Yong Foo is Regional Director of M.Tech and he’s been with the company his entire working life! We discuss his career journey plus insights into the recent months of the cybersecurity and network performance market.
I started at M.Tech in 2011 as an engineer in Singapore. I worked myself through the sales floor and got posted to Hong Kong for two years. I got posted to Australia last year to be the Regional Director for M.Tech. M.Tech was my first job.
What unique insights did you gain along the way?
The business culture is different in different countries: what works in Singapore may not work in Australia. So in the new environment you have to learn to adapt and be prepared to make a few mistakes along the way.
For example, every year in Singapore, M.Tech invites end users to an exhibition. However, in Australia we don’t do that because we deal with the partners and not interacting with the end users directly.
What are the key challenges facing your partners and your advice for overcoming them?
We see some partners (who have been traditionally selling hardware and software) trying to break into the cybersecurity market. As you can imagine, this is not so easy because there are too many technologies to navigate and there are already some established players in the market. So, ideally, in order to succeed, you need to set up another business unit and then hire a person with the right experience. Get them to focus on building the cybersecurity business and then ensure that they and their team get support from management. This will take a long time and take some sizeable investment.
There are two alternatives. They could acquire a company that specializes in cybersecurity – which would require significant investment. The other option is to partner with a specialist partner or distributor who can provide the expertise that they themselves may not have. That way, they can provide this expertise directly to their customers with minimal investment.
Where can the Channel gain in expertise and support?
What M.Tech does is we take on speciality security vendors. These vendors have already grown tremendously with us or have the potential to become big in the future. We hope to educate and enlighten the partners on these vendors and solutions that remain relevant in the post-COVID world.
Another challenge is cash flow in the current economy. The more business you do, the more cash you need. I think everybody knows this. But there’s only so much you can borrow and only so much you can invest in the business. There’s a limit. M.Tech has provided some financing to a few key partners but we’ll be providing this option to more partners in the future – particularly over the next few months.
What positive and negative effects is COVID-19 having on demand?
We see a few projects being delayed and even payment on one or two projects being delayed. So it’s taking a little longer for some of the dues or some of the payments to come in. That’s one of the negative effects.
But on the positive side, there are many companies that are still operating, they still need cybersecurity and they are still buying such solutions. In fact, M.Tech, as a business, grew double digits in the first half of this year. So, you can see cybersecurity still remains relevant, even now.
What are your plans for the second half of 2020?
Currently the situation is still uncertain owing to the second and third wave of coronavirus spreading around the world. So, we are a bit more conservative on hiring and taking a bit more of a ‘wait and see’ approach, for now. But, having said that, we’re still on the lookout to on-board new vendors. I believe if we find the right person or if we find the right vendor we will take the opportunity to invest. It’s just that we may be a bit more conservative at the moment.