Microsoft Israel country general manager Alon Haimovich was interviewed for the first time today since assuming his new post several months ago by Nevo Trabelsy at the annual Enterprise Technology Summit held by “Globes” and JP Morgan.
You’ve come into the job in the middle of an economic crisis. How are you coping with it?
“Coming in during such a period can be very stressful, and you have to learn very quickly. First of all, we examined to what degree and how Microsoft as a global corporation sees this period in terms of strategy. And you read the newspaper about the exchange rate and inflation and layoffs… but you see in the data that Israel is in a much better situation than the rest of the world. And the market we are in is mainly Israeli.
“We see a different kind of dialogue: to help enterprises shorten timetables, to do more with less, to help with hybrid work, to give more automation tools, AI, Metaverse… to give tools to the enterprises we invest in to deal with the situation.”
Will the layoffs reach you
“It won’t miss out anybody, and no company is immune. Microsoft employs 220,000 people worldwide and according to media reports 1,000 people worldwide will be laid off.”
Less potential, more immediate value
What is unique at Microsoft during this period?
“At Microsoft we have a very broad tent: startups, traditional industries, health, education, government, telecom… We entered relatively late into all kinds of fields, but we can bring startups to real revenue and profits.
“Today, investors talk less about potential and more about immediate value and return on investment. We bring enterprises to the marketplace and help them with acquisitions and in the cloud. We produce marketing plans adapted for startups. It’s a partnership in every way, as if we are part of this company.”
How do you adapt yourselves
“We see more balanced decision-making, more emphasis on ROI… We focus on three things: first of all, services for businesses beyond technological aspects – in marketing, business development, opening doors. Secondly, we bring automation tools to developers, GitHub lets you predict, And it helps to cope when there are fewer developers.
“One last thing: streamlining and keeping employees motivated. We use AI a lot, and we recently launched a feature called Teams Meeting Recap. At the end of the meeting, I receive the transcript and summary of the meeting, with action items that are relevant to me.”
The Israeli government is our strategic customer
On the Israeli angle Haimovich adds, “Microsoft is investing a lot in the State of Israel in the data center, in the development center, in other investment in human resources and in the business arm. We at Microsoft work a lot with the Israeli government, it is a strategic customer of ours. In the public sector such as education and health, Microsoft’s power is enormous. Being a partner and not just working as a vendor-client brings growth with these customers. We also work intensively with the security sector. But there every tender that is issued, we cannot talking about.”
On the public sector, Haimovich says, “The government sector has an enterprise agreement with Microsoft. Regarding the data center, there is a difference between us and other companies. We announced our investment in the data center three years ago. We are building the heart, brain and lungs of this thing. We are the only company that brought an agreement with the companies that in practice built it underground, and we came with three different clouds… Now we are also establishing another region.”
But the launch of the new region (a service area for Israeli companies only that is operated from Israel) has been delayed for months, which allowed Google to get ahead of Microsoft and launch before them.
When will this happen?
As Microsoft country manager what is your main aim?
“First of all, to continue doing what the corporation does in an excellent way. But beyond that, it is most important for us to be the magnet for talented employees in Israel.
Full disclosure: The conference was held by Globes in partnership with JP Morgan and sponsored by Microsoft, Next47, and with the participation of the Israel Innovation Authority.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on December 14, 2022.
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2022.