A partner’s success hinges on staying current with technological advancements, addressing the skill gap, navigating implementation complexities, and acquiring the right certifications and expertise. By doing so, channel partners can contribute to shaping the future of AI. Executives from Cloud Box, Alteryx, NetApp, SAS, respond to this month’s question.
Avinash Gujje, Practice Head for Infrastructure, Cloud Box Technologies
Channel partners must possess a functional understanding of AI concepts, algorithms, and applications.
The regional AI landscape is not without its challenges. Stiff competition from both global giants and local start-ups necessitates strategic positioning and differentiation for channel partners. The scarcity of skilled AI talent poses a considerable challenge, requiring partners to invest in talent acquisition or development.
Additionally, the cost implications of implementing AI solutions and the rapid evolution of AI technology demand a nimble approach, with partners needing to offer flexible pricing models and stay well-informed of the latest advancements.
AI channel partners in the UAE must possess a functional understanding of AI concepts, algorithms, and applications. Specialisation in industry-specific domains like healthcare, finance, or retail enhances client appeal. Proficiency in technical aspects such as AI implementation, cloud computing, or data analytics is essential, tailored to the client’s requirements.
Strong project management skills are crucial for overseeing AI projects, demanding agile workflows, planning, and problem-solving. Compliance expertise in navigating data privacy regulations, including GDPR and the UAE’s Data Protection Law, is imperative for ethical and legal adherence.
In navigating these opportunities and challenges, channel partners should also consider collaborating with established AI vendors, developing robust case studies, investing in continuous training, and fostering local partnerships to tap into the UAE’s growing AI talent pool. This multifaceted approach positions channel partners for success in a market that is still evolving.
Karl Crowther, Regional Director MEA, Alteryx
Channel partners can help business leaders cultivate a data-driven culture by showcasing accessible AI-ready data analytics platforms that support multiple personas.
While many organisations have a strong appetite for AI automation, they still need solutions, tactics and strategies that improve their data ecosystem by empowering everyone across the enterprise to sift through vast amounts of data and unlock new insights and decision-making based on accurate data.
Recent Alteryx research into the enterprise of the future reveals that 59% of UAE business leaders say their investment in advanced technology will increase, and 45% state they will invest in advanced technologies such as AI to respond to the changing market environment. The challenge for businesses is turning these increased data volumes and varieties into business opportunities.
The opportunity for channel partners is in helping these businesses prepare for this increasingly complex, data-driven future. Why? Because AI has lowered the barrier to delivering productivity gains by unlocking the world of delivering data-driven insights with just a sentence or a prompt.
Empowering the workforce with the right AI tools and skills will be key to navigating the complex yet rewarding AI market space. Together with their customers, channel partners can help business leaders cultivate a data-driven culture by showcasing accessible AI-ready data analytics platforms that support multiple personas, unlimited use cases, and feature expansion.
Only through delivering an innovative and powerful multi-modal approach to AI-driven analytics will businesses enable every persona to leverage their tool of choice.
Maya Zakhoor, Director Channel Sales EEMI, NetApp
Navigating intricacies of AI solution deployments requires deep understanding of technology itself and unique needs of individual clients.
Consulting and integration services are particularly valuable, allowing partners to guide clients in assessing their requirements, designing effective AI solutions, and integrating them into existing infrastructure. Vertical market specialisation is another avenue for channel partners to explore.
A significant hurdle for channel partners is the skill gap in AI. The successful deployment of AI solutions demands specialised expertise in AI development, data science, and machine learning. Acquiring and retaining talent with these skills can be a daunting task, making skill development and training crucial for the sustained success of channel partners in the AI market.
The complexity of AI implementations adds another layer of challenge. Effectively navigating the intricacies of AI solution deployments requires deep understanding of both the technology itself and the unique needs of individual clients. Channel partners must be adept at translating complex technical concepts into tangible business benefits, demonstrating their value in the AI ecosystem.
To address these challenges and capitalise on opportunities, channel partners should consider specific certifications and skillsets. AI and machine learning certifications are paramount, validating expertise in these foundational technologies. Proficiency in data science and analytics is equally crucial, as it forms the basis for interpreting and leveraging data effectively.
Given the prevalence of cloud-based AI solutions, channel partners should also develop expertise in cloud platforms and services, such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. Cloud proficiency enhances the scalability and flexibility of AI implementations, aligning with industry trends.
Channel partners should explore industry-specific knowledge and certifications. Understanding the unique challenges and requirements of specific verticals enables partners to offer more targeted and impactful AI solutions.
Fouad Ghannam, Head of Alliances and Channels, Middle East, Africa and Türkiye, SAS
Customers and organisations look at AI for solving business problems. Failing to identify the right use cases will lead to unfortunate results.
In the expanding AI market, channel partners have a spectrum of opportunities, ranging from consultancy and education to integration, customisation, cultural change facilitation, and security services. Channel partners can guide manufacturers in identifying AI applications, and offering education and training programs to bridge knowledge gaps.
Specialising in the seamless integration of AI into existing manufacturing systems, connecting with IoT devices, and addressing the complexity of diverse environments presents another avenue. Developing customised AI solutions tailored to specific manufacturing challenges, such as predictive maintenance and quality control, offers a niche.
Additionally, assisting in cultural change, overcoming resistance, and fostering an environment conducive to AI adoption is crucial. Addressing the historical divide between Operational Technology, OT and Information Technology, IT through collaboration solutions is essential. Continuous improvement and support services, ensuring the relevance and effectiveness of AI systems, and offering cybersecurity and ethical AI services to build trust round out the comprehensive role of channel partners.
In addition, transforming partners from traditional IT selling into business value selling. Channel partners in IT are used to target CIO and CTO, whilst AI it will expand their reach to business and decision-makers like CDO, CAO, CFO, CEO, CSO, CRO, and others. However, challenges lie in staying current with evolving technologies, understanding diverse manufacturing environments, and effectively addressing resistance to cultural and technological changes within client organisations.
For example, failing to identify the related use cases and defining priorities. Customers and organisations do not look for AI as only a tool but for solving business problems. Failing to identify the right use cases will lead to unfortunate results.
For channel partners exploring AI solutions, securing relevant certifications and cultivating a diverse skill set is important. SAS recommends the SAS Certified AI and Machine Learning Professional certification, validating proficiency in critical areas like SAS programming, data manipulation, and statistical analysis—an essential foundation for effective AI implementation.
Advanced expertise in machine learning algorithms, model deployment, and integration is equally crucial, allowing partners to seamlessly apply AI concepts and tailor solutions to meet specific client needs.
Beyond technical insight, effective communication and people skills are highlighted. These attributes empower channel partners to engage with clients, comprehend unique requirements, and articulate how AI solutions can address business challenges, fostering trust and collaborative relationships.
In addition to technical and communication proficiencies, possessing business insight is necessary. From data scientists, statisticians, modelers, analysts to software developers.Click below to share this article