Advisor, Targeting Growth
What is your greatest career move to date?
Twenty-five years ago I moved ‘down south' to establish SCC in the south of England, an area where the company had struggled for years. I managed to build a business of more than 100 staff and £80m revenue. It was outstanding experience and success, being part of the management team that took the Midlands-based company to number two in the UK. It is a position that they have maintained until this year, but I am not sure for how much longer.
What is top of your bucket list?
Travel around the world, learning, eating and drinking.
What has changed most since you started working in the channel?
First sale: Apple 2e with 48K RAM, 5½ floppy drive (128K), external 5MB hard drive, £3,500 (£10,675 in today's money), 35 per cent margin. Today: 64GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, £650, five per cent margin.
How do you think Brexit is going to affect the channel?
Over the time that I have worked within the channel, there have been many challenges and changes. Throughout this time the combined business acumen of the channel has always managed to find a way to make things work. It is likely to affect the pan-European companies more, but I am sure that as long as there is an acceptance that things have to change, then the industry will stay strong. If there are any real problems, then I am sure that Boris and Nigel will be able to help.
What is your least favourite task during the working day?
Anything that is routine, repetitive, producing reports that never get read and driven by spreadsheets.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
A penguin. Now you see it, now you don't. Aggressive yet gentle, outgoing but shy, stable yet flighty - everyone sees the penguin in a different way. It's that black and white thing: the penguin only reveals the side that it wants to you to see. So whether you like this darling-devil or not, you have to concede that it's a fascinating and enigmatic individual.
If you won the big one on EuroMillions, what would you do?
First I would look after my family and make sure that they have what they need. Then I would look at broadening out to family friends and associates. I would look to help to develop young people that haven't had the same chances that my children and I have had. The work I have done with young enterprise has shown me that there is a lot of talent within the country that is going to waste.
What is your worst habit?
I am sure I have lots. I was reluctant to ask for help to decide which would be my worst. Maybe that's it: reluctant to ask for help.
How has 2016 been for you?
On balance it has been a good year. I have been working with a distributor that realises the market is changing and decided to introduce a range of cloud services. I have therefore been able to work with them and recruit MSP partners. I have been helping MSPs develop their strategies and get their selling propositions defined. I have learnt a great deal about the challenges that these companies face. I also had the first of my children get married and the second buy their first house. I sometimes wish there was a manual for being a parent.
If you didn't work in the IT channel, what would be your dream career?
I wanted to be a doctor. I'm not sure that is glamorous but it offered a great challenge and you would always be learning new things and problem-solving. Maybe even making the world a better place.
What major issues will the channel face in 2017?
If you are not adding value, you are a cost.
Your latest issue of CRN
Top VARs is back, with the top 100 firms logging collective revenues of £17.4bn in their latest financial years. The profiles can be viewed here, and we will be adding all the related content to this hub over the coming days.
Top VARs 2019 shows double digit growth and slight improvement in profit margins for 100 firms featured