An insight into the career of Paul Ruinaard, Country Manager – Sub Saharan Africa for Nutanix.
Describe your current job role and the parts that are somewhat challenging?
I am the Country Manager – Sub Saharan Africa for Nutanix. The challenging aspects of my job includes the amount of change in the market with topics like public cloud and customers saying they are using a cloud first or all in on the cloud approach. Many are still trying to operationalise this approach and it is slowing down projects once they realise the scope and complexity of cloud migrations. We are halfway across the desert on many cloud migrations and hoping we aren’t going to run out of water. Other areas include skills leaving the country and finally, the tough trading environment where the economy is not growing and consequently customers are not investing in new projects or are delaying planned projects.
Can you explain how your company works with channel partners?
We are a channel only company – all our business is done through local channel partners and through our distribution. We don’t take any business direct. We have programs to tier our partners based on their skills and revenues.
How do you ensure channel partners flourish in a highly competitive market?
Margin, margin and margin. By investing in programs where partners can make healthy margins and engaging early to assist in the complete sales cycle. If you do a proof of concept, then make sure it aligns with business value and has a business case around savings or returns on investments. Don’t rely on technical selling alone. We also try and solve problems rather than offer point technology solutions.
What are the latest trends you see emerging across the channel?
Channels that have traditionally made their revenues from selling hardware are struggling in the new world where everything is consumption and cloud based. The ones that are doing well are the ones that can understand what the customer wants and how they want to purchase it. Big, up-front five-year purchases are a dying commodity, no matter how attractive the price is.
What is your management philosophy?
Hire good people and then get out of their way.
When you look back at your career what has been the most memorable achievement?
Building Nutanix from a three-man team in a coffee shop five years ago to the local operation we have now.
What made you think of a career in technology?
I didn’t – I kind of fell into the space and liked it. That was in 1991.
What do you think will be the hot technology talking point of 2020?
Cloud will continue to be a large topic especially as many companies start to realise the complexity of the journey they have embarked on. Expect some pullbacks from the cloud as the bills start to arrive. Also, AI, RPA etc – these will start to bring massive automation to business processes which will disrupt traditional work.
What are your personal interests and where do you like to spend most of your time after work?
Keeping a work, life balance is always difficult in this industry. Personally, I spend a lot of time at home or travelling and I ride bicycles (road and mountain) to keep me balanced. When I can get to the coast, I love scuba diving.