DCN August 2016 - Page 13

meet me room WARD WILLIAMS – PROLABS Ward Williams joined ProLabs in January 2014 as CCO, and was promoted to the role of CEO in April 2016. Ward was previously vice president of global sales and marketing for the datacomm business unit of TE Connectivity and also worked with network infrastructure equipment. Does your college/university education have any specific relevance to the career you have now? I would say that my college experience gave me something far more valuable than the knowledge learned through the lectures and coursework. Experiencing the multi-cultural environment and entrepreneurial spirit of California and Silicon Valley in the early 1990s gave me such confidence in my ability to shape my own destiny. The Valley was beginning to explode with creative energy, and the best and the brightest from Asia, India, and frankly all over the world were my classmates. Just by being around them and studying with them I was able to learn first hand the traits and best practices that I would ultimately try to emulate and adopt in my career.   What are the biggest changes you have seen in the data centre industry? I have been watching the open compute project for some time now, as it is a fascinating re-do of the open source paradigm that caused such a stir in the Windows vs Linux OS battle around the year 2000. Having been right in the middle of that skirmish while working on a tablet PC (this is so long before iPads we didn’t even have a cool name for the category), for me personally it is very interesting to see the same market forces at work. Just as before, old established expensive brands are fighting to keep the status quo, with end users attracted by the promise of saving money with an open source solution, but ultimately still needing the same level of support and quality.   Are there any changes in laws or regulations that you would like to see that you think would make your job easier? I think one of the biggest challenges for a global company in growth mode that is expanding in multiple regions is managing the complex problem of international tax. In my opinion corporate tax in itself should not dictate your business strategy, your growth should follow the logical path to the largest profit pools. Unfortunately the reality is that one big challenge is just knowing what the rules are and avoiding ending up at a strategic disadvantage due to an unfair playing field. When you go one step further and consider the diverse franchise tax laws in the US, with 50 different interpretations of corporate tax, it becomes very complex – we just want to make a great product and make a decent profit while solving our customers problems, not worry about these issues. 13