Channel Post speaks with Zacky Vaz, Regional Channel Manager at Fortinet on his role in driving the channel.
What is your career history to date and key career achievements?
After completing my degree in Computer Engineering, I worked as Service Engineer with one of the top IT resellers, focused on PC/Notebook assembling and Networking. I then secured a job in distribution with Techdata as a Microsoft Sales Specialist co-funded by Microsoft, which laid the foundation for accomplishing my dream of working with global vendors.
I started my vendor career with Trend Micro as a Channel Manager and moved on with regional responsibilities as Country Manager. It was a long journey of 8 years with Trend Micro after which I decided to be part of one of the leading Network Security Vendors –Fortinet.
Winning the Trend Micro EMEA Presidents Club in 2012 and celebrating this achievement with the top Execs in Las Vegas was the proudest moment in my career.
What are your roles and responsibilities in the company as a channel influencer?
My main focus lies on SMB channel development and enablement. I work closely with Fortinet’s top SME VARs in the UAE, Qatar and Oman, and focus on building strong technical expertise within the channel, with the help of dedicated Fortinet channel system engineers and distribution partners. I work with distributors to nurture the channel by offering sales and pre-sales support, rolling out workshops and webinars, while also promoting Fortinet’s FortiPartner program, deal registration, and special SMB offerings.
What qualities should a channel influencer possess to lead the channel?
First and foremost the Channel Influencer should have a passion for channel, working with different individuals. Channel Partners need to be aligned with vendor strategy and focus, this can achieved with the help of strong bonding with the Channel Influencer.
What is your advice on finding success in the channel?
Success in channel depends on your ability to deliver on your commitment and provide customer satisfaction. Channel Partners need to have the right skills and expertise to support customer requirement. Specialisation is one of the areas to focus on when looking at long term vendor strategies in the region. Also, a paradigm shift is required from box moving to value-added reselling.
What is the biggest challenge facing the IT channel in the region?
Most of the channel partners are looking at very short term goals, which is why they do not want to invest on high profile resources that can help them maximise profitability. I believe they face challenges by not investing in acquiring the resources with the right skills and build strong expertise that will help them to meet customer demands with sustainable growth going forward.
If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be?
A strong channel community is the key for the vendor’s growth in the region. In order to improve channel business, partners need to align with vendor’s channel strategy to build strong sales and technical expertise and focus on solution selling – it is more about being a “Trusted Advisor” for customers.
How can partners work effectively to generate growth in the channel?
Alignment with vendor strategies is important for distributors to allow synergy in growing the business. It is also important for distributors, who are essentially viewed as the ‘extended arm’ of the vendor, who can provide market intelligence to support vendor strategies.
What are your interests outside of work?
I like to spend time playing sport like cricket and football with my boys. We spend family time watching movies or taking short trips. I also spend lot of time reading books etc.