What will be the most important trend to follow in 2015?
Cloud will continue to be a dominant trend. More businesses are realising the value of adopting cloud solutions, and this is especially true as we move from the early-adopter market to mature, conservative companies and the public sector.
What is one thing you miss from being a child that you no longer do or can do?
Definitely playing sport. I played all kinds of sport every day of the week but now I feel the consequences of all that running around. It takes me two or three days to recover from any serious activity now! But I shouldn’t use that as an excuse not to try. I’ve found that’s a good ethos to live by.
What has been your toughest moment at work so far, and how did you resolve the situation?
I used to be a systems engineer for HP and would be presented with very complex problems. One key lesson I learned was to take a step back, give yourself some time for reflection and allow the answers to fall into place. New challenges would arise each year as the demands to grow the business were enhanced in the presence of increased competition. This perspective has proven extremely useful in my sales career when developing strategies for the year ahead.
If someone shrank you to the size of a pencil and put you in a blender, how would you get out?
Hopefully I would be smart enough not to get into that situation! However, if I was, then as a pencil I would draw a door and walk through it.
What was the last film you saw and what did you think of it?
The Equalizer starring Denzel Washington. A great action movie which proves the adage “never judge a book by its cover”.
What are your three greatest accomplishments (so far)? Why?
Family all the way. I have a fantastic wife and two great children. Also, I’m proud of gaining my MBA while helping raise a young family. Last but not least, my first sales club event for high achievers. While I’ve been to dozens since then, the first one gives you that confidence and belief to be continually successful.
What is the best way to get UK plc growing again?
Simplify the tax system. Currently it is so complex that few understand it and it’s very expensive to maintain. A simpler tax regime would lead to a fairer burden on the working population, meaning that fewer people would try to create schemes to avoid paying. The government needs to be more transparent in declaring where it spends the money. In doing this, there would be more investment in the UK, generating more tax revenue without increasing the percentage placed on individuals or companies. Simplicity and transparency are crucial.
What are the characteristics of the perfect channel partner?
Firstly, a realisation that they are responsible for their success and not expecting the vendor to take on that responsibility. To have a leader who plans ahead and commits to the plan both in terms of resources and by hitting the targets set out. Also, to have a team comprising effective communicators to their customers, prospects and the vendor. It sounds obvious, but to be successful there has to be a high level of trust and respect between the vendor and the channel partner.
What are you reading?
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It’s an interesting concept that says we have two systems: one that reacts quickly and intuitively, with another system in the background that provides deeper thought and analysis. He also describes it as a lazy system, so that’s my excuse for jumping to conclusions. The book contains some great examples to demonstrate the theories too.
Are IT skills shortages best filled by on-the-job training or formal education?
Both are required. I have worked with some very smart and creative people who design systems but have never gone to university; it just wasn’t their thing. Businesses and the government must create environments and opportunities that allow hard-working and passionate people to demonstrate and maximise their skills.
John Campbell is EMEA channel director at NetSuite
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