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Channel Chief: Amir Akhtar, Manager of Channels Middle East at Veeam Software

Channel Chief: Amir Akhtar, Manager of Channels Middle East at Veeam Software

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Amir Akhtar is the Manager of Channels Middle East at Veeam Software, a leader in backup solutions that deliver Cloud Data Management. He explains how Veeam has always been a channel-focused organisation since its foundation and how its partners stay ahead in the market.

Describe your current job role and the parts that are somewhat challenging?

At Veeam Software, I hold the position of Manager of Channels and Distribution across Middle East. I lead the strategy and development for our regional Value Added Reseller, Value Added Distributor and Veeam Cloud Service Provider (VCSP) programmes. My career has spanned over 15 years across Europe and more recently, the Middle East across multiple business functions. This has afforded me the knowledge of both field sales as well as channel sales/management, which has been indispensable in ensuring that Veeam’s ProPartner Network delivers a best in class vendor experience and foster our channel ecosystem’s growth. My role is also to identify new routes to market and channel enablement to ensure that our resellers have the skills and capabilities required to meet the Digital Transformation needs of regional organisations in today’s challenging market conditions.

Can you explain how your company works with channel partners?

Veeam has always been a channel-focused organisation since its foundation and its go-to-market strategy is 100% channel. So, the channel is the core of our overall business model which has consistently evolved over many years. Within our ProPartner Network, we have a tiered channel partner model, based on simple metrics, which allows us to create specific routes to market for each partner, based on their customer vertical alignment, in-house sales, marketing and technical skillsets and the capabilities they are able to deliver to the end-user/customer. When it comes to our channel business, we strive for simplicity that facilitates easy adoption and product/service positioning, while tailoring engagement strategies to meet the partner’s specific business category, which can be a solutions provider, systems integrator, managed services provider or a technology alliance partner.

How do you ensure channel partners flourish in a highly competitive market?

At Veeam, we believe it is vital for our ProPartner Network to stay ahead in order to have the competitive edge required in the market so that their business succeeds. This is successfully done at the front end by providing our channel with consistent innovation through Veeam’s market-leading solutions and new product launches that offer cutting-edge capabilities, that address the ever-changing market and customer requirements. Moreover, our pricing models provide a high degree of flexibility in how our partners can drive their business with Veeam. Our training/ educational programme plays a crucial role, which ensures the continuous development of skills and capabilities through physical classroom sessions, as well as online training in virtual classrooms. We also focus on dedicated channel account engagement to enable partners and drive their success by assisting them with their go-to-market strategies and marketing campaigns to have the best message delivered to their client base.

What are the latest trends you see emerging across the channel?

There is an exponential growth opportunity for cloud-based capabilities and services, considering the increased cloud adoption because of the home office trend. This demand has underpinned Veeam’s position as leading provider as we have been delivering cloud collaboration capabilities and providing backup solutions for Cloud Data Management for many years now. Managed service providers who join forces with Veeam will be able to expand their portfolio and create multiple new services for customers that aim to accelerate their Digital Transformation journey by integrating the cloud in their IT strategy.

What is your management philosophy?

I believe in people empowerment in order to enable them to achieve their goals. This means that every one of them has the freedom to execute their tasks and initiatives. A quality I hold very dear is integrity and that´s what I expect from every team member. I am also a believer in constant skill development. And finally, I have an ‘open door’ policy which ensures open lines of communication and positive vibes.

When you look back at your career, what has been the most memorable achievement?

Over the past 15 years there have been many memorable accomplishments. However, there are two that stand out: The first one is more on a personal level as I had the opportunity to work in a different region, such as the Middle East, that is from a cultural standpoint so different to Europe, and mature both personally and professionally by taking this challenge on. Secondly, when I started to serve at Veeam six years ago, I was given the task to create a new sales and channel sub-geo territory, which is now established as the North Gulf region in our organisation. It was an extremely exciting entry to a job being part of a fast-growing B2B software company that has vast plans and ambitions that come along with a ‘we can do anything‘ attitude.

What made you think of a career in technology?

I was very fortunate to be brought up as a child in a household where some family members were involved with the IT/ technology industry. My father started working in the field of infrastructure solutions, and he followed this career path as I was growing up and, later on, my elder brother started his professional work life at a Value Added Reseller. With this background, my interest in technology was piqued at a very early age.

What do you think will be the hot technology talking point of 2021?

Based on trends from the past 12 months, organisations will be looking to further leverage cloud for more critical and complex workloads and streamline their businesses by leveraging managed services. These are areas where Veeam is at the forefront of leading innovation in.

What are your personal interests and where do you like to spend most of your time after work?

I am an avid runner and try to average around 75-80 kilometres per month. This helps me to mentally re-energise and it also gives me uninterrupted time to think. In addition, I like to play golf when time permits, watch/attend Formula One motor sport and, of course, spend quality time with my family which is my number one priority in life.

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