Season 2

S2E19: Ecosystems, Culture, Transformation and Parking

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S2E19: Ecosystems, Culture, Transformation and Parking
September 29, 2022

S2E19: Ecosystems, Culture, Transformation and Parking

This episode features Zia Yusuf, Senior VP, Strategic Ecosystem & Industry Solutions at VMware.

Zia Yusuf

Zia Yusuf

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Episode Transcript

Episode Summary:

This episode features Zia Yusuf. He is Senior Vice President, Strategic Ecosystem & Industry Solutions at VMware. In this position, he leads the teams responsible for building joint horizontal and industry-centric solutions with the company’s ecosystem partners across Dell, global cloud providers (Hyperscalers), global system integrators, and global ISVs.

Zia chatted with us about his outlook on economic development, emerging markets, and the use of technology to benefit and enhance business as a competitive capability. He provides thoughts on reimagining how companies and customers operate in a changing world affected by enhanced digital transformation. Zia discusses how startups and large incumbent companies approach the adoption of new technologies, as they try to reconcile with the past while promoting advancement for the future. He also talks about how AI and ML are game changing technologies that are going to have a big impact on financial services.  


3 Takeaways:

  • As we go into the future of multi-cloud, modern apps, and the edge, we need to more effectively invigorate different types of partners. There are a multitude of ways that we need to work with Hyperscalers to make sure that customers can get the full spectrum of multi-cloud solutions. We need to look at more verticalized solutions, so as you think about modern apps and edge solutions, we need to be more aware of the requirements and demands from a retail company versus a financial services company versus a healthcare company.
  • SaaS Technology allows you to iterate much faster and much cheaper than ever before. Companies need to take advantage of that more. While many do to some degree, there is still not enough of an experimentation on the business model.
  • Any company that wants to compete, whether it’s a startup or a larger legacy company, needs to have a robust ecosystem strategy. You won’t survive if you try to go at it alone. Partnerships, especially technology partnerships, for more established companies allow them capabilities to accelerate their pace of innovation rather than just building it themselves.


Key Quotes:

“There are very significant technology innovations and changes that are happening in the financial services industry, maybe to some degree even more disruptive than are happening in other industries. And so, whether you are a large commercial bank, investment bank, mortgage house, whether it's blockchain or AI, or the advancements in mobile and robotic process automation, it's a very significant series of in some sense a perfect storm of these technologies coming together.”

“People forget how foundationally our lives have changed in a relatively short period of time. I think technology has been in some sense that great equalizer. There's a lot of people in the world that still don't have access to their digital services. The digital divide is very real, even in the US, it is very real.”

“Whether it's VMware or any other large tech company, you can only be successful if you truly leverage and put together a very significant ecosystem of complementary solutions.”

“When you talk about a transformation journey, a lot of time is spent on a company’s technology transformation, and it's important. A lot of time is spent on the business process transformation and the business model transformation, which is also super important. Not enough time is spent on the people side of it and the cultural transformation.”

“I think the accounting and economics of how we run our lives needs to change. And, if that happens, people will understand the true impact of that. We are custodians of this planet for the next generation, and we're not doing a great job of it. Unfortunately, until many of us have more hard days in the summer than we've ever had before, and you have floods like in Pakistan and other parts of the world, hopefully that generates more change than not. It's an important piece of where VMware takes it seriously and seeks to play the role that it can. It's all our responsibility.”


Best Career Advice:

“Think of your life as a career with a long arc, as opposed to a series of jobs and how do I get the next job? Am I getting a raise? Am I not getting a raise? Think a few years out and you'll think about the world differently.”



Zia Yusuf - Senior Vice President, Strategic Ecosystem & Industry Solutions at VMware

Zia Yusuf joined VMware in 2021 as VMware’s Senior Vice President of Strategic Ecosystem and Industry Solutions, responsible for building joint horizontal and industry-centric solutions with our ecosystem and alliances across Dell, global cloud providers (hyperscalers), global system integrators, and global ISVs.

Prior to VMware, Zia was a Senior Partner & Managing Director at Boston Consulting Group (BCG)—serving as a core member of the firm’s Technology Advantage, and Technology, Media & Telecommunications practices. At BCG, Zia worked with a wide range of technology clients on issues related to software, technology strategy, and the resulting go-to-market approach including pricing, ecosystem strategy, and digital transformation to drive growth. He also led the effort to establish the Silicon Valley office for BCG and was the global IoT lead for the firm.

Before BCG, Zia was CEO of a leading IoT startup called Streetline, and an executive vice president at SAP where he served as head of the global ecosystem and partner group managing a network of 7,500 partners, SAP’s award-winning online communities of innovation, and the $125 million SAP NetWeaver Fund. He also founded and led the SAP Corporate Strategy and Design Services team and has served as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Sutter Hill Ventures & Norwest Venture Partners. Zia started his career at the World Bank Group working on health care projects in Southern Africa and project finance projects in South and East Asia.

Zia has also served as an associate consulting professor at Stanford University’s Design “D” School where he taught classes on user-centric design and design thinking for large organizations to accelerate innovation. Zia has a passion to enable education for all and has served on several non-profit boards on the topic, including currently serving on the board for the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.

Zia holds a bachelor of arts from Macalester College, a master of science in International Affairs from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


For more information:


The Cube: Zia Yusuf, VMware | VMware Explore 2022