Get To Know: Faki Saadi, Director of Sales, UK, Ireland and France at SOTI

Get To Know: Faki Saadi, Director of Sales, UK, Ireland and France at SOTI

Thousands of companies around the world depend on SOTI to secure, manage and support their mobile operations. The company has expanded globally with operations in 28 countries and over 1,800 employees worldwide. Faki Saadi, Director of Sales, UK, Ireland and France at SOTI, talks about his passion for technology and the major areas of investment within his industry. 

Describe your current job role.

As Director of Sales at SOTI, my job is to work closely with customers and partners in my region, localising and executing SOTI’s global strategy. I lead the sales teams in the UK, Ireland and France to work with businesses across retail, healthcare and transportation and logistics (T&L) and the supply chain, to secure, manage and support their devices to cut the cost and complexity of Digital Transformation. It is all about understanding a company’s unique set of requirements and pain points and finding the best solution for them.

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

Since joining SOTI in 2011 when there were only a handful of employees, I have seen the company expand globally with operations in 28 countries and over 1,800 employees worldwide. I’m proud to have been on this journey with SOTI and grow my role and team along the way.

When faced with a business that is struggling with its Digital Transformation journey, I find it rewarding to help them prioritise and enhance their business-critical mobility infrastructure and deployments. This involves digging deep into the processes and operational issues to identify ways in which our solutions can help solve their pain points. Seeing companies succeed and maximise their ROI and productivity because of the support I have given them, will always stick with me as a memorable achievement.

One of my most memorable and pivotal moments was early on in my career when the company received its first ever computer with Windows 95. As soon as I saw it being set up, I was hooked and my passion for technology has stayed with me ever since. I was so fascinated, and in that moment, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position?

I believe my work ethic closely aligns with Steve Jobs. Over the years, I’ve adopted his mantra: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” I use this philosophy when it comes to managing my team. I like to empower them to make decisions, as well as provide feedback and coaching, rather than dictating what they should or should not do. My aim is to develop a culture of accountability and robust performance within my teams.

The other best piece of professional advice that I was given was: “When you’re not happy about something, do it and then complain.” This is something that has stuck with me for many years. I apply it to my work and how I manage my team.

What do you currently identify as the major areas of investment in your industry?

With Digital Transformation comes more technologies, more mobile devices and more distributed workforces. A recent SOTI study found that almost four in 10 UK businesses reported an increase in the number of devices deployed in their organisations over the last year. With that, everything must be fast, secure and reliable. With the rapid pace of technological change, businesses across sectors are rushing to keep up, and this can create complexities and result in several problems.

EMM solutions make mobile device-focused business operations simple and efficient while ensuring new technologies can be added and continually managed, safely and securely no matter where you are in the world. EMM reduces the cost, complexity and downtime of mobile operations while delivering actionable and intelligent insights to help business leaders make data-driven decisions to improve their operations and processes further. It is a constant cycle across all sectors, EMM must be a crucial component for any business using mobile technologies in its operations and I certainly see this as a major area of investment for many organisations.

The biggest challenge we are facing as an industry is in how we repair, reuse and improve existing devices instead of throwing them away and buying ‘shiny, newer’ models. This ‘swap mentality’ means we are ripping out and replacing devices regularly without accessing our current fleet and diagnosing issues fully first. This is critical as businesses and governments work towards net zero targets in the coming years, and with the EU’s tougher regulations to make batteries greener. Devices are costly to purchase, and many organisations tend to replace them at once as part of a three-to-five-year cycle. However, they are lacking intelligence data from their devices to make the correct purchasing decisions in the first place. For example, businesses may only need to replace the batteries for these devices. Organisations should use their own device fleet data to make purchase and device update decisions not based on when a device warranty expires or because one device is not performing as it should. With an EMM solution, the enterprise mobility industry can support this sustainable shift by enabling quick remote software fixes for devices as well as replacing hardware parts instead of the full device.

What advice would you offer somebody aspiring to obtain a C-level position in your industry?

One of the best pieces of advice I could give to someone would be to make the most of the people around you. Everyone, regardless of position or rank, has something to offer; whether it is a particular skill you can learn or just an understanding of different ways of working.

I always feel inspired by the C-suite at SOTI, especially our President and CEO, Carl Rodrigues, who built SOTI from the ground up, going against the grain and doing things differently. That ethos of being bold and not afraid to challenge the status quo has always stayed with me and continues to influence how I navigate the management of my team and partners.

What behaviour or personality trait do you most attribute your success to and why?

Since seeing that Windows 95 computer on my work experience and growing up with the boom of the Internet and mobile technology, I have always been deeply passionate about technology. That passion has allowed me to help others see the impact and opportunities that technology can bring.

Although I started my career in technical roles, I am a true extrovert. I love being around people. A co-worker pulled me aside one day and said; “Faki, you belong in sales,” and they were right. I now get to combine my technical knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for fostering deep connections with people, and I think this is where my success has stemmed from. You must love what you do.

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?

Over the last year, one of the major changes we have all seen is the boom in Generative AI. I believe this will intensify in 2024 as businesses get more accustomed to its potential and the appetite for trials increases. What has been clear throughout 2023 is that organisations are still struggling to manage and secure their ever-increasing fleet of mobile devices. The broadening range of devices now being used, and the different applications and software needed create huge demands on IT teams. That coupled with the size of fleets now being managed creates complexity for their device requirements. As such, my role has shifted from helping businesses just getting started with Digital Transformation, to supporting them with their onward journey, building trust, safeguarding data and providing seamless experiences, all the while future-proofing for advanced technologies including AI.

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