What happens when you mix the southern passion for people with the collected mind of an engineer *and* a businesswoman? Let’s talk about the past, present and future with Evgeniya Ramires, the CEO of IPS ID and our new Extreme Champion!
Hi Evgeniya, congratulations on your newly acquired title of Extreme Champion! And what does this new achievement mean for you, moving forward?
Hey there! To be honest, it came as a bit of surprise but at the same time it felt great. I was a little stunned, but nonetheless thankful for such amazing recognition.
Do you remember how did your journey with Extreme begin?
I first came across Extreme Networks at the New Year's Eve party five years ago, when the Symbol / Motorola / Zebra wireless business became part of the company. The event was fun but also… pretty noisy and confusing. So many people around, a new vendor who was basically completely unknown to me at that point, so many questions and so few answers.
But in all this hustle and bustle I managed to meet Boris Germashev, Extreme’s Regional Director in the Nordic & Eastern Europe at the time. A few days later I visited Extreme’s office in Moscow, where I had a chance to talk to the local team. I quickly realized that I just acquired a new, reliable partner with a huge portfolio of networking solutions, which meant even more opportunities for communicating with customers.
Since then, we have implemented a large number of projects together. And I plan on implementing more – always forward and upward.
Speaking of achievements, what are your greatest successes as the CEO of a fast-growing, Moscow-based systems integrator?
I think the greatest success of any leader is his well-coordinated, high-performing team that works as one. IPS ID is growing because my employees not only take great care of the business, but also develop alongside it. This gives us much needed stability and confidence in the quality of our work which goes a long way when talking to the customers.
Forgive us, but we simply must ask: Ramires doesn’t sound like a typical Russian name. Would you mind to share your story?
Phew, this one’s rather easy 🙂 My grandfather, Juan Antonio Ramirez-Rees was born in southern Spain in 1917. He fought as a pilot in the Spanish Civil and on the eastern front of World War II, after which he fell in love with my grandmother and decided to stay in Russia (then USSR) for the rest of his days.
He was an amazing design engineer, worked in the design bureau of one of the factories and even invented new machine tools. So I’m proud to say that there’s a lot more than just the name that I inherited from my grandpa. It’s the love for engineering which he passed on to my father and now on to me.
That’s right – everyone from the Extreme team in Russia admires you for your amazing level of technical knowledge! How does your love for engineering and actually knowing the products inside out translate into your sales endeavours?
Thank you for the kind words! In fact, knowledge is the best way to show someone that you’re speaking the same language and that you understand their problems, goals and objectives – not as a manager, but as a specialist, mind you. I think it’s very important to make it clear to the customer right off the bat that he will be heard absolutely correctly.
And as they say, “don’t judge the book by its cover”. Since the business we’re operating in is still a man’s world, you must always take great care of your personal brand, constantly learn and improve yourself.
You love technology a lot, but you love selling it even more. Is that true? 😉
I don’t think I would put it like that. Above all else, I just love finding the right solution. I like the very process of communicating with customers and the realization that my company can actually benefit their business.
So if that’s what you mean by "sales", then I suppose you are right. But still, most of all I love watching the result of an implementation of this or that project, when I can see that the solution we have proposed actually works and the customer is satisfied. It is a very pleasant feeling.
Since you “know your stuff”, you probably need to see the benefits of technology in the real world first before being convinced its right for your customers…
You’re absolutely right! And that is why my engineers work so closely with the Extreme’s systems engineering team to learn, build demo stands and experiment.
Which of the recently released Extreme solutions appeal to you the most? And which ones resonate most with your customers?
Most of the time I work with ExtremeWireless solutions. Our company has a broad competence in the design, diagnostics and implementation of wireless networks, and as far as I’m concerned, in this area Extreme is second to none. Thoughtful industrial design of the products, user-friendly and simple interface, accessibility, functionality, safety, reliability… One small white box contains literally everything the customer could wish for.
At IPS ID you are focusing a lot on Extreme’s solutions for retail and logistics applications. Which of the recently released products and technologies appeal to you the most? How do you think Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E will influence the market in Russia?
Of course, Wi-Fi 6 is the technological breakthrough of our time. The ability to serve a larger number of clients at high speeds, the slowest one no longer influencing the speed of others, all of this greatly facilitates the construction of high-speed and mass-access wireless networks.
As for Wi-Fi 6E, it’s probably still too early to discuss the adoption of the technology in Russia. The point of view of our legislation regarding the allocation of an additional frequency range for the operation of wireless networks has not yet been determined and all the prerequisites indicate that in Russia the 6 GHz frequency will be divided between Wi-Fi 6E and 5G networks.
Right now, the greater impact on the market, in my opinion, is being exerted by the emergence and constant improvement of the cloud technologies from Extreme and other vendors.
Would you agree that the future of cloud managed networking is looking good in Russia?
Yes. First of all, due to the fact that the costs of acquiring such solutions can be attributed to OPEX, and not to CAPEX, which is a positive financial factor since it frees up funds for additional development of the companies.
Secondly, cloud based solutions significantly reduce the cost of ownership of the wireless solutions for customers. It is no longer necessary to own a physical device, so it doesn’t become obsolete, doesn’t need to be serviced and eventually changed, while at the same time the functionality of cloud services is often higher and combines the capabilities of several devices.
Last but not least, and that’s probably the most important factor, since the scalability of cloud solutions is almost limitless, cloud managed networks do not hamper the growth of our customers' businesses.
Your company enjoys a good relationship with Zebra, whose data collection terminals work really well alongside Extreme solutions. Why do you think this cooperation works so well? And how does the partnership with Extreme support your business and your customers?
Since my company operates mainly in the manufacturing and logistics industry, we pay great attention to the equipment that interacts directly with the wireless networks. For many of our customers, an incorrectly working data collection terminal means an inoperative Wi-Fi, therefore we always practice an integrated, two-way approach to both the diagnosis of the existing and the construction of new systems of our customers.
Zebra's AutoID and ExtremeWireless products have the same roots, the same legacy, and although they are now evolving separately, both vendors invest tremendous amounts of resources in maintaining the high quality of their products, in technological innovations and in the usability of their products.
I enjoy selling these simple to implement solutions and knowing I won’t be blushing with embarrassment because the system is constantly failing. It may sound funny, but some of my customers do not even know the passwords to their wireless networks built on Extreme equipment, because these systems… simply work. I think that’s the best competitive advantage you can probably think of. 😊
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Earlier this year, we interviewed your colleague, Polina Larina. Polina thinks that you’re a marvellous and very supportive manager. What is your recipe for running such a successful and confident team like the one at IPS ID?
You need to listen to your team. Hear them out and respect them and their hard work and dedication. Perhaps that’s all there is to it. That and maybe the jar of sweets I’m keeping in our office… 😄
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
I never gamble. Usually I have a plan and I stick to it. I try to calculate the risks I face in advance and avoid them when the time comes. So I can’t really say I’m taking risks, both in my professional and personal life.
If someone offered to tell you your future, would you accept it?
No. Why spoil the experience of all the great things that lie ahead? 🙂