I am often asked about the challenges women face in the IT industry and the issues I have encountered over the years as a female executive. I would rather be asked questions about what made me successful and how I drive innovation rather than how does it feel to be a woman in this male world.
Yes, the IT industry is still largely dominated by males; however, it has a large line-up of female executives who are credible professionals with a proven track record of success.
As an industry we need to look past gender discussion and I believe a good starting point would be to focus on business and industry dynamics and how executives respond to it, regardless of their gender.
The secret of success in any executive sales or marketing leadership role is delivering on the requirements and metrics, being creative, efficient and dedicated. The IT channel industry is about understanding key industry drivers and trends, adding in-depth partner business model knowledge, fostering and nurturing partnerships for mutual RoI and optimised coverage models.
That said, as channels have developed alongside the complexity of the industry into highly differentiated business models, the skill sets required for channel executives are more challenging to achieve than ever.
Time waits for no one. The IT industry has never been more dynamic and disruptive than it is today. It is an exciting and well-suited environment for those who are driven and adaptable to change.
Most channel partners are in transformation mode and are constantly adjusting their business models. Niche partners are also entering the market, rolling out new business models without having to adapt to legacy structures.
As channel executives, our role is to be innovative: moving and changing partner programmes – from rebate and discount programmes to enablement and business model assist programmes.
Additionally, we should be providing guidance to channel partners for their evolving sales compensation models, as well as support in designed managed services offerings. I urge men and women alike to be open minded and think outside the box.
Innovation only happens when leadership pushes the envelope and shows some creativity, bundled with tenacity. The partner ecosystem can be a complex and ever-changing environment; your competitor one day may be your partner the next.
The key to success in this industry and in driving a business strategy is to design, deliver and execute. Simple. Throughout my career, I have found that delivering what is expected ensures maximum support within the organisation and eliminates potential challenges.
Today's organisations are experiencing their biggest growing pains around issues associated with cloud, content and systems, whether it's about implementing a hybrid IT strategy, making sense of massive data volumes or migrating off legacy mainframes.
Channel partners want and need support to help solve those issues for their customers and ultimately succeed in a rapidly expanding global market. As channel executives, our key mission is to provide the right tools, resources, enablement and business model support to ensure our channel partners can realise their transformation and growth strategies for 2014 and beyond.
It is our role to define today's channel and help shape its future by being committed and dedicated to our roles, working collaboratively within our environment and delivering to the business.
Barbara Spicek is senior vice president of global SI and channel sales at ASG Software Solutions
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