Describe your current job role and the parts that are somewhat challenging?
As Channel and Alliance Manager for the Middle East, I am responsible for developing and maintaining business relationships with partners to help them thrive; identifying opportunities for new partnerships; strengthening existing relationships and collaborations; developing and executing business plans for strategic growth and training and developing channel partner sales teams.
A key part of my role is mapping the channel partner strategy to our corporate strategy, keeping in mind the uniqueness of the market we operate in. This involves identifying adjacencies as well as our differences and finding the middle ground between two corporations. As such, the biggest challenge is playing the role of mediator and educating and enabling both parties to understand each other and driving a proactive partnership with minimal potential conflicts, all with the goal of increasing our share of wallet and enabling our customers to deploy digital workflows that create great experiences and unlock productivity.
When you look back at your career what has been the most memorable achievement?
I am a law graduate, so being able to build a strong and successful career in IT, that was not part of my education, is something I am extremely proud of.
I have been privileged and lucky to have worked in several global markets, from the Middle East and some of the emerging markets, all the way to North America (specifically Canada). Each stop has given me the opportunity to learn a lot about different cultures and build professional networks that are helping me be successful in my role today.
Specifically, I have always built very strong channel ecosystems and helped several channel partners to thrive and grow their business, which is another achievement I am very proud of.
What made you think of a career in technology?
The truth is that a career in technology was never part of my plan. I graduated from Law University in Algeria and my original plan was to pursue a career in Law. However, due to challenges in Algeria, I decided to live in Dubai. At the time I spoke no English so I had to work hard to improve my English just so I could get a job.
The first ‘real’ job I got was working for HP as a call centre agent for the services team, despatching engineers and managing some mission critical contracts. The rest as they say is history.
What style of management philosophy do you employ at your current position?
Every management style has its prons and cons, so I try not to adopt a specific style and instead, I prefer to adapt my style to the situation I am faced with.
However, I do have an underlying approach in all my dealings and interactions and that is being democratic and consultative. I believe in the philosophy of two heads are better than one, I like to encourage my team to share their thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and potential solutions in order to help each other achieve a common goal.
What is your style as a team leader?
My style can be summed up in two words ― participative and collaborative. I believe that one can arrive at better decisions and achieve more impressive results by soliciting ideas from several sources, than by making decisions in isolation. This approach also makes the team around me feel valued and heard and encourages them to take ownership of any problems and come up with innovative new ideas.
What do you think will be the hot technology talking point of 2019?
At a high level, customers are looking to drive innovation across their business and cloud, analytics and digital experiences are the three pillars of this innovation.
Customers are looking at technologies that will drive smarter and intelligent workflows across their business. It starts with understanding people and processes and then mapping technology to make these processes simple, intuitive and at the end of the day, work for the employees.
As a consequence, key focus will be on technologies that enable organisations to automate and modernise internal systems and processes via digital workflows, transform the experience of customers with an organisation, acquire and retain talents and help build a robust security and governance framework.
What are your personal interests and where do you like to spend most of your time after work?
I love to spend time with my family and friends, sharing in their joy and helping them through difficult times.
Although I consider myself very social, I do believe that quality ‘me’ time is essential, particularly given the pace of our lives. I love reading, particularly novels, old French and English literature and biographies, so when I am on my own, you can find me curled up on my couch, reading a book.
I also like to stay active — it helps keep me sane! I love yoga, specifically Bikram or hot yoga, and horseback riding.
How do you cope with stress and demands of your career?
The issue is not so much stress, but really our reaction to it so for one, I always try to stay positive and optimistic. I also have a strong support system of family and friends that I can bounce ideas off, vent my frustration to and seek guidance and advice from.
Staying active is another important stress buster for me so I make it a point to get in some regular exercise during the week, in addition to my yoga and horseback riding.
Finally, I believe it is important to have a good personal life philosophy, thoughts, beliefs, concepts, and attitudes about everything .
What gives you great job satisfaction?
Not to sound cliched, but I really do enjoy my work. I love working with channel partners – seeing them grow their business and being part of a ServiceNow regional team that has grown significantly over the past few years and achieved tremendous success, gives me immense joy and satisfaction.
I put a lot of this down to work culture – we spend so much of our time at work, that I think it is critical to have a healthy culture of teamwork and collaboration that makes work less of a task and more fun. I’ve been blessed to have this with ServiceNow and also share a really good relationship with all our partners.
Recognition is also important to me and I do measure my success on how I am perceived by my colleagues, company management and industry peers.