IT Veteran

Shahnawaz Sheikh , regional director Dell SonicWALL, MED & Turkey has seen many technology trends come and go since 2001.

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IT Veteran
By  Georgina Enzer Published  July 25, 2012

Shahnawaz Sheikh , regional director Dell SonicWALL, MED & Turkey has seen many technology trends come and go since 2001.

Can you tell us how you began working in the IT industry in the UAE?

I am now one of those veterans that started in the IT industry during the pre-Windows era. After having spent my early technology days in Bangalore, India and Saudi Arabia as a programmer, I moved onto IT solutions sales. In 2001 I landed a job in the UAE with Westcon Middle East to manage two of their distribution business units in UAE and Saudi. In January 2004, I moved to SonicWALL - now part of a larger organisation, Dell SonicWALL - as their first employee in the region and have decided to grow old with them.

What is the best and worst thing about the networking industry in the UAE?

I have been fortunate to witness many technology trends with ups and downs for over a decade in UAE’s networking industry. I would not like to single out the best and the worst as these are part and parcel of businesses around the world. However, I have seen some of the best technologies and products adopted so well in this market, those technologies and brands have left a lasting impression resulting in market growth and acceptance.

Talk us through what you do at work on a daily basis.

My day begins with responding to the to-do tasks of the day followed by taking proactive measures in the interest of business growth and expansion. I’m constantly thinking and brainstorming, which helps me analyse subjects I am working on and things around me. With the remaining time I love to interact with my partners and customers, listening to them and sharing best practices with them.

What has been your proudest achievement in your career so far?

There have been quite a few but the one that I cherish is the success I have experienced with Dell SonicWALL. When I started with Dell SonicWALL in 2004 as the first and only employee, I aimed to lead and grow the business. In less than a year’s time I garnered so much passion towards the technology and security industry that I wanted to increase the business in the region and this, for me, was when it became a game changer.  Every year I would map out goals to be achieved and while SonicWALL gained in market reach, brand awareness and revenue, I gained in knowledge. For me it has been an achievement to continue to work hard and we have progressed from one employee to a team of eight, but we are still aiming higher.

What IT product or innovation should the IT industry watch out for this year?

The IT industry in the UAE constantly watches and adapts to the ever growing trends in the market. The buzz words today are cloud computing, virtualisation and a one-stop-shop solution; these words relate to the various different needs in the IT space. IT managers need to be aware of these new products and innovations.

Comparing the IT industry in the UAE to other countries, do you think it measures up or is lacking and why?

IT adoption and spending in the UAE has always been ahead of the rest of the market in the surrounding region. This is especially true when it comes to adopting new technologies. The other countries usually follow with a small gap in the market or they are more or less on par, depending on the size and infrastructure of the market.

What do you do for fun?

My wife, two daughters and parents who live with me are my rock. Family time is vital to me and I try and spend as much time as possible at home. With two young children aged 3 and 6 there is plenty of fun, laughter and activities to get involved with at home. I also love watching movies, dancing and music are a passion of mine and I enjoy being around close friends especially when I’m stressed out.

What is one unusual thing about you?

I have the ability to be cool and patient all the time. I find that many times it actually helps in making new friends and contacts because this approach is so pleasant to so many different people.

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