'I'm looking forward to asking him who will win the World Cup'

Doug Woodburn
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'I'm looking forward to asking him who will win the World Cup'

Ultima CEO Scott Dodds will sit down with former England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall at CRN's MSP London conference next week

Scott Dodds is hoping to squeeze a World Cup prediction from Andy Gomarsall when he sits down to quiz the former England scrum half at CRN Channel Conference - MSP next Wednesday.

Gomarsall will be at the event to talk about sustainable tech in his current guise as a director of N2S.

CRN put out a call for a rugby-mad MSP boss to put the questions to the England World Cup winner, and Ultima Business Solutions CEO Dodds duly stepped up.

Talking to CRN ahead of the event, which MSP and resellers can register to attend for free here, Dodds said he is looking forward to grilling Gomarsall on the links between elite sport and business.

"I'm always fascinated by how many analogies there are between top-performance sport and top-performing businesses," he said.

"We all need to learn from sport in business at some level. He's been right at the top of the rugby world and now has a really good business he's running.

"Obviously with the World Cup on, I'm keen to get his position on who's going to win it."

Gomarsall's business works in the field of IT asset lifecycle management, and is currently working with Coventry University to develop bio-leaching technology to extract from printed circuit boards precious metals which are burnt today.

Like most resellers and MSPs, Ultima is forging ahead with its sustainability initiatives, Dodds said.

"It's a continuing priority. From our own perspective, we're in the process of moving virtually all of our technology to cloud and doing away with most of our on-premises technology," he said.

"But in terms of the customer side, particularly in relation to Andy's business, it's about how we ethically recycle properly. When Andy talks about what they do at N2S it's about the breaking down of that technology literally to bits of gold and plastic - they even collect dust. That's going to be fantastic to talk about."

Awareness may be rising among end customers, but Dodds said the top task for MSPs and resellers is how to create a compelling story around sustainability.

"For me that's really about the concept of hybrid: moving more of your older, less efficient and less sustainable tech into a more sustainable cloud model with better power and lower consumption, as well as the devices bit that you still manage and then the smart building management on top," he said.

"All of those things come together as a story. Honestly, I don't know if it's high enough on everyone's agenda yet, but it's certainly becoming a much bigger topic."

The technology sector has a mixed record when it comes to its environmental footprint, with tech's ability to cut the need for air travel cancelled out by headlines stating that Bitcoin consumes more energy than Switzerland, for instance.

But tech is by and large a force for good when it comes to sustainability, Dodds maintained.

"The four or five key global cloud platforms - the Microsoft Azures of this world - have a huge role to play because of the scale and therefore the efficiencies they provide in these global datacentres. I love the Microsoft story about the datacentre under the sea in Scotland. We have to look at the global cloud platform providers for this bleeding-edge stuff.

"Travel is certainly one of Greta Thunberg's top discussion points. Clearly, technology allows you to do videoconferencing and teleconferencing at much greater scale and fidelity. Some of that will play to virtual reality in the future, which means you can have 3D meetings. That [innovation] is not going to slow down. If [more meetings and discussions] can be done via better technology rather than physically, that has a role to play in reducing power and costs as well. There's a bit of a balance in moving from one type of carbon footprint to another. But I think as the chips and power management gets more efficient we will see a reduction in that global footprint."

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. 

MSP bosses will also have the opportunity to quiz private equity experts on how they can maximise the value of their business during a panel discussion.

See here for the full agenda.

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