Editor’s Note: In mid-2021, Aptos shifted to a territory-based organizational structure to provide more flexibility and cohesion within each territory we serve. We now have general managers in place across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific, and this Q&A series introduces readers to each of our regional business leaders. In this post, we spotlight Zaki Hassan, general manager, Asia-Pacific.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. What three adjectives best describe you?
Empathetic, resourceful and curious. I’d say I am empathetic because it is extremely important to me to understand others, what they are thinking and how they are feeling when I interact with them. It is not enough to tell people what you want to do and what your opinions are; you need to understand how people may receive the information and how they may react to it as well.
In terms of being resourceful, my father always encouraged me to find ways to go beyond my perceived limits. Even if I lack certain skills or tools necessary, I find ways to make things work, leveraging whatever is at my disposal.
Lastly, I’d say I am always curious. It is important to learn from your experiences, good or bad, and adjust to the situation. It doesn’t matter if you are 20 or 80 years old; there is always an opportunity to explore and gain knowledge.
Q: When did you join Aptos, and what are your responsibilities?
I arrived at Aptos about six years ago. My role currently is general manager APAC, and I focus on growing our presence in the region. Tapping into the three qualities I mentioned above serves me well in our quest to build Aptos APAC.
Q: What interested you in joining Aptos?
Given that Aptos’ presence in APAC was nascent when I joined, I had the privilege of being able to define a vision and then execute steps to fulfill that vision. When I made the decision to join Aptos and I provided my resignation to my former boss, I recall that boss telling me that I was taking a huge risk, giving away stability for the unknown. But this is exactly why I took the opportunity at Aptos – and I’ve never looked back.
Q: What is your favorite part of your role?
I really enjoy trying new things. I feel fortunate to be employed at a company that gives employees that freedom.
Q: How do you like to spend your personal time?
I enjoy running; I run about one hour almost every day. More than just for the physical benefits, it allows me to decompress and release any stress that I have. Aside from that, I love spending quality time with my wife. Before Covid-19, we would travel – several times per year – but since that’s not possible here in Singapore, we explore the local neighborhoods and outdoors instead.
Q: Can you tell us a fun or interesting fact about you?
Let’s see ... A few years ago, I had the thrill of being strapped into a street-legal go-cart, driving 55 kph for several hours around the streets and highways of Tokyo. It was really an exhilarating experience driving a tiny vehicle next to regular cars and large semi-trucks.
Q: You are advancing Aptos’ growth strategy in APAC. Can you tell us why the region is strategic to Aptos?
The region is strategic to Aptos because, as it has been for a few years now, economic growth is happening in Asia faster than in other markets. Also, the largest population in the world is in APAC today – let’s think of China or India, with approximately 1.4 billion inhabitants each. Likewise, the population is growing in terms of wealth and continues to become upwardly mobile at faster rates than the rest of the world. Asia is also a region where lots of innovation is happening because of that rapid growth.
Q: How do you think the post-Covid era will transform retailing in the region?
The retail industry is very dynamic here. Covid-19 has already affected retailers and will continue to do so. For example, in most parts of Asia, we had traditional cash-based retailing, but the pandemic has accelerated contactless payments. E-commerce and omnichannel have grown more rapidly in the past year and a half than they had in the 15 years before that. Also, the pandemic has created new job opportunities – for example, around logistics and last-mile fulfillment – that didn’t exist before.
Q: How do you see Aptos playing a role in retailers’ transformations?
Aptos provides retailers with a lot of the tools they need to service their customers, whether it is through managing merchandise or through improved order management capabilities. When it comes to supporting retailers’ transformations, Aptos provides the underlying platforms that help retailers serve their customers more efficiently and profitably.
Q: What are your goals for Aptos’ upcoming fiscal year, starting October 1, specific to the APAC region?
We will continue to expand our customer base in the Asia-Pacific region, and we will also place an even greater emphasis on deepening relationships with our existing customers and seeing how we can help improve their lives and their businesses.
We want to expand Aptos’ footprint in APAC in a predictable and sustainable way, which, obviously, is not easy in the current time period, when things are so unpredictable. But as long as we remain focused on being a great partner to our customers, and deliver world-class, unified commerce solutions to market, we are confident in our growth trajectory in the region.
Q: How do you see Aptos evolving in the next three to five years, and how do you see yourself helping lead that change in APAC?
Aptos is evolving as the market evolves. We really emphasize the importance of agility and helping retailers build enterprises that can thrive amid disruption.
Relative to our team in APAC, we keep a close eye on consumer trends and retail industry dynamics in the region, and then we feed that information back to the rest of the Aptos organization – including our product innovation groups. This is extremely important because a lot of the market changes are happening in Asia before they are happening in the rest of the world.
Q: What does Aptos’ motto, “Every customer. Every colleague. Every day.” mean to you?
To me, it goes back to the three adjectives that I described at the beginning. It is very much about taking those strengths – being empathetic, resourceful and curious – and applying them to every customer and employee every day: being empathetic with customers and colleagues, being truly curious about their experiences and then finding ways to improve their experiences with Aptos.
If you enjoyed this Q&A and would like to continue the conversation with Zaki, connect with him on LinkedIn.