Mark Forster      

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Mark Forster      

Managing director, Comms-care

What was your dream career as a child?

I never really had a dream career as a child; I just knew I wanted to be the best at ‘something'. I didn't know what ‘something' was… and I still don't!

What has been your personal highlight of 2019?

Well, I have a 15-year-old daughter who is my highlight of every year. In terms of business, Comms-care closed our single largest deal in the companies history which was a complete solution from product and pre-sales to manage and optimise. Watching the team (which includes the partner and end customer) work so well together… that was the highlight.

Which famous person deserves a (gentle) slap?

Steering clear of the emotive world of politics (and the list being too extensive), I would give a gentle slap to whoever thought VAR was a good idea.

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

I fairly recently bought a house and I don't like the kitchen so I think I would grab the house insurance documents and some marshmallows.

Which of your 2019 predictions have come to pass?

In 2018 when I became managing director, the first thing Comms-care did was invest in a dedicated and specialist service design function as I expected the channel demand for solution-based services and enablement to rocket. I am glad we did! And Man City to win the league.

What TV show have you binge watched this year?

I am a massive Peaky Blinders fan (I wore the hats before the series!) but I also like light-hearted shows that I don't really need to watch, like Still Game and The Office (UK version only; yes, I know how old it is).

How has 2019 been from a business perspective

Excellent - I couldn't be happier with our performance in 2019. We have had some exceptional wins, which has the whole company buzzing and we are loving the journey that our partners are on with us. There seems to be a greater appetite than ever before to take on end user challenges together and that collaboration is something we are really passionate about. We are investing in new services to help partners respond to the challenges posed by their customer base and it is great to be part of that evolution, which is having a positive effect on every element of the business.

What annoys you most about your commute?

Why a country, with our economic and technological strength, can't seem to get a really stable cellular connection is beyond me. I have been known to get a little emotional when having phone signal challenges.

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

I think I would like to have attended some great musical events that I missed out on, like the last Oasis gig or Woodstock.

How do you explain the channel to people?

I tend to wheel out different metaphors depending on who I am talking too but generally I find outdated terms such as "resellers" and "ultimate end customer" are still the ones people relate to the most!

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

Las Vegas and Las Vegas. I have had some amazing times in Vegas and it caters so well for large partner conferences, but in the same breath I think you can also get a little "Vegas'd out".

What is the biggest challenge facing the channel in 2020?

The three P's: People, Pace and Partners! People and recruitment continues to be a challenge as the channel scrambles for resource with ‘in-demand' skills. Pace and the speed to react to an increasingly knowledgeable customer and pressures from vendors to adopt the technologies they are investing in will add to the pressure of channel strategies. In order to react to the first two challenges, partnering will be increasingly important. The complexity of selecting the correct partner can be a challenge but the upfront work of scratching under the surface to build confidence in the right partner will make the world of difference to the longevity of the relationship.

 

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