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.

“I was fortunate enough to sit in during a meeting days before I officially started and when Paul [Muckleston] placed up an internal marker card, it looked very green in the key areas of cloud and mobility which is encouraging.

“Generally speaking, it’s an exciting time in New Zealand right now, both political and business landscapes have changed dramatically over the years.”

Experience

During his role within the Software Group of Dell, formed post the acquisition of Quest Software, Sheers was tasked with building, developing and managing high performance sales across the diverse regions of APJ, operating in the key verticals of Government, telco, finance and healthcare.

Prior to the acquisition, Sheers helped Quest Software claim two Microsoft ISV Partner of the Year awards, before continuing his relationship by working extensively with Microsoft from a partner standpoint at Dell.

So in this respect, Microsoft isn’t new to Sheers.

“Throughout my career my dealings with Microsoft have always been positive, and during my role with Dell I enjoyed strong relations,” adds Sheers, who attended Manukau Technical Institute before his move abroad.

Read more: Paul Muckleston heads to Microsoft HQ

“From an outside perspective looking in, it’s an exciting time in Microsoft’s history with the changes the organisation is going through and the ongoing transformation.

“Transformation isn’t new to me, during my roles at Dell, Quest and EMC, I’ve also experienced companies undergoing great change and I’m looking forward to drawing on those experiences in my new role.”

Sheers joins Microsoft at a time of great change for the company, who under the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella continues to move away from the previous failings of Steve Ballmer.

Whether it be the company’s fresh outlook and respect towards customers, developers and partners, or simply its ability to once again lead the industry rather than follow, Sheers acknowledges that the company is a very different beast to previous years.

“It really does depend how far you look back,” Sheers adds. “If you take 8-10 years ago for example, then yes, the company is an incredibly different organisation to the one it is today.

“And I don’t mind saying, during the interview process I must admit that it was an eye opener for me to see Microsoft’s road map laid out in front of me.

“I’ve always had a positive understanding and perception of the company but this was something that further encourage me to pursue this opportunity.”

Partners

In engaging with over 70 local partners at WPC 2015 this week, Sheers has been quick to communicate that throughout his career, the channel has always been central to his plans.

“Obviously I’ve had limited experience in dealing with Microsoft’s New Zealand partners at a face-to-face level but in whatever role I’ve been in, at whatever company, I’ve always been a huge support of the partner ecosystem,” he adds.

“During my regional role at Dell, I helped create a very partner driven marketplace and from my understanding and early meetings with partners at WPC 2015 this week, it’s clear Microsoft has a strong partner community in New Zealand.

“I’ll be continuing to engage with a lot of Kiwi partners in Orlando this week and I’ll be using the opportunity to listen to partners, see what’s working well and not so well and see how we can continue to work together going forward, and get over any roadblocks along the way.”

On the global stage, Redmond continues its transformation in front of the watching world.

But now at a local level Sheers will be doing the same, with the New Zealand market, and a strong partner community, awaiting Microsoft’s next move.

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