CEO, Technology Associates Limited and Worldwide Treasurer and Global Board member, International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP)
What was the worst job you have ever had?
I can honestly say that I don’t think I have ever had a bad job! But the most uncertain job was at a company called Amazon Computers (long before the online Amazon store we all know and love today even existed!). I was a “Sales Consultant” (which basically meant Sales Rep, and enjoyed the customer side of it, but the company was built entirely on hire and fire philosophy. They would have a really great sales month, but then have to fund it by firing some employees. It was all about cashflow and wasn’t managed that well. You’d come into the Office every day wondering whether you would still be there at the end of the day! I like to be in control of my own destiny and I’ve had the autonomy and authority to pretty much do that for the last 20 years or so which is great.
Which actor would you pick to play you in a movie of your life and why?
Probably Sir Anthony Hopkins. He’s British for a start and has that aura about him of calmness and authority !! I would have liked to have said Bruce Willis but I genuinely don’t think IRL I’m as reckless as Bruce is … then again I don’t often find myself in the scrapes he does … well not often anyway !
What do you do as your party trick?
I have this thing where I can wiggle my ears and move my scalp back and forth. It usually takes a couple of drinks though ! Well it’s either that or one of my many bad jokes!
What is your favourite chocolate bar?
Now that’s tricky. The answer I’d really like to give is that I have given them up as part of the diet. Truth is though I like Mars and this morning I just tried a new Cadbury's bar with banana in it and really liked it! I guess that’s bye bye for the diet then.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Wow – there have been so many – it’s really hard to choose. Winning the Microsoft Partner of the Year Award a few years ago was definitely a high spot. Also being Worldwide President for the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners in 2012 was a big highlight although it was very hard work!
At that time the term for President was six months, so it was especially satisfying for the board to have scrapped that rule and extended it to 12 months, so that they could vote me in again for another six months. That felt good – like I really was contributing and adding value and it was being recognised and appreciated by my board level peers.
Has 2014 been a good, bad or ugly year? Why?
2014 has been a great year for us, especially for cloud apps and services. We developed an amazing custom app to integrate Oracle and SAP data to Microsoft Project Online, and created integrated Office 365 app to link CRM Online to Project Server/Project Online. I think we will continue to grow.
How would you explain the IT channel to a complete stranger without boring them to death?
How long have I got? The IT Channel is a community of partners and vendors that co-exist and co-operate for the benefit of each others profitability and success. Primarily focused on Enterprise and SMB customers they supply hardware, software, solutions and services that assist those customers in becoming more productive, more efficient and more effective for the benefit of their own customers.
Aside from the channel, my dream career would be… A travel consultant – I love travel and would happily do it as a full time job. I’ into social media in a big way (@KJKirby) and would love to write articles, blog about travel and that would also allow me to combine those adventures with a passion for photography too.
What major issues will the channel face in 2015?
As cloud services begin to mature and become more and more common we are seeing trends from some of the vendor companies that means they are now providing services directly to customers, cutting out the services that have traditionally represented the revenue generating income for those partners selling such services.
I think the challenge will be for the Channel partners to resist those service offerings and instead encourage those companies to use the very experienced partners that they already have in the channel. This would be a true win-win in my view. Right now we are only seeing the thin end of the wedge, but it’s clear some companies want world domination!
Warning comes after research claims that more than four in 10 UK firms have suffered a cyberattack over the last year
CRN's Women in Channel Awards has three company-wide categories for vendors, distributors and resellers with a strong diversity agenda. Here's how to get involved...
Larry Walsh of 2112 Group suggests that a smaller group of partners are now taking a greater chunk of the business going through the channel
'It's really important we don't just do big brands', Paul Eccleston tells CRN sister publication Channelnonmics Europe