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‘Go to fewer conferences and start doing something’

Zafar Anjum | May 27, 2011
That’s the advice of Avanade’s Global CEO, Adam Warby, when it comes to cloud computing.

Adam Warby

Adam Warby, Avanade's Global CEO

It is a strange time when I get to meet Adam Warby, Avanade's Global CEO, at Raffles Convention Centre in Singapore's business district. It is only a week since a devastating earthquake and tsunami has destroyed a major chunk of Japan's eastern coastal areas, killing thousands of people (on 11 March). There is also the scare of nuclear radiation from the damaged nuclear reactors in Fukushima. Many IT companies are worried about their staff in Japan. Some are evacuating staff from affected areas and even from cities as far away as Tokyo.

Avanade, which provides business technology services and has expertise in Microsoft technologies, has a delivery centre in Japan. When I meet Adam, it is natural for me to ask him what impact the earthquake had on his Tokyo-based delivery centre.

Looking dapper in a business suit and speaking in a voice that reminds me of British novelist Hanif Kureishi, Adam tells me how sad and concerned he is about everyone in Japan. "From our perspective, all our employees are safe and well," he says. "Interestingly, business is carrying on and it is a credit to the Japanese character-keeping focused and trying to keep things going."

I nod, silently praising the resilience of the Japanese people.

Adams tells me why he is in Singapore. "Singapore being a global hub, it provides connection between East and West," he says. "It is always exciting to be back here."

Minutes before I had arrived, Adam had addressed the employees of Avanade in Singapore. "It is a fast-growing part of the world and we have a lot of things to do here," he says. "We are here for the long term."

Ten years completed

"We have been in business 10 years now and I started with the business back in 2001 when we were founded," Adam gives me a brief backgrounder. He comes from the Microsoft side of the business and became CEO in 2008-about the same time when Lehman Brothers fell.

"This whole idea of Avanade was to create this fusion, this best-of-breed company between the passion for technology from Microsoft and the focus on delivery from Accenture," he says. "We have been on this journey for the last 10 years."

In a decade, the technology integrator has done very well for itself. Avanade has 12,000 employees around the world at the moment. "We have over a billion dollars (US) in revenue which is a big milestone for us to get past," he says. Roughly, 15 per cent of this revenue comes from Asia. Since its inception, Avanade has served over 3,000 customers around the world. It has global delivery centres in Japan, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and China.


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