Sartoria; a modern Italian restaurant in Saville Row, was the delightful setting for our much anticipated dinner with the senior team from DellWyse this week. As we sat (excitedly) with our Peronis, Helen Robinson arrived, shortly followed by Mike Devers (UK & NL Sales Director, Dell), and our special guest Tarkan Maner (President and CEO, Wyse). As the introductions were being made, Tarkan took the initiative (something we learned during the course of the evening was one of his strongest traits) and ordered a very nice red wine for us all then opened the business dialogue with a welcome comment “Foundation IT, I’ve heard great things from inside Dell about you guys.” We were off to a good start.
As the conversation got into full flow and we were shown to our table, the conversation divided into two camps, myself with Mike, and Andrew Sellers (Foundation IT, MD) with Helen and Tarkan, and we all got to know each other a little better. Andy was slightly in awe of our new friend Tarkan, and listened attentively as he told the story of how he saw the opportunity with Wyse in the mid-naughties to invest, re-structure, and lead them to pastures new. The “risk” paid off evidently, as he and Michael Dell shook hands on a deal for Dell to acquire Wyse in May 2012. Some of the details surrounding this journey were only for the ears of those present at the dinner table, and I am sworn to secrecy – suffice to say, the six year transformation, which Tarkan led from the frontline, was not without its difficulties. But his conviction, his enthusiasm, and his overwhelming passion (see any YouTube video for evidence of this!) is what I can see was the recipe for his, and ultimately Wyse’s, success.
My conversation with Mike happening in parallel to this was equally enlightening, and it was music to my ears that he was very aware of our strong reputation within Dell and wanted to collaborate with us on joint opportunities. We discussed at a high-level our projects over recent years and how Dell was instrumental in helping us grow our client base and revenues. It became apparent that our ideas for the future were very much in alignment. Mike then offered to come with us on our next adventure to Cherrywood (Dell’s HQ in Dublin), where he would actively take part in helping us put together our master plan to drive new opportunities with Dell, which was a very welcome offer accepted with no hesitation.
As we ordered coffee/sorbet/Jack Daniels (that’s a sort of dessert, isn’t it?!), we all came together and listened to further anecdotes from Tarkan. After five minutes with this entrepreneur you get a sense for what he is all about – after a couple of hours with him the gut-feelings you had are validated when you see he is consistent, driven, courteous and absolutely wants to help his colleagues, partners and clients whom he fondly refers to as his “friends”. The evening was recorded for posterity with the help of Twitter and Instagram as we huddled together for our waiter to take a picture of us, and within minutes Tarkan has tweeted a very nice comment about Foundation IT, after which he then started to tell us some of his friends in the industry who would see that..… and yes, this included Michael Dell along with a number of other CEOs of large IT vendors.
The evening would not have happened without Helen’s influence; a 14 year Wyse employee who was clearly re-invigorated and excited about the prospects of the new DellWyse business unit, so our greatest thanks go to her, and we look forward to working closely with Helen and the team at DellWyse.
A very pleasant evening had come to an end, well, except for Tarkan who was off to another meeting at 10pm (…is he a machine!?), and we parted company feeling inspired and privileged to have spent time with such great people. I’m sure we’ll meet again, and our expectation is that at our next dinner, we’ll be toasting our success together. Cheers!
Author: Adam Start, Senior Client Manager
Adam is responsible for management and development of many of our key clients in Foundation IT. He has been working in the IT industry for nearly sixteen years (seven years with Foundation IT) delivering solutions that help clients to benefit from data centre technologies and end-user computing. Adam has a consultative approach to selling, has a mantra of “requirements first, technology second”, and is constantly developing his pre-sales technical skills. Technology areas of particular interest to Adam are VDI, enterprise storage, enterprise backup, and data centre fabrics.