By Andrew Seymour
Ali Mohammad Akbar Khan presides over one of Bahrain's largest indigenous volume distributors, Mars IT Distribution. Despite a hectic schedule that involves building up the company's headcount and portfolio in the face of stiff competition, he gave Channel Middle East a chance to ‘get to know' what he's all about...
Ali Mohammad Akbar Khan,
General Manager, Mars IT Distribution
What is your career history to date?
I started my career with Fucom International, which is one of the biggest retail companies in Bahrain and has a very diversified portfolio. Its operations include hypermarkets, supermarkets, discount stores, fashion garments and so on. While working in India - the country where I am from - I was offered this job and it seemed pretty interesting as the company was so hugely present in Bahrain. That prompted me to take up the offer.
What do you enjoy most about working in the Middle East IT market?
The IT market in the Middle East is very active for the sheer reason that the whole region is getting exposed to a different kind of lifestyle and people are becoming more technology oriented. The best part of being in this market is the sheer mechanics that it operates on. It's a market which is very demanding and willing to pay a premium if the product holds a better value.
What do you dislike most about working in the Middle East IT market?
Being a very big market it has some advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages are the immense competition on the prices and the fight to survive. The market is loaded with products from countries like China, making it really difficult at times to sell a branded product that is priced higher than an unbranded product.
Which IT industry figure do you admire and why?
I admire Azim H. Premji, the chairman of Wipro Corporation, for lots of reasons. Wipro is a company that initially dealt in hydrogenated cooking fats and consumer products and expanded into computer software under Mr Premji. It is now ranked among the top 100 technology companies globally with revenues of more than US$3 billion. Wipro is the world's largest independent R&D service provider and its BPO arm is the largest outsourcing company in India.
How would you describe your management style?
I believe in team work and always work towards identifying the right people for the right job. For the success of any organisation it is very important to have a good team as I very firmly believe that a company is all about the kind of people work who for it. The quality of a company's workforce defines the success and failure of the company.
How do you like to relax outside of the work environment?
I enjoy reading, travelling, driving and, of course, spending my spare time with my family and friends.
What is the best deal you have ever closed?
We sold a quantity of 300 IBM notebooks to one of the power retailers in Bahrain at a mind-blowing low price in 2005 when there was no market for IBM notebooks in the retail sector. I really feel proud of that as the units were all sold out in one day.
What are your top channel tips for the next 12 months?
The business tip that I would like to give to my fellow colleagues and industry people is to constantly keep an eye on the market requirements and developments and act accordingly to provide the required products and service to the end customers. This is the only thing that will ensure you survive in today's cut throat competition.tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.