Kevin Sparks

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Director UK/I alliances, channels and distribution, EMC UK

What achievement are you most proud of?

Bringing people into sales that started their career in another field. Hiring based on attitude, ability to learn, likeability, effort and energy.

What has been the biggest change in the channel since you started working in it?

The pace of change. Customers are more aware and demanding flexibility, speed, choice and cost efficiencies. We have the solutions, they need it, we just need to get it to them. Our channel is the most effective way to build a more complete solution for our mutual customers; we need to run at the opportunity ahead.

What three things could you not live without?

1. My car - my daily commute is 1.5-2 hours each way. 2. My phone - to keep me sane during that commute with a ‘human touch'. 3. Radio - Chris Evans keeping my feet on the ground between calls.

What has been your most embarrassing moment so far?

Interviewing a candidate off the wrong CV; a good 15 minutes went by without realising. He got hired, which is ironic.

What do your family think you do all day?

Meetings, lunch, more meetings and calls!

Who is your ultimate celeb crush?

Kylie Minogue. She comes across as a real person. More of a crush stemming from my youth but still there!

What is your guilty pleasure?

Game shooting.

What would be your first act if you were made Prime Minister?

Embrace more diversity and build much stronger relations will all nations, from the "all powerful" to the challenged.

Has 2015 been a good, bad or ugly year?

There is a continual challenge in such a fast-changing environment around getting the solutions we have available from our own company, with the added capability from our partners, to our customers to help them transform their business, in a simple-to-understand, simple-to-buy, simple-to-consume method. We are in the midst of a digital era, an IT revolution, but we have to be at the helm of this challenge and grab the opportunity with both hands!

If you didn't work in the IT channel, what would you do?

Portfolio career; buying and selling classic cars, property renovation (buying and selling), antiques and salvage hunting.

What major issues will the channel face in 2016?

Defining intellectual property and maximising the opportunity therein. The channel should not be asked to justify value; rather they should be looking at partnering at the beginning, middle and end of a buying cycle to maximise their opportunity to create incremental margin based on their "own" capability. Those businesses that fail to partner throughout the buying cycle will see themselves struggling to move away from selling "products" and to where the real opportunity is, selling services that meet the customers' need for innovation in this digital world.

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