Siemens’ Denzil Samuels: Going strong 90 days on the job

Siemens' Denzil Samuels: Going strong 90 days on the job - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Denzil Samuels
EXECUTIVE TRANSITIONS | They say the first 90 days are make or break time for any executive. That’s when a new  hire either becomes a drain or a gain for an organization. Roughly 90 days into his new role as senior vice president of worldwide channels and alliances for Siemens Enterprise Communications, it’s clear where Denzil Samuels falls along the

Denzil Samuels
Denzil Samuels

spectrum. From implementing an “indirect” strategy for the company “” more on that later “” to helping secure key wins, Samuels is driving short and long term gain for the company. Here Samuels debriefs on his 90-day strategy, and how he plans to drive further growth in the company’s five key markets despite the global economic downturn.

ExecutiveBiz: Tell us about your roots in the IT industry.

Denzil Samuels: I've been in the IT industry for over 30 years spanning three different industries (travel industry, the defense industry, and telecom). From companies such as British Airways and the global distribution system … Galileo in the travel industry to telephony (specifically,  voice over IP) both as a service provider for Qwest as well as a vendor for Avaya and now Siemens Enterprise Communications. Being at Siemens is really about returning to a world where I spent 15 years of my career: business communications.

ExecutiveBiz: What is your current role at Siemens?

Denzil Samuels: My current role is  Senior Vice President of Worldwide Channels and Alliances, which essentially means driving “indirect” revenue in all  the channels in each of our regions: North America, Latin and Central America, Europe/Middle East/Africa, Germany and Asia Pacific, as well as the alliances with our large global partners.

ExecutiveBiz: You've had a long career. What lessons have helped you navigate your current role at Siemens?

Denzil Samuels: When you're thrown into a challenging environment “” and this has happened to me many times “” you've got to quickly identify the key players, who's on the bus with you and who's not. You've got to make decisions fast and create a sense of urgency. I'm acting on that lesson today. Even though I've been with Siemens about 90 days I've already affected a significant amount of change, such as putting in place an Indirect strategy for the company, helping drive the divestiture of less profitable Siemens’ territories to a more profitable Indirect model, and helping drive some key wins. I believe these changes will bring about great results for Siemens, both in the short term as well as our long term. If you are driving multi-billion dollar revenues in IT globally, knowing information technology and having lived in three continents are also great assets.

ExecutiveBiz: Siemens Enterprise Communications is part of a joint venture. Tell us more about that.

Denzil Samuels: Siemens Enterprise Communications is jointly owned: 49 percent by Siemens AG and 51 percent by the Gores Group. It is one of the largest players in enterprise communications and voice over IP globally. It is number one in Europe and Latin America, and it competes aggressively with all the other traditional players in this arena. Our customers range from small and medium-sized businesses to big global players like the large global automobile manufacturers to global banks, to global service providers, etc.

ExecutiveBiz: What's your biggest challenge in business today?

Denzil Samuels: Finding the right opportunities. It is always a challenge to identify opportunities, then qualify and close them. It's even tougher in a world where IT spending on a global basis has decreased. Even though we think times are tough in the US and we internalize how difficult our economy is, the problems really are global in nature. The challenge most companies face today is not a US-centric challenge; it is a global challenge. Despite this Siemens has faired better than our competitors in this down market.

ExecutiveBiz: What is your strategy to grow?

Denzil Samuels: We're moving away from what was largely a direct sell business to more of an indirect business. Today just over 20 percent of our overall revenue is indirect; over the next 36 months we plan to shift away from selling directly to customers in all our territories to more of an indirect approach. This will allow us to grow and scale our business. We will do this with the right partners, resellers, and distributors all over the world. Why? I will give you an example, just one agreement with a large service provider has given us 500 net new “feet on the street” selling for us. It makes sense that the more people you have around the world selling your products and services, the more revenue you will drive. Customers also benefit hugely, as it enables our offerings and services to be integrated into wider IT solutions, giving them a more holistic approach that will benefit their business. We have an exceptional leadership team and a very precise approach to this strategy. Please watch this space and just wait and see the results we will drive!

ExecutiveBiz: What's something most people don't know about you personally?

Denzil Samuels: I play the keyboards and sing in a rock band in Denver called “The Shades.”

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