SAUDI ARABIA - Telecoms & IT
CEO, channels by stc
Faisal Alatig is the CEO of channels by stc, with over 21 years of experience. He received his bachelors in systems engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals and acquired a master’s degree in business administration and management from King Saud University. In addition, Alatig has participated in different leadership and management courses and received various certificates in both management and leadership. He has held leadership positions in stc group and channels by stc including vice president of strategy and category management at channels by stc. Also, he has chaired the executive committees of channels Bahrain and Oman.
Faisal Alatig, CEO of channels by stc, talks to TBY about how the company has emerged as a key provider of digital services and offerings beyond merely telecommunications in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait.
How did channels by stc establish itself as one of the leading companies in distribution and sales in the region?
Faisal Alatig: In 2017, the company went through a full transformation, which led changing its name to channels by stc. channels is the sales and distribution arm of stc group and is one of the leading companies in the field of sales and distribution of the telecommunications sector in the Middle East, with operations in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait. channels was established as a partner of choice for companies to enable connectivity for customers and reach out to markets with a dynamic range of services and offerings beyond telecommunications. The level of competition in the telecommunications sector locally and regionally continues to increase; however, innovation, diversity, and persistence are key elements from which we proceed to achieve our goals, which are based on expanding in the local market, with stc group and other major companies across various sectors. At channels, we are dedicated to providing a package of innovative services and products that are in line with our partners’ needs. We have been committed during the past years to remain the most distinguished ideal partner in the field of sales and distribution, as we strive continuously to reach our partners and customers through operational efficiency and raising the level of services’ quality. In addition, our success was the result of the support of our team and its unwavering teamwork, bringing success not only in the Kingdom but also to our subsidiaries overseas.
How did channels by stc respond to the pandemic, and how do you see its future in the business community?
Faisal Alatig: We believe that with every challenge lies great growth opportunities. The pandemic has certainly been a challenge to the business world; however, we often saw innovation coming out of these periods of change. At channels, we were ready for it, as we had a clear plan for business continuity, and our team was able to work remotely without any complications. Our business plans during the pandemic prompted us to work with high operational productivity, and we were able to achieve high records in various fields in the past three years such as the sales distribution and logistics. We focused on being pioneers in our business by keeping up with progress towards digitalizing communication services, which we designed cutting-edge platforms for our customers and partners. These platforms include various services such as sales via smartphones, e-commerce platforms and applications. Among the services and solutions that helped businesses to continue and prosper during the critical situations is channels main service: dal. In fact, it is considered a success story during the pandemic. As we not only serve stc but also other clients, and because of this success, we are now expanding on our last-mile delivery service, dal. It has become one of the growth opportunities that we are currently investing in to serve the supply chain to Vision 2030.
How does dal add value to your customers in the Kingdom and regionally?
Faisal Alatig: “dal” is a core intelligent crowd sourcing platform for the last-mile delivery (LMD) built into a highly effective application. It was launched in 2018 to deliver stc products and services to customers within a criterion SLA (of 4 hours after customer order). A few years ago, our only customer was stc and utilizing internal stc group human resources around the Kingdom as delivery agents with very competitive and attractive commission provided us with relevant experience and helped us to better understand our capabilities. “dal” was the main business operations arm that enabled channels to continue achieving its objectives during the COVID-19 pandemic lock-down with minimal effects on overall business. At one point, we closed all retail stores in the Kingdom and directed our customers to use our online services to showcase our digital capabilities and what the future can look like in the Kingdom when it comes to our delivery service “dal”. To date, we have exceeded 11,000 agents and have worked on more than 7 million successful delivery shipments and counting. With “dal”, we serve small and large retailers and international companies penetrating the Saudi market. The purpose behind “dal” service came from our certainty to the expanding need to income sources through new markets, services and products for the individual and business sectors, in addition to our presence and dedication toward achieving our objectives and strategy.
How is channels by stc helping Saudi Arabia become a global hub for technology through its expansion strategies?
Faisal Alatig: There is no doubt that the company’s growth and expansion plans are our strategy’s main pillars. We constantly conduct studies, assess market needs, search for market requirements and diversify our current packages to maintain our position as a leader across the market and offer the best services and products. We no longer offer only traditional sales channels to our customers and want our customers to comply with our digitalization process. That is how we are contributing to the digital transformation journey of Saudi Arabia. We also want all our contributors to be part of the ecosystem and the transformation of the Kingdom and build connectivity. Our expansion ambition aligns with the targets set by stc group, as we also operate in Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia has pushed digitalization aggressively, and that has enabled the private and public sectors to be ahead regionally and globally.
How do you stay ahead of innovation trends and drive the sector forward??
Faisal Alatig: For channels by stc, innovation comes from building a thriving environment for our team and giving them the space and autonomy for creativity. Going forward, in order to focus on our customer experience segment, our technology team is working on many innovative ways to compete with various players in the market, as these entrepreneurs are extremely agile, and we need to be the same. We need to share our knowledge and ensure we are driving the market forward. For us to work together and accelerate the market, we have partnered with many emerging companies by helping them serve their customers and guarantee their growth.
What are your key priorities for the year ahead?
Faisal Alatig: channels by stc’s 2023 strategy emphasizes on the growth cycle and building capabilities towards world-class standards. We will continue to focus on introducing new products to the market and to our customers. We will introduce these products that will serve different segments and demographics in the Kingdom, and will focus on digital services and solutions and make sure our customers can be served in multiple ways compared to others in the market. Moreover, our aim is to expand our services beyond Saudi Arabia and even diversify our portfolio. We have many plans in the pipeline and aim to penetrate different verticals and launch our supply chain initiatives.
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