In conversation with Channel Post MEA, Vlad Postelnicu- Director Alliances & Strategic Partnerships, Software AG talks how the channel is evolving in the Middle East, and the need for more collaboration between vendors and partners to exploit the opportunities market offers
How would you describe the regional channel landscape, and what are some of the newest trends you’re witnessing in 2022 that will continue to shape the channel industry?
The channel partner ecosystem is growing and is full of opportunities. It is rapidly evolving with several emerging developments and channel partners continuing to empower customers across their environment. The focus strongly lies on digital transformation, customer demand and channel-partner business models to offer customers optimized experiences while creating new levels of opportunities and involvement for channel partners. The customer is even more powerful now than ever before and hence . This year has been a year of growth for partner relationships and here’s what we will continue to witness through the year:
- Partner ecosystems will continue to play a vital role in generating significant revenues as vendor companies continue to build and nurture strong partner relationships.
- Remote and hybrid workforces will continue to stay and organizations and employees expect same experiences no matter where they are.
- There is significant focus on cloud and a rapid shift is being witnessed in favour of cloud adoption within the industry and the ecosystem has to rapidly steer ahead in cloud readiness.
How would you define your channel engagement strategy in the region?
Mutual and synergized goals is a vital part of our combined strategy as part of the vendor-partner alliance which combines resources and expertise to garner optimum value for the customer and results in creating a profitable and fruitful eco-system for everyone involved. From a Middle East outlook, we are on a growing trajectory for the past 8 years. As a channel driven organisation, to increase growth and expansion in the region we believe in robust partner relationships who can facilitate enhanced growth for us and them together. Channel partners such as these do not and cannot only work on a transactional perspective for large projects and hence a long-term vision is what bring success to life.
Which type of channel partners are a perfect fit for Software AG and why should partners work with you?
There is no strict recipe to onboard a partner. We believe that each of our partners bring in an advantage and fulfil different roles at different commercial engagements. All partners hold an equal stature for us despite their size and value to our business. Whether we are talking about large global and regional partnerships which are vital in this market or niche companies that specialise in Software AG technologies or even one of our practices such as Business Process Management (BPM), Enterprise Architecture, API Integration and IoT & Analytics, all partners are an integral part of our larger business operations.
From a channel strategy perspective, we have overhauled and simplified our PartnerConnect program. It is a self-service program where once the partner onboards; they get access to more than 400 certified trainings and access to information similar to what employees of Software AG have. Therefore, the openness within Software AG in our channel ecosystem is very evident and transparent. Furthermore, in the last few years, we have enjoyed a ‘sweet spot’ in the market with most of our technologies enjoying a ‘must-have’ position. Most of our partners have enhanced this while reaping results of their investments in this relationship using state-of-the-art technologies which are recognized by most industry analysts such as Forrester, Gartner, MachNation and more.
What competitive advantage do you offer to your partners?
Our partners are our problem-solving heroes, and we strongly believe that they are key drivers of the Software AG growth. Our business is founded on this model. Hence to ensure the opportunity for growth and scale for both parties and to build strong, symbiotic relationships, our focus lies on:
- Providing opportunities to local and regional partners to network with global customers at Software AG’s global events. In addition, they even have the opportunity to interact with the company’s senior most executives to exchange views and ideas towards driving strategic channel-partner roadmaps. This helps bring about a more universal and evolved approach to customer engagement for our partners in the region anchored on global standards.
- Software AG certifications are clearly a market differentiator and tangible proof of commitment to excellence. They are a solution for gaining in-depth knowledge of Software AG solutions provided as our partners deliver excellence for in-demand solutions and services.
Moreover all necessary tools are provided through our Partner Hub for across the board learning and trainings.
We’re just about seeing the light at the end of the ‘pandemic’ tunnel and there seems to be no slow-down in innovation. How is Software AG and its partner community keeping up with the new speed of digital transformation?
Businesses today are focusing on relentless innovation and are rapidly sailing towards more automated operations. These are indeed exciting times and we’re honored to be a frontrunner during this revolutionary phase. With years of understanding of the regional market and our on-ground intelligence in close collaboration with our partners and distributors, together our focus lies on helping businesses build competitive advantages. We’re committed to truly understanding our customers’ requirements and delivering comprehensive tailored solutions that meets those needs in line with their business objectives.
Given the change across sectors, how do you expect to see channel partners position themselves in the industry?
Most partners and even ones that have sizeable implementation teams, quickly understood that they need to scale quickly to tackle the new crisis-led requirements that the market demanded almost immediately – aggressively develop their implementation teams, invest significantly in trainings, workshops and enablement to keep up the pace. Partners continue to build specialized solutions and applications to fit specific industry needs at the hour enabling them to swiftly adapt to needs of the market when required.