Dell KACE country manager, Jon McBride, is charged with building one of the vendor’s newly-acquired brands to the channel. He sat down with ARN to talk over his background, business, and diving experiences.
What is your background, and how did you end up in this role?
I’ve been in IT for over 20 years. I’ve had quite a varied IT background, and then was offered a role at Dell in quite a unique role – I was acting like a presales technical person but with a target. I had to fit in each camp of being sales focused but also very much solutions-based. I did that for a number of years at Dell, and had a successful run there working with large commercials around NSW, and then went into a manager role, managing the system consultants.
While we were doing that, we were introduced to KACE, and I was introduced to the US-based team to talk to them about how we could best leverage Dell in Australia and New Zealand to become a partner. Not long after that I got invited into a secret group which was the acquisition team – we were about to purchase KACE, and they wanted me to be on the integration team – in order to help that acquisition run as smoothly as possible in A/NZ.
I got quite close to the key people at KACE and got to know the products intimately. It really hit home with me the real value proposition that it had, and so when the role of A/NZ lead came up it was a joint decision – I leapt at the opportunity, and KACE were keen to have me take the role.
What’s kept you in the IT industry all this time?
The ever-evolving nature. If I take a step back, my first sales career was as an IT broker in the days where you could sell mainframe parts for large amounts of money – 10s of 1000s of pounds for 256KB of memory in an IBM mainframe. Then we had Y2K which kept everybody busy for a year or two. And then I had a break, I travelled through SE Asia, and made my way from the UK to Australia, and wanted to stay here. So with all my experience in IT, it was the natural choice was to look at an IT career in Australia, and get the best of both worlds.
What are your goals for the near future?
My goal is to take KACE to the mainstream and to make it a household name – but to make it a commoditised and well-known brand in the system’s management platform arena. It’s certainly emerging, it definitely is the fastest growing systems management product globally, and I want to be part of that team that takes it right through to mainstream and a market leading product in systems management.
What is the greatest achievement of your career so far?
The past 12 months have been an absolute highlight for me – taking KACE from a very small base and making a fantastic success of it. We’ve exceeded every quota quarterly and yearly in a region which had not yet taken off – through the efforts of the team we’ve been able to make a real success of it in the last 12 months – that’s given me access and visibility right through to the senior leadership team and Michael Dell himself.
So have you met Michael?
Yes, I met him at the KACE user conference. There’s a conference every year for customers of KACE, it’s based in San Francisco, and he was the keynote speaker so I got a chance to speak to him. He’s relaxed and personable. He’s humorous and a smile on his face considering who he is and the role he has. He was actually at the keynote – pretty humorous pulling smartphones out of every pocket that he had. He looks like he’s enjoying what he does.
Have you got any travel experiences you can share?
I got a bit stuck in Thailand. What was supposed to be a week ended up as a year. I did all my dive certifications, and worked there as a dive master. That was a great highlight of the trip – I found something that I loved to do and realised I could use it as an excuse to spend a bit more time there.
Have you got any other travel plans?
I’d like to see South America and Central America – Machu Piccu is something that’s on the list. I’ve been to India, but only Bangalore, I would really like to explore India further. And Japan is a place I am so keen to go to from a culture and food experience. I’m a big fan of Japanese food, so I hope that I can get there sometime soon.