Reaching new heights
Having recently taken over the role as CEO at SNB IT Distribution, Munaf Chouguley spoke exclusively to Channel Middle East about his vision for the company and how he intends to take it to the next level.
CHANNEL: You recently took over the role of CEO at SNB. Talk us through what your focus will be in 2015.
MUNAF CHOUGULEY: Each of SNB’s businesses and the vendors we represent is among the best in the world. As a value-added distributor (VAD) with a focus on security and network, our emphasis has always been on providing our customers in the region with technologies that fit their specific needs, while not compromising on the quality of solutions. We are also focusing on strategic vendor and partner alliances, and representing manufacturers that have best-in-class technology, but don’t have presence in the region.
We will continue to lead with the same focus in 2015 as we believe this will ensure us increasing market share, reporting good financial results and an unwavering focus on serving our clients and communities with distinction and dedication. The strengths that are embedded in SNB include the knowledge and cohesiveness of our people, business intelligence and analytical skills, strategic capabilities and planning, our long standing relationships with partners, our technology and product capabilities and our presence, which is hard to be replicated.
CHANNEL: Briefly explain your company’s operations and what business strategy you have adopted for the Middle East channel this year?
MUNAF CHOUGULEY: SNB has operations across the region. We cover the GCC through our headquarters based in Dubai, UAE. We also have offices in Qatar, India and Saudi Arabia to cater to those specific markets. SNB is currently in a strong position in the region and I plan to take the company to the next level through strategic expansion. I also look forward to enhancing transparency with our partners and customers, and setting the stage for success in the enterprise space. Retaining the set standards and empowering our staff with the tools they need to approach the market will ensure SNB reaches new heights. As a firm we are adapting to the new global technological architecture and innovations, but our guiding tenets are essentially unchanged. We continue to provide exceptional client service, operational excellence, a commitment to integrity, fairness and responsibility, and cultivating a great team and winning culture.
CHANNEL: How challenging is the regional IT distribution market at the moment?
MUNAF CHOUGULEY: The IT distribution market in the region is as challenging as it is competitive. Although challenges are more or less the same as they were a decade ago, there is an increase in the number of players that are vying for greater opportunities existing in this region, which is very dynamic and bright. At crucial times, maintaining timely deliveries with rigid deadlines is a bit challenging. SNB has always focused on making singular technologies accessible to the channel in the region. I plan to build on this strategy and will look at new vendor alliances that will bolster our product portfolio.
CHANNEL: How was business for SNB IT Distribution in 2014 in the Middle East?
MUNAF CHOUGULEY: SNB had a very successful year and we sailed through with relative ease. Our numbers are higher and our achievement is greater than before. As we march ahead with confidence into the future, we are partnering with key industry vendors and are proud of being associated with major players that had huge turnkey projects and chose SNB as the preferred partner. Our timely execution with enhanced cooperation and open communication were key to deliverables, the effects of which is a solid relationship and future tie-ups for their forth coming ventures in the region.
CHANNEL: What has been your company’s focus in terms of channel development initiatives, partner programmes and bringing any new vendor brands on board?
MUNAF CHOUGULEY: SNB has been supporting channel partners through regular training, timely product updates, forwarding of demo units, conducting webinars and enhancing their technical skills and attending symposiums and events. In addition, we have been developing the channel by holding regular road shows across the region, frequent interaction at all levels, site visit and technical back-up visits.
CHANNEL: How many vendor brands do you currently represent within your stable in the Middle East?
MUNAF CHOUGULEY: SNB has a robust vendor portfolio of around 16 major IT brands across each of our specialisations that include networking, security, and storage. However, we keep looking for more vendors as some products may be obsolete in future and new technological developments have to be adapted.
CHANNEL: What support are you receiving from your vendor partners whose brands you represent across the Middle East market?
MUNAF CHOUGULEY: Our vendors play an important role and working closely with them is of prime essence in our industry right from inception. Our vendors are involved during the entire process right from bidding to awarding and execution of the deal and beyond in terms of providing the post-sales support our partners may require.
CHANNEL: Which products would you say are missing in SNB IT Distribution’s stable at the moment?
MUNAF CHOUGULEY: SNB is currently well equipped to cover the IT industry in the networking, storage and surveillance sphere. However, we would like to get into BMS solutions,which is a growing segment and the need of the hour.
CHANNEL: You distribute several brands in the networking, IT security, data storage and security surveillance. Are they any brands that are still missing in your stable?
MUNAF CHOUGULEY: We are constantly in the process of expanding our product offering, and are currently in the process of signing on some prominent brands, which we will announce to our channel partners across the region very soon.
CHANNEL: What core vertical markets is SNB IT Distribution helping channel partners to target with the range of products you currently have?
MUNAF CHOUGULEY: Hospitality is one of the fastest developing industries in this region and it is one in which SNB has keen interest in. We also help our partners to target the transport, infrastructure and banking segments as key growth sectors and are assisting our channel to reach out to these market verticals.
CHANNEL: Where will majority of your company’s growth come from in the Middle East market in 2015?
MUNAF CHOUGULEY: The UAE is our home turf, which gives us substantial business year on year and it is a great advantage to be based here. We would like to reach out to a greater area in KSA and currently, we are working in and around Riyadh with plans to expand to Jeddah and Khobar. Qatar is steadily growing and has great potential. We had some deals in Egypt at the beginning of the year and hopefully should continue to build our base there. The Levant region is also promising and although we had some projects there, we would like to do more in future. Africa and CIS are also of interest to us and we will be looking at taking our operations there in the near future.
CHANNEL: What new channel initiatives, partner programmes or incentive schemes will you be rolling out this year for your resellers, retail and SI partners?
MUNAF CHOUGULEY: Our business heads and teams are currently working closely with channel partners across the Middle East and we will be announcing our schemes shortly.