Career so far: I joined Intrinsic Technology from ABSNet, where I was chief executive and led the company’s sale to Capita Group plc in 2008. My previous senior management roles include general manager for BT’s ICT division and head of global IS sales at Equant, where the team achieved annual sales in excess of $650m.
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and what would you do? A young Hugh Hefner – need I go into further detail?
What would you have as your last meal? I’m a man who likes his food, so I’d probably have something big and hearty, like roast beef with all the trimmings.
What is the best corporate jolly you have ever been on/taken partners on? In the late 1990s, I went on one of Toshiba’s legendary ‘Explorers’ Challenge’ corporate trips. We spent a lot of time in the Canadian wilderness, enjoying the country’s unbelievable landscape. Going to the toilet in a wooden toilet block on top of a hill in Algonquin Park in Ontario, looking out across the lakes below was a great experience and one that I would recommend. We also took a jet boat to Niagara Falls and then flew over it by helicopter, before being taken in a school bus to a one-horse hillbilly town. There we found a bar, beat the locals at pool – much to their horror – and were forced to make a run for the exit. To end the trip, we flew into Toronto Airport in 1957 De Havilland bi-planes, one of which crash-landed into a lake. No one was injured, but I think that brought an end to the company’s annual sales incentive trips. From the airport we took police-escorted limousines to the CN Tower for dinner in the revolving restaurant. It was a fantastic setting, although trying to find my table having been to the bar was a very disorientating experience.
Do you see the cloud as a threat or an opportunity? Both. Cloud computing presents a huge opportunity for channel businesses that continue to develop their respective propositions, working closely with partners to consider the best service wraps. The channel must also look to address the barriers preventing large organisations from embracing this new technology en mass, such as adequate security provision. However, those resellers that are too tightly focused on providing partner products and less agile in developing new service propositions are in a very precarious position and risk being left behind.
Have any of your predictions come true this year? I predicted that the channel would need to become more service-orientated to survive in this challenging economic environment. This means focusing on more profitable, long-term propositions that can deliver sustained benefits to clients through genuine partnerships. As a result, we invested heavily in this area and it has reaped rewards. Our growth is likely to be around 50 per cent this financial year.
What do you see as the channel’s biggest challenge in 2011? Irrespective of whether UK economic growth flatlines or we experience a double-dip recession, it is crucial that businesses remain agile enough to meet market challenges. The channel needs to listen and respond positively to client needs, as budgets continue to shrink. By truly understanding the pressures on our clients, we can build trusted, long-term relationships.
What is the best part of your day? Walking Bob, my chocolate Labrador. I’m afraid I’m notoriously grumpy if I miss our 6.00am strolls, which help me find clarity of thought. Many a winning business strategy has been formulated with Bob’s help.
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