Career so far I started in IT working in the returns department for a Singaporean PC manufacturer called IPC (yes, you probably remembered those god-awful Family Magics). My first wage was £59 per week. I left there and started work for Burnley Computer Centre which was part of the Lanway group of companies, moved over to Lanway because my obsessive compulsive tidying and reorganisation of the shop was something the management enjoyed watching me do. I joined Lanway as returns admin, progressed to procurement manager within three years, at which point back in 1998 the business was turning over little over £1m. I helped grow the business to £9m, became commercial director in 2006 after completing a degree in purchasing and supply chain management (MCIPS) then helped grow even further to £15m. I am soon to become managing director.
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and what would you do? I've always fancied being a bit of a rock and role/indie star, so I would have to say I'd love to me someone like Jarvis Cocker playing some great comeback festival gigs to thousands of adoring fans.
Cloud - friend or foe? Friend. I'm not sure in what capacity, but a definite friend. Girlfriend? Best friend? I'm not sure for now, but we figure IT is so flexible nowadays, and these young switched-on kids coming out of school into IT management roles don't understand IT "boundaries". Therefore we have to be flexible in our offer when recommending infrastructure solutions, for instance, "your place or mine" (on-premise or off-premise). We have just recruited a director of "cloud" to help us build a true MS business.
Has 2011 been as bad as everyone said it would be? No, not for us. We have totally re-engineered the business through 2010/2011 so have virtually ignored all the problems outside of our controllable environment. While changing the business we focused on re-shaping, making it better and 2011 for us has been the start of something quite special.
What would you have as your last meal? For those of you that have ever dined with me, you will know that I'm a massive moaner and ultra fussy - and I love to complain - so I'd stick to something that I love and can't be spoiled. Sausage and mash with slices of onion soaked in vinegar - boodiful!
Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with? Four women.
Have any of your predictions come true this year? Yes, I predicted I'd put on a couple of pounds and that my handicap would increase - both have surpassed expectations.
What do you see as the channel's biggest challenge in 2012? Creating a successful business model based on value add - we are seeing it from vendors, distributors and some resellers. Those that can wrap value around what they are doing will be successful and continue to be so. The major challenge will hit businesses that are burying their head in the sand rather than changing their businesses and embrasing new ideas. Saying that, developing a value proposition is not as easy as it sounds.
What is the best part of your day? The best part of my day is seeing my peers or colleagues achieving something they thought was not achievable: winning a big deal, overcoming challenges within a particular client organisation, or simply seeing them enthusiastic and passionate about their role within our business. It sounds kind of corny, but seeing individuals smile after they have done something great makes me quite proud and you can see that all the blood, sweat and tears really does make a difference.
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