Chairman/chief executive, Cloud Industry Forum and Fasthosts Internet Group
Career so far I have been in technology for the last 25 years; the last 15 have been almost exclusively in the channel with great software companies like Content Technologies (now Clearswift) and Centennial Software (now FrontRange) and most recently in the webhost and cloud service provider market with Fasthosts/Rise. I have also invested time and effort in Industry bodies such as Fast and the Cloud Industry Forum to help set the benchmarks for the industry to progress against.
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be? That’s a tough one, but if I had to choose – Edward “Bear” Grylls. He is a great role model for kids, is one of the few adventurers left who gets paid to see the world from an entirely different perspective.
What will next year’s most overhyped industry buzzword be? Federated, as it is becoming as over-used a phrase as cloud or big data. Of course, the related challenges and opportunities of managing identity, content, applications and so on across infrastructures, devices and networks is a worthy one, but getting to an agreement as to how to best solve it opens a Pandora’s Box and will drive as much FUD as hype.
Has 2012 been a good, bad or ugly year? 2012 has been a challenging year on many fronts. Growth is out there but it’s been harder fought for against a backdrop of FUD around cloud security and the macro economic uncertainties that have sapped confidence in some quarters. That said, over the last nine months the UK cloud market has bucked the trend with 15 per cent growth in new users, which itself is an acceleration on the preceding nine months.
What would you have as your last meal? A freshly barbequed lobster, straight from the sea and ideally on the beach at Anegada where we visited on my honeymoon. Paradise!
What keeps you awake at night? Customer service and experience. It may sound trite but it’s 100 per cent true. I passionately believe in getting what you pay for and that our partners and customer satisfaction is the most important litmus test of success. If you can operate with integrity and transparency, and back that up with a good customer experience, you have a recipe for business that can ride anything thrown at it.
What piece of technology could you not be without? My Windows Phone. It enables me to do everything I need to keep in touch with my business when I am on the move. When my mother-in-law accidentally put my phone in her handbag one day and I had to have the phone wiped as I feared it lost, how I laughed when she later found it!
Have any of your predictions come true this year? Not the lottery ones, unfortunately, but the predictions we made last year as the Cloud Industry Forum in terms of UK cloud service growth and adoption trends were pretty much bang on.
What is the best partner/customer trip you have ever been on? Having grown up in New Zealand, the opportunity to see the Rugby World Cup semi-finals in Auckland last year has to top the bill.
What do you see as the channel’s biggest challenge in 2013? The biggest challenge for the channel moving in to 2013 is how to successfully embrace the cloud opportunity. It is a high growth market with sustainable revenue streams but it fundamentally challenges the historical attributes of selling IT.
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