Channel Post speaks with Ilyas Mohammed, Director Saudi Operations at Spectrami about the changing landscape and his role in enabling and developing the channel.
What is your career history to date and key career achievements?
It has been a good journey with few overwhelming moments. I successfully closed and executed a multi-million dollar project in Saudi in mid 90’s and later, in early 2000, I launched IBM for Aptec in Africa. My career history also includes building a value-added security division in addition to developing a niche product from inception which has now become mainstream technology.
What are your roles and responsibilities in the company as a channel influencer?
I have been working at Spectrami as Channel and Alliances Director, and have recently taken up responsibility as Saudi Operations Director as well. My responsibilities include identifying prospects and building the channel from scratch, which I have been able to successfully deliver working hand-in-hand with my team.
What qualities should a channel influencer possess to lead the channel?
A channel influencer needs to understand the mechanics of channel operation in addition to in-depth knowledge and experience in the region they work. They need to identify the right channel approach for their product and the company so as to develop a successful relationship that is beneficial to the entire channel.
What is your advice on finding success in the channel?
A successful channel is primarily driven by three things – education, profitability and support. If the channel knowledgeable about the solution they are selling, it will put them into a comfort zone of sorts and build their confidence to sell it. It is also important for vendors and distributors to ensure that the channel is able to make substantial profit so that everyone remains committed and motivated enough to generate further sale revenues. Finally, support is an equally important component for a successful channel, be it for the partners or the customers.
How would you assess the current state of channel?
The state of the channel is very dynamic right now and it is important for channel partners to identify the right kind of partners and work together with them to identify and utilize each other’s strengths for a mutually beneficial relationship.
What is the biggest challenge facing the IT channel in the region?
For me, the biggest obstacle that the IT channel faces today is growing lack of focus. Considering the state of the IT industry in the past few quarters, many partners have succumbed to the demands of a challenging market and are trying to sell multiple technologies to generate revenue and achieve their targets.
If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be?
The area where partners need to make more effort, according to me, would be educating themselves on the solutions they are selling and focusing on selling products within their speciality.
How can partners work effectively to generate growth in the channel?
There are a number of approaches that partners may consider for seamless channel operation. Some of the more important ways would be improving customer relations, educating their customers and providing them with support all the way through. Partners can also assist/guide each other in lead generation as well as in creating demand in the market.