A recent poll from Mortimer Spinks shows that just 15% of women make up the tech workforce, while other research from the recruitment agency found that women lacked in self-belief. Veronique Mondollot, VP EMEA at Compuware, who had previous sales positions at IBM and Macro, tells CBR how women can obtain a better work and personal life balance and why Compuware's APM solution will lead the industry in two years time.
How did you make your way up from sales manager to VP EMEA at Compuware?
I was always thinking of, and starting, new ideas like initiating a finance and distribution unit in France, managing other global accounts and then I started working on Application Performance Management (APM) , which is currently the growth factor of Compuware.
What is APM and how is it growing the business?
We help companies discover where a particular issue is coming from, like an application, infrastructure or third party. And then we try to embed that performance at the beginning of the lifecycle of the application, helping companies to think about damage at the beginning when it doesn't cost so much.
In the markets, everything is changing rapidly because of the way companies are changing operations with internal and external customers and how mobile and internet companies are coming into the market. Ten years ago IBM, Oracle and HP were leaders but now they're not because they did not keep up with the pace of change.
How do you explain Compuware's 6.5% drop in revenue this year and 9% for the most recent quarter?
Our legacy solution, the mainframe software part of the business, which was the cornerstone of Compuware, is now decreasing. It was great in 2000 and it's still bringing us in a lot of revenue and gives us money to invest in some new areas.
We've decided that we only want to be in situations where we could be good number one or two in the market segment. For example, we decided to sell our testing tools business because we were not able to be a good number two, and we took that money to invest in the APM space instead. The APM business is now growing at about 20% a year and that's much bigger than our competitors.
Also, between the next 18 months and two years, I believe our APM solution will take advantage of the whole market space. And that's because we know how it's going to run in the coming years.
Are there challenges to meet this target?
Absolutely. In particular, in Southern Europe, where the economic climate is difficult. It's not that they are not buying, but they have to justify all the spending they are doing. So instead of some medium level managers approving budgets, it now has to go through a lot of standing committees and approbation committees, every kind of committee that you can imagine! And in some countries, like France, the government has already stopped some standing.
What do you think about women pursuing a career in technology despite the challenges of having a family?
When I started at IBM, I was one the first women there and when I had my first child, they didn't know how to handle it because it was the first time that someone was pregnant.
And there was another big choice I made that was not approved at Compuware. When my kids were young, I was asked to take a senior management role, which I refused and was not taken well. I had to pay for it because they thought I didn't want to work, which was not true.
Does that culture persist today?
In Europe, I see some guys that are taking one year off to look after their kids, so it's changing slowly. But if the companies want women they have to realise, especially when they have young kids, they cannot be at the office at 8pm or 9pm. It's not wise to leave them with a nanny. If you take away that choice from a woman, then you will be left with women who don't want to get married or don't want to have kids.
To what extent do you think there are more women in IT today compared to when you first started off in the industry?
I would say it's about the same. In sales, it's nearly 50:50, in customer success management it's mixed, while marketing is more female than male. Engineering is still male and management is still male. I would also say that Compuware might be one of the very few companies where they really have more women.
What do you think women should do to progress their career in technology?
I would strongly recommend that women compare themselves not with perfection but with everyone they are working with. A lot of women, if they see a job description, will think the job is not for them if they only meet let's say seven out of 10 points on a checklist. Whereas guys, if they have four, will say, 'it's for me'. If they do that, they will realise that they are as good as or even better than others.
Attitude is also important. I've often tried to start new things at Compuware and I never said, 'oh my God, that's too difficult or I've never done it before...' Instead I say, 'let's go for it.' In the end, you get awarded more.
What's the key to a happy work and family life?
Nothing is ever easy and I think it's very important to have a balance in life and the way I balance it is through my family. I spend weekends and vacations with my family and I'm lucky enough that my kids are no longer kids. I also play sport and go horse-riding - my oxygen bubble. After a long day and you feel tired, you just go outside with your horse - it's so nice.