Get to know: Johnny Karam
Johnny Karam, Area Vice President, Middle East and Africa, Citrix
I believe technology is here to change people’s lives for the better. I can’t help but admire the innovation that came out of the Steve Jobs era at Apple, which arguably revolutionised the way people interact and live.
What’s your career history to date? How did you end up working in Dubai?
I started my career in networking, working for Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie. I was responsible for building networks that gave French speaking universities around the world access to centralised information. I was then offered a job in Dubai with an AT&T affiliated company, and like many, agreed thinking I would stay for a couple of years. Thirteen years later, I am still enjoying what the UAE has to offer.
If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be?
The channel is a crucial part of the IT ecosystem. Ensuring that partners are properly trained, enabled and supported is a critical part of customer satisfaction. At Citrix, we work closely with the channel to ensure that we provide the necessary support to enable them to deliver great technology solutions to customers.
What product or technology should the channel watch out for this year?
The biggest trend by far is mobile workspaces. The reason is simple – the traditional desktop is evolving into something much more valuable for people and businesses – and that is the mobile workspace. Today, people use multiple devices – phone, tablets and laptops – so they need access to their workspace anywhere and at any time.
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
My single biggest achievement throughout my career is building great teams. Working to develop, coach and nurture people as well as teams is thoroughly rewarding and something that I am innately proud of.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
“Surround yourself with great people. They will push you to be the best you can be.”
What is the biggest mistake you have ever made since working in the IT market?
The CEO at one of my previous employers once told a story about Ice Hockey players. They are taught to get up immediately after a fall as otherwise, the ice will get the best of them. I strongly subscribe to this point of view.
Which IT company, other than your own, do you most admire and why?
I believe technology is here to change people’s lives for the better. I can’t help but admire the innovation that came out of the Steve Jobs era at Apple, which arguably revolutionised the way people interact and live their lives.
What is the biggest challenge facing the Middle East IT channel?
Keeping up with the latest technologies, especially in terms of enablement and implementation expertise, is crucial to the channel’s success. The channel is expected to not only know how to implement a technology successfully, but to also be able to advise the customer on the best fit solution for their challenges.
What’s your favourite thing about the company you currently work for?
Many things come to mind: Citrix is a great place to work, with great people, huge potential and great market adoption. Yet, by far the best thing is its technology.
What sort of interests do you have outside of work?
I have a very busy social life and enjoy interacting with people as there’s a lot to learn from interacting with a broad cross section of society. I also enjoy running.