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VMware Sub-Saharan Africa enjoys strong growth

VMware's growth is continuing to show noticeable acceleration in South Africa, with the region performing above the company average.

During an interview at VMworld 2017 Europe in Barcelona this week, Henri van der Vaeren, VP South Europe, Middle East and Africa at VMware, talked about the reasons for the region's success.

"Matt Kibby joined as regional director of Sub-Saharan Africa two years ago. He has built a high-quality team. I believe in professionalism without complacency, hiring great, quality people and having enthusiasm and passion, and that is what Matt has brought to SA."

Refocusing resources

When he joined VMware two years ago, Van der Vaeren said the Sub-Saharan Africa team was spread too thin, covering 27 countries. "It was difficult to succeed at really listening to CIOs and CEOs about their transformation journeys and their challenges. There weren't enough resources to listen and build on those relationships, so we scaled back to four countries, the biggest of which is SA."

In Q2 last year, the company refocused its resources on those countries, and continued working with its partners for the other countries in the region. "As a result, we got closer to our customers, met more CIOs, listened to their transformation needs, and began to work on transformation projects with them. Where in the past we would sell a solution or a few virtual machines, we are now far more proactive and strategic.

"We have seen a real boom in Q1 and Q2 this year, the results have been incredible for Matt and his team."

Modernisation, digitisation

Van der Vaeren says VMware has been steadily growing in the Sub-Saharan region, and has been investing more in regional teams. "We've identified a need for modernisation and digitisation in Africa, and now we have the resources to meet those needs. We are building in-depth relationships with customers, to understand their strategies, where they are, where they want to go, and how we can help get them there."

He says African businesses want the freedom to choose the cloud they want, the application they want and the device they want. "Any cloud, any application, any device. No one was doing that in a vendor-neutral way. VMware supports any device. We support a consistent software virtualisation layer across all elements of a given IT infrastructure. Within a given cloud too, forget whether it's private or public, it doesn't matter."

This increases efficiency and lowers cost, giving customers freedom of choice, while at the same time, allowing them to maintain management control. "In the past, they couldn't maintain that control which lead to shadow IT. A consistent, vendor neutral layer, removes that danger."

Now that they have that management control, adds Van der Vaeren, customers can drag and drop workloads from one cloud to another. "Security issues associated with shadow IT are removed. Now with our network virtualisation and security platform, NSX, everything is secured across clouds, applications and devices."

Today, he says African markets are comparable to other markets and have similar challenges and needs. "There's a lot of legacy technology but a lot of appetite for change. I am confident the SA team can help African CIOs to cope with, and solve challenges, and will continue to generate strong growth in the region."

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