and remain loyal to all our partners to build quality business and focus on profitability and improve gross margins.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Mobility, MPS

Issues in the regional channel: Partners only focus on growing their top-line. Resellers must focus, caution, and control more in the two ‘make it or break it areas’ – stock level and credits control.

Key to grow profitably:  Our quick adaptability to the market changes has helped us to focus on product mix with better profitability rather than the volume business.

8 Ashish PanjabiName:
Ashish Panjabi
Company:
Jacky’s Retail
Designation:
Chief Operating Officer

Years in the company: 16

Years in the retail channel: 16

Biggest achievement till date: Positioning Jacky’s as the top retailer in terms of revenues at GITEX Shopper year after year.

Your mentor in the industry: The Internet

Company focus for 2015: To enhance customer experience in retail

Technologies to drive regional retail growth: Better integration of e-commerce with retail

Issues in the regional retail channel:  Making the pie grow larger – we’ve seen more stores open in the sector but the pie hasn’t grown at the same pace.

Key to grow profitably:  By being able to sustain the costs of retailing. The UAE is not inexpensive.

9 Asim AlJammazName:
Asim AlJammaz
Company:
Al-Jammaz Distribution
Designation:
Vice President

Years in the company: 18

Years in the channel: 25

Biggest channel achievement till date: Shown constant growth year-on-year, both top and bottom-line

Your mentor in the industry: My boss – Yehia El Halaby

Company focus for 2015: To support and remain loyal to all our partners to build quality business and focus on profitability and improve gross margins.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Mobility, MPS

Issues in the regional channel: Partners only focus on growing their top-line. Resellers must focus, caution, and control more in the two ‘make it or break it areas’ – stock level and credits control.

Key to grow profitably:  Our quick adaptability to the market changes has helped us to focus on product mix with better profitability rather than the volume business.

10 Avinash AdvaniName:
Avinash Advani
Company:
StarLink
Designation:
Vice President, Business Strategy

Years in the company: 3

Years in the channel: 10

Biggest achievement till date: Implementation of StarLink Choice Rebate and Incentive Programme and deployment of cross-portfolio channel management team

Your mentor in the industry: Cisco Systems. Having worked at Cisco, and set up a Cisco Silver Partner SI from the ground-up, I can say that Cisco has one of the most robust, high-fidelity channel programmes in the industry and has in turn created an extensive and high-performance partner ecosystem.

Company focus for 2015: To optimise existing teams and portfolio, expansion of recently opened markets and to grow into new African and European markets

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: APT/Zero-Day Malware Protection, incident response, security and operational intelligence

Key to grow profitably: By having a balanced portfolio of established and niche vendors. Also by having the capability to offer true value-added-distribution to the channel

11 D P SangalName:
D P Sangal
Company:
Safedata
Designation:
Founding Partner & Managing Director

Years in the company: 13

Years in the channel: 22 years in the UAE

Your mentor in the industry: P. R. Shankar Kumar, he was one of my first managers at DCM Data Products (now DCM Data Systems). He was a General Manager and later an Executive Director at DCM Data Products.

Company focus for 2015: Safedata in the past 6 months has expanded its offering to become an SI focused on solution sales. The company aims to deliver best in class ROI via customer engagement architecture, Cloud Optimisation, infrastructure migration services and has also invested in a specialised in-house consulting team.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Business value solutions are the way forward; customers look for a technology partner rather than a one-off transaction

Issues in the regional channel:  While credit and margin are perennial issues, employee turnover and partner profitability are issues that can be addressed with the support of the distribution and vendor community.

Key to grow profitably: Proper implementation and post-sales support are essential to help profitability and ensure longevity in the channel-customer relationship.

12 Fari BoustantchiName:
Fari Boustantchi
Company:
Exclusive Networks ME
Designation:
Chief Executive Officer

Years in the company: 10

Years in the IT channel industry: 25

Biggest achievement till date: There have been many – when we were awarded the F5 EMEA distributor of the year 2014, Reseller Channel Empowerment Initiative Award 2014, Sourcefire Distributor of the year award 2013, Reseller Distributor of the year 2012 and so on.

Your mentor in the industry: There is no one person who is the mentor, it is a mix of traditional channel and the new e-commerce, new market strategy that guides you. It’s not a person who is the mentor but the market.

Company focus for 2015: To focus on data security and end point security

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: New Generation Firewall, SIEM, Back-up solutions and mobile security – basically providing the real solution package in security

Issues in the regional channel: The main issue is the lack of competency – not only sales but also technical, with the market selling inefficient solutions.

Key to grow profitably: By providing the right solutions and services through educating and empowering the channel.

13 Fayez IbbiniName:
Fayez Ibbini
Company:
Alpha Data Group
Designation:
Founder and Managing Director

Years in the company: 34

Years in the IT channel business: 34

Biggest achievement till date: As a business leader, steering Alpha Data over three decades through various transformations in the market and technologies, growing and evolving the organisation to be one of the largest systems integrators in the region and building employer brand equity by shaping Alpha Data as one of the best places to work in the industry.

Company focus for 2015: Embrace new technologies and trends in the industry, use the disruptive change that the industry is going through to pioneer ‘the new style of business.’

