Chief operating officer, TSG
Career so far
My first role in IT services was with Ford, building, installing and managing the internal communications system across their European network. From there, I moved on to accountancy firm Moore Stephens where I sat on their IT committee, looked after the partners and managed the transition from IBM OS2 to Windows, providing support for offices throughout the UK.
My next move took me into the world of financial services, and after sitting my FSA exams, I provided desktop support at International Finance Data Services for four years before taking on the role of client relations manager working with major global institutions including Barclays Capital, State Street and Jupiter.
It was during this time that I really began to understand business and focus on how technology can be applied to create real impact in a business context. Prior to joining TSG in 2009, I spent five years getting to grips with the very different challenge of applying technology solutions within SMEs for a London-based reseller and IT services company, where I took on both operational responsibility and drove strategic direction.
With TSG, I’m translating what I learned working at an enterprise level in a corporate environment for the benefit of small and medium sized businesses. I’m convinced that if they get it right, technology can give them a real competitive edge. Earlier this year my role changed from chief technology to chief operating officer and that gives me end-to-end responsibility for R&D through to the managed services and solutions we deliver and how we deliver them. It’s all about focusing on the customer experience.
What was your first job and were you any good at it?
I had a paper round when I was a kid but I couldn’t get out of bed. My first real job was with Ford. It was a complex IT environment and a real hands-on role – a fantastic grounding for what I’m doing now. Technology may have moved on massively but many of the basic principles remain the same.
Who was your top teenage pin-up?
I grew up in the Baywatch era, so it has to be the ‘technologically enhanced’ Pamela Anderson. OK, I know that’s silicone rather than silicon but I like to think it’s what got me interested in technology.
My colleagues won’t know this about me but…
I taught myself to juggle firesticks (so I know how not to get my hands burnt!). What is your favourite snack? Chocolate. But definitely not orange chocolate.
What has been your career high point to date?
It has to be taking on the role of chief operating officer at TSG. Not only am I responsible for a team of 250 delivering services and support to businesses across the UK, I’ve also built an R&D team of 20 people who are developing solutions that will make a huge difference for our customers. Our first product launch is due next March, so watch this space.
Has 2013 been good, bad or ugly?
Ask me again in December, although every year we make progress is a good year. And we’ve certainly made a lot of progress in all areas of the business.
What do you say when asked at a party what you do for a living?
I tell them I work in IT but I’m not a geek. It’s got to be better than telling them I’m something like an accountant.
If I wasn’t working in the channel I would probably be…
An F1 racing driver. Although, for some reason when I was younger I always wanted to be an accountant.
What will be the channel’s biggest challenge in 2014?
We need to better understand how to take cloud services into businesses in a way that will deliver tangible benefits for them at the same time as managing our changing revenue streams. Regrettably, there’s a huge amount of confusion and disruption caused by vendors and resellers around how products fit into existing and infrastructure. Realistically, few businesses have the luxury of starting with a blank canvas or throwing out their entire technology legacy.
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