Get to know SAP's Mohamed Khan
Below all the corporate strategy and marketing rhetoric, what really makes SAP's channel head tick
What’s your career history to date? How did you end up working in Dubai?
I started with a Computer Systems Engineering degree from the University of Manchester, and my first jobs were with Microsoft and International FinTech in Kenya. I have been with SAP since 2000, joining SAP South Africa, and managing the channel for Sub-Saharan Africa. I moved to SAP Arabia in 2006, which became SAP MENA in 2007 and where I am the regional channel head.
If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be?
In the MENA channel, vendors need to support the development of partners, and partners need to invest in becoming an extension of the vendor’s team.
What product or technology should the channel watch out for this year?
Among our channel partners, we’re seeing strong demand for the SAP C/4HANA customer experience suite, our new solutions running on Qualtrics experience management software, and CallidusCloud customer relationship management.
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
My biggest achievements have been establishing SAP channel partner programs for Sub-Saharan Africa in 2006 and MENA in 2007.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
The best piece of advice that I’ve received is to treat people the way you want to be treated.
What is the biggest mistake you have ever made since working in the IT market?
When we were first developing the SAP MENA channel partner program, we faced a fork in the road: whether to massively accelerate our coverage by launching a third party and commissionbased system, or develop fewer partners but comprehensively enable them as an extension of SAP. We stuck with our current growth plan, which focusses on skills development and training. This plan has enabled us to find, train and retain the right partners but volume of partners remains important too. We are accelerating the on-boarding of new partners as we move forward.
Which IT company, other than your own, do you most admire and why?
I admire Google, which has rapidly digitally transformed from a search engine to an all-in-one digital company, with a goal ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’.
What is the biggest challenge facing the Middle East IT channel?
The Middle East channel faces a generational shift, with millennials and generation Z entering the workforce without full digital skills.
What’s your favourite thing about the company you work for?
I believe in SAP’s strategy that has resulted in increasing the profits, growth and valuation of our partners. In South EMEA, we’re bringing a handful of Blue Sky Partners to the IPO stage.
What sort of interests do you have outside of work?
Outside of work, I’m a big fan of sports – especially following motor sports and the East African Safari Rally in my home country of Kenya. I’m also an avid footballer, cricketer and golfer; I used to play professionally in the Kenyan cricket league. I also spend a lot of time with my family. We have a daughter in university, a son in secondary school whose football games we frequently attend, and a young son who is quite a handful!