Four questions with … Vivek Puthucode

Vivek Puthucode
General Manager, One Commercial Partners and Small
Medium & Corporates in Asia Pacific

Vivek Puthucode is the General Manager for Partners and small and midmarket businesses in Asia Pacific, and his role covers ASEAN, New Zealand, South Korea, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan. He brings twenty years of experience across the technology sector and has earned a reputation for thought leadership, deep engagement with government leaders and is attuned to the needs of customers and partners. Prior to this role, he led the public sector business for Microsoft in Asia Pacific. Read his full bio here.

1. Tell us about your new role.

The technology space is evolving so fast that it is hard to keep up.  The business environment is changing too, where customers of all sizes, governments at all levels, countries across regions and even vertical industries of all types are getting disrupted.  There is a huge need for people who understand both the changing business environment and the technologies. People who can bridge the two and can help organizations make sense of the opportunities – THAT is the partner ecosystem.

Partners are businesses too. They face the same challenges all businesses do. They grapple with issues such as technology disruption, skills development, scaling for growth and profitability, and managing risks. There is an opportunity to enable our partners to transform to create their new future as they, in turn, enable our customers to achieve more.

The other aspect of my new role is to lead our Small Medium & Corporates business, a fast-growing segment, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. Our customers in this segment are leapfrogging in the adoption of cloud technologies, disrupting traditional business models and innovating to solve challenges in key industry sectors and powering the economic engine in both developed and emerging markets.

I am excited to have the opportunity to lead a passionate team, who are building a vibrant partner ecosystem in the industry, in Asia Pacific and equally, a team dedicated to the success of our Small Medium & Corporate customers.

2. Share three things we should know about you.

I graduated with a degree in science and completed a Post Grad program in Rural Management from IRMA, India, then joined the government on a project on modernizing the government, which led me into the tech industry and eventually, I went on to lead public sector in APAC at Microsoft.

It was 2015 when I was considering joining Microsoft to lead Public Sector business. Microsoft had started their transformation journey, and what I really enjoyed learning about was the cultural transformation Satya Nadella started driving at Microsoft, the willingness to learn and having an open mindset. It felt like he was bringing back a sense of purpose to the business and the organization. Then I read an article on LinkedIn about the mission statement: Empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more – and that really appealed to me. I was in awe of the scale and reach they have and believed this could be a platform for me to live my own mission of helping people in this part of the world.

I grew up in Chennai, which is home to curry, cricket and (amazing) culture. I moved to Sydney in 2000 and spent most part of my professional life there and developed my expertise in Public Sector.

My second home is Singapore. I met my wife here. She volunteers with the Asian Civilization Museum as a docent and my two girls, Shreya who’s 13 and Shruti who’s turning 12 in September, are obsessed with art at the moment. So I spend the weekends buying brushes, paper, paints and multiple tools I didn’t know existed. My favorite sport, golf, has taken a back seat and hope to get back to it soon.

I also enjoy doing yoga. I got introduced to yoga when I was a child, following my father as he completed the different poses. These days I focus on meditation and breathing. Intellectually, I love it.

3. Tell us something from your time in APAC at Microsoft. 

I have so many proud moments but one that stands out for me is from Bangladesh, one of my favorite countries where I was properly schooled and humbled.

Bangladesh has a large population and an even larger drive and aspiration. At Imagine Cup a couple of years ago, I met with a team of students who had a great project that detects diseases using machine learning algorithms. They had an amazing attitude and exuberance, backed by belief and conviction that they can change the world. As I was talking to the team, they asked me about Microsoft and I assumed they were looking at the company as an employer and I started telling them what a great place it is to work at, what it’s like working in the tech industry in the region and the types of non-technical skills they should develop. 15 minutes into the conversation I realized, they weren’t at all interested in employment. They wanted their start-up to be a Microsoft partner. That was a very humbling moment for me.

4. What makes someone a good team player?

We are all adults who have stories, experiences, families that have made us who we are. We need respect, trust and we should have empathy for each other. Everyone has ‘off days’, sick days, days where we question life and our roles and responsibilities or our motivations. Understanding that and showing empathy goes a long way. In the end, the sum of working together has to be more fun than working on our own.

Every leader needs to lead by example – or walk the talk. And don’t take job titles too seriously. It isn’t ceremonial, doesn’t come with a crown or a scepter. We are servant leaders. Our job is to support the team, and help others become successful.


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