Playing rugby for England made me a great negotiator

Doug Woodburn
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Playing rugby for England made me a great negotiator

Former England rugby scrum-half Andy Gomarsall - who is now a director at IT lifecycle management outfit N2S - will be reflecting on the parallels between sport and business at CRN's upcoming MSP London conference.

Andy Gomarsall MBE says the negotiation skills he learned on the rugby field have been crucial to his second career in the channel.

The former England scrum-half is now a director and shareholder of N2S, a Bury St Edmonds-based IT asset lifecycle management outfit with 55 staff.

Gomarsall will be appearing as a special guest at the MSP London Conference to discuss the channel opportunity around sustainable technology, as well as the parallels between sport and business.

MSPs and resellers can register to attend the event for free here.

Having hung up his boots in 2010, Gomarsall took the qualities he used to cajole and inspire a pack of 18-stone forwards straight into his role at N2S, he told CRN ahead of the event.

"Where I was positioned was very much in the middle. I was an organiser and a communicator," he said.

"What I learned is that sometimes it's difficult to ask someone to put their head where you wouldn't if they're much bigger than you. You learned the art of negotiation well. That ideal of trying to objectively finish with a win-win in all sorts of situations, when you're a channel business, that's where you use that skill set.

"The negotiation element of sport is so wonderfully paralleled in business."

N2S's mission is to maximise the value of end-of-life IT and telecoms assets. The firm, which was co-founded by Gomarsall's father, Jack, is currently working with Coventry University to develop bio-leaching technology to extract from printed circuit boards precious metals which are burnt today.

"I'm very fortunate that family is a major part of my life," said Gomarsall, who was part of Sir Clive Woodward's 2003 World Cup winning team.

"The reason I played rugby is because of my father. And the reason I'm in the IT industry now is because of my father. He's a big deal in my life."

Sustainability opportunity

Sustainability is rising up the pecking order for IT buyers, signalling an opportunity for resellers and MSPs, Gomarsall said.

"When I first came into the industry, not many end users had anyone with a role to do with sustainability, and this is changing massively," he said.

"I don't judge resellers on whether they are involved in this world or not, but my feeling is that if they're not [in it] in the next five to ten years then they will not be competing".

Arrow's decision to exit IT asset disposal underlines the fact that the market in which N2S plays can be complex and difficult to understand, Gomarsall said.

"We've already seen a case of a distie saying ‘we don't want to play in this game anymore', so it is a challenging marketplace," he said.

"But it's a necessity, and it can also be a very profitable market. I'm pleased to say that some people in the industry - and it's normally the leadership - are very strong in supporting us and the other ITADs [IT asset disposal firms] and that we are a hugely respected part of the food chain."

Your chance to interview an ex England ruby star

Gomarsall will take part in a Q&A at the MSP London conference. Held on 2 October, the event will focus on how MSPs can future proof their business in the face of multiple new challenges and opportunities.

We are hunting for an MSP or reseller boss to put the questions to the former England rugby star. If you are rugby mad and a top executive at an MSP or reseller, or know someone that fits this description, please get in touch with Doug Woodburn at [email protected]

Among the other event highlights, award-winning cybersecurity blogger Graham Cluley will be exploring how MSPs can build a compelling narrative around cybersecurity.

Back by popular demand, the CEO and CTO of ANS will also be laying out the Manchester-based firm's (almost overnight) reinvention from reseller to cloud services provider. 

See here for the full agenda.

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