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: IoT, could, Big Data, mobility and security

Issues in the regional channel:  There are more channel partners than what the market requires, trust deficit between channel partners and lack of joint strategy and common minimum programme among the channel partners.

Key to grow profitably: Customer first approach, leading with services and continuous acquisition and retention of talent.

14 Haider SalloumName:
Haider Salloum
Company:
Microsoft Gulf
Designation:
Channel Sales Manager

Years in the company: 16

Years in the channel: 8

Biggest achievement till date: Cloud transformation of the regional Microsoft channel, today 1 in each $3 that we sell is a cloud Dollar

Your mentor in the channel business:  Tareq Hijazi, Regional Director, Small and Mid-Market Solutions and Partners Group, Microsoft Gulf

Company focus for 2015: To focus on more cloud offerings from Microsoft: Microsoft Azure cloud services and Microsoft CRM online

Percentage of channel sales: 95+ per cent

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Cloud is growing five times the IT industry growth, if you are not selling cloud then your business will decline on the long run

Issues in the regional channel:  Technical skills gap on the new cloud technologies

Key to grow profitably:  Through managed services on top of product selling, understand how to monetise the new cloud world.

15 Hany B. MauriceName:
Hany B. Maurice
Company:
Eaton Corporation
Designation:
Regional Channel and Alliances Leader

Years in the company: 6 months

Years in the channel:  8

Biggest achievement till date: Getting the IT Channel back on track at Eaton

Your mentor in the industry: Dr. Ali Baghdadi, President, Ingram Micro Technology Solutions, META

Company focus for 2015: Building the right IT Channel Ecosystem, empowering the Power Advantage programme (Eaton IT Channel Partners Programme) in Middle East and leveraging the existing Global Alliances

Percentage of channel sales: 100 per cent

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Virtualisation and converged infrastructure

Issues in the regional channel: Confusion and lack of specialised channel partners

Key to grow profitably: Drive the sales by value, drive customer centric solutions and by being able to build a proper ROI and TCO to help people to sell.

16 Hany HusseinName:
Hany Hussein
Company:
Huawei
Designation:
Channel Vice President of Middle East, Enterprise Business Group

Years in the channel: 17

Biggest achievement to date: Actively helping to drive Huawei’s enterprise sales operations across the Middle East by working closely with senior management to forge new relationships.

Company focus for 2015: To drive the vision of the new channel strategy, ‘Transforming Together’ with our partners.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Enterprise networking and infrastructure services, cloud computing and data centres, enterprise wireless technology and Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C),

Issues in the regional channel: There is a need to provide solutions and services that will enable businesses to have greater flexibility, using innovative IT platforms and infrastructure that promotes openness and convergence.

Key to grow profitably: By building on the strength of our channel partner network in the Middle East by extending the availability of our specialised training and technical knowledge programmes while empowering our enterprise partners to identify new opportunities for growth.

17 Harrison AlbertName:
Harrison Albert
Company:
D-link
Designation:
Regional Director

Years in the company: 17

Years in the IT channel business: 20

Biggest achievement till date: Establishing direct in-country presence in 16 countries in the MEA region

Your mentor in the industry: Bahaa Salah, MD, Aptec – an Ingram Micro Company

Company focus for 2015: To attain leadership as top networking brand in SMB segment in all key markets, growing 100 per cent in East and West Africa.

Percentage of channel sales: 64 per cent

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: LTE, Wireless 11AC and surveillance are the key drivers for growth in the region

Issues in the regional channel: Political stability and currency fluctuations

Key to grow profitably: Solution selling model with value-added post sales and warranty support services. Being the early bird to bring in new solutions to the market.

18 Havier HaddadName:
Havier Haddad
Company:
EMC Corporation
Designation:
Channel and Alliances Director, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East

Years in the company: 7

Years in the channel: 15

Biggest achievement till date: Our employees, partners and customers are no doubt our biggest achievement for they fuel our drive to innovate

Your mentor in the industry: It’s hard to think of one specific mentor. I was lucky enough to work with some great colleagues and supervisors

Company focus for 2015: To work with our partners and customers in the region to effectively make the transition from the second to the third platform while achieving their business objectives.

Percentage of channel sales: 100 per cent

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: It’s all about the mega trends- cloud, social, mobile and Big Data.

Issues in the regional channel:  There is a need for more specialised learning and development tools to help the channel transform with the larger market and technologies.

19 Hesham TantawiName:
Hesham Tantawi
Company:
Asbis Enterprises
Designation:
Vice President, META

Years in the company: 13

Years in the channel: 30 plus

Company focus for 2015: To continue to be profitable.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Mobility and wearables

Issues in the regional channel:  Market slowdown

Key to grow profitably:  By working closely with partners and to lead with innovative technologies

20 Ihab Al SaheliName:
Ihab Al Saheli
Company:
CNS
Designation:
General Manager

Years in the company: 3

Years in the IT channel business: 20

Biggest achievement till date: The biggest channel achievement for a UAE-based systems integrator is being recognised and appreciated from both our technology partners and our customers. We have achieved the highest partnership status with most technology vendors and got awarded for our services from a lot of different businesses in UAE and Oman. And this is thanks to our services team and commitment to our community.

