Get to know: Prajit Arakkal

With scores of experience serving businesses in the MENA region, Prajit Arakkal claims focusing on business relationships should take centre stage for any channel player. As software ace Symantec heightens its presence in the region, we made a point of ‘getting to know’ Prajit Arakkal...

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By  Dawinderpal Sahota Published  June 1, 2007

|~|get-to-know-Prajit200.jpg|~|Prajit Arakkal, Symantec|~|With scores of experience serving businesses in the MENA region, Prajit Arakkal claims focusing on business relationships should take centre stage for any channel player. As software ace Symantec heightens its presence in the region, Channel Middle East made a point of ‘getting to know’ Prajit Arakkal...

What is your career history to date? How did you end up working in Dubai?

I started off as a computer programmer in Bangalore, which was a technology hub at the time. Then I received an offer from a foodstuff company based in Dubai that wanted to carry out office automation and I found this offer compelling so moved to Dubai. Then I moved to a system integration company, where I stayed for two years. From there I moved to Aptec Distribution and now I’m here at Symantec.

What do you enjoy most about working in the Middle East IT market?

The culture, the people and the relationships. What’s interesting here is that the relationships you build over the years stay, and that’s what gets your business moving — it’s about how you treat people, and how you understand their issues, rather than always just thinking about yourself.

What do you dislike most about working in the Middle East IT market?

The margin conflicts that we have in this market; sometimes it gets ridiculous. Effectively, they’re devaluing the product itself by reducing the margin so much, which reflects back on how it is portrayed to the market. It’s silly how some companies dilute their margins so much they put a question mark on their existence in the market.

How would you describe your management style?

More hands-off than hands-on. I would only get myself involved with a distribution partner when it is not performing well. I hardly ever get deeply involved in somebody’s business unless its absolutely necessary. Motivation is required for everyone, whether it’s a subordinate or a partner, so that’s also something I keep in mind.

How do you like to relax outside of the work environment?

I listen to music, play a little tennis. I play with my son go out with my friends, all the usual things. And of course, if there’s a cause for a party, I party.

What is the best deal you have ever closed?

There are lots of deals but I don’t think you can measure a deal based on the size of the order. It’s about how you execute the deal and get the teams working together. Every deal I’ve made is, in my opinion, quite close, in terms of how the customer found that solution — and that’s the important thing — the satisfaction of the customer.

What is the proudest moment of your career?

I was selected for a Chairman’s Circle Award with Symantec last year — only 20 to 25 people from Symantec across the world were selected for this and I was one of them, and that meant a lot to me. The criteria for the award was how much of a trusted advisor you are and how you conduct yourself, so it was a very proud moment for me.

What’s the most valuable business lesson you've learnt?

Being in such a close-knit market, I think it’s about the relationships that you build and how you maintain that relationship. Not necessarily thinking about today, but thinking long-term, and those relationships will translate back into business, which will eventually make you successful. In this market, you need to be a person that other people trust.||**||

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