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Five-minute interview: Emanuel Salmona, Claroty

MicroScope speaks to Emanuel Salmona, vice-president of global partnerships at Claroty, to find out some details on his work and life

Emanuel, tell us what you do for a living.

My name is Emanuel Salmona, and I’m the vice-president of global partnerships at Claroty. In this role, I am responsible for successfully building and developing tight business relationships with our global strategic partners.

We have several ways of running partnerships, including via alliances and channels, and I manage the whole of the Claroty team covering this area of the business. Over the past two years, I’ve transitioned within Claroty from doing sales and partner management to running our global partners team.

Why are you the right person for this job?

Running partnerships at Claroty requires a unique understanding of the technology and the space, as well as the value of our technology to our partners. Because I have experience in sales and partner management within Claroty, and because I have also previously worked for one of our largest partners, Siemens, I have a good understanding of what partners are looking for.

What’s more, since OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners such as Siemens are so important to our success and our partner ecosystem, I’m uniquely well suited to manage these relationships.

What gets you up in the morning?

I really believe that Claroty has the potential to be the leading vendor in the operational technology (OT) space, and I’m determined to prove and show that our road to scalability and success goes through and leverages third-party collaborations – our partners.

In addition, my role presents a variety of challenges both internally and externally, and I look forward to taking on those challenges every day. It also helps that I have a very fun team who I genuinely enjoy working with and interacting with on a daily basis.

Who helped you get to where you are today?

Within the context of Claroty specifically, I personally know one of the three co-founders, Galina Antova, from working together at Siemens. Funnily enough, I introduced her to the other two co-founders six years ago. After they founded the company, they approached me and solicited me to join the team.

On top of that, Amir Zilberstein, one of the other co-founders and the current chairman of Claroty, is the one who really convinced me to join and gave me many of the opportunities I’ve had since working at Claroty. He’s someone who I admire, but also who I thank for giving me a number of career development opportunities.

What is the best or worst business advice you have received and from whom?

The best advice I’ve ever received is: When you choose what to do for work, you need to choose something you enjoy. If you choose a job that aligns with what you enjoy doing, success and fulfilment is much more attainable. If you choose a job based solely on compensation or convenience, you’re probably not going to do it to the best of your ability, and you won’t reach your full potential.

Many people have difficulty figuring out what they enjoy doing, but making this a priority in your decision-making process will help guide you in the right direction.

What advice would you give to someone starting out today in IT?

The industry I’m in – OT security – lies at the intersection of cyber security and industrial automation technology, so gaining some understanding of both worlds will bring great advantages.

Someone who has cyber security experience and embeds themselves in an OT environment will have a lot of learning opportunities and will be very strong in the industry. Likewise, someone who has a lot of OT experience and then jumps out of their comfort zone into the cyber security industry will have a lot to learn but will be even more successful down the road.

Emanuel Salmona

 “Anyone wanting to start out in the industry today would do well to step out of their comfort zone and proactively educate themselves to complement their existing knowledge with the less familiar side of the industry”

Emanuel Salmona, Claroty

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Today, what we sometimes see is a weak point where people only have one skill set or the other. Anyone wanting to start out in the industry today would do well to step out of their comfort zone and proactively educate themselves to complement their existing knowledge with the less familiar side of the industry.

Is it possible to get through an industry conversation without mentioning ‘digital transformation’?

Yes, definitely. Digital transformation is the current buzzword that everyone is trying to use, but what the industry is experiencing is the will to go toward operational efficiency and a goal to modernise itself. Companies that are not digitising themselves so much are still aware of cyber risks.

We see the awareness increasing all the time, and companies are acknowledging the need to invest in cyber security independent of their digitisation. It is a catalyst to increase and expedite the decision related to cyber security, but it’s not mandatory.

What does the next five years hold for the channel?

At Claroty, we’re seeing growth in the importance of the channel, so consequently we’re going to see a number of changes.

The first one is that we’re going to expand into new geographical regions. The second is that we’re going to develop deeper relationships with our existing partners and strengthen our commitment to those who are committed to us. As part of this, we are focused on providing better enablement, collateral and marketing resources to every one of our partners, and finding unique ways of incentivising those partners too.

We also plan to be 100% channel in the future. We’ll rely on the channel to fulfil our business, but we also want to maintain our footprint in high-priority regions by keeping our salespeople on the ground so they can work and collaborate with our partners to close deals and help generate further business in those regions.

In short, our channel business is going to mature, expand and deepen over the next few years.

Tell us something most people do not know about you.

Covid-19 has created a global surge of working from home, but I actually started working from home four to five years ago, as I determined this to be the best working model for me. Of course, I’m not happy about the pandemic, but a silver lining for me personally is that I’m no longer the odd one out and I enjoy having this particular shared experience with my colleagues.

What goal do you have to achieve before you die, and why?

One of my mentors once said to me: “Your life is the pursuit of understanding yourself.” So, I don’t think there is something specific, rather it’s about a journey of better understanding myself and learning what makes me happy and what drives me. If I’m able to reach that, I’ll have had a very fruitful and happy life.

What is the best book you've ever read?

I really liked The 7 habits of highly effective people. It describes how highly effective people can make decisions on a daily basis. I found it enlightening because of the stories and examples it highlights as well as the perspective that the book gives.

It wasn’t written in a way that summarises everything in the first 20 pages and just repeats it time and time again through the remainder of the book, but rather it provides depth and interest in every section. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

And the worst film you’ve ever seen?

The 15:17 to Paris. You basically sit there for one hour and 20 minutes to watch one key scene that lasts for two minutes, and you’re left wondering what they did for the rest of the time.

What would be your Desert Island MP3s?

I very much like Latin music, specifically salsa music or Latin pop – I never feel lonely or sad when I listen to that.

What temptation can you not resist?

Italian ice cream!

What was your first car and how does it compare with what you drive now?

A red Ford Fiesta, which was small and second-hand. I was a student at the time so it was great as a little runaround car. Today, I drive a 7-seat Volvo SUV, which offers space for the family – much more practical.

If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be and why?

An eagle. I love the feeling of flying, and I imagine it to be like flying a drone and having a bird’s eye view.

If you were facing awesome peril and impossible odds, which real or fictional person would you most want on your side and why?

Superman – is there anyone better?

And finally, a grizzly bear and a silverback gorilla are getting ready for a no-holds-barred rumble. Who is your money on and why?

Gorilla. I don’t think the bear stands a chance on speed and power.

Read more five-minute interviews from MicroScope

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