Microsoft Ukraine CEO Nadezhda Vasilyeva: “Today, what is relevant in Europe 2-3 years ago is relevant for us”

    You joined Microsoft Ukraine in 2012, and before that, you led the Amway Ukraine company. What is the reason for such a cardinal change in the sphere of activity? Why exactly IT?

    In fact, IT is not a new kind of activity for me. I worked for 12 years in the telecommunications business and these areas are interconnected. At the same time, my previous company gave me an understanding of how the product market works in contrast to the service market, as well as what small business is in Ukraine, how it works, what interests it and how it interacts. An informal leadership operates in such a business, which can create a large system business mechanism from a small family business. However, the direct sales business is not as competitive, and therefore not as dynamic as IT. I was always drawn to dynamics and difficulties. Therefore, I quickly accepted the offer from Microsoft Ukraine to take the position of director for work with government agencies. It was a challenge that interested me.

    What are the fundamental differences between your work in a previous and current position?

    The fundamental differences are that in Amway, a business is a large marketing and distribution flywheel, which is mainly formed by distributors, they create it first, and the company only serves and supports it. Microsoft is shaping the ecosystem long before the partnership channel is formed. The company actually ensures that the network is ready to sell new technologies. This is a completely different scale. Amway has more turnover and management of 7 product categories - from FMCG to durable goods. But at Microsoft, there are many product groups, an expanding range of services, and the emergence of new technologies. There is also a legal aspect, new to Ukraine, - the management of intangible assets, which coincides with my interests and legal education.

    What are the first steps you are planning for a new position?

    First of all, focus on new priorities in accordance with our strategy. We are a company creating solutions for any platform that allows us to work more productively for business, government, and users. We live in a world where mobility and cloud services have come to the fore. Soon in the world, the number of users with devices connected to the Internet and with applications based on cloud services will exceed 3 billion.

    The combination of so many devices and cloud services used to create and use data creates unique opportunities for everyone. And above all, the opportunity to work more productively and the opportunity to find more time for the family.

    We are also faced with the task of introducing a transparent model in the sales channel and strengthening cooperation with partners. We want to see more cloud offers, so we will focus on partners who are ready to develop and build new business models, as well as pay attention to the implementation and use of services by customers.

    Have there been any significant changes in the personnel management of the company in recent years? Are they planned in the near future?

    The team is transforming in the same way as the business itself. Some of the directors in the Board moved into new roles, thus taking on new tasks and responsibility for something new. Three new directors also joined us, one of whom is from Hungary. At the same time, we are still looking for a candidate for my previous position - the director for work with state bodies and educational and scientific institutions.

    Tell us a little about the plans of the company and about the future business development strategy in the domestic market.

    Our task is to teach business and people how to work better, using the technologies necessary for this. There is a misconception that you can do more if you work more. In fact, we do more when we work smarter, more productive, and also find time for a harmonious, full life.

    What is the peculiarity of the Microsoft work strategy in Ukraine in comparison with other countries?

    In Ukraine, we adjust the global strategy to Ukrainian realities in order to help partners and clients solve their business problems. So, for example, there are priority areas that previously were not easy to develop, but today they are becoming more relevant than ever. This is cloud technology. Over the past year, demand for Microsoft Azure has grown by 300%, because the solution helps businesses move processes to the cloud and continue to work, despite the difficulties.

    At the same time, in Ukraine we are still catching up with technology. Today, what is relevant in Europe 2-3 years ago is relevant for us. So far, the problem of poor quality project management and implementation of changes remains in the country. In this regard, we are directing our efforts more towards training, introducing new practices, solutions, and IT consulting.

    We are no longer just a desktop software company. But we can not open our gaming business in Ukraine - due to the high level of piracy, nor the high-quality Surface Pro Hi-end tablet due to customs and certification difficulties. However, we do not give up. And now we are working on a long-term strategy for the development of the Ukrainian IT market and the launch of new products on the market.

    How do you think the average Ukrainian customer is “equipped” in terms of corporate systems? What IT solutions are still lacking for domestic companies?

    Virtualization is still very weak in our companies, which means that IT equipment is not fully utilized, in the main part of the capacity it is idle, and capital investments go for the future for risky moments. Security is also poorly thought out, and today this is not just a matter of protecting the business, it is a matter of the country's national security.

    Are cloud solutions, such as Azure and Office 365, in demand by Ukrainian companies today? Does the percentage of domestic customers using these products differ from global indicators, and how much?

    Over the past year, we have recorded in Ukraine a 300% increase in demand for the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. In our opinion, now the market has already gained that critical mass in order to take a bold and deliberate step towards the cloud. More and more companies are realizing the benefits of the cloud - scalability, security, mobility, cost savings for maintaining their own IT infrastructure. Recently, a number of companies have completely or partially switched over and successfully use the Microsoft Azure and Office 365 cloud services: Sushiya restaurant chain, Leroy Merlin chain of construction hypermarkets, Ferrero Ukraine and others.

    There is a demand in various business sectors - in the conditions of the economic crisis, companies are looking for ways to optimize costs, so they opt for clouds, where the savings come from the ability to pay only for the resources used, there is no need to maintain physical servers, and bear the cost of depreciation.

    In Ukraine, already 85% of small and medium-sized businesses use one or another cloud service - the highest rate in the countries of central and eastern Europe. And this amount will grow, since today the cloud offers virtually unlimited resources to businesses of any size at a cost that is not comparable with capital investments in its own infrastructure.

    Interest in the clouds is not only in business, now both government agencies and educational institutions are introducing cloud technologies. For example, Sumy State and Donetsk National Universities use Microsoft Office 365 to organize the collaboration of more than 35 thousand students and teachers. All schools, and this is about 160, and most kindergartens in Dnepropetrovsk are combined into a single information system based on Microsoft Office 365.

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