What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
International strategic account management at Hewlett-Packard peripherals group in Europe. I got the job because I had a passion for IT and a genuine emotional connection to HP's values and way of doing business at that time.
What would you like to do next winter?
I am a big fan of skiing. I enjoy coaching kids as a ski instructor and also love powder skiing - if you go with the flow and are in balance, you can have a lot of fun.
If you were teleported to another planet that could support human life, how would you try to communicate with the locals?
It all starts with building emotional connections. I am a strong believer that if you can connect on some kind of common ground, it will be the gateway to a successful partnership.
What will be the most important trend to follow in 2015?
IT innovation focused on delivering true business outcomes. Hybrid cloud will be a key enabler.
Which is more important: a good leader, or the team as a whole?
Both are essential: you achieve excellence when you are able to attract strong leaders and in turn those leaders can motivate a high-performing team, allowing them to realise their potential and enjoy what they do.
How far ahead should you plan for your future?
My belief is that you need to have a kind of ‘North Star' approach and strategy looking at the next three years. In the IT industry I believe that's long enough as we are confronted with constant change. This means you need to have a concrete 12-month execution plan and a milestone plan for the next three years to execute against your strategy. All the while, you evaluate progress and build up your plan.
What was your most important lucky break in life so far? Did you make the most of it?
I decided that before I turned 50 I would take 12 months off. It was a conscious decision to step out of the day-to-day business rhythm. The first thing I did was take off my watch, not plan my day and just go with the flow. I did what I felt I wanted to do on a particular day. Simple things such as reading the newspaper - not speed reading - but for as long as I enjoyed it.
Sometimes it was doing something with friends, my wife and child, or enjoying my hobbies without a fixed time schedule. That was a tremendous experience. I can only recommend it and advise against overloading the time you have with activities. Just allow yourself to calm down.
How do you try to cheer yourself up when you're feeling down?
My personal recipe is to always look on the bright side of things. It's like the weather: when there is a storm you have to accept it, and know there will be sunshine again. Just go with the flow and stay positive.
What would you do or who would you be if you could be reincarnated?
I would love to be a tiger. It's the elegance, smartness and power of this graceful animal that I like a lot.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner?
From my perspective, a perfect channel partner is client-centric in what he or she does, and has that true ‘North Star' vision and strategy that I mentioned. The perfect channel partner knows with whom he or she needs to partner to provide the best value offering to clients, and is eager to constantly focus on improvement.
Wolfgang Ebermann is EMEA president at Insight
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