Tech Data Authority is proud to deliver stories that illustrate human connection through technology to life. That’s why we were excited to speak with Ryan Asdourian, U.S. Surface Business Group Lead at Microsoft.
A long-standing member of the organizations with a career spanning multiple roles, Ryan discussed his unique journey working with Microsoft’s CEO, partnering with Tech Data across the pond, and driving greater productivity through the Surface suite of solutions.
Hi Ryan. Let’s start at the beginning. What drew you to a career in technology?
I’ve always been what I call a nerd! Since I was a little kid, I’ve been driven toward technology. I taught my parent’s friends how to use MS-DOS (the precursor to Windows) and was a computer science major in college. At Microsoft, I get to work on PCs in the Surface line. This has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid.
You’ve been with Microsoft for well over a decade, working as a test engineer, product manager, and now in a leadership role on the U.S Surface team. Tell us about your journey.
My career has been built on following my passion. Different roles have presented themselves over time, and each has given me a different perspective on the technology, the company, and the business. It’s all helped me grow into the role that I’m in now, which spans all aspects – from marketing to sales to our go-to-market strategy. I also spent over two years in the U.K., and worked quite closely with our U.K.-based Tech Data team. It was an incredible growth opportunity, one for which I’m most grateful.
There’s so much that I love. First and foremost are the culture and the people. They make Microsoft what it is. We have incredibly talented, passionate and smart people all over the company. Simply put, it makes me a better person. I’m able to tap into different worlds of experience. Our culture is driven by diversity and empathy, and that’s because Satya [Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO], places a premium on empowering people. That’s what everyone is focused on. Every business unit aligns to the mission of “how do we make the world a better place?”
During Satya’s first two years as CEO, I had the opportunity to work in his office and learn by watching him interact. It’s an experience that continues to shape how I approach leadership.
Let’s segue to the partnership between Tech Data and Microsoft. Why do you think it’s successful?
In every interaction with Tech Data, it’s a conversation about moving the market forward together. We share a commitment to solving problems for our customers. Our partnership across the Surface portfolio represents everything that is innovative about our work together. Surface comes with new technologies built in, opening the doors for remote engagement. With Tech Data, we have the power to ship these solutions anywhere around the world and configure them with the right policies, log in and infrastructure. Together, we make it possible.
Tell us more about the Surface suite of solutions. How are they unique in spurring human connection and collaboration?
Surface not only pushes the boundaries of technology, but it keeps you in your personal flow. It attunes to your work flow, how you are productive, how you stay entertained. We think of it as creating harmony among all the things that you do. We build features into the hardware and software that light up the ability to stay in your flow.
In many ways, I believe the PC and the device should be invisible. It’s just a gateway to the information you want, the things you need to get done, the entertainment you’re looking to have. The more seamless the interaction, the more magical the experience.
Productivity is at the heart of all Surface solutions. How do they inspire and equip end users to be their most productive?
From the start, productivity is about efficiency. From the first moment you log in, it’s about how you can be fast, fluid and efficient, incorporating features that integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology into all Microsoft 365 solutions. You get hi-definition cameras, audio capabilities, and facial recognition at log in. Even on Microsoft Teams, we use AI to produce a more realistic and productive experience. Hardware sensors and the software create an experience that makes everyone feel more human – so that again, you stay in your flow and continue the conversation.
How can Tech Data’s reseller partners take advantage of all that Surface has to offer?
It’s about thinking of Surface as a solution, not just a PC. For the reseller, we have a range of solutions – from smaller devices like the Surface Go to large spaces like the Hub, and everything in between. All of it is powerful and lightweight.
What can empower a reseller’s customers and partners is the ability to scale. Think of the solutions that naturally work together, that fit. A perfect example is powering a Surface device with Windows Virtual Desktop. Our partners can enable those solutions from the get-go, as opposed to the customer needing to purchase two solutions and put them together.
It’s what we do across devices and in the cloud. In turn, our resellers can open completely new markets. We don’t just sell PCs; we sell the whole solution. We show you how to apply Surface into an entire meeting room solution. There is so much opportunity for magic for our resellers. It starts with having those solution-oriented conversations with their customers, finding out what they’re after and then making it happen.
About the Author
Dena Koklanaris joined Tech Data in 2018 and leads the company’s in-house team of copywriters and content strategists. She’s proud to hone her craft for one of Fortune Magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies.” When she’s not writing, you can find her on the beach or riding her bike.