What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was as an apprentice working for the fleet air arm of the Ministry of Defence. I repaired the electronic systems of helicopters. The MoD subsequently sponsored me to study electronic computer systems at Salford University. I then took a position at EDS.
What does the channel most need to learn in order to succeed and grow this year?
Tangible end-user business value. This is critical for everyone in our industry to understand so our ideas and efforts are as relevant as possible to the goals of business. The channel can then ensure that solutions address core business issues, which is often how future projects are born.
Is IT well taught in schools?
Yes. However, we in the industry need to offer work experience. Practical, hands-on experience is important to complement theory. We make our contribution in this area by offering internships each year.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner?
The perfect channel partner company is proactive, swift, and agile, with a proven market presence. I also look for trust among partners, which is a precursor to any serious deal.
What are the traits of the perfect boss?
Being open, honest and leading from the front are all crucial traits in bosses I’ve witnessed who have achieved long-term success. Also, making work a fun and rewarding environment builds great teams that deliver great results.
Would you rather draw up the plans, or carry them out?
I like to be involved in both; planning is nothing without execution.
Will the economic recovery continue?
We are clearly in the midst of challenging times, but businesses will always seek innovative ways to grow. By focusing on business fundamentals we will get the economy growing again. The IT industry has a fundamental role to play.
Are IT skills shortages best filled by on-the-job training or formal education?
IT skills shortages need to be filled by both formal education and on-the-job training. I say this because we all need time out to study. However, study alone is insufficient. I suspect that now the cost of education is rising, there is a growing opportunity for savvy IT companies to train new, young talent.
If you had your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
IT has been thoroughly rewarding, so I would struggle to identify a more rewarding career choice.
What is the most important thing in business?
Making a difference. Growing your own company is made easier by focusing on understanding your customers’ businesses. In my experience, the greater your knowledge in this respect, the more success you will see. Ultimately, investing time and resource in this way makes a big difference to your customers and your own business.
What is the best holiday you’ve ever had?
The ones my family and I have taken in Bermuda. It’s a beautiful, elegant and relaxing place. Given my passion for boats and water sports, it is virtually paradise for me.
What was the best business trip or junket you have ever experienced?
I make a point of visiting as many clients as possible six months to a year after implementation, and this type of trip is definitely a favourite. The purpose is to understand how we have delivered business value, and how we and our partners can improve. I recently met the CIO of a logistics company and will join a CIO club meeting with another client to share how we improved the performance of their business applications and how this supported their IT-led business transformation programme.
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