Bridging divide between technology and business

Bridging divide between technology and business

John Mazenier, recently appointed country manager at Sun Microsystems, started his career in IT within the finance sector.

“I came from the finance sector originally, from the early days I wasn’t in IT at all. I joined the financial sector and for the first five years or so of my working life I worked with strategic planning, in MIS areas and foreign exchange settlements. I went to IBM, initially in a finance role, but I joined the sales side of things shortly after I arrived. I spent the best part of 11 years with IBM, for about 10 of those years I was in sales.”

Mazenier says moving from a finance background to the IT industry brought with it different roles, though he maintains the finance background has helped him understand IT.

“The roles were different, yes, but at the time IBM was at a major restructuring point. Opportunities arose within the company and I shifted to a sales job. I did a lot of client-account management and relationship management. For a stint of about 18 months or so I was also in an Asia Pacific segment role, managing IBM verticals.”

In 1999 Mazenier joined Datacom in Wellington, taking on responsibility for the corporate accounts with the delivery teams. He moved through various roles in sales and account management, before joining Sun in 2004.

“I joined the company in 2004 in a services and sales capacity. We focused on building the services part of the Sun business, as we grew out of the Solnet/Sun days. We developed a bit of a services business locally, with a group of great guys. That services business is successful today. In the last nine months I have been working in Australia, heading up the services' sales team across the two countries. I am just finishing that job off now and started the job as country manager for New Zealand effective from 1 June.”

Coming from a background in finance has given Mazenier the tools he needs to succeed in the IT industry and says he uses those skills to bring IT and business together.

“What I love about IT is that it’s never constant; it is always changing, always innovating, always new and always providing new challenges. I am a great believer in the fact that IT is not just for IT’s sake, it is about what IT can bring people. I think one of the things that I do reasonably well is act as a translator for the technical-minded people and the business parts of a customer or an organisation.”

Mazenier classifies Sun as a quirky, innovative company. He calls it an underdog that is prepared to be controversial at times, while pointing out not everything Sun does is pushed to the market. Growth is also on his mind.

"The industry and its channels does not necessarily hear enough about Sun and some of the messages we have and things we bring to market. We like that we do not compete with clients nor partners. It’s quite a small team but since 2003 it has grown steadily. We are definitely looking to grow further, as a corporate by acquisition as well as organically.”

Mazenier describes the market here as small, though mature, in the Asia Pacific sector. He says New Zealanders have been IT literate for a long time, something that helped change the rules around pricing models and the type of technologies bought in.

”Doing business here is very personal. It’s a small community and you get reminded of that when you work out of Sydney, a city as big as New Zealand. The scale is bigger offshore and scaling down can be a challenge in a market like the one we work in. It is something Sun does very well.”

Favourite cocktail:

I like a glass of red wine, preferably Shiraz.

What book is on your bedside table?

Instinctive Drives, a book about personal profiling.

If you could have coffee with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

Napoleon Bonaparte.

Favourite gadget:

iPod, if I can get my son out of the way of it.

What’s been the most important technological advance in IT:

The internet, it really goes without saying. Most new technology will come off the back of the internet.

Favourite sports:

Football, I am an Ajax fan.

Who is/was your mentor?

My nine-year-old daughter, she teaches me more about life than I ever could.

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