Company focus for 2015: To continue focus on cloud, security and managed services

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: A good partner network programme is critical to our success and growth. It allows us as channel partners to grow our businesses by increasing financial benefits, providing marketing and sales support and running a highly effective, simplified training and certification programmes.

Key to grow profitably:  We sustain profitability by offering a complete value-added solutions to our customers and by bringing commitment, value and expertise to our partners, rather than mass selling and focusing on the numbers game, which has low margin and no value.

21 Jaison KorathName:
Jaison Korath
Company:
Despec Middle East
Designation:
Chief Executive Officer

Years in the company: 16

Years in the IT channel industry: 12

Biggest achievement till date: Developing a business model, which is adaptive to the market and keeping customers happy. Always keep the customer on your side.

Your mentor in the industry: No one specifically but I try to retain the good qualities of the people who have contributed to the channel. Prefer to have a blend of strategy, vision and experience.

Company focus for 2015: To maintain the market share and diversify to new trends and technologies.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: E-commerce is gaining popularity as the corporate sector is keen on cutting the cost and moving away from the traditional approach.

Issues in the regional channel: Slow cash conversion, over supply and grey products are the pressing issues in the channel market.

Key to grow profitably:  Follow the basics – keep the overheads under control, manage the supply to the tune of demand and effective service.

22 Jude PerieraName:
Jude Periera
Company:
Nanjgel Solutions
Designation:
Managing Director

Years in the company: 8

Years in the channel: 20 plus

Biggest industry achievement till date: Growth, achievements and recognitions have been ongoing on a personal level during my early career days. And today it is at an organisational level. Nanjgel as a team has achieved 30 per cent year-on-year growth, with an annual turnover of over AED 50 million.

Your mentor in the industry: I compete with myself. Every person is racing against time, especially in a highly competent industry such as ours and for each person the biggest challenge is evolving their own self.

Technologies to drive regional retail growth: Retail players are moving towards an omni-channel mode with emphasis on digital media, experience centres, signages, display walls and a lot more. Theft management practices and security tools are also being adopted.

Company focus for 2015: To follow a security solution based approach by maximising value to all.

Issues in the regional retail channel: Lack of strong brand visibility, customer engagement and enticement.

Key to grow profitably: Idea generation and being agile is a must for all technology players in every industry.

23 Khalid LabanName:
Khalid Laban
Company:
Oxygen Middle East
Designation:
Chief Executive Officer

Years in the company: 15

Years in the IT channel industry: 15

Biggest achievement till date: Ability to provide local support including pre-sales, services and logistics into Saudi Arabia, East Africa and North Africa.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Information security and infrastructure solutions.

Issues in the regional channel: Looking for a higher credit period and skeptical on investments for new ‎vendors.

Key to grow profitably: Build a breadth of channels including depth in key regions and vertical segments.

24 KS ParagName:
KS Parag
Company:
FVC
Designation:
Managing Director

Years in the company: 15

Years in the IT channel industry: 15

Biggest achievement till date: Ability to provide local support including pre-sales, services and logistics into Saudi Arabia, East Africa and North Africa.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Information security and infrastructure solutions.

Issues in the regional channel: Looking for a higher credit period and skeptical on investments for new ‎vendors.

Key to grow profitably: Build a breadth of channels including depth in key regions and vertical segments.

25 K.U. ShankriName:
K.U. Shankri
Company:
Lucky Star Computers
Designation:
Managing Director

Years in the company: 18

Years in the IT channel industry: 22

Biggest channel achievement till date: Being awarded by Lenovo as ‘The best channel of the year – 2008 and 2012’

Your channel mentor: Raj Shankar, MD, Redington Gulf

Company focus for 2015: SMB sectors, high end gaming section, workstation solution for Autocad and graphic designers and focus on the export market.

Issues in the regional channel: Due to the political uncertainty of the Middle East region, the market has been severely impacted.  Export market to the region is down, except for the African market. African market export in this quarter is much better compared to last year same quarter.Besides the export issues, the price war is on-going in the market due to over stocking.

Key to grow profitably:   Our businesses opt for gradual, organic growth that is more manageable and involves less risk. Growth involves risk and commitment, however if well-managed, it should be achievable for most businesses. We will try to manage efficiently and keep the profit level consistent, and increase the capital strength.

26 Manoj TiwariName:
Manoj Tiwari
Company:
Printek Supplies
Designation:
Managing Partner

Years in the company: 11

Years in the IT channel industry:‎ 16

Biggest achievement till date: ‎When we became the number one suppliers for data media

Company focus for 2015:‎ We want to focus on other regions rather than local sales.

Issues in the regional channel:  Payment issues, cash flow is less in the market at the moment

Key to grow profitably:  To focus on neighbouring regions and increase product range

27 Mario GayName:
Mario Gay
Company:
Mindware
Designation:
General Manager

Years in the company: 8

Years in the channel: 8

Biggest achievement till date: Receiving ‘Intel Finance Achievement Award’ in 2006  – the highest recognition for an individual from Intel.

Company focus for 2015: To reorganise and consolidate the value division further according to the type of products within the portfolio.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Cloud, mobility, Big Data, virtualisation, Internet of Things

Issues in the regional channel:  Partners need to focus on specialisation in terms of skills or high level of competencies to grow in the market.

