Microsoft appoints new SA MD, GM: MEA emerging regions
Microsoft South Africa today announced that Zoaib Hoosen is taking over the role of managing director from Mteto Nyati, who will become General Manager: MEA Emerging Regions.
Nyati has been in this role since September 2008 and will be moving onto a more strategic role for Microsoft as General Manager: MEA Emerging Regions, while Hoosen will focus solely on the South African business.
Before joining Microsoft, Hoosen spent nearly 21 years at IBM, where he started as an IT graduate in 1989 and rose through the ranks to hold several leadership positions. In his final assignment at IBM, he headed up the company’s Middle East and Africa Public Sector Business.
Hoosen joined Microsoft SA in 2010 as the Enterprise and Partner Group (EPG) Director, before being promoted by Nyati to the strategic role of COO in 2013. Hoosen currently holds BSc and MBA degrees from the University of Durban-Westville and Open University in the UK respectively.
Hoosen cites two key trends emerging globally: the digitsation of devices in varying form factors, and the ability to process volumes of data to gain better insights.
“Firstly, everything is becoming digitised and we are seeing an abundance of devices in different form factors emerging – these devices are all connected. In the next five to ten years, the world is not going to be defined by the form factors we know and love today, but by those that will come to be.
“Secondly, and perhaps the most important trend of all, is the ability to reason over all that digitised information with vast amounts of capability, such as machine learning in real-time, and to really take all that insight you get by reasoning over that data, and improve what you can do as humans,” he adds.
Microsoft SA has partnered to solve problems relating to youth empowerment, enterprise development, safety and security, building a more capable state, and rural development and access – and these initiatives will still form the foundation for Microsoft’s core business in South Africa.
“Cloud computing is bringing the need for new skills and ideas, which has resulted in a local skills gap as well as opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship. Just last week, we announced the first students to graduate from the past year’s Student2Business programme,” Hoosen says.
“Affordable and accessible bandwidth still remains a challenge for most South Africans. A couple of weeks ago, we announced the implementation phase of our TV White Spaces pilot in Limpopo, which is about driving a model for low-cost bandwidth for all.
“This final pillar centres on affordable devices and relevant services that we are working hard to bring to South Africa. I hope to be talking to you within the next couple of months about landing the first $100 phones and sub $200 tablets in South Africa, and this needs to be supported with relevant services. This has already started to take shape with the announcement last week that we’re increasing free storage on OneDrive from 7GB to 15GB,” he adds.
Nyati will be working with the leadership teams across MEA to develop and implement growth strategies for the emerging markets within the Middle East and Africa region. “Since his appointment to the post a year ago, Zoaib has been managing a large portion of the Microsoft SA business. He is a natural fit as managing director for the business going forward,” says Nyati.
The main driver behind these trends is people, and Microsoft has always been a company that builds things for people rather than simply foroffice workers, consumers, IT professionals or developers, says Hoosen.
“What’s most interesting about people is that they’re continually active, whether working, playing, sharing, collaborating, researching, watching or listening. In the past, people’s activities were predictably tied to specific times, places and devices. Increasingly, time and place do not dictate what people want or need to do because they move fluidly between activities without changing who they are,” he says.
“Today, people are using up to three different ecosystems (and in some case more) to gain the complete set of capabilities they want or need. But this is inefficient and forces them to become systems integrators of their own briefcase or backpack. As a devices and services business, we realise there is a better and simpler way to do this, and that is why we focus on going with people wherever they go and anticipate where they’ll go next,” he says.
Microsoft is working harder to understand how people navigate their day, and helping them remove the frustrations that keep them from doing more. To achieve this, people need devices that can do more than one thing, and they need services that follow them throughout their day, wherever it takes them, in both their personal and professional lives. This is what Microsoft calls the cloud-first, mobile-first view, Hoosen points out.
“As Microsoft, our strategy is clear: a cloud for everyone on every device. My role is to make this a reality for South Africa, but I am well aware that there are a number of challenges we need to overcome to make this a reality for every South African,” he adds.
While acknowledging the fact that Nyati has made innumerable contributions to Microsoft SA’s success to date, Hoosen is inspired by this drive to transform government, businesses, and the lives of ordinary people through the power of technology.
“I am really excited about the potential and through this how we will be able to create jobs and really enable South Africa to drive our economic development and become more globally competitive. I look forward to the new challenge,” Hoosen says.