As Territory Sales Manager for Africa, Iyer Sivakumar travels across twenty African countries building the regional presence of global network cabling and datacentre infrastructure vendor, Siemon. Despite not having a lot of experience on the African continent in the past, Sivakumar works closely with channel partners and end users to develop new markets for the vendor. The job role is not without challenges. Travelling across these countries is exhausting, the unstable political climate at times disturbs local economies and Siemon’s business, while logistics across Africa is always challenging.
However, the progress that Siemon has been able to make, with Sivakumar overcoming these local challenges, excites him. “We have successfully managed to put Siemon on the map in Africa over the last five years and this result is extremely rewarding. In addition, developing the team in Africa over these years gives me pleasure in knowing that the company is investing resources in a market where we were first movers,” he explains.
Sivakumar’s most memorable moment was receiving the President’s Award from President and CEO, Carl Siemon in 2016, for best leadership skills in sales and strongest regional growth. “This has certainly been a highlight in my career,” he says, expressing his sense of achievement. Being able to convert a small sales lead into a million-dollar project and making it into a great reference site, also gives him satisfaction and sense of achievement, citing the recent win in Botswana. Prior to this win, Siemon was practically unheard of before in Botswana.
Armed with a Bachelor’s degree in electronics and communications, Sivakumar naturally gravitated towards starting his career in a technology company. He started as a graduate engineer and then joined a large distributor of network cabling, later moving to Siemon as Sales Manager.
“Sivakumar’s most memorable moment was receiving the President’s Award from CEO Carl Siemon in 2016”
Sivakumar manages a team of regional sales and technical staff across Africa. He points out his management style more or less depends on the person involved and the requirements of the local region in which they are based in. “I tend to get more involved and offer my support in regions that are notoriously more challenging in terms of sales,” he says. However, after setting their objectives and guiding them with the overall direction, Sivakumar lets people take responsibility. To further his own leadership development and skill sets, he is attending an executive leadership programme.
Sivakumar points out that Internet of Things and digitization is at present the biggest talking point across all industries. Inside Africa, Internet of Things has already started transforming the hospitality industry. Siemon has also taken similar initiatives with its approach towards intelligent building solutions, which supports low-voltage applications on a single IP-based structured cabling system.
“You just have to look at the hospitality industry, a rapidly growing sector in Africa, and you will see that everything is being controlled through the Internet from hotel check-in through to temperature control in each guest room,” he points out.
Constantly on the road and travelling across the huge territory takes up much of his time, but the time that Sivakumar does get, he spends with his family eating out or at theme parks. He enjoys watching blockbuster movies or having an occasional workout, if he can get timeout for himself. This helps to bring back the balance that is needed in his demanding job.