Key to grow profitably: Embrace the new business models and ensure the quality of services offered to the market.

28 Mario GeorgiouName:
Mario Georgiou
Company:
Juniper Networks
Designation:
Regional Partner Director MEA

Years in the company: 10.5

Years in the channel: 10.5

Biggest achievement till date: It is not about one big achievement but more about how we consistently help our channel grow a profitable business and to help their customers be successful in their business.

Your mentor in the industry: There are a number of people who have inspired me in understanding how the channel is continually evolving.

Company focus for 2015: To focus more on those partners who recognise and are driving the virtualisation opportunity.

Percentage of channel sales:  100 per cent

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Virtualisation in the data centre, cloud and SDN

Issues in the regional channel:  The partners will need to change their approach from selling products only to offering solutions with services that can be tailored to their customer needs.

Key to grow profitably: We’re differentiating our partner programme by focusing our resources on elements that fuel the business of building industry-leading networking and cloud solutions.

29 Mario M. VeljovicName:
Mario M. Veljovic
Company:
Global Distribution
Designation:
Vice President Solutions MENA

Years in the company: A little more than 1 year

Years in the IT channel industry: 20

Biggest achievement till date: I had the pleasure to be involved in a number of major mergers and acquisitions and set up various new businesses and ventures in ICT distribution, ICT professional services, training and logistics.

Your mentor in the industry: Dr. Ali Baghdadi, President, Ingram Micro Technology Solutions, META

Company focus for 2015: To grow and develop our partner channel network. You will see a lot of creative channel programmes and events from us. Additionally, service is a key area of focus too.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: BI/analytics, data/information security, Automatic Identification and Data Capturing (AIDC) and digital signage

Issues in the regional channel: The channel is not fully geared up to sell ROI and TCO, instead still sells on price and by specifications. That has to change.

Key to grow profitably: Focus, focus, focus

30 Marissa SafeName:
Marissa Safe
Company:
FDC International
Designation:
Chief Operating Officer and Vice President

Years in the company: 26

Years in the IT channel industry: 26

Biggest achievement till date: Brand building and achieving channel profitability

Your mentor in the industry:  Anji Wang, who was the Vice President at lTech Research, which was a company located in the US and is not operating in the market any longer.

Company focus for 2015: Cost reduction. We are aiming to increase the business quality instead of focusing on revenue growth.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: mobility solutions through portable devices such as laptop, tablets and smartphones

Issues in the regional channel: Political instability and unexpected market slowdown

Key to grow profitably:  The key to grow profitably is to correct the TAM (Total Available Market) assessment. The numbers predicted by research firms must be accurate to avoid doing business in saturated market.

31 Maya ZakhourName:
Maya Zakhour
Company:
Fortinet
Designation:
Channel Director, Middle East

Years in the company: 1

Years in the IT channel industry: 13

Biggest achievement till date: Being appointed as Fortinet’s Channel Director for the Middle East

Your mentor in the industry: Experience gained from working to develop Microsoft’s channel

Company focus for 2015: Building a strong channel ecosystem to offer the best support to Fortinet partners and customers across the region

Percentage of channel sales: Currently 20 per cent, with aims to double by the end of the year

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Fortinet provides end-to-end security solutions and this year we will focus on our advanced technologies (Fortimail and Fortiweb) to drive growth

Issues in the regional channel: Channel players still have to improve their skills and expertise

Key to grow profitably: Specialisation in Fortinet advanced technologies is critical to create differentiation in a market that has many competitors.

32 Miguel Angel VillalongaName:
Miguel Angel Villalonga
Company:
Emitac Enterprise Solutions
Designation:
Chief Executive Officer

Years in the company: 7

Years in the IT channel industry: 25

Biggest achievement till date: To have transformed Emitac from a reseller into a full fledge IT solutions and services organisation

Your mentor in the industry: No formal mentor, although I get inspired by many senior executives in our industry

Company focus for 2015: Managed services, cloud
and mobility

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Virtualisation and cloud automation, mobile-enabled business process management

Issues in the regional channel: Apart from the traditional challenge to find the right talent, the regional channel business has a unique combination of very strong vendor presence with a full indirect model, which sometimes creates tensions in the model

Key to grow profitably:  Innovation in the solutions we provide to our customers, and an increase in direct services revenue, including professional services and managed services.

33 Mitesh ShahName:
Mitesh Shah
Company:
Mitsumi Distribution
Designation:
Managing Director

Years in the company: 17

Years in the channel: 17

Biggest achievement till date: Incorporated in 1996, Mitsumi has grown from a single brand and a single product line to a multiple brand distributor with unparalleled reach across Africa, closing revenues of USD 390 million globally last year.

Your mentor in the industry: Michael Saul Dell & Lee Kun-hee, Samsung

Company focus for 2015: To consolidate offerings largely in tablets, smart phones and PC.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Smartphone proliferation and Internet connectivity continue to drive the region channel growth. Both e- and m-commerce are growing segments in the Middle East.

Issues in the regional channel: MEA market is price-sensitive market.

Key to grow profitably:  By having in-country presence, right product portfolio, in depth knowledge of market segment and high level of support will grow your business profitably.

