In tune with technology

Technology is both effective and efficient for individuals and businesses alike. Over the years importance of technology has outgrown us and today it literally runs our lives. Still, the developments in technology space are occurring at a lighting speed.

With the onslaught of pandemic, we are subjected to inject more and more technologies in running our daily business, which is driving demand for new tech products and solutions. This demand is pushing channel to upscale their skill to stay in tune with technology but the question is, how well is the channel prepared with skills sets in order to aid its customers adopt new technologies.

It is always advised to learn from the past to be better in the future. It definitely is not the first time there is a massive shift in work environment due to technology, it has happened in the past with AI and automation. Presently, there is a change in the workforce model. There was a surge in business owners investing in new technologies for the past year due to the pandemic and remote workforce model. Remote-working practice is to continue in some form for a foreseeable future. As industries transform into a digital environment, safeguarding these platforms is the top priority for businesses. With the shift in technical priorities, it is important to enhance the skill sets accordingly.

Mohamed Abdallah, Regional Director for the Middle East, Turkey & Africa at SonicWall

“There is an explosion of exposure points and escalated risk for every organization, made all the more urgent by the new business normal of 100% remote workforce,” said Mohamed Abdallah, Regional Director for Middle East, Turkey & Africa at SonicWall.

This poses a threat to decision making and growth ability. Not just security concerns, businesses further face challenges from legacy systems, lack of resources and talents, finance process etc. It may be one of the key reason behind an emerging demand for ‘hybrid skill sets’.

This combination of technical and non-technical skills is necessary for the ever-changing landscape of technology. Hybridization of the job market is occurring in full swing with or without our knowledge.

Francea Lobo, Digital Business Analyst at Finesse

With the expansion of technology, even the ‘non-technical’ jobs have one or more technological elements attached to them. For example, 15 years back, an administrative assistant would not be expected to have computer skills and knowledge. But now, it is not just an added point, but is seen as a mandatory skill to be eligible for the job.

The merging of technologies with businesses can be attributed to the immense rate of the digitization process. The COVID 19 pandemic gave a wake-up call for organisations to accelerate digitization. Adapting digital transformation has become more of a necessity than an option for most companies. “Digital Transformation technologies such as AI chatbots, BI & Analytics, Blockchain, Cyber Security solutions, CRM, RPA have made a significant impact on businesses and has become vital to adapt to the new technologies,” said Francea Lobo, Digital Business Analyst at Finesse.

But the work is not done with innovation and adaption. Adapting or implementing new technologies is quite not enough for a proper digital transformation journey. Both the partners and the customers should have immense and in-depth knowledge about the tools and technologies.

Vaidy Panchabikesan, Regional Sales Director at Kissflow

To ensure the digital transformation initiatives and focusing on the right tactics, Channels should train users on the new tools and technologies. This is presently done through webinars and workshops.  The Channel partners should also be further trained and educated to upgrade their skills sets to better aid the customers.

Due to IT skills shortage, channel organisations are developing teams in various markets like Egypt, Jordan, India etc. But this alone is not asking a difference. “While this has enabled them to address the skills shortage, it hasn’t been able to effectively shorten development life cycles. This is where low-code and no-code platforms become essential. They empower partners to overcome the skills gap and cut down the time needed for development in half.,” said Vaidy Panchabikesan, Regional Sales Director at Kissflow.

Companies like Vectra AI are giving access to three online certification programs for their eligible partners — Vectra Sales Professional (VSP), Vectra Certified Implementation Engineer (VCIE) and Vectra Pre-sales security engineers (VPSE). This is believed to further upskill their teams.

Fuad Enaya, regional partner manager, Middle East, Turkey & North Africa (METNA) at Vectra AI

Furthermore, it is important to engage with the partners to maintain a healthy relationship. This became an issue during the pandemic due to the lack of face to face meeting. The partner programs, webinars etc had to be postponed or cancelled during this time. “Partner engagement rate is very much depending on your capability to provide the partners with helpful and relevant content, reward their engagement and get their feedback and ideas,” said Fuad Enaya, regional partner manager, Middle East, Turkey & North Africa (METNA) at Vectra AI.

“Before the pandemic, I used to meet bi-weekly or at least monthly with all Vectra partners to understand what was working/not working well, review performance and discuss strategy. This ensured partners always kept Vectra top-of-mind but at the same time showed our commitment to partners’ success,” he further added.