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Dele has recently taken up the position of Server and Tools Business Group Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa. Previously, he was the Developer Platform Evangelism Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa. Here, he shares his thoughts on life, Africa and why he loves his job.
How long have you been at Microsoft?
I’ve been at Microsoft for 13 years! This is my seventh role at the company. My previous roles have spanned across our Services Group, Enterprise Group and Business Group.
Firstly, can you tell us what the Servers and Tools Business Group actually is – what does it mean and why is it relevant IN Africa?
The Microsoft Server and Tools Group develops, markets and supports software and services designed to help companies be more productive at every level – from the individual, to the team, to the whole organisation. The products that fall under this umbrella include technologies such as Windows Server, Windows Azure, SQL Server, System Center our Develop Tools (Visual Studio) and Windows Intune. While each of these products plays different roles for the customers, the commonalities between the products ensure that customers have a consistent experience when using the products with the end result being an increase in resource efficiency. With more African companies wanting to increase their competitiveness and more companies investing in Africa than ever before, being effective and streamlined remains a top priority for business stakeholders. For African SMEs and businesses that can’t afford to implement IT infrastructure, moving to the cloud is especially advantageous.
What are your goals as Lead of Server & Tools?
My goal is to provide economical solutions to our customers to encourage adoption of our products, and to bring the cloud to businesses across sub-Saharan Africa.
What was your highlight of serving as the Developer Platforms Director for Sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean islands? How long did you serve in this role?
I was in the role for two and a
half years. It’s hard to single out one highlight as there have been so many. The biggest ones have definitely been providing students, startups and developers with the opportunities to access a global market, and seeing the impact that we have on the continent, especially in academia. Travelling to so many different African countries and getting the chance to interact with some of the brightest developers in Africa is also definitely something I’m thankful I had the opportunity to do! Also the partnership with the 4Afrika initiative has made our impact stick and be long term as we are seen larger as a strategic advisor on this topic.
Do you still do any work in the development field?
Yes, I do. In my current role, I still do some things that I did in my previous role as Developer and Platform Evangelist. Only now I tend to work more directly with enterprises and businesses when it comes to using apps and leveraging the cloud, rather than directly to developers as I did in the past. I also will have more interactions with IT Professionals as in our market they sometimes wear the developer hat as well plus advocacy for the cloud via our Windows Azure platform.
What does your new role entail?
As the Server and Tools Business Group Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, I’m responsible for the marketing, sales, and deployment strategy of our products, for enterprise, and small and medium customers. I’m really excited to work with our SME customers because they are the future of the continent’s economic growth and development. They account for 50% of employment in Africa and add 20% to its collective GDP. These companies face a unique set of challenges and part of my role will be to help them find the best solutions possible.
What did you study, and why?
My first interest was to study Medicine but I ended up changing my major and studied Computer Science. I was always interested in the sciences – both natural science and physical science. I loved gadgets and tools and had a passion for software. So it seemed like the best fit for me!
What’s the first piece of technology you ever owned?
A TV video game console.
What are your hobbies?
I love to travel, I love sports of all kinds, and I love to sing. My main sports are Golf, Basketball, American Football and Soccer. Passionate about the Washington Wizards, Redskins and Arsenal J
What is your life philosophy?
One of the things I’ve always believed is that nobody is going to hand you anything in life. You have to go and grab it! I believe in being fiercely independent, believing in yourself and going out and getting what you need to be happy/successful.
Why do you love Africa?
I was born in the US and spent most of my life in the US. Both my parents are from Nigeria and I always felt close to the country through my heritage. I’ve always been fascinated by the vast opportunities in Africa. My relocation to Nigeria is my way of ‘giving back’ to the country and the continent that I’m so proud of. That’s why I really enjoy the travelling aspect of my job, as I get to experience the diversity that makes up Africa, and I have the opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise with people from many different countries.
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