EXCLUSIVE: Introducing Microsoft NZ’s new man in charge

“Change is good,” smiled Barrie Sheers, the man tasked with leading a new-look Microsoft New Zealand.

“Change is good,” smiled Barrie Sheers, the man tasked with leading a new-look Microsoft New Zealand.

In replacing Paul Muckleston in the Managing Director hot seat, the former Vice President and General Manager for APJ of Dell Software subscribes to the notion that for the subsidiary to continue its growth, it must adapt.

“We are a company in transformation and in order to continue to take marketshare and meet growth expectations, we must keep changing,” says Sheers, speaking exclusively to Computerworld New Zealand following his appointment on July 6.

“People are often afraid of change but change is the only thing that brings about progress.”

With the outgoing Muckleston seeking new opportunities within the wider Microsoft organisation, Sheers takes over a business in good health, leading a 200-strong Kiwi contingent already making its mark in Redmond.

Take Office 365 adoption for example, New Zealand small-medium businesses already lead the internal Microsoft target charts, with 15 per cent of the market now moving to the cloud with Microsoft.

But while Sheers inherits a steady ship, following five years of service by Muckleston as Managing Director, it’s not in his nature to rest on his laurels.

“I wouldn’t have accepted the job if I didn’t think Microsoft had the potential to grow further in New Zealand,” says Sheers, who joins Microsoft following roles at Dell, EMC and Sybase, an SAP company.

“At present we’re leaders across a number of areas but there is always room for growth and opportunities in the marketplace.

Read more: Paul Muckleston heads to Microsoft HQ

“New Zealand has always been strong around Government and telecommunications for example so I’ll be looking to leverage this, alongside many other verticals and sectors.

“While it’s too early to provide a full comment on my plans in the local market, my short-term goals focus around continuing to take market share within cloud as well as driving early uptake of Windows 10.

“To do this I’ll be engaging with the local marketplace, speaking with local CEOs and CIOs, as well as politicians across the country to form an understanding of where the Kiwi industry is heading and how Microsoft can help accelerate that journey.”

NZ return

Coming back to New Zealand after 30 years, Sheers will be looking to draw on his experience of working for a wide range of international technology companies, across the EMEA region, Asia Pacific and Japan.

Despite executing his APJ role for Dell from New Zealand during the past 12 months, Sheers accepts that following years of regional focus, it will take a little time to realign his focus to the local market.

“I’ve got the luxury of an effective handover with Paul so the sensible approach is to get my head around everything and take it from there,” adds Sheers, who joined Microsoft’s Kiwi partners at the company’s 2015 Worldwide Partner Conference in Orlando, Florida this week.

“It’s important that I continue to gain a better understanding of Microsoft’s strategy around mobility and cloud and relate it back to my experiences in dealing with C-level executives.

“But Paul’s views and guidance will be invaluable in helping me digest the business and get a feel for what needs to be done.”

In officially returning to the Kiwi marketplace, Sheers’ view is that New Zealanders are fast adopters of technology, a habit he hopes to tap into as he aims to build on the company’s strong financial results during the past year.

“Microsoft New Zealand is coming off a strong year from a financial perspective, the company has done very well during the past 12 months,” he adds.

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