New blood

In the last six months or so, new country managers have been appointed at several of the multinationals operating in SA. Brainstorm caught up with a few of them.

1 November 2010
Photo by Karolina KomenderaMaphum Nxumalo, SAS Institute.

There’s an old joke about a large blue-chip organisation and its rotating country manager policy that goes something like this: a new country manager, appointed for three years, spends the first year changing everything his/her predecessor did, the second year making plans, and the third implementing a whole bunch of stuff that the next incumbent will come along and change.

We’re assuming that there’s no truth to this anecdote but, just in case, Brainstorm caught up with four newly appointed country managers to find out exactly what their plans are.

Steady on

Photos by Suzanne Gell Emma Murray, Software AG SA SAS Institute’s new country manager is no stranger to the local enterprise market, having worked for SAP before taking up his current post. His new home, as it were, is a ‘strictly analytics’ company, well known for its R&D (30 percent of annual revenue) and its co-founder and CEO, James (Jim) Goodnight, one of the wealthiest men in the world.

Maphum Nxumalo says the company has grown year on year every year since it was founded, and that this trend continues. The local operation is keeping up nicely, he says, performing well on a yearly basis.

“SAS has come of age in terms of mastering different industries,” he says. “There has been massive investment in being industry-specific. We’ve gone deep into industries to understand our customers’ businesses and to help them use analytics to achieve their goals.”

David Mead, Cisco SAThe company is keen on helping employees meet their goals too, and the company consistently wins ‘best place to work for’ awards. “It’s about the leadership concept,” Nxumalo says. “Everyone feels at home here, and the care the company gives to employees is exceptional. Dr Goodnight’s leadership is inspirational and he interacts with staff at every level of the organisation. We strive to emulate that.

“Top of the agenda is helping CIOs realise the importance of business and IT coming together to bridge the IT and business innovation gap seamlessly, to enable the CIO to drive business at the C-level.

“We’re working with customers and understanding their businesses before suggesting solutions. We’re very much in the customer space. Execution and delivery are important to us so that customers can receive the benefits of their investments.”

Frank van Rees, HP SANxumalo says the company has identified key strategic industries where it sees “great need” and is going after business there. Sectors like banking and insurance, telecommunications, which it is targeting aggressively, and retail, where customer intelligence and risk intelligence are crucial.

“We strive to help retail customers get the correct customers on board through intelligence gathered via analytics in the database, as well as helping them retain profitable customers.

“We’re also going very strong into the public sector,” he notes, “as we’ve seen great potential for performance management, management and evaluation solutions in government, and are working at all tiers.”