Alex Louth

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Managing director, Logicalis

What was your dream career as a child?

As I'm sure is the case for many people, my dream career as a child couldn't be more different to what I do now. I used to love a TV show called CHiPs about two police officers - Ponch and Jon - who go around California busting crime. Unsurprisingly, after watching many, many episodes of the show, all I wanted was to grow up and do the same.

As I got older though I realised that I liked the warmth and comfort that an office job brought with it and that perhaps I wasn't cut out to be a police officer after all.

What has been your personal highlight of 2019?

I can't say that anything overly eventful has happened in my personal life this year - but to me that's definitely a good thing. All of the main live events like getting married, having children and buying our dream home and the (good) stress that accompanies them have all been done in previous years so it's nice to be able to just enjoy having stability and living the life that we spent a lot of time building.

However, last weekend I watched two of my children lose heavily in football - and I probably found it more amusing than I should have! That was definitely one highlight of this year.

Which famous person deserves a (gentle) slap?

I'm going to have to go with Elon Musk. Don't get me wrong, he's done some incredible things and in many ways is truly inspirational. I just think it's such a shame that he ruins this by portraying himself so badly in the media. We all have opinions and thoughts that we maybe shouldn't have but we can't put our every thought on the internet. It's not just Elon Musk though, it's any celebrity that uses social media badly. What are you thinking?

What two things (apart from family) would you grab if your house was on fire?

The first thing to save would be my dog Daisy. Even though I'm not that attached to her, my wife is and she would be lost without her!

The second thing would be my car. It's a fantastic 1962 Porsche 356 - a truly beautiful car - and I would be devastated if it was ruined! It also has sentimental value because it was the one thing I treated myself to after I sold my last business. It represents everything that I worked so hard for.

Which of your 2019 predictions have come to pass?

From a personal perspective, I'm not sure if this counts but I predicted that I would get a new job and I did - not altogether surprising as I was actively looking for one!

In terms of industry predictions, I predicted that cloud would be important but that we would never be 100% cloud. This year we have definitely seen that not all workloads have gone to the cloud - cloud is important but there will always be industries and workloads that just don't suit the model.

What TV show have you binge watched this year?

One TV show I've loved this year is The Handmaid's Tale. In my opinion it's one of the few cases where the TV adaptation is actually better than the book. Margaret Atwood is a great writer but she's extremely descriptive so the book felt a bit slow-moving at times, whereas the TV show was just great. My son has also been studying the book as part of his A-level course so I've enjoyed us watching the series together. I also loved Stranger Things, because it made me feel a bit nostalgic. For those who don't know, the latest series is set in the 1980s when Back to The Future was just released. I can't wait for the next series!

How has 2019 been from a business perspective?

The obvious thing to note this year is Brexit and the increasing uncertainty of what is to come. I think this year everyone in the UK has realised that Brexit will more than likely have an impact to their businesses. It will slow down some areas and speed up others. This instability and uncertainty has certainly changed the market and meant that many businesses are less likely to make major decisions or take risks until they are certain about what impact Brexit will have to them. It will be interesting to see how this will change in 2020.

What annoys you most about your commute?

I take the train to work every day and one thing that can be irritating is when people take bikes on the train during busy periods. It's not an issue when the train is quieter but it's frustrating to see people bring bikes during rush hour that take up the equivalent space of two or three people. With Boris bikes around London I just don't understand the need to take your bike on the train!

If you could witness one past event, what would it be?

I would have loved to have witnessed the falling of the Berlin Wall. When the wall came down I was still at school and the event was all over the television. In those days there were only four channels to choose from and all of them were focusing on it for weeks. The collapse of the Berlin Wall seemed so monumental/significant at that time because I was at a very influential age - I was only 12 or 13 years old. I think many members of my generation also see this event as being significant for the same reason. Interestingly, when I was in Berlin on a stag do a few years ago my peers were equally interested in seeing the remains of the wall and exploring the history, whereas younger members of the group who hadn't heard about it growing up weren't as bothered!

It also happened at a time in my life when I became interested in Europe and business. The falling of the wall happened so close to the UK and had a big impact to Europe as a whole - it was a momentous time in history that I would have loved to have witnessed.

How do you explain the channel to people?

Imagine you had a dairy farm with a bunch of cows who are there to make milk and therefore money. However, without a milkman you wouldn't actually get anything to your customers. The channel is the milkman.

It is a group of partners that help companies all over the world of all sizes to increase and spread the value of their products and services. The channel allows companies to get into markets via partner networks, which is extremely valuable in this day and age.

What have been your favourite and least favourite partner conference destinations?

My least favourite is definitely Vegas. I'll admit that it was brilliant the first time I went but it's one of those places that loses its allure very quickly! Once you've seen the casinos and done the drinking and gambling there isn't really much else and it's just a bit… Vegasy? I think it's also because I've been there far too much. There aren't many other destinations that can host 60,000 people. However, San Francisco is the complete antithesis. Every time I visit there's a different buzz - different events and things to explore. It's a very interesting city!

What is the biggest challenge facing the channel in 2020?

It's definitely that customers are looking to work with IT differently, asking more of both the vendor and partner. This, in turn, means shrinking value for procurement relationships. Customers are looking for long-term value from their partner relationships - I'm talking eight to ten years - meaning that it's never been more important to establish a value-added relationship.

That's not to say that shorter relationships don't exist or that there's no appetite. But for both partners and vendors, it can be difficult to establish how to do more for customers and how to make the relationship a more meaningful one that adds true value.

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