An open source of inspiration

Written by Darlington Jose Hector | Darlington Jose Hector | Updated: Oct 4 2010, 07:30am hrs
Sandeep Menon wanted to be involved with wildlife conservation, but moved into advertising, as fate would have it. Life did not allow him to stay on course there too. He then got led into to the IT world. The life of Novell India country head is full of surprises and he seems to like it that way.

I do not like stagnation, says the 38 year old. Hence I move on, once the learning stops. I dont like my jobs to be transactional in nature. Sandeep spent a decade in IBM after dabbling in advertising with Enterprise Nexus for a short while. I had done my MBA from Mudra, specialising in advertising and media. I thought the world was very creative and glamorous. It was enjoyable but after some time I found dealing with the creative guys very cumbersome.

The creative lot at agencies have a different lifestyle and attitude. They used to come into the office at 5 pm and start their work. I could not digest that but I learned quite a bit from that experience. That was the time IBM was looking for talent from outside the IT framework. The Big Blue was scouting for personnel from varied backdrops. I felt like giving it a shot and I did. I got selected and was made to undergo training for three months. I distinctly remember me wanting to drop out that training. Something inside me told me that this was not my scene. A lot of jargon was thrown at me and I felt I was not able to comprehend them. The I remembered my advertising days. Advertising has a few jargons and I could master them with time. So I decided to stay back and complete the training.

The training did wonders to him as a professional and he realised the importance of working in an organised, process oriented environment. The 10 years at IBM were great. It taught me everything. I found the work place challenging my abilities everyday. It is at IBM that he developed the reputation of a business leader with demonstrated ability to tackle tough business and management challenges. People around Sandeep say that he has an innate ability to inspire people, and lead through vision and logic.

At IBM, he transformed an ailing Unix business, while aiding the development of the Linux market across Asean markets, and led significant business transformation for IBM Global Services. IBM is the kind of place where people can spend decades. But after 10 years there I started feeling that I should move out. I was seeking newer challenges and Novell came my way. I instantly knew Novell was a great proposition as here was a brand with great potential, with great scope for improvement in India. I joined them as as head of sales & marketing, but soon came the big prize. They wanted me to take over the India operations.

At Novell the challenges were of a different dimension. At IBM, the resources seemed unending, but at Novell one had to be more innovative and enterprising. Today he is championing open source and is convinced it has a great future. Linux is increasingly being used as a platform of choice for mission-critical applications. Several mainframes and super computers are running Linux.It is used by some of the largest banks, airlines and internet engines in the world.

With proprietary software, the customer is totally at the mercy of the vendor. If the vendor discontinues support for any reason, the customer cant do anything. In the case of Open Source Linux, even if the vendor stops support, the customer can go to anyone else for support or even support it using his own resources, given that the source code is available. Sandeep was one of the CEOs who believe that the recession was indeed good. It put a check on everything. I feel that the industry is much better for that experience.

Since his fathers career took him to various parts of India, Sandeep had the opportunity to live various towns and cities. That experience I think was crucial. That helps you to adapt to various conditions, and this has stood me in good stead in my career. Post liberalisation the work environment in India has changed so much. Todays enterprises need employees who are entrepreneurial. They are expected to come up with innovative ideas, that can improve the companys fortunes.

Novell India recently announced its new SUSE Linux Certification Programme in conjunction with leading academic institutes and training partners. The programme has been designed to provide an edge for students and professionals alike, with custom made programmes that scale up their administrative skills in SUSE Linux. Over the last two decades, Open Source has evolved into one of the fastest growing technologies catering to multiple and diverse industry segments. Novell India has launched this unique industry and academic initiative to benefit thousands of aspiring Linux professionals, to cater to this growing demand. Through this initiative, Novell offers an industry-leading certification that is globally recognised and in demand.

For an IT professional interested in a long-term career in open source, one needs to be adept with latest skills and trends in this dynamic and fast evolving segment. Hence the SUSE Linux certification is considered one of the most credible and recognised approaches to equip students with the necessary skills today. Most jobs favour applicants with a certification from premium entities such as Novell for Linux Certification in their resumes. With this growing demand, Novell has initiated this effort to encourage industry and academia to partner in an effort to churn better qualified systems administrators, Java programmers, database administrators and data centre managers.

Outside work, Sandeep is a dedicated biker, and is one of the pioneers of the Bullet Club in India. My interests outside office are varied, but biking is my passion. I always like a challenge, and biking always offers you a few. That kind of satiates the wild life man in me.

A few years down the line, he is certain that he would want to set up an enterprise of his own. I would want to create something new. But not in the immediate future.