Chief executive, Technology Associates
What is your greatest career move to date?
Starting my own business. I left a well-paid job at Jaguar some 28 years ago and never looked back.
What is top of your bucket list?
There are lots of things I'd like to do still but driving a Formula 1 car has to be top of my list (for now).
What has changed most since you started working in the channel?
The move to cloud is the biggest single change for customers and partners alike. It transforms businesses into agile modern companies that can truly release their workers from the confines of a desk. Mobility and access to information at any time are key benefits for anyone now - and pretty much the norm today.
How do you think Brexit is going to affect the channel?
Profoundly. We are already seeing it. There are two factors: first, the uncertainty generated by the whole Brexit affair has seen companies putting projects on hold while they assess what's going on; and second, the drop in the pound dramatically impacts on the sale and supply of hardware, which in turn affects the purchase of software. Britain's purchasing power is lower than it has been for decades. That has the effect of throwing businesses into uncertain and unpredictable times. Those that take advantage of cloud-based services and can leverage the drop in the pound by purchasing in US dollars will gain an advantage.
What is your least favourite task during the working day?
Deleting unwanted email. It's a necessary evil.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
Probably a bear. I'm pretty cuddly, but don't ever cross me! #LOL
If you won the big one on EuroMillions, what would you do?
Travel - without a doubt. I have travelled all over the world with my work but there are still many places I have not been to and I would love to do that.
What is your worst habit?
Working. I find myself having to force myself to put down my laptop or phone. In this connected, always-on world I think that's one of the things that has changed lives. I never want to disappoint customers and I always want to respond quickly to queries when I can. I get withdrawal pretty quickly if I am not ‘connected' to something.
How has 2016 been for you?
Great! We've won a string of awards this year and that's good news for all of my team. I'm very proud of them. Business remains buoyant in spite of Brexit.
If you didn't work in the IT channel, what would be your dream career?
Probably in marine engineering or the automotive world. My first degree was in engineering and that's the world I grew up in. I was always fascinated by the oceans as a kid and it seemed a natural progression. But I got a sponsorship in the automotive sector after A-levels and did a sandwich degree in engineering. So a career in automotive engineering seemed the most likely route, until I started programming as a hobby and then I became hooked on IT.
What major issues will the channel face in 2017?
A change in culture rather than technological. The advent of AI and the rapid developments in that area will mean big changes in people accepting a world where automation and ultimately humanoid robots will start to take over people's jobs. We've seen it already in manufacturing but only now are we starting to see ‘intelligence' being properly built into human-looking robots, and that's going to need a mindset shift. It may go beyond 2017 but that's when I think we'll see more ingenuity and inventiveness appear. Virtual reality will explode next year and this will pave the way for the mindset change I mentioned. It's going to be pretty interesting in 2017. For partners the IoT and AI areas will be massive.
CEO Graeme Watt admits the trading climate is becoming a little more uncertain as he and CFO Graham Charlton reflect on the reseller's £1bn year
Security vendor appoints Infinigate as part of strategy to grow channel business
As the trade war between the US and China ramps up, Marian McHugh investigates what impact this will have on UK prices and how partners are adapting to higher costs
CRN quizzes Avaya CEO Jim Chirico on the firm's progress after exiting Chapter 11 earlier this year, and listing on the stock exchange