Get to know: Andrew Horne
Andrew Horne, General Manager, Xerox Emirates
A lot of grey market activity is not strictly illegal, but it does ruin the livelihoods of many businesses, not to mention tarnish the reputation of global brands.
What’s your career history to date? How did you end up working in Dubai?
I have been working in Xerox for over 20 years, of which 17 have been working in operating companies in different countries that include Hungary, Russia, Egypt and India. Before I joined Xerox I worked for AST Research and Toshiba Information Systems. I started my career as an army officer. I came to Dubai for two reasons; first for the opportunity for growth in the GCC countries and second, because Xerox Emirates is a joint venture between Xerox and The Mohammed Hareb Al Otaiba Group and it is a new experience for me.
What is the biggest challenge facing the Middle East IT channel?
There are two in my view. The first is as I have mentioned earlier, counterfeit goods (particularly toner and ink for printers). The second is security of data and networks. In the Middle East this challenge is as significant as anywhere and as shared/remote data centres become more common, the challenges will increase.
What product or technology should the channel watch out for this year?
I hate to apply the current buzzword – the cloud, but it is a huge enabler and any size of organisation can take advantage of it to offer greater value to their customers. I expect to see the cloud host a large number of new services such as mobile print (literally printing from a smart phone on almost any print device), the enablement of DR and BC as a service, and apps.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
People “buy” people first. I have worked in so many countries and yet this simple statement is the most universally consistent.
What is the biggest mistake you have ever made since working in the IT market?
I once signied a $130m services contract without the right implementation team in place. I am happy to say, the client, a large private bank, is still a customer and the services are still being delivered.
If you could improve one thing about the channel business what would it be?
The one aspect of the channel business that is destructive is the grey market, whether that be for equipment, supplies, spare parts or software licences. Unfortunately, a lot of grey market activity is not strictly illegal, but it does ruin the livelihoods of many businesses and tarnish global brands.
Which IT company, other than your own, do you most admire and why?
I admire companies that have reinvented themselves in a genuine sense, IBM and EMC are two examples. Reinventing a small company is challenging enough, but to mobilise an entire organisation that is huge.
What is your proudest career achievement to date?
In 1998, the financial crisis that devastated the Russian economy resulted in the need for a total rethink of the business model and the reconstruction of a business that was more or less cut in half. I was proud to be a member of the leadership team, and architect of the recreation of our channel business in Russia.
What’s your favourite thing about the company you work for?
Empowerment and working with Xerox people all over the world. Everywhere there is a passion for the business that always keeps you motivated.
What sort of interests do you have outside of work?
I enjoy participating in triathlons, playing golf, cooking, travelling and reading biographies.