Channel pioneers

Channel Middle East honours accomplishments that women executives have made and continue to make in the region’s IT channel

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By  Manda Banda Published  February 19, 2012

Rachielle Araga
Senior Channel Manager
Toshiba Gulf
Years in the current position: 4
Years in the channel: 11 years

Highlights: Araga has played a vital role in helping Toshiba develop its channel footprint and business, and raise brand awareness in the Middle East region. With the brand enjoying success in both the power retail and commercial channels, Araga has been at the centre of the vendor’s channel strides in the Middle East region.

Goals: On a personal level, Araga is aiming to be a country head in the next three years. Araga is aware of the rapid pace at which the IT industry is evolving and that is why she has made it her mission to help Toshiba push services and solutions in the coming year. To realise this, Araga will have to help Toshiba’s partners to identify which trends and strategies will have staying power and which ones won’t live up to the hype.

Advice to young women: For women who want to make a mark in their professional life, I strongly advise them not to underestimate their capabilities and potential. Modern women recognise that a career is now an inseparable part of their lives and in order to reach their career goals, they need to challenge themselves.

Pressing channel issue: The threat of another financial crisis in the USA and Europe is again allowing opportunistic IT traders to indulge in grey imports in the market. The effect is bad here.

Pinky Lal
Product Manager; Microsoft
Aptec Distribution
Years in the current position: 6
Years in the channel: 10

Highlights: Lal has done a yeoman’s job in ensuring that Aptec Distribution continues to grow Microsoft’s business in the Middle East channel. Her diligent work has paid off as Aptec was at the start of this year, awarded the Microsoft value distribution rights for the entire Middle East, making the regional distributor the first distribution partner to attain this feat.

Goals: In 2012, Lal wants to grow Aptec’s Microsoft OEM business by taking it to new levels, with special in-country focus on Oman, Kuwait and Qatar. In addition, she would like to increase the number of Aptec’s channel partners and buy-in partners in the Middle East region.

Advice to young women: I do believe that one should be positive, assertive and totally committed to what they do and success will follow. I have had highs and lows in my career, but I have never looked back with regrets. Always strive to fix whatever it is you encounter and the ‘I can do it’ attitude will get you to the heights you aspire to.

Pressing channel issue: At the moment, there are two main issues I feel the channel needs to understand. Firstly, the channel needs to realise the power of working together in an alliance. Secondly, partners must commit and fulfil their part in any alliance with a vendor, distributor or end-user.

Jenice Bhatia
Channel Manager
Years in the current position: 2.5
Years in the channel: 12

Highlights: Bhatia has focused her efforts by targeting partners that will complement McAfee’s channel development strategy and regional expansion plans in the Middle East. Her channel activities on boosting partner margins for solution provider partners playing in the commercial and enterprise markets have been yielding huge dividends for the security vendor.

Goals: As most customers and partners in the region are facing more or less the same challenges as their peers worldwide, Bhatia acknowledges that a big percentage are still behind and relying on point solutions that only address part of their security risk. Bhatia will be utilising her experience and work with channel partners across the region in educating the clients about latest threats and how they can minimise their risk.

Advice to young women: Women are an integral part in the workplace today. My advice to women would be to have confidence in themselves and follow their dreams and passion.

Pressing channel issue: Over the last decade, the market has seen consolidation in nearly all industries. Something similar is also occurring within the channel space today. The stronger players are evolving and merging with the smaller firms, clients are working towards consolidation too.

Deena Habib
Senior Channel Marketing Manager Dell Middle East
Years in the current position: 5 months
Years in the channel: 10

Highlights: Having been involved in her previous role in integrating Sun hardware partners to the Oracle programme when Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, Habib is using that experience to benefit Dell’s enterprise channel in the region. As Dell seeks to engage with more partners that sell enterprise and storage solutions, Habib will be leading with campaigns that are targeted at encouraging partners to sell Dell solutions.

Goals: Habib wants to grow Dell’s enterprise channel and increase the number of solution partners, as well as enterprise and storage partners in the region in 2012. To achieve this, Habib is aware that Dell will have to up its training initiatives.

Advice to young women: Go for it, work hard and make sure you balance your home, personal and work life. Also, it is important to choose a great working environment suited to your career goals.

Pressing channel issue: I do believe that vendors need to take a more active role in educating the channel and not just about their products but on selling skills, identifying new industries and markets to penetrate. Sharing market data with the channel will show them where the growth is. A challenge that vendors face is conflict in the channel where multiple partners go after the same deals and it turns into a price war.

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