Channel must adapt to grab new opportunities

Channel Post speaks with Nabil Khalil, Executive Vice-President at R&M META about the state of the IT channel and what role he plays in strengthening the channel.

Nabil Khalil, Executive Vice-President of R&M META

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

I have over 19 years of experience in the Gulf and especially the UAE, and have held several senior management positions in the IT industry. Prior to joining R&M, I worked with the MDS Site & Power Group where, since early 2008, I played a key role in establishing and managing Computer and Power Technology, the ‘structured cabling and low current arm’ of the Group.

R&M has been in the regional market for over 19 years and has built a strong reputation for its Swiss quality and reliability. To succeed as R&M’s Executive Vice-President for META, I have had to maintain and further strengthen this strong brand image. I believe that since I joined the company in the last quarter of 2015, I have successfully done so ensuring that our customers and partners continue to enjoy the extremely high level of service excellence that has become a hallmark of our business.

My next focus is to lead the regional team to deliver on our company mission for 2017 /2018 which is based around customer excitement. We will strive to deliver a quality of service that exceeds customer expectations.

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

My main focus revolves around strengthening our position in existing markets by building on relationships with our existing partners. In developing markets, I concentrate my efforts on striking new strategic partnerships and creating brand awareness.

One of my key roles is to strengthen R&M’s regional presence, deepen our ties with our business partners, and position R&M as the cabling vendor of choice for public and private enterprises. In the public sector, I intend to increase R&M’s penetration through involvement in the region’s many FTTx deployment projects. Similarly, in the office cabling business, the goal is to extend the company’s footprint mainly by focusing on developing data centre segment.

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

I believe in “leadership by example” philosophy and passionately guide and direct the channel through regular interactions with them. We maintain an open line of communication with our partners as I believe that transparency and teamwork are key to mutual success.

What is your advice on finding success in the channel?

Customer orientation is a key value that both vendor and partner should focus on. Our mission for 2017 is built around customer excitement and to achieve our objective, it is imperative that our channel also supports and works towards this goal. Success is thus built on both parties being transparent and sharing the same values and business objectives.

To execute the optimum channel strategy, we ensure that our partners are fully certified and trained through our R&M QPP program. Here, we maintain a heavy focus on technical trainings which is necessary for success in the field. This year we have trained more than 390 customers in different vertical markets in all our regions.

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

Digital transformation is beginning to impact more aspects of our lives and this requires that the channel remains nimble and adapts to the new opportunities that this technology trend presents. While this might be a challenge for those channel players who would rather stick to their traditional business models, it offers a tremendous opportunity for innovative partners. They can now create new revenue streams and deliver additional value to their customers. Of course, to be capable of doing so, they need the support of market leading vendors like R&M who not only deliver innovative technologies, but also support them in building the highest level of technical expertise.