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Q&A: VMware's Paul Harapin

Q&A: VMware's Paul Harapin

What is the two-minute pitch on VMware?
VMware has transformed the IT industry and invented an entire category. VMware enables organisations to energise their businesses through IT, while saving energy – financial energy by reducing capital; human energy by shifting where focus from servicing hardware to driving the business; and the earth’s energy by using less power, cooling and real-estate, and using it more wisely.

How did you get involved in the industry?
It almost didn’t happen! I obtained an economic degree and decided to fill my University interview schedule with a mixture of organisations. Most were banks but I decided to also speak with IBM (for interview practice!) The company sold itself and the opportunity to me. I wasn’t quite sure how a degree in Economics would help me to make a mark in the IT industry, but it has proved an enormous advantage.

Where do you see the opportunities for your company this year? And the challenges?
There are huge opportunities around the coming revolutions in Cloud Computing and Desktop Virtualisation.

Being at the forefront of a generational change in technology means that – despite the huge impact virtualization has already had and the swift uptake it has experienced, particularly in Australia – there is still a lot of education required to help organisations understand the benefits of virtualization. People are hesitant around change, and because virtualization is so revolutionary, educating the market remains a challenge.

What are the new initiatives you are rolling out this year?
The recent announcement of our Zimbra acquisition form Yahoo will allow us to expand our offerings in the cloud services market and we’ll see the democratization of email and calendaring services . We will also continue to see the expansion of the desktop virtualisation market, and as the leader in this space, VMware is well positioned to move quickly.

In the past the IT department has often been viewed as another world away from other business units – do you think this still applies?
We see this in a minor way, mainly because technology can be very complex. However, the GFC drove the requirement for business to be more efficient, to reduce expenditure and to do more with less. As a result, IT has become the “go to” department for the business to achieve these results, and has become more entrenched within the business as a consequence. For example, 12 – 18 months ago, I would regularly meet with CIO’s. Now I am meeting also with the CFO, because they understand how IT can help them achieve the results the business requires.

What is your favourite aspect of the job?
The people, especially the VMware team, including our extended team of partners and customers. VMware is a multi-faceted business and it is exciting to oversee tremendous growth in ANZ. I get a thrill from selling a solution which enables customers to reduce their environmental impact. The large ecosystem that has sprung up around VMware inspires me daily. It’s a great learning experience and very intellectually stimulating meeting and working with so many people from all areas of the IT Industry.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My grandmother told me that everyone is equal, and only by chance have we have found ourselves In different circumstances and places. Keep this in mind and always treat people with respect, regardless of their position in society or their background.

Where to from here for you?
There are still huge challenges and growth opportunities for VMware in Australia. I’m not going anywhere any time soon!

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