Channel’s loyalty is being challenged

Channel Post speaks with Murtuza Viramgamwala, Regional Sales Director, Gulf at Polycom on developing the right channel plans.

Murtuza Viramgamwala

What is your career history to date and key career achievements?

I have worked in various types of organizations in the IT industry ranging from system integrators, distributors and vendors. I have industry experience on a variety of technologies that includes networking, unified communications, mobility, servers and storage. Having worked with some of the most influential companies in the UC and network industries, it helped me transform into an all-round IT professional equipped with immense insights for the Middle-East markets.

What are your roles and responsibilities in the company as a channel influencer?

As the Regional Sales Director for Polycom, my role is to ensure we have the right channel distribution strategies by developing and executing the right channel plans. I am responsible for creating an eco-system where channel and distribution teams can work together in harmony to propel growth for Polycom in the region.

What qualities should a channel influencer possess to lead the channel?

A channel influencer should be able to identify areas of engagement with the channel that can bring fruitful results to both vendor and channel partners. He or she should then be able to build and execute on a plan that leads to progress in those areas. What will make his or her work more effective is the quality of relationships with the channel at various levels starting from senior managers to the account managers who deal with customers on a daily basis.

What is your advice on finding success in the channel?

Here is what I would do to be successful in the channel:

  • Understand the channel landscape and don’t be afraid to make changes when necessary
  • Focus on the top partners – Follow the 80:20 rule
  • Develop and religiously work on a business plan with top partners.

How would you assess the current state of channel?

The channel in our regions is getting more mature and more focussed on their industry verticals as well as their technology areas. With the choice of many vendors and market pressures, their loyalty towards technology vendors is being challenged.

What is the biggest challenge facing the IT channel in the region?

Currently the IT channel in the Middle East is going through a bit of turbulence due to the economic climate, slow decision making and delayed payments. The competition is increasing and pushing the margins southward.

If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be?

I would like to see a well-structured and proactive end-user coverage and business development from the channel business community.

How can partners work effectively to generate growth in the channel?

The IT ecosystem in the region consisting of vendors, distributors, resellers and retailers should work together in a manner that builds even more trust. They must be willing to explore untapped growth areas (market verticals, new technology trends etc.) and leverage on the positive disruption that technology is creating for businesses. These are sure to bring growth in the channel business for everyone.

What are your interests outside of work?

Outside of work, my biggest passion is climbing mountains. I am currently attempting the 7 summits in different continents of which I have already successfully climbed on 3. I love to spend time with my two kids and regularly read, listen to music and go cycling with them.