Alexander joined Oracle Inc. in April 2010 when Sun Microsystems was acquired. At that time he was the Sales Manager for Enterprise Systems in South Eastern Europe (SEE, spanning from Eastern Europe to Middle East and Africa), a position he held the previous 2 years before joining Oracle.
Within Oracle Inc he was initially responsible for the Solution Sales TEAM for EE/CIS (Eastern Europe and Commenwealth of Independent States). In this role he was driving the product sales in the region in close interaction with field sales. An additional focus was the introduction of new product lines into the market.
Before joining Oracle Alexander spent a total of 11 years working for Sun Microsystems where he lead a product sales group based out of Vienna, Austria, before joining the Sun team in SEE. He initially joined Sun in 1996, moved to a startup in Austria in 2001, and was called back to Sun in 2004.
In all areas Alexander has been successful in setting up teams and growing revenues and business coverage. In this chat with Victoria Johnson, he gives insight into Oracle operations
What is Oracle Day all about?
The Oracle Day is meant to be for our customers who didn’t have the chance to go for the Oracle World Day. Oracle World is one big show in San Franscisco , where we bring thousands of people into San Franscisco. It is an amazing event. At every Oracle event we announce our new products, the idea and strategy. The strategy as such hasn’t changed. For those who do not have an opportunity to be in San Franscisco we have organised the Oracle day which has been established and been in existence for two years now in Nigeria.
So for us to bring that innovation into Nigeria is to put ideas into the customers and make them understand what Oracle can do with our expertise and our knowledge. We are in the conceptualizing stage of building Oracle Solution Centres in Lagos.
Let’s go to your own area of specialisation
Our own specific solution is all round engineering system. In the engineering system we have the software and the hardware meaning that the engineering team are working in the concept phase, making sure that the parts, the server, the software, the operating system they all work together and they are all aligned. It is more of the whole structure and not bundling pieces together.
The solution centres, what will it do for Oracle marketing, and how would you compare the Oracle Day of last year with that of today?
First turnout shows the acceptance of the day, it shows that customers are ready to where they need information. The second part is about the advanced solution centre. When a customer looks into such solution, it’s not just something you buy like a phone and you get it. It is a serious investment for a customer to do that, and currently what we technically do is, either we facilitate the test on their premises or we take them to our bench mark center. Now again there is always a cost in time and resources and therefore we are bringing new solution centres to Lagos, that’s the best thing to invest in the market. When we open that solution centre we will do a press announcement and a proper unveiling ceremony.
How will you like the public and private sector in Nigeria to change this economy into a digital economy?
We are building up people and partners to educate them, to certify them to get a wider base of people in the IT sector. We have started to work closely with the public sector, so we have now a public sector team. In the software part, it’s already been accepted. Since the starting of the physical year in June, we have one dedicated person looking from hardware view to the public sector and working with them, but the point is, it’s not about just selling them the server, it’s about getting them a solution that makes their work easier. We are working with Lagos state government on various projects, I can’t talk specific because they are in various stages, and basically we are trying to provide solutions and the expertise which we have in other countries
What do Nigerians stand to benefit from Oracle University?
Oracle University is a typically training facility for our customers. Basically we are also engaged with universities in some places, we haven’t done that here in Nigeria. My personal opinion as Alex and not as Oracle, is that it’s very important that we build up a community that will engage the universities because that is an important part but we can help people to educate and grow.
How is oracle university certification different from other companies like Microsoft?
In essence the framework is pretty much the same, just that we have our way and different levels.
The past few months the biggest issue in the IT industry has been big data, for a common man who doesn’t know what big data is, they need an explanation. For companies to exploit this in their business, how do they go about it?
Companies want to provide better customer experience. Taking the example of a banking sector, if they want to provide a new product they have to listen to the market. So what they are going to do with big data is they are tapping public streams like twitter, facebook, social media and they are looking for specific keywords, and then they will analyse the behaviour of a group either it’s in Lagos or outside Lagos in the smaller and rural areas, listen to what people say and then they will see a trend. For instance in Lagos we will have different needs in terms of institution and financial need, the rural areas might go for micro financing , micro credit. In the city, you have different need and different type of credit facilities to use. Using the big data information they can analyse it and reach it with the customer data that they already have since they already know about a specific data, payment terms, bank savings and therefore they present the product much better to you. On the other side what comes into them is the co essence for a retail company, if they start using that data and they see that you are specifically interested in a new pair of shoe, then they can use your geographic location based on where you are with your mobile phone and call and say hello, we have a shop just around the corner which has exactly these shoes that you want and what you are looking for.
In a certain way, it has already happened when you go to a search engine they keep tracks of what you are looking for and ultimately they will compile and build top head logs to what you normally are targeting. So the concept of big data is not just a straight forward interaction anymore, but you are giving a lot of people lots of information out on the web and to other people.
What are the benefits of big data on return investment?
The big data return investment comes mainly from the factors that you have now a way of targeting your customer groups specifically with the needs they have and therefore making sure you have the right product out there and to make sure the time is efficient. Therefore people get much higher acceptance that’s where the return of investment comes in.