What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
I started off in electronics at British Leyland, but was offered a job looking after mainframe storage with a third-party maintenance company. The pay was much better and I could move from the factory floor to an office.
Planes, trains or automobiles?
Planes. They’re quick, often cheap, and easy. I can be in Munich one day meeting partners and in our Everett headquarters in the north-west US the next.
What was the best business trip or junket you have ever been on?
I’ve just been to Kenya with 10 VARs on an incentive trip. We managed to see four of the big five - lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo - on safari. What an experience.
Will there always be value in printed books and magazines?
I can see traditional print media, especially books, heading the same way as vinyl records and becoming collector’s items.
What will be the most important trend to follow in 2013?
For us, it’s mobile operating systems, with Microsoft fighting Google Android. Security and data integrity among different applications and business processes is foremost.
What is the best way to get UK plc growing again?
We must see banks investing in SMBs because they are the lifeblood of industry, and IT in particular. Legislation that makes this happen should ensure investment drives growth.
Your closest near-death experience?
I was on holiday in the Caribbean in 1999 and I developed septicaemia from a mosquito bite. I was repatriated, and woke up in a military hospital in Aldershot under the care of a Colonel Holiday. Ironic?
What is one thing you miss from being a kid that you no longer do or can do?
Going to watch the mighty Birmingham FC with my late father. We had some great times on the terraces and I have some wonderful memories.
What are you reading?
Standing in Another Man’s Grave, the latest Inspector Rebus book by Ian Rankin. I love the Rebus books because they help me to switch off and get to sleep.
If you were king or queen, what would you do first?
I would renationalise the energy utilities, as I believe that what is happening right now with tariffs is completely unethical.
What are the traits of a perfect boss?
The perfect boss enables staff to do their jobs, without doing it for them or telling them exactly what to do. He or she is there to give advice and guidance while allowing people to get on with it.
Are IT skills shortages best filled by on-the-job training or formal education?
Current formal IT education is too generic. We need to make it easier for people to cross-train specific IT skills.
If you had your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
I would choose IT every time. I feel really fortunate that I have been part of this industry for 25 years. IT has been a fantastic enabler for many people’s careers and innovations are continually coming to market.
Mel Taylor is EMEA channel sales director at Intermec Technologies
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