34 Mohamed Sameer KhanName:
Mohamed Sameer Khan
Company:
SAP MENA
Designation:
Channel Head, GPO MENA

Years in the company: 15

Years in the channel: 15

Biggest achievement till date: Launching partner programme for MENA

Your mentor in the industry: Luis Murguia (ex GPO Head EMEA, SAP)

Company focus for 2015: Lower general business run rate (volume)

Percentage of channel sales: 25-30 per cent

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Cloud and Platform (led by HANA)

Issues in the regional channel: Qualified SAP resources

Key to grow profitably: Quality excellence focus and customer centricity.

35 Mohammad MobasseriName:
Mohammad Mobasseri
Company:
emt Distribution
Designation:
Chief Executive Officer

Years in the company: 2

Years in the IT industry: 20

Biggest channel achievement till date: Been graced with the Channel Executive of the year award for past 2 years and grew emt’s regional operations in a short time to be now listed among the top channel companies in the region.

Company focus for 2015: Geographic expansion, advanced level training and certification and complete solution offering

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Network and information security solutions, vulnerability and patch management solutions, unified security solutions, DLP solutions and encryption

Issues in the regional channel: Lack of focus on complete solution selling, lack of education, awareness and skills and the market is brand driven rather than solution driven.

Key to grow profitably: Focus, complete solution offering, professional technical and support offering will help in growing profitably. Also being flexible and well prepared for future can help.

36 Mourad ZohnyName:
Mourad Zohny
Company:
IBM Middle East & Saudi Arabia
Designation:
Global Business Partners Leader

Years in the company: 37

Years in the IT channel business: 13

Biggest achievement till date: Building and growing IBM partners’ ecosystem in the region

Your mentor in the industry: Several IBM executives

Company focus for 2015: From a channel perspective – transformation of IBM channel to be ready for the changes taking place in the industry, and to be able to provide comprehensive value propositions to our clients in the CAMSS solutions

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Hardware – IBM Mainframe z13, Power 8, Flash Storage Solutions, IBM Spectrum Software Defined Storage (SDS). Software – Analytics, Cloud, Security, Mobile, and Social

Issues in the regional channel:   Skills/certifications level of local channel resources and adopting the financial model (cash flow) to the new forms of technology consumption such as Cloud, SaaS and PaaS

Key to grow profitably:  Developing a set of value-add services based on knowledgeable and skilled professionals that can address and solve clients’ business challenges.

37 Munaf AbbasName:
Munaf Abbas
Company:
SNB Group
Designation:
Chief Executive Officer

Years in the company:  1

Years in the channel:  20 plus

Company focus for 2015: Data storage and backup, security surveillance, networking and IT security solutions across all verticals

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: CCTV surveillance, wireless security solutions, data protection and virtualisation, data centre network and application performance monitoring solutions

Issues in the regional channel:  Political instability and fluctuating oil prices can affect channel strategies in the Middle East, lack of technology awareness among channel partners and logistics challenges in the region.

Key to grow profitably:  By empowering partners through training and development programmes. Focus on developing and maintaining ‘loyal’ resellers and systems integrators and through focus on Professional Services.

38 Nassir NauthoaName:
Nassir Nauthoa
Company:
Intel
Designation:
GCC Country Manager

Years in the company: 15

Years in the channel: 20 plus

Biggest channel achievement till date: Being instrumental in changing Intel’s distribution network in MENA to develop greater breadth of addressable customers for our products and by consequence the size of business in the region

Company focus for 2015: To focus on key channel offerings such as CPU, SSD, NUC, tablets and drive Intel Technology Provider (ITP) programme

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Mobility and data centre solutions

Issues in the regional channel: Political instability and currency fluctuations

Key to grow profitably: A strong focus and commitment to support our partners through channel marketing investments was key to sustain and maintain channel’s business growth in MENA countries.

39 Neelesh BhatnagarName:
Neelesh Bhatnagar
Company:
Emax
Designation:
Chief Executive Officer

Years in the company: 9

Years in the IT channel business: 9

Biggest achievement till date: Opening 6 stores across the GCC in one day – 3 stores in UAE, 2 in KSA and 1 in Oman .

Your mentor in the industry: Micky Jagtiani, Founder, Landmark Group

Company focus for 2015: To enhance our clients’ in-store as well as online shopping experience

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Mobility and electronics for health and fitness

Issues in the regional channel: Nothing region-specific; the market here is mature enough and immune to major crisis

Key to grow profitably: Customer satisfaction and omni-channel sales strategy

40 Omar AktharName:
Omar Akthar
Company:
Veeam
Designation:
Regional Channel Manager ME and SAARC

Years in the company: 3.5

Years in the channel: 16 years channel sales experience, 6 of which have been in the ME region

Biggest channel achievement till date: 2014 CPI Hot 50 award for Best Partner Programme

Company focus for 2015: Continue to offer Veeam’s leading virtualisation availability solutions via our established channel partners

Percentage of channel sales: 100 per cent

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Hyper-convergence

Issues in the regional channel:  local instability

Key to grow profitably: By investing in channel 100 per cent enablement, incentives and marketing.

