Sojung Lee was appointed vice president (VP) of sales across Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) before the full force of COVID-19 hit the world, so she, and by extension SolarWinds itself, had to change priorities.
When Lee moved into the role in February, her focus was on growth across the market and, specifically, involved focusing on driving demand for IT operations management (ITOM) software. Now, she says, it’s all about going back to basics and providing support during a surge in remote working.
“There are many IT transformation and AI [artificial intelligence] projects [at the moment]...but many companies, many clients, they look back to whether they can provide stable IT support so that their colleagues can work remotely and safely,” she said.
Also focusing on internal growth, the VP for sales added that SolarWinds is working closely with its marketing team to drive brand awareness, as well as HR to keep on recruiting, even throughout the pandemic.
However, even though there's the focus on growth, there’s the obvious challenge that Lee can’t go out to clients across her remit to support that growth at the moment, as many areas across APJ have experienced lockdowns. Major projects were also delayed, which also impacted the vendor.
“I found some challenges when our partners struggle,” she said.
As a result, Lee and SolarWinds have been helping partners through the lockdown period with more training, cobranding, EDMs and live proof of concepts (POC), which has been prominent in the Australia and New Zealand region.
Particularly in Australia, Lee noted that many partners would visit the site of their clients to do POCs and presentations for SolarWinds-related products. Additionally she also noted in Australia that the vendor works closely with system integrators.
SolarWinds' relationships with its distributors, Lee said, are particularly important in Australia and New Zealand – Westcon of Westcon-Comstor, Nextgen and M.Tech. Therefore, after stepping into the role, the first thing Lee did was meet with these regional players.
To stress this importance, Lee said another key priority of hers is understanding the company’s distributors, not simply just knowing them.
“The really important thing is understanding their strengths,” she said, “Not just pushing with, 'Hey, this is security, this is network, this is storage, this is database, this is application.’ No, we understand their strengths.”
As an example, she pointed to Nextgen being focused on Oracle and database monitoring, Westcon looking at Cisco and networking monitoring solutions and M.Tech specialising in network and security, with SolarWinds providing complementary solutions for each of them.
By supporting those distributors, Lee said they can then share SolarWinds references and experience with their own partners.