The second websummit in the Channel Insights Series unfolded on October 19. Titled How Will Channel Executives Cope With Business In The New Normal?, it was hosted by Global CIO Forum in association with CONTEXT. Currently, more than ever before, there is an increased need for channel executives to build trust, confidence and transparency into their vendor and channel relationships. This includes a more holistic approach to business partner relationships that will strengthen core business delivery process and better prepare an organisation for future uncertainties.
Topics covered in the How Will Channel Executives Cope With Business In The New Normal? WebSummit included:
- Assessing the impact of the Covid crisis on the Channel business model
- Team resilience
- Vendor relationships
- Communication and working practices
- Business unit performance
- Leadership transitions
- Sales and marketing revamp to digital
The speakers for the How Will Channel Executives Cope With Business In The New Normal? WebSummit included Adam Simon, Global Managing Director and CFO at CONTEXT; Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky’s Business Solutions; Ernest Azzam, Regional Business Manager for HP’s Large Format Printing across Eastern Europe, Turkey, Middle East and Africa; and Hesham Tantawi, Vice President, Asbis Middle East, Turkey and Africa.
Adam Simon pointed out that as per published data, the global ICT industry has been the least impacted amongst all, but the EMEA channel has gone through its share of challenges. As per early dipstick results, working from home is not the preferred mode of working across the immediate region. The product categories that have experienced rapid growth due to remote working include home cinema systems, smart glasses, web cameras, smart weighting scales, notebooks, tablet PCs, headsets, monitors and all in one inkjets. Another trend has been the movement of IT channel to sell out cloud licenses that went up by 70%. Average sales values for multiple product categories went by around +5%, and the channel got used to keeping much lower levels of stock.
Ashish Panjabi noted that UAE is today, much better than many parts of the world, with the number of initiatives being taken by its Government. One of the key initiatives, during the global lockdown months from March to May, was to keep Dubai open for logistics and shipping. It became the centre of the world for air freight and shipping operations, he pointed out. The initial months of the pandemic impacted the channel and were characterised by panic about cash flow and survival. The channel community rallied and worked to ensure that cash was available with all partners, albeit at much lower levels. There were and have been no runaway cases from UAE’s channel community due to distress from the pandemic, Panjabi pointed out.
UAE based, Dubai Computer Group also took a number of initiatives to ensure that operations and survival levels were proactively sustained amongst its members. Digital printers of statutory pandemic related warnings were included amongst essential services allowing them to continue operating across the pandemic. Another important initiative was to ensure service and support levels for ICT products were sustained and equipment remained working everywhere. As the months of August and September have rolled on, another realisation is that the pandemic is not going away anytime sooner. We will have to live with it, points out Panjabi.
Ernest Azzam said that the huge benefits that remote training is now providing to end users of large format printers. HP’s Barcelona centre now demonstrates remotely how to install and operate large format printing setups including production. This allows the complete team to attend including onsite operators, sales, and the owner management. With such complete inclusion of team members, Ernest feels that remote training workshops are more beneficial than real life ones, where previously only the owner management travelled for hands on installation and operational training. Installations and diagnostic support is also being provided remotely. During these months the approach is to work with zero stock levels added Ernest. The post pandemic phase has also thrown open the requirement of new skills to fit new job opportunities.
Hesham Tantawi, a veteran of the regional channel industry, expects IT industry growth to take place over the next three quarters. Demand for assembled high end PCs, Intel components and boards, storage devices, gaming workstations have increased. Hesham points out that the new normal is now the normal and the channel industry can be effective if the players are effective. Technology is helping the industry to overcome challenges and Asbis is using AI and forecasting models to help predict and forecast demand levels. These times require constant meeting with customers and channel partners and communication is key.
The panel also answered a range of questions on the industry challenges and trends requested by the online attendees.
About Channel Insights Series
The Channel Insights Series aims to empower various segments of the supply chain and distribution industry with actionable insights and clarity on the way forward. Over eight sessions, the series will table case studies, research notes, survey results, and analysis of how various organisations have responded to the challenges created by the pandemic.
The Channel Insights Series is a unique opportunity for the entire channel community to gather and surge ahead. It will bring together vendors, distributors, resellers, retailers and other key players. Participants include senior executives from Dell Technologies, Jacky’s Business Solutions, Mindware, Aruba, Spectrami, Mam International, and many more.
About GCF Unite WebSummit
Global CIO Forum’s GCF Unite WebSummit is an online webinar that is aimed towards creating a global technology leaders’ community whose ultimate goal is to Integrate, Influence, Impact CIOs and tech leaders. The GCF Unite WebSummit will host a series of events in multiple chapters and 30+ countries featuring successful local tech leaders, CIOs, IT directors, innovators, educators and investors who share business leadership best practices, and lessons learned on the road to building great future with help of technocrats and technology.
About Global CIO Forum
The role of a CIO is one of the most critical one in today’s business and industry. Today, CIOs hold the future of innovation, productivity and competitiveness in their hands. At the Global CIO Forum, we not only provide our members with an exchange forum for best IT leadership strategies and practices to enhance business results, but we are also developing a strong voice to ensure that CIOs are represented at key industry and government decision tables. In other words: Integrate. Influence. Impact.
The Global CIO Forum’s mission is to represents IT Executives and CIOs globally. Currently working in META region and with expansion plans globally, the Global CIO Forum is a non-profit community of CIOs and IT leaders whose mission is to facilitate networking, sharing of best practices and executive development, and to collaborate on issues faced by the CIOs and IT executives.