41 Osama AlHaj-IssaName:
Osama AlHaj-Issa
Company:
Aruba Networks
Designation:
Middle East and Turkey Channel Director

Years in the company: 4

Years in the IT channel business: 9

Biggest achievement till date: Structuring Aruba Networks Middle East channel for growth

Your mentor in the industry: Fred Saint-Joigny, EMEA Director Channel Sales & Alliances, Aruba Networks

Company focus for 2015: To gain market share in secure mobility and grow mobility applications

Percentage of channel sales: 100 per cent

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Wireless LAN 802.11ac, ClearPass and Mobility Engagement Platform.

Issues in the regional channel:  Scaling partner resources to keep up with tremendous business growth

Key to grow profitably: Create enterprise awareness on new office normal of all wireless office and underlying infrastructure required to have secure and productive work atmosphere.

42 Paul SherryName:
Paul Sherry
Company:
Gigamon
Designation:
Regional Director Middle East & Africa

Years in the company: One year with Gigamon and 9 years in the Middle East

Years in the channel: 25 plus

Biggest achievement till date: Establishing the F5 MEA channel community and maintaining their trust

Your mentor in the industry: Mark Mulford, MD of Frontline Distribution (lately C2000)

Company focus for 2015: Development of our channel partners’ business in MEA. Growth of our customer base with a 100 per cent satisfaction ratio. Gigamon is growing faster than the industry sector, we want our channel partners to profit from this market opportunity.

Percentage of channel sales: 100 per cent

Issues in the regional channel:  Managing potential channel conflict, ensuring the best interests of the customer and the partner are met.

Key to grow profitably: Long term consistency regarding channel management, developing an environment where trust exists and the interests of all involved parties are considered. Enabling a situation where the partners can add real value which is of benefit to the customer in terms of service and project success by providing services, which contribute to the bottom line of the reseller.

43 Pradeesh VSName:
Pradeesh VS
Company:
ESET
Designation:
General Manager

Years in the company: 6 plus

Years in the channel: 10

Biggest achievement till date: Successfully formulating and managing the execution of ESET Middle East’s channel strategy, which has helped grow our revenues together with those of our channel partners. Playing an important role in building ESET’s brand and share in the region ever since the company stepped into the MENA region.

Your mentor in the industry: All my reporting managers, both past and present

Company focus for 2015: To place more emphasis on partner engagement, training and other value addition.

Percentage of channel sales: 100 per cent

Issues in the regional channel: Shortage of skills and insufficient support from vendors. We have addressed both of these by having regular trainings and by extending our support to our partners at every phase of the process.

Key to grow profitably: By building long-standing trust based relationships with both customers and partners.

44 Rajashri KumarName:
Rajashri Kumar
Company:
Schneider Electric
Designation:
MEA Transactional Director- IT Business

Years in the company: 11

Years in the channel:   2

Your channel mentors: Thierry Chamayou, Regional VP, EMEA South and Francesco Quero, VP, Regional IT Channel Development, Schneider Electric

Company focus for 2015: We will be re-launching our channel partner programme that enables partners to stay informed of company developments through events, workshops and training, and target the right audience for our product portfolio.

Percentage of channel sales: Almost 50 per cent in MEA region

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Converged IT, IoT, cyber security, MSPs, modular and green data centres, SDN, cloud computing and UPS systems

Key to grow profitably: By keeping track of market trends and customer expectations and adapting to customer needs and integrating the latest technology in an energy-efficient manner

45 Ramesh BelaniName:
Ramesh Belani
Company:
Maxtouch Computers
Designation:
Managing Director

Years in the company: 13

Years in the IT channel industry: 33

Your mentor in the industry: My thorough personal experience and ability to adapt with the times.

Company focus for 2015: To increase the profitability by value-added distribution

Technologies to drive regional channel growth:  Smart devices and gadgets

Issues in the regional channel: Political issues resulting in devaluation of currencies, dumping of goods by vendors due to low sales and unaudited or escalated volume figures presented as data analysis on IT market.

Key to grow profitably: Through value-added distribution or selling and optimise or lower the operating cost

46 Ramkumar BalakrishnanName:
Ramkumar Balakrishnan
Company:
Redington Gulf
Designation:
President, Value-Added Distribution Business

Years in the company: 10

Years in the IT channel industry: 16

Biggest achievement till date: Helping channel transform at different times either through skilling or through augmenting investments on their behalf. Constantly helping channel win business on newer technologies

Your mentor in the industry:  Raj Shankar, MD, Redington Gulf

Company focus for 2015: Software-defined everything and security

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Hyper converged infrastructure and software-defined everything

Issues in the regional channel:  Investment in training and skills

Key to grow profitably: Differentiation

47 Reeman AnsariName:
Reeman Ansari
Company:
VMware MENA
Designation:
Manager Partner Organisation

Years in the company: 2

Years in the channel: 15

Biggest channel achievement till date: Being able to support partners in embracing the current market shifts and dynamics.

Your mentor in the industry:  Our channels and systems integrators community are our mentors.

Company focus for 2015: To make SDDC main stream by extending our leadership in compute to all facets of the DC.

Percentage of channel sales: 100 per cent

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Disruptive technologies, network virtualisation, automation and management, storage virtualisation, SW cloud suites.  Services integration, software-defined everything within the walls of the DC and beyond.

Issues in the regional channel: Some channels are comfortable with the status quo and the legacy of how they did business in the past.

