From writing his first programs in C++ to leading Veeam in Asia Pacific, Beni Sia always remembered the mantra of one CIO during his career: 'Nobody remembers your watch -- only how you treated them'.
What was your first job?
My first job was at a local distributor in Singapore. It was a great experience for me and gave me the opportunity to understand the landscape of the industry.
How did you get started in the IT industry and progress to where you are today?
I’ve always been fascinated with technology while growing up and studied electrical engineering. In fact, I can remember the first programs I wrote C+. It was for a business card application that ingeniously superimposed text over scanned images, resembling the capabilities of today's Photoshop app.
After my first role in distribution, I worked across local and regional businesses, specialising in systems integration before I worked with hardware and software vendors. I realised early on that regardless of the type of technology involved, it’s the human connection that matters most.
Having spent most of those years in sales-oriented roles, I spent a lot of time doing quotations and building relationships with customers and partners, something that’s resulted in long-lasting relationships. Being a people person, actively collaborating with others and taking time to build credibility and trust will go a long way.
My experience has helped pave the way towards my eventual role because it allowed me to gain valuable insights into nuances, challenges and opportunities, giving me a better understanding of working with the entire IT ecosystem.
What are some of your plans for Veeam in the coming months?
As we’re in the third quarter of the fiscal year, Veeam is currently focused on executing our plans and surpassing targets. We recognise that customers are always concerned about cyber threats, especially when it comes to ransomware, containers and microservices, hybrid cloud, and modern data management. We are confident that we are well poised to effectively address and alleviate many of these concerns and are aiming to collaborate closely with our valued customers and trusted partners to equip them with the most effective strategies and practices.
The Australia and New Zealand market has consistently been at the forefront of technology adoption, displaying a propensity for embracing new innovations. With a strong trajectory toward public cloud adoption and the integration of everything-as-a-service (XaaS) solutions, we believe that the market will continue to grow.
What has been your biggest business mistake and the lessons you've learnt from that experience?
It is important to have a secure environment where it’s okay to fail and that the notion of failure is not a bad thing but rather embraced as a stepping stone for progress.
In a previous role, a campaign that was designed for a specific country was launched with a full-scale plan – marketing programs, events and resources. Unfortunately, it did not give us the results we anticipated, and I had to make a call to stop the campaign midway. This experience taught me that assumptions aren't always fool-proof and can lead to an undesirable outcome but having the courage to admit our failures and understanding why we failed is a very important life lesson – so we don’t make such mistakes again.
What are some of your ambitions - personally and professionally?
Professionally, I am passionate about protecting businesses from cyber attacks and ensuring that their data is backed up. With Veeam, our services have been developed with the customer in mind. Data protection is a shared responsibility that businesses of all levels should undertake.
I am also very people-driven and want to ensure that I continue to push my team towards success and guide them as we grow the business.
Personally, I am an avid snowboarder. Growing up in a tropical country, I’ve always preferred going to cold countries and as a fairly active person, I wanted to pick a sport to do when I go on holiday. I found the sport fun as it’s an independent sport but can also be done with family or with friends. Snowboarding also reminds me that no one is born good, it takes time and effort to get better and it’s something I believe in my professional life too.
What has been the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Early in my career, a retiring CIO who is now my friend, told me: The mark of a man is not the title he holds in office but how he’s remembered after he has left office. People don’t remember how big a project you have done, nor how many houses, cars or watches you have, they will always remember how you treated them.