Championing partners

Channel Middle East finds out from a market personality about their role, their routine and what inspires them to come into work each day

Tags: Promethean
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Championing partners
By  Manda Banda Published  June 1, 2013

Channel Middle East finds out from a market personality about their role, their routine and what inspires them to come into work each day.

Name: Robert Speed
Company: Promethean PLC
Job title: Head of Channel Middle East
Years in the role: 4 years
Years at the company: 4 years
Previous companies: Robert Speed Inc and Solectron Global Services

How would you summarise your role?

My role involves working with my country channel partners to deliver the best educational technology and services to the market.

What’s the first thing you do when you get in the office each day?

Typically say “hello” to all the staff and catch up on their news. At the moment however, we have launched a 10-inch tablet and a 46-inch interactive table with Promethean Arabic software so a lot of channel sales activities need to be monitored.

What does a typical day entail for you?

As I have responsibility for 12 countries in the region, I typically tend to be travelling, supporting my partners and meeting end-users. This is the best approach, a “bell weather” to keep in touch with the needs and requirements of the market.

What skills or qualities do you need to do your job?

Metaphorically speaking half of me represents Promethean and the other half champions our channel partners so it’s about balance, common sense and developing trust.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

From wealthy to poorer schools - seeing 21st-Century learning being delivered by teachers at the front of the classroom, using our technology and software to close the gap with the students they teach. The teacher is still the most important link in the classroom. To provide a teacher with all the tools they need, to support and train them on an ongoing basis means the students get a better learning experience and better results.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Educating the market that short-term gains with technology is not the answer. It’s only a component to support a wider blended learning strategy that needs collaboration from teachers, curriculum departments, IT and procurement to assess and monitor tangible and measurable value that will improve education over the long-term.

What criteria do you measure your performance on?

Firstly, you are only as good as your last project. No metrics are needed to improve on that and it’s a healthy outlook used to ensure all channel partners in any country are clear on what is expected. Secondly, regular quarter business/finance reviews with key customers and partners.  Lastly, the market share, of which Promethean has remained number one now for the last three years in the Middle East region.

What’s been your most memorable moment in your current role?

Most recently, philanthropic donations to schools in Cairo. Egypt is truly an enigma so to be able to contribute to schools that one would not imagine existed today given what we are fortunate to see in the Gulf states and to make a difference is a hugely rewarding experience.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

At Promethean, growing the partner and business base. There is only 10% market penetration in the Middle East region so we have plenty to do. Our aim is to become more specialised and the continuous development of device- and software-agnostic platforms means we have to have the “right fit” for partners to articulate those benefits.

How much time do you spend out of the office each week?

I spend about 80% of my week in the office with the rest shared between travelling and, meeting channel and business partners.

What do you get up to during your lunch hour?

I normally have lunch with colleagues, business partners or travelling to meet channel partners across the region.

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