Insight into the career of Aruba Regional Channel Director Osama AlHaj-Issa
Describe your current job role and the parts that are somewhat challenging?
In a channel leading role for a huge region such as Middle East, Turkey and Africa, you need to consider varying strategies and resources to address the goals you plan to achieve in the year and longer term. In my role, I need to create annual SMART plans with each of the teams and functions within the channel and across other teams – mainly sales, marketing, finance and operations.
The challenge is to sometimes keep all the parts going in the right direction while you focus on priority issues such as revenue bookings that impact everything else if it is not happening correctly and on time. Another challenge comes from third party related issues such as change of rules and regulations or lack of visibility, and how long you need to wait for them to clear authorisations or shipments.
When you look back at your career what has been the most memorable achievement?
I was recognised as the best channel lead among my peers from EMEA four years go in London and this is a huge success for me and my team considering that it was in comparison with channel leaders from established Western European countries and emerging Eastern European countries. Also, the shift from local channel lead to Regional Channel Director role in 2011 was a main career milestone that changed everything for me in my career.
What made you think of a career in technology?
I am a computer engineer, having graduated from KFUPM. I have been always working in technology with leading companies such as Microsoft, HP, Cisco, EMC and HPE Aruba since 2011. Technology for me is like water for fish. I find it like my natural habitat and have never worked in another field.
What style of management philosophy do you employ at your current position?
Aruba, as a technology provider on a high growth curve, needs all business functions to gear up to growth. As this is the north star to follow, my management approach is to build and sustain high performance teams who can grow business faster than the average market growth rate. This is a long-term approach and it needs close attention to people, markets and trends. Each of these three components have to be carefully planned and managed to optimise and get maximum business results from on the short and long term.
What is your style as a team leader?
Within my team I follow trust and empowerment as the two guiding principles. People need to be trusted and empowered to bring their best and this has proved true especially with talented people. I don’t micro manage or interfere in daily operational issues since this does not only affects the morale of the team, but also limits their innovation and contribution.
What do you think will be the hot technology talking point of 2019?
Cloud, although not new, is still will still be a talking point right up to 2020. Also, security is an ongoing hot technology focus of our customers and is expected to be even more pertinent from a business perspective due to increased dependency on open cloud-based solutions and mobility deployments. Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will be closely monitored and planned for by IT decision makers and expect more investments to pour into niche technology solutions related to them.
What are your personal interests and where do you like to spend most of your time after work?
With my extensive travel, my first priority is my family and that is where is spend most of my time. I am blessed with a big family and we are very close to each other. I like to play chess and swim too and I love hiking in nature or, if I’m travelling, I enjoy walking through the city, walking up mountains or relaxing on a beach.
How do you cope with stress and demands of your career?
I am very organised and structured in my work. Usually I plan a couple of months ahead on what I need to achieve and how I am going to do so. Only emergencies hit me with stress but not business as usual. I handle emergencies by weighing up priorities and deciding what needs to be given time and attention at the time.
What gives you great job satisfaction?
I feel extremely satisfied when I find out that a new business approach or program that my team and I come up with becomes a best practice for HPE Aruba worldwide and impacts how business is done as a standard process.