Key to grow profitably:  Evolve your business models and resource skill sets to differentiate your offering, consult and advise your customers.

48 Rui SilvaName:
Rui Silva
Company:
Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise
Designation:
Channel Manager Middle East

Years in the company: 11

Years in the IT channel business: 22

Biggest achievement till date: Exponentially grew network division distribution business in 10 years. The key was to grow the channel in significant areas but more important identify potential partners who were willing to literally burn their ships for us and grow together.

Your mentor in the industry: Nestor Cano, President EMEA, Tech Data

Company focus for 2015: To grow our SMB business, grow our network business and most importantly, focus on our installed voice customers, which is key to us.

Percentage of channel sales: 100 per cent

Issues in the regional channel:  Partners often feel that the vendors are not adequately engaged and that they are left at the mercy of the market and to fight it out on their own. This is due to over distribution and a short term strategy of getting a quick win. We also believe that there is very little loyalty in the channel from a vendor or partner perspective.

Key to grow profitably:  Focus on key partners in specific technologies and markets.

49 Sajith RajName:
Sajith Raj
Company:
Logicom Distribution
Designation:
General Manager

Years in the company: 12 plus

Years in the channel: 15 plus

Biggest achievement till date: Establishing a successful channel partner network and vendor portfolio in the Gulf with sustainable growth.

Your mentor in the industry: I don’t single out one person as I believe that all our business partners contribute in different ways.

Company focus for 2015: Solution-based distribution and to create a well-balanced product portfolio, which can benefit all stake holders.

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Cloud based applications and Big Data

Issues in the regional channel:  Lack of regulated credit rating mechanism

Key to grow profitably:  Right mix of products and time to execute the full cycle of sales transaction.

50 Sami Abi EsberName:
Sami Abi Esber
Company:
MDS Gulf
Designation:
President

Years in the company: 28

Years in the channel: 28

Biggest achievement till date: Being the number one IT Service provider in the UAE as per IDC (for 10 consecutive years) and a leading regional systems integrator

Company focus for 2015: To grow further software business, managed services and cloud offerings

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: cloud, security, mobility and Big Data

Issues in the regional channel:  Increasing competition from vendors and regional SIs, delay in payment and projects.

51 Sandy AudiName:
Sandy Audi
Company:
Dell
Designation:
Channel Strategy & Programs lead

Years in the company:  8

Years in the channel: 14

Biggest industry achievement till date: A key strategic project that fundamentally transformed our channel business and became a global business model

Your mentor in the industry:  Michael Collins

Company focus for 2015: To make it easier for partners to do business with us, building capabilities in the channel and enabling our partners to grow profitably

Percentage of channel sales: 100 per cent

Technologies to drive regional retail growth: The 2-in-1 market is picking up momentum as end users are looking for more flexibility and capabilities

Issues in the regional retail channel: While the shift to online and digital channel brings in a wealth of opportunities and growth, it will pose a threat to the classical retail channel if they don’t participate in the emerging trends.

Key to grow profitably: The ability to differentiate yourself in the market place with focus on selling end to end solutions.

52 Shailendra RughwaniName:
Shailendra Rughwani
Company:
Dubai Computer Group
Designation:
President

Years in the company:  8

Years in the IT channel business:  21

Biggest channel achievement till date:  Being a founding member and the President of Dubai Computer Group (DCG). Through DCG, we initiated and was successful in getting the customs duty on IT products from Dubai government to zero with one person service charge.

Your mentor in the industry:  Followed Steve Jobs’ success graph.

Company focus for 2015:  Sustaining growth of 2014

Technologies to drive regional channel growth:  Mobile and IP technology

Issues in the regional channel:  Credit and overstocking

Key to grow profitably:  Good stock management, focus on technical services and solutions.

53 S.M. HussainiName:
S.M. Hussaini
Company:
Almoayyed Computers
Designation:
General Manager

Years in the company: 12

Years in the channel: 23

Biggest channel achievement till date: Transforming my current company to a leading systems integrator in the region

Your channel mentor: My team. I learn and get motivation from my team and work for my team’s success.

Company focus for 2015: Services, point solutions and cloud

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Cloud and on-premise deployments

Issues in the regional channel:  Majority of the channel in the region tends to compete on price.

Key to grow profitably:  Excelling on service delivery while focusing on solutions that can bring a positive change in customers’ business, staying close to customers and gaining their satisfaction during every stage of interaction with them.

54 Stephan BernerName:
Stephan Berner
Company:
Help AG
Designation:
Managing Director

Years in the company: 11 (since foundation of the company in the Middle East)

Years in the IT channel business: 20

Biggest achievement till date: Establishment of Help AG as the leading IT security reseller in ME. Successfully planning and executing the company’s evolution in the services domain.

Your mentor in the industry: Mr Reinhold back in 1995 who taught me that there is no such thing as ‘taking a shower without getting wet’.

Company focus for 2015: To focus on existing markets, UAE and Qatar, geographical expansion into KSA and grow the scope and uptake of our recently launched Managed Security Services

Issues in the regional channel: Hiring and retention of skilled professionals, credit and financing, vendor competition in services domain.

Key to grow profitably: We credit the company’s success and profitable business growth to our T.E.A.M. – Together Everyone Achieves More. Our team members make the difference and underline our sole focus on cyber-security and unmatched level of technical expertise and breadth of services.

