Lourens Strydom says initiatives such as the All-of-Government contracts and the UFB rollout mean businesses need to start speeding up to be prepared for some changes.
Strydom, who was recently appointed as CA Technologies’ channel account director, started his career in academia in South Africa, studying part time and working at the University of Johannesburg. After earning his BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science, he joined Unisys as third party support looking after products such as Unix, 4GLS and database products like Oracle and Informix.
From Unisys, he moved on to HP where he spent eight years working firstly as a consultant and in project delivery in South Africa before moving to a pre-sales role focused on a partner-based delivery model for the rest of the African continent.
“I was lucky enough to then get a position at Sun Microsystems managing a pre-sales and service delivery group working with partners right throughout the Middle East,” says Strydom.
From the Middle East, he joined Transpower in Wellington, his first job in New Zealand. He says the job at Transpower gave him a “better understanding of the IT challenges from the end-user view”. “I am now finding this experience very advantageous in my current position when talking to partners and customers,” he adds. He describes his new role with CA Technologies as “challenging but at the same time exciting”.
The “number 8 wire” mentality that prevails in New Zealand is what makes the country so attractive in Strydom’s eyes. The country is going through a particularly exciting time, he thinks, and the reason he joined CA Technologies was “to start driving a channel direction” as New Zealand embraces new innovations and challenges.
“We’re fairly small but play well with the big players. It’s been interesting. We have very good partners. It’s about getting the mindsets to meet,” he says. On top of working on solidying existing relationships with partners in the country, Strydom says the company is also looking at recruiting new channel partners to come on board.
According to Strydom, CA Technologies’ “focus will be in building a sustainable partner ecosystem by establishing a portfolio of routes-to-market that extend sales resources and connect with the right partners”.
“We are launching new products and technologies such as CA Infrastructure Management and CA NimSoft which will offer a number of alternative ways managed services and products can be delivered and our partners are invaluable in delivering these,” he adds.
“One thing that can be said of the IT industry, it is never boring. At CA I am quite lucky to be working for a company that is really in the middle of these changes, well positioned to deliver services and support customers and transform the way our clients do business,” says Strydom.
The channel director believes that “the innovation in the Government IT will, if sustained, be driving a positive of change in the private and service IT industries”. “A number of large organisations, including the public sector have been holding back on updating their infrastructures and in such a fast moving environment where you compete globally, that is not always a good thing. I think we will have to see some increase in spending and although a bit of cliché, the only way to get that done is to use innovative approaches to transform and increase our IT maturity,” he adds.
Mobility will also continue to “improve the way we access information and at the same time will force us to look differently at the way we deal with the end consumers. Just looking at the packages being offered by our local Telcos for data use is just showing how quickly our personal and business IT usage are changing. This area will keep on driving new innovative ways of service delivery,” says Strydom.
“It is quite an exciting time really. My view is that financial collapse of 2008 has changed perceptions and got people to think differently on how they buy, use and supply services. I personally am quite excited about been part of the NZ IT industry.”
Where do you live now and where has life taken you?
I live in Riverstone Terraces in Hutt valley, close to Wellington. I have previously lived in Dubai in the UAE where I was working for Sun Microsystems. I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Are you married? Any Kids?
Married with one son.
What are you currently reading?
What am I reading? I need to read some time management books, as soon as I get time. Seriously, I struggle to find time to read right now but mostly motivational reading when I have time. I am again reading Freakonomics: A rogue economist exploring the hidden side of everything and although I have read it before, it is interesting to see how things are panning out.
Dou you have a mentor or someone that you deeply admire professionally?
I have worked with a number of experienced and motivating people and hopefully some their abilities has rubbed off on me. Some of our innovators that have started small and have made a significant impact, not only in the NZ IT industry but also globally, showing the rest of us, what can be done i.e. Xero and TradeMe.
What would be the best advice you could give to someone in the same business as you?
Be nice to people, you never know when you are going to need their help as in the end, it is about the people and not the technology. As IT people we need to start fulfilling our promise as an important cog of the business in of our organisation by delivering services that can accelerate the delivery of business ,services, transform how our businesses are operating and at the same time secure and manager risk for our organisations.
When you were little, what did you think you would be when you grew up?
I thought it would be really great to be an electrical engineer, but once got introduced to computers I was hooked and changed direction.
And your favourite website?
Google – it is just delivering services in such a way that I am sure I will be not able to work without it.
What’s your drink of choice?
A good whiskey – when I can afford it. Otherwise beer and luckily we have a wide choice of some great boutique beers in NZ for me to experience.
What do you think has been the single most important advance in technology?
Introduction of the silicon based chip – since then the acceleration in new technology has been amazing as shown by Moore’s law. This has driven the explosion in technology and software we are currently experienced.
If you weren’t in technology, what would you be doing?
Something I have only later in life got interested, the wildlife tourism area – I really miss the wildlife back in Africa.
How do you keep the work/leisure balance?
That is always challenging and as I have just moved to a new position it is still difficult to get some balance in those areas but I am sure that once we have some of the partner portfolios, processes and relationships established there will be time for relaxation.