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An eye on the future: Micro Focus’ Gonzalo Usandizaga on upcoming tech trends

An eye on the future: Micro Focus’ Gonzalo Usandizaga on upcoming tech trends

As individuals and businesses adjust to the new normal, Gonzalo Usandizaga – vice president and general manager, Emerging and Growth Markets at Micro Focus, sheds light on the trends that are here to stay

Gonzalo Usandisaza

How has your journey with Micro Focus been so far?

I have been with the company for about 12 and a half years now. Since the last three years, I’ve been leading Micro Focus for the emerging markets region. I oversee about 60 plus countries in the region, the largest markets being Russia, South Africa, Brazil, and the Middle East. In addition to my current responsibility, about nine months ago, I also started looking after the whole channel business in EMEA and what we call the tier-three business.

You have worked with several tech companies during your career. What has been your main learning?

If I try to look back at my career during the last 15 to 20 years, there are four themes that have been quite consistent in terms of priorities.

The first are your people – if there is one theme I’ve seen that is consistent, it is the need to take care of your people and ensure teamwork. And that links with the second and third [priorities], which are to have very high standards of respect and ethics related to business, employees and customers.

The fourth priority is enablement.

In your current role, you oversee all the emerging markets – how different is the GCC compared to other markets you cover?

The way we interact with customers in GCC countries is quite different compared to Central European countries or Russia or even countries in Africa.

The personal touch and having trust among individuals is way more important in this part of the world. In the end, of course, any agreement will be supported by a legal contract. That’s a standard across all countries, but in this part of the world, there is an additional component of personal behaviour that needs to be factored in.

In your opinion, what are the main challenges for regional organisations in implementing their digital transformation strategies?

I think we need to be careful, because when we speak of digital transformation, we’re talking about companies changing completely and embracing a new journey that will help transform the company. Defining the right metrics, and understanding whether your company will achieve those metrics or not, is absolutely critical to successfully implementing a digital transformation project.

For those embarking on digital transformation journeys, what are the key things to keep in mind?

First of all, it is important to understand the starting point and to spend the right amount of time and resources on it. It is not just about technology – digital transformation is not purely about IT tools that you can implement to help transform your company. You need to have the right mix of IT tools and the right consultant partners. So, trying to understand the starting point, the right definition of milestones, clear KPIs, and then having the right measure of control are critical factors to succeed.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the tech ecosystem in the region?

It is having a huge impact on our customers and on us. But more importantly, it is having a massive impact on how we need to operate with our own employees. Our main focus right now is looking after our internal employees, because in the end, these employees will be the ones serving our customers. We need to guarantee that they have the right foundation. And that’s where I think that we’ve seen a lot of difference.

We need to train our salesforce and our support staff on how to manage and treat customers in this new normal. And that is where we’ve been putting a lot of effort and investment, in trying to help our employees understand how our customers are working remotely.

What are the key takeaways you expect post Covid-19?

I think we will need to be more flexible and offer greater empowerment to our employees. When we think about our customers, we need to find a way to increase two-way communication. That’s critical, because it’s not just about us as a vendor trying to connect with the customer, but also about how to generate that demand from the customer and then how to set the right expectations.

Looking ahead, what are the biggest tech trends you foresee in the region?

Artificial intelligence, big data and cyber security are the three trends that will continue to grow and expand in the region.

On a personal level, as a leader, what are your key tips for success?

To have the right team – no leader can succeed by himself. If you want to have a successful career, you have to build the right team.

Secondly, when you’re in our [line of] business, results/numbers matter. You have to deliver according to the company’s expectations.
Customer service matters – we’re in this business only because of our customers.

I think that people, results and customers are the three most important ingredients to build a successful career in this industry.

Lastly, what is your vision? What do you hope to achieve on a professional level?

I’ve been running multiple regions in Europe. For three years I’ve been running the business here in the Middle East. For the last nine months, I’ve also been running business in Latin America and Brazil.

If I look globally, I never had the experience to work in either the US or Asia Pacific. In the future, that will be something to consider. I think that will complement my current background and skills and will help me have a better global understanding of markets and the business.

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