55 Steve LockieName:
Steve Lockie
Company:
Westcon Group
Designation:
Group Managing Director

Years in the company: 7

Years in the channel: 25

Biggest achievement till date: Being fortunate enough to have twice worked with great teams who have defined and lead compliant value distribution businesses in the Middle East with market leading employee engagement

Your mentor in the industry: Brian Eliot – a ‘founding father’ of value distribution at Azlan UK in the early 1980’s

Company focus for 2015: Extending our footprint in the region and the development of our financing, cloud, education, professional services and our logistical services capabilities

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Mobility, security, cloud and SDN

Issues in the regional channel: Financing remains a challenge throughout the region

Key to grow profitably: Sometimes it’s the deals you don’t do that are the most profitable. We remain committed to building profitable business with our key vendor and reseller partners.

56 Sukant MishraName:
Sukant Mishra
Company:
Octagon International Group
Designation:
Managing Director

Years in the company: 10

Years in the channel: 17

Company focus for 2015: Our focus will be on gaming, mobility and networking and market focus on Africa and Asia

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Cloud, IoT and mobility

Issues in the regional channel: Lack of transparency limits the scope of understanding and trust in business which hampers the growth and lack of investment in the region.  Financial and political stability are the other two issues.

Key to grow profitably: Cost cutting, use of better technology and innovations.

57 Suren VedanthamName:
Suren Vedantham
Company:
StorIT Distribution
Designation:
Group Managing Director

Years in the company: 13

Years in the channel: 20

Biggest achievement till date: Being the sole distributor to achieve the distinction of completing approximately 1000 project implementations on behalf of resellers across the Middle East

Your mentor in the industry: StorIT

Company focus for 2015: Emerging technologies

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Data storage and protection, data analytics, high performance computing, managed services, virtualisation and data centre solutions

Key to grow profitably: Agility to adapt, innovate and evolve.

58 Taj ElKhayatName:
Taj ElKhayat
Company:
Riverbed Technology
Designation:
Regional Vice President, Middle East, Turkey, North, West, and Central Africa

Years in the company: 2 years 4 months

Years in the IT channel industry: 16

Biggest achievement till date: Earning the trust of my partners, and enabling them to grow their revenue, increase their profitability, and expand their market coverage. I owe my own success and growth to my partners, customers and team.

Your mentor in the industry: My channel mentor is each and every member of the channel community. I learn from every encounter with every member of the channel community and they have collectively contributed, in one way or the other, to my knowledge, skills and competency and kept my motivation going. My partners are my mentors.

Company focus for 2015: To get closer and more relevant to our enterprise and telco customers, growing our channel revenue and enhancing their competency in solution selling, and delivering the value of our Application Performance Platform

Percentage of channel sales: 100 per cent

Issues in the regional channel: Employee attrition, inadequate skll sets and dependency on the vendor.

Key to grow profitably: By hiring the right talent, investing in enhancing talent competencies, solution selling and services value offering.

59 Tanya LoboName:
Tanya Lobo
Company:
Avaya
Designation:
Distribution Director, Global Growth Market

Years in the company: 14

Years in the channel: 8

Biggest channel achievement till date: R.O.A.D.S ( Recruit – Onboard – Authorise – Develop – Sustain the channel) initiative targeting market GAP coverage and white space development.

Development of the distributor community from volume to value focusing on recruitment, partner development, and marketing and solution selling

Your mentor in the industry: Nidal Abou- Ltaif, President for Avaya, AsiaPAC, Middle East, Africa

Company focus for 2015: Energising, motivating, rewarding and empowering the channel to address the fast pace technology adoption

Percentage of channel sales: 95 per cent

Technologies to drive regional channel growth: Mobility enablement, security, cloud-ready communication solution and networking

Issues in the regional channel:  Lack of investment to develop skills

Key to grow profitably:  Outcome based selling that focus on addressing the customer expectation

60 Vishesh BhatiaName:
Vishesh Bhatia
Company:
Jumbo Group
Designation:
Chief Executive Officer

Years in the company: 2 years and 9 months

Years in the retail channel: 30

Biggest industry achievement till date: Chairman of The Electronics Group (the industry association)

Your mentor in the industry: Mr. Majid Al Futtaim – his clear vision, boldness in execution, attention to detail – qualities that I was privileged to appreciate at close quarters.
The late Mr. MR Chhabria from whom in a very short period of time, I was privy to some key learning in driving a business.

Company focus for 2015: To position Jumbo as a diversified conglomerate in the UAE. The focus will be on bolstering the relatively high margin ‘Jumbo Solutions’ business units, which includes Jumbo Engineering, Jumbo Logistics, Jumbo Enterprise, and a newly established business unit offering talent management consultancy branded as Jumbo Force.

Issues in the regional retail channel:  Maintaining profit margins without compromising on quality is ultimately the biggest challenge in the retail sector. The grey market continues to be an impediment to healthy competition in this respect.

Key to grow profitably:  At Jumbo, we have always believed in the value of risk-taking, and pursuing niche sectors where we can bring experience and add value. With the several layers of convergence in this business, we see integrated diversification as key to our success.

 

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