Channel impacted by limited credit

Channel Post speaks with Mohammed Owais, Sales Director MENA at WDC on his role in driving growth in the channel despite challenges.

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

I started my career selling storage devices in the UAE. Here I worked for major regional distributors in selling hard disk drives in a career spanning 20 years in the Middle East channel and worked indirectly with many renowned brands. More recently, I have been at WD Middle East for a decade managing their Middle East distribution and storage business.

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

My role within the company is to manage a team responsible for distribution and channel for the entire portfolio of products. This involves overlooking the flow of product from distribution to channel partners/ System Integrators / SMBs. I ensure that we as a team devise the right plan from channel incentives and marketing exercises, and also have the right alliances in place so that our brand is present at all relevant platforms where storage is the key.

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

A Channel Influencer must be continuously asking the channel “what can be done for them” and “how can I help them in making their business easier”. He must also be vigilant on their issues like inventory, and know how the regional dynamics impact channel business and ultimately their own. He needs to be in constant contact with all channel partners, stand by them and give them The required help and guidance in time.

What is your advice on finding success in the channel?

In order to drive a successful channel, it is of utmost importance to have a regional channel strategy with measurable plans. It is also necessary to have the team with the right mind set and to identify the right partners who have the capacity and scalability to drive along with your objectives.

How would you assess the current state of channel?

Currently the channel is going through a major change. There is constant evolution of technology and regional financial constraints in the IT/mobility sector. In the current scenario, both partners and distributors need to take care who they partner with and what is their niche.

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

Major challenges today are the shifts in technology and limited credit lines which impact the financial investments and purchasing power of the channel.

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

That would be consolidating with long term partners. The new reality of the channel is tailored/customised approach (as the IT Channel is the most dynamic) to enhance the experience of partners with even more with marketing, generating demand and driving value.

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

  • Understand the factors that impact channel performance.
  • Enable top performance by providing adequate tools (marketing, training, etc)
  • Monitoring channel health on a continuous basis.
  • Channel training & education to help them up-sell
  • Helping the channel to sell a solution & not only box moving