OVH and OVH US: Working together
OVH and OVH US: Working together
With the launch of OVH US, the group has established a presence in the world’s largest, most mature market. This represents a real challenge, especially for a company whose growth has been purely organic so far. The stakes are high, but particularly motivating because everyone has something to gain: the group, its growth and its customers, as explained by Russell Reeder, Chairman and CEO of OVH US, and John Gazal, Director of Transformation for OVH.
Why did OVH decide to set foot on American soil?
Russell Reeder – The US share is estimated at 57% of the world cloud market. Important economically, this market is also the most mature because most companies, even the smallest, are no longer the first generation of cloud users. Customers know exactly what they want, and their expectations are particularly high. OVH will therefore be confronted with the most demanding cloud market. It’s certainly a big challenge, but one which allows the whole of OVH to progress. OVH also offers solid advantages, such as its level of automation, its hyper-secure fibre optic network on the East Coast and West Coast of the US, the expertise of the employee base, green technologies, and a culture with the best price-performance ratio. But it’s also a state of mind that OVH is bringing to the United States.
John Gazal – For a hyper-growth company like OVH, this expansion into such an important market is a logical progression. Many innovations are born there, and our main competitors are already present. We have a lot to learn from this market, if we are to progress further and faster. After we launched a subsidiary in Canada, a move to the US was also a natural step. Through the acquisition of vCloud Air, we are starting with an existing base of large accounts and, above all, a team of great professionals.
How did you manage culture shock?
John Gazal – The real challenge is not so much geographical culture shock, but the integration of two teams with very different corporate cultures. Historically, OVH has grown organically, capitalizing on its talents to expand its mindset into new regions of the world. With the integration of the team in the US, we decided to infuse more of the US corporate culture to challenge our ways of thinking and working. To this end, we launched the "Working Together" programme, which is a bridge to unite the cultures and teams. For example, OVH (like many technological players) has historically had a very product-centric culture. Our American colleagues are product experts, but they have a much more customer-centric culture. This is reflected in their organization, processes, team management… even their language!
Russell Reeder – This expansion into America represents an important step, not to say a necessary step, in the evolution of OVH. This is an opportunity to gauge its scalability, processes, roadmap, etc. We have to embrace the American state of mind – "all about execution" – to achieve OVH’s ambitions.
What are the key points for the success of such an enterprise?
Russell Reeder – Given the maturity of the market, customers have high expectations in terms of products and services. They want them to be simple, to deliver in terms of performance, and to be innovative. We must really focus on the needs of the client, their expectations, their problems, and their ideas. So many European companies have hit a brick wall trying to establish themselves in the US market, especially in the new technologies sector.
John Gazal – In addition to our ability to meet the demands of the US market, our success also depends on human talent. OVH’s US team are highly experienced employees, who have been working in the cloud market for many years and are led by recognized professionals. They know all the ins and outs, making them a valuable part of our development in the USA. They enjoy a lot of autonomy while working with the rest of the OVH global team.
Where are you in terms of the roadmap?
Russell Reeder – The expression that comes to my mind is: "Cooking with gas". It means to perform after a long period of uncertainty. The first step of our roadmap involved establishing a legally isolated US structure to ensure that our customers' data is protected, which has been done. We then had to develop our reputation more widely. In this sense, VMware's vCloud Air acquisition was a tremendous visibility boost for the OVH brand. Finally, we opened the first datacentre on the East coast and refined our services. Finally, we recently opened our second data centre on the West coast. Today, the stars are aligned: the first dedicated server offers are available. We will now launch other products – including Private Cloud, Public Cloud and VPS – ensuring that they meet our customers’ standards and expectations.
John Gazal – To expand internationally is always a complex adventure, for linguistic, cultural, marketing, legal, and financial reasons. This is especially true in the most developed market in the world. We have already made great progress, and faced a lot of challenges. We know that the road will be long and will certainly be full of pitfalls. Nonetheless, we will be able to face it with the passion, commitment and responsibility that’s so specific to the OVH mindset. This marks the beginning of a new chapter for our company, and above all, for our customers. Ultimately, if we succeed, our customers succeed too – and that’s our best reward!