Graham Porter, Head of Channels, Middle East, Veeam, has enjoyed a successful career working with some of the biggest names in the IT sector before taking on the challenge of his current position with Intelligent Data Management company Veeam. Here we talk about his current job role, memorable achievements and managerial style.
Describe your current job role and the parts that are somewhat challenging?
I look after Veeam’s channel/distribution/alliances for the Middle East and Central Africa. To me it’s all about building and maintaining relationships and understanding what is in it for the partners we work with. Things always change and dealing with conflicts is an important part of this, learning to manage relationships and resolve things so that most people are happy and the relationship continues to grow is vital and this requires a lot of diplomacy in this region.
When you look back at your career what has been the most memorable achievement?
I have been remarkably fortunate to work with some of the biggest names in the IT industry, IBM, HP, Sun, Cisco, NetApp and now Veeam, all have allowed me to travel half the world, meet interesting people and hopefully add value to what they are trying to achieve. I’ve also been very fortunate in having companies which allow me to do new things and support me with resources to do it and managers who are prepared to do something different even when it looks unconventional, many people still remember my Hawaiian parties for Sun Microsystems.
What made you think of a career in technology?
When I was at university in the UK, I had a year out from my Business Studies degree and I was very fortunate to work for IBM in their UK head office for 14 months, the rest as they say is history…
What style of management philosophy do you employ at your current position? When I worked for IBM they had four key principles, one was ‘respect for the individual’ which has stayed with me and I like to think that people work with me and not for me.
What is your style as a team leader?
Following on from the point above, I hire people who are self-starters, they know what they need to do and they are empowered to just get on with it, especially when half of my team live in different countries, you just need to hire the right people and support them when they need it.
What do you think will be the hot technology talking point of 2018?
In terms of talking points I keep hearing cloud, Blockchain, AI and even people who manage to use all three in the same sentence, not necessarily achieving anything! I still think we are at a tipping point where IT people will see their roles change and managing infrastructure becomes a service you buy and ‘adding value to the business’ becomes the real role of IT. Unfortunately, there are still few IT people who can talk about business outcomes of IT and demonstrate a real ROI from technology spend.
What are your personal interests and where do you like to spend most of your time after work?
When I go home it’s family time, walking the dogs, eating as a family (I do a mean barbeque) and telling dad jokes to my long-suffering family. If I get to ski once a year and ride horses occasionally that is a plus point.
How do you cope with stress and demands of your career?
A few years ago a friend of mine invited me to attend an ‘Art of Living’ course which is basically breathing exercises, Yoga and meditation. I still use some of the breathing techniques and should really go back and do more of it as stress is an inevitable part of an IT sales role.
What gives you great job satisfaction?
I like to build new things, especially teams of people and that is what I have done with my team of four people at Veeam.