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'I like structure'

Henri van der Vaeren, VMware

Henri van der Vaeren, a vice president at VMware, says the company has drastically changed its relationship with its partners. He oversees South Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and says he expects partners to invest in the company.

Van der Vaeren says CIOs and CTOs across Africa and the world all share common challenges.

“They all have legacy (systems) and they all have a vision. They all have business, devops and CEOs putting pressure on them. And they have limited budget.”

When listening to CIOs in Africa, “I could put their words in the mouth of an Italian CIO or an Israeli CIO. It’s very similar; it’s more with less; and faster.”

Is there any cause for concern that South Africa is hovering near junk status?

Trouble, turmoil

“I have a very diverse region. I have all forms of turmoil and trouble. But still, IT remains something very important for these people to continue dealing with whatever issues they have. If they have issues, IT can help them cope better.”

Van der Vaeren says when he joined the company two years ago - coincidentally on the day when the merger between Dell and EMC was announced - he quickly realised the company’s presence was spread too thin in sub-Saharan Africa.

He then took a pragmatic decision: resources should be concentrated in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia.

“If you try to be everywhere, you’re nowhere.”

Van der Vaeren says he has also been changing the partner programme.

He says he expects partners to invest as much as VMware is investing in them.

“I prefer to have less partners, but these partners will build knowledge about VMware. I want them to listen to and understand our customers. I don’t want partners who are just waiting for us to do the job and then helping us manage the transaction. I don’t want partners having a free lunch.”

Van der Vaeren says he likes to establish a structured and transparent relationship with a partner.

“I like structured stuff, and we’re going to do thing in a predictable and structured way, like a script. Everything I do with you, shouldn’t astonish you.”

“When I look in the eyes of my partners, there should be mutual trust.”

He says VMware remains one of the most neutral company’s on the market.

“Look at our tag line: any application, any device, any cloud.”

“One customer says they want to use Azure, and another one says they want to use Amazon, and the third says they want to use their private cloud. One says they’re only working with Samsung technology for end user computing mobility, another says they’re only using cloud native apps … they need have a technology partner that gives them the same consistent answer to any of those demands. And this is exactly what we do. There’s no one of the market (like us). A lot are bringing proprietary technology. We’re the only one on the market really fulfilling that freedom.”

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