What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was in finance. I moved into the IT world in 1984 when I became responsible for sales and marketing at a Philips software development house.
Are you a cat or a dog person?
Both, however I can't have a dog or cat given I travel a lot.
What were you like in school?
I wasn't ambitious at school as I wasn't inspired by the topics, until I discovered business economics. I loved focusing on finance and business and this grounded me. I think it's important that children get a chance to study subjects that interest them.
What will be the most important trend to follow in 2017? Why?
The tremendous uptake of hyperconverged solutions is the thing to follow in 2017. Organisations don't want to spend a lot of money on infrastructures that are difficult to implement and manage. They want to spend money on what matters: driving better business application value.
What is your most annoying habit?
That's an interesting question; you should ask others.
If you were king or queen, what would you do first? Why?
I would invite Warren Buffet and Bill Gates to have a drink, play bridge and discuss business with them. Being a king would make that possible. Ah… now we should think of who the fourth player would be.
What was the first record you bought?
Must be You better move on from the Rolling Stones.
Why do you think there is a skills shortage? And what can be done about it?
It is always hard to find good sales people. You need people who can get a deal done but at the same time they must care about the customer and demonstrate this - short term and long term. Too many sales people forget what's in it for the customer. What is the customer's business benefit? Many are too focused on personal gain and customers notice this. When training people, businesses need to spend a fair amount of time with sales people to ensure they understand what is important for the customer from a business perspective, not just technically.
Do you have a favourite motivational quote?
"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones." - John Cage
Which extinct animal (one only, not a whole species) would you bring back and why?
I'd like to see salmon back in our rivers. Before the Middle Ages, salmon was in almost every river we had. Due to the introduction of windmills, the salmon disappeared from our rivers because the gravel at the bottom of the rivers got covered with mud. The reason is simple; it would mean we would have better water quality and I could fish for salmon next door.
What should the government be doing to help UK businesses grow?
The government should support entrepreneurs and make it attractive for an individual to start a new business.
What would you like to have on your epitaph? Why?
Thanks, everyone, I had great times during my private and professional life. I hope we all meet up in heaven and play golf, eat together, tell jokes and enjoy a glass of wine.
What are your three greatest accomplishments (so far)? Why?
1. Selling the largest global HP (Palmtop 100LX) based mobile solution to the Dutch National Rail road. This was when they moved from paper to digital. Over 8,500 train conductors used my solution!
2. Building the largest Microsoft-based Business Intelligence software company in the world and selling this to Microsoft in 2006.
3. Changing the way we sold backup solutions to MSPs and data centres while at Seagate. Simplifying our go-to-market model completely helped us to go from 20 per cent to 50 per cent+ market share of global in EMEA.
What is your dream holiday destination? Why?
Driving across Europe in a convertible. There are so many destinations to go to and still so many things to discover in Europe.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner? Why?
The perfect channel partner is a partner who can handle the full process from introduction to order and maintain the customer relationship for a long time. There are some partners that could benefit from support and training but it's about working in a close relationship with the vendor to gain this knowledge and training.
Johan Pelicaan is managing director of EMEA for Scale Computing
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