Currently based in Australia, Trend Micro’s ANZ SME director Dave Patnaik takes a break to talk to Amanda Sachtleben during one of his regular flying trips to New Zealand.
How did you get to where you are in the IT industry today?
I’ve been in the IT industry about 16 years. Prior to Trend Micro I had a role with Netgear as a regional director based out of Singapore, managing South Asia. I thought it would be interesting to get into security and take the business from there. I decided to come to Trend. I think the products are fantastic and I love the challenge.
You’re originally from India, why did you choose to travel and eventually settle in Australia?
I left India about 16 years ago and since then I’ve spent a lot of time travelling overseas and have spent a lot of time in Asian countries. I’ve been a general manager at Tech Pacific in Australia in 2000. For part of the time I was based out of Europe. After I moved to Australia I moved to Singapore and then back to Australia. For 16 years it’s been travelling and learning about the business, but all the interesting challenges are when you’re young and I’ve done that. Australia is probably my base for the next few years.
What appealed to you about the security game?
I spent a lot of time in the networking industry and the security industry is booming. Threats are getting more sophisticated day by day. We don’t see any virus outbreaks now, we see local viruses. People are coming up with viruses for China or India. It’s a challenge for any company to see the impact of that. You don’t know where the virus attack will come. In that context security becomes challenging for companies moving forward.
The major security companies recently released their latest products here. How do you differentiate what Trend has to offer?
The fundamental thing is they’re easy to use. In the small and medium space, especially in the small space, companies do not have the IT resources. It might be a one person company with a managing director who does the marketing and does it all. In that context it’s not critical to employ IT resources, so our goal is to make the products easy to use. They’re easy to administer and low maintenance.
Trend has identified the SMB market as key. How well are you progressing in that market in New Zealand?
We have to really build up a good channel because it’s critical to SMB. Our job this year has been to understand and get the right kind of partners on board and work well with them. We have invested in the New Zealand market quite significantly this year and we’ll continue to invest. We define medium business as 100 to 500 users. When you get to 500 users, businesses are more like enterprises. For small businesses, we need numerous channel partners.
In medium business, we need channel partners to be more sophisticated and more trained because they’re rolling out bigger projects. They require more understanding of the technology. The mid-market customers in New Zealand are very limited, you can tell exactly how many there are and we try to touch base directly with them, but all our fulfilment is done through the channel. We have five or six partners in the mid market we call our premium partners. They’re the people who have technical capabilities and you work with them closely.
You’ve set some big targets for the New Zealand market, are you meeting them?
We’ve grown our partners quite significantly and we continue to ramp up. The momentum is still strong and by Q4 time frame we’re in much better shape than we were at the beginning of the year. We are pretty pleased. We’ve been pretty successful in Australia through the same strategy and finding the right niche for the market.
You must make frequent trips here, do you get much time for leisure while you’re in New Zealand?
I try to come here once every couple of months. Major cities for us are Auckland, Christchurch and Hamilton and Wellington. We try to leverage off our partners and get focus in those areas. But my trips are usually one or two days – very short but very useful. I spend time with staff and partners. The last three quarters I didn’t get to visit any nice places but that would definitely be of interest.
What about your leisure time when you’re back home?
I have a wonderful family back home with two kids and a young baby. I play cricket at state level for one of the clubs and that keeps me busy for Saturdays. I also spend a lot of time reading books, especially about technology and understanding the business and leaders. I love cars and keep looking at new models.