Get to know: Natesh Mani

New head of Xerox's office business in ME set to transform the vendor into strong regional force.

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  September 26, 2007

Natesh Mani recently took over as the head of Xerox's office business in the Middle East. His task? To strengthen Xerox's channel ties and transform the vendor into a strong regional force. Before putting together Xerox's SME strategy, Channel Middle East thought it would ‘get to know' the man with a clear channel mission...

What is your career history to date?

I have held a number of positions at Xerox since 1982, the most recent prior to this being the executive director for the new office group at Xerox India. In this post I was responsible for the revenue and profit delivery for the whole office group in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives and successfully implemented the two-tier distribution model in which our market share significantly increased across all product lines in 2005 and 2006.

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

I suppose what is interesting is the challenge that each country offers. Every country is unique and has different market requirements. The Middle East IT market is buoyant and is at the cutting edge where customers tend to be the early adopters. That suits us here at Xerox where we identify with innovation in all that we do.

How did you end up working in the Middle East?

I worked in the Middle East and Africa between 1998 and 2003, but I have been moved into this new role from Xerox India to basically help and support the MEA team to increase our market share in the Office products market. The main goal within this objective is to grow our share in printer and multifunction products by expanding our reach through channel partners.

Who else do you admire in the IT industry and why?

Apart from Xerox there are several companies I admire, such as Intel, Microsoft and Cisco. All of these organisations have a number of elements in common and these include continuously growing and developing their business activities globally, winning strong market share and developing great channel networks. They bring in great technologies, have great management skills with their employees and finally they are all heavily involved in community activities.

What is the most valuable business lesson you've learnt?

The most valuable business lessons that first come to mind would be never to overload the channel as this leads to short-term gain and long-term problems and issues. Also, be clear and consistent with what you want to say as well as transparent and open to partners and employees - I have found these to be true when building and developing strong relationships.

What are your top channel tips for the next 12 months?

Having more channel partners doesn't guarantee more business. It's about developing a ‘good partner' relationship. Be open and transparent with the channel - tell them what is possible and what is not.

What is the best deal you have ever closed?

There were two major deals which stand out, where along with my team I played a significant role. One of those was in 2006 when we sold over 6,000 printers to the Rural Development Department in the south of India.

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

My favourite way to relax is listening to music and spending quality time with my friends. I listen to music everyday and am a big fan of all kinds of jazz. Also, I spend a lot of quality time with my friends, often chatting about a wide variety of subjects.

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