On the lighter side of things we ask Nader Baghdadi, Middle East Regional Sales Director focusing on the Middle East and Africa markets for Secureworks, what makes him tick.
What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?
Looking back over the past five years I am proud of the team members that I have worked with, and from a coaching and mentorship point-of-view I am especially pleased to see them progress in their careers based in part on advice and mentorship I have given them. Today they have become senior people in their current organisations. One of the privileges of being in a leadership position within an organisation is your capacity to help others develop.
What first made you think of a career in technology?
I’ve always loved technology, and for as long as I can remember I have had a passion for IT. I used a Commodore 64 way back in the 80s before progressing to an 8-bit PC powered by Intel’s 8086 chipset. Computers were the most interesting technology at the time, and I gravitated towards them. Inevitably, when I went to university I studied technology and engineering, and my career path and choice of job functions has always been in technology, whether that’s core technologies, wireless, applications, or of course, cloud and security.
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?
In terms of management philosophy, I have quite a democratic style when it comes to decisions. I like to listen to other people’s opinions and from there I evaluate everything and make an informed decision. I like to understand different points of view, and I usually go through a checklist and then reach a conclusion based on facts.
What do you think is the current hot technology talking point?
It’s security, without a doubt. Security has risen to the top of IT concerns and discussions over the past few years. Of course, core technologies are always important, but with security we have seen so many examples of companies facing unprecedented risk due to their security being compromised. With most organisations having such a high utilisation of applications nowadays, security is the number one concern. That’s why I am so happy to be in this field: It’s so dynamic. I find it fascinating. Every single day something new comes up. It’s not just a job, it’s a mission.
How do you deal with stress and unwind outside the office?
If I’m facing stress I like to disconnect for a day and take some time out. I relax by going for a walk in a park for a change of landscape, or just by getting a coffee in a mall. It’s important to take a break occasionally and create some distance from the world of technology. I also enjoy driving and find that a long drive helps me to disconnect, wind down and refresh.
If you could go back and change one career decision what would it be?
While I am happy with what I have achieved, if I’d had the time and money back in the day, I would have liked to have completed a masters’ degree in MIS (Management Information Systems). I could still do it today, but it requires time and between travelling for work and dedicating time to family, it can be difficult. But never say never!
What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?
If we take technology and IT in general, then right now you will always have a strong requirement for infrastructure and connectivity technology related to communication and collaboration. In tandem with this, there is also a strong trend towards SaaS, MSSP: many enterprises are going toward a subscription-based service and security is the foundation.
What are the region-specific challenges when implementing new technologies in the Middle East?
The selection of technologies is huge. There are many vendors selling in the Middle East and I think the decision-makers feel bombarded with that type of information, which makes it difficult for them to select the right solutions. Furthermore, with solutions from vendors who are new to the market, there could also be post-implementation issues, it’s key to have such technologies go through various test cycles in order to achieve the required stability.
Conversely, our IP has been tested over the last 22 years. Our solutions have gone through evolution and cycles of change which builds trust and makes it an easier choice for the end-user to select.
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What changes to your job role have you seen in the last year and how do you see these developing in the next 12 months?
I joined Secureworks as Middle East Regional Sales Director, focusing on the Middle East and Africa markets, in February. I manage a team of five territory managers with an oversight to other staff members in various support functions. I have to consider all aspects of growing the business, from demand generation, through to sales and pre-sales, and delivery.
Our priority this year is to expand our corporate model into the GCC, then other regions. The UAE is head office and home for Secureworks in the region, hence, we need to grow this base and make sure we capture many successes in a partnership model with our clients and channel eco-system. Between now and the end of 2021 we should have a very strong hold on the GCC, the wider Middle East and North Africa.