General manager, Sigma Software Distribution
What is your greatest career move to date?
Moving from being vendor relations manager at Sigma to general manager. Having a touch on so many areas of the business alongside a desire to understand what everyone else was doing meant I had a really broad knowledge of how the company operated. Stepping up to being the GM and ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the company has been pretty exhilarating.
What is top of your bucket list?
Actually taking some of the annual leave I'm supposed to have each year now that I have a great management team to support me.
What has changed most since you started working in the channel?
The use of technology within channel organisations that streamlines business processes. We make our money through recommending technology to end
users, so seeing the channel practice what we preach has been a huge step in the right direction.
How do you think Brexit is going to affect the channel?
Brexit has brought uncertainty to the channel and the larger projects are being placed on hold while we get some clarity on how the land will lie after Article 50 has been triggered. However, one thing I'm confident of is that being an agile company in the face of a fast-changing business environment provides Sigma with an opportunity to remain a steadfast channel partner as we have been throughout previous periods of sustained uncertainty.
What is your least favourite task during the working day?
The formality of emailing when a quick call would get things actioned.
If you were an animal, what would you be?
I'm sure my team could come up with some hilarious answers to this one, but basing this purely on characteristics I'd have to say an elephant. I have years of knowledge and experience, I'm loyal and you don't want to get in my way.
If you won the big one on EuroMillions, what would you do?
I'd definitely carry on working - I'm a grafter and the idea of lazing about and having people fussing around makes me uncomfortable. I wouldn't quit my job in a blaze of glory either; I've put too much effort into my career to end it all on an unprofessional note. It's nice to dream, but I don't play the lottery so there's no chance of that ever happening.
What is your worst habit?
I take an active interest in all parts of Sigma's business and therefore I have an opinion on everything as well. Anyone that knows me wouldn't be surprised to hear that I think my worst habit is getting in there first and making my point - strongly. I don't have time to tip-toe around the business, but I can appreciate my approach can leave some of the faint hearted a bit winded.
How has 2016 been for you?
The first part was a challenge, with significant internal reshuffles at some of our vendors all taking place at the same time. However, we have maintained our relationships and proven our value, which has meant we're ending 2016 with an even stronger portfolio than we started.
If you didn't work in the IT channel, what would be your dream career?
I didn't exactly stumble blindly into the IT channel, so I'd say I'm pretty happy with the career I've carved for myself to date. I like working hands-on with a team of talented people who can achieve great things together. For me the journey is more exciting than the destination, so working for a feisty underdog like Sigma is pretty spot on right now, but I suppose if it wasn't the IT channel it would have to be a career where you can use strength and passion to compete and win, like professional tennis.
What major issues will the channel face in 2017?
Uncertainty - obviously Brexit is going to be the dominant factor next year. Compliance - GDPR is causing everyone to reassess their data policies, so channel partners without a robust data management plan in place will fall short in 2017. Competence - with major projects on hold, mergers, acquisitions, hostile takeovers and EU fears gripping the IT industry, we could see a lot of the talent in our industry jumping ship. Timing - get in there first or wait to see what happens? Some businesses don't have a choice, but it's all to play for in 2017, as long as you make the right moves.