Osama AlHaj-Issa, Regional Channel Director, Middle East and Turkey, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, shares how partners can seize market opportunities to be successful.
Channel partners must be optimistic about the future, despite political uncertainty in some countries in the Middle East. They should not hold back from investing in relevant market prospects. The Middle East in particular has a higher percentage of youth, therefore mobility is a necessity for the new workforce and the young society that it represents. Mobility is one of the biggest trends that is sweeping the region and its demand will only increase, in spite of political unrest. Channel partners need to align with vendors that have high business growth potential, provide healthy margins and have cutting edge technology if they are to remain optimistic in 2017 and beyond.
First mover advantage: Channel partners who develop early capabilities in new technologies will be the ones who will be most successful. For example, in the mobility domain, Mobility Engagement solution for public-facing enterprises is a revolutionary technology, one that most firms have endorsed and requested to test in their premises. The solution is comprised of several components such as ‘way finding’ solution, mobility analytical engine, and targeted advertising system. Customers such as hospitals, large educational institutes, malls, airports, stadiums and similar organisations need this solution to enhance customer service, satisfaction and loyalty. Mobility Engagement technology has huge revenue generation potential if utilised well.
The cloud is also a big trend that is being adopted widely. Partners will need to be able to implement cloud-based solutions in public, private and hybrid cloud infrastructure modes to meet the varying needs of customers. IoT is another trend that is gaining momentum. Partners should build competencies in IoT and trend analysis solutions and secure IoT based devices at the network edge.
Marketing: Marketing has elevated to mission-critical status for channel partners and the vendors they represent. To survive and thrive, partners must effectively implement marketing using a variety of tightly integrated outbound and inbound marketing tactics, all focused on building awareness and generating sales leads. Channel partners should reconsider marketing and there are primarily four reasons for that. First, sourcing or selection of IT related products or services has shifted. Second, competition has intensified. Now channel partners face greater competition from local, regional, national, online and non-traditional competitors. Third, marketing has changed dramatically. The modern marketing mix focuses on search authority, thought-leadership and lead generation, and importantly, is delivering dramatic and measurable results. Fourth, historically channel partners tend to spend less time, effort, resources and investment in marketing than other industries. But now partners must make marketing a higher priority, or risk failure.
Successful vendor partnerships: Understanding customer needs and working closely with vendor partners’ sales and engineering team to build the best solution to match or exceed these needs means getting the business closer to them. Readiness and early engagement are the two basic components for a successful partnership. We work closely with partners to enable their sales, pre-sales and post sales to represent us in each of these areas. This ensures customers of high quality delivery of the proposed solution and services. Attaching services enable better channel margins for our partners.
Overcoming pressing challenges: One of the biggest challenges facing the channel today is managing cash flows and receivables since it impacts working capital. This calls for effective financial planning and management, and organisations that are able to do so will eventually succeed.