What has been your personal highlight of 2020?
It has to be watching Microsoft and our partners come together during COVID-19, to provide critical services to support our national infrastructure and empower front-line workers to deliver incredible and brave achievements. From clinicians using HoloLens devices to continue critical care in hospitals and keep staff safe, to our involvement in VentilatorChallengeUK, it has been amazing to see how technology has helped at such a significant time.
Which three celebrities would you invite to a Zoom party?
Well it would be Teams… and it would be Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Jacinda Ardern. I would want to discuss how they have managed the role of running a country during a crisis. I think we would receive quite the mix of responses and approaches!
What has been your guiltiest lockdown pleasure?
It was a lockdown rite of passage to indulge in a Netflix bingeworthy series, like Tiger King. Personally, I spent a lot of time educating myself on the US property market through Selling Sunset!
Which tech figurehead has inspired you most this year, and why?
Satya Nadella, our CEO. His approach to prioritising skills as a core business priority should be observed by companies of all sizes. He is focused on how Microsoft can help individuals get the skills needed to succeed in technology-based roles and helping to employers find the talent required to ensure business success and UK prosperity.
In response to this we have just announced a five-year campaign to help 1.5 million people build careers in technology and help 300,000 connect to tech job opportunities.
What piece of technology, or app, have you not been able to do without during the pandemic?
Teams and Teams backgrounds. It's enabled us keep our business and our customers connected through the pandemic and having the ability to change and blur backgrounds means that you can work from virtually anywhere.
If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and what would you do?
I would be Bear Grylls and take the opportunity to get away from the lockdown day to day and be at one with nature. I think a week would be more than enough though.
Do you miss face-to-face events?
I do, but it has been great to see how events have adapted following the pandemic. Inspire, our annual partner conference, was fully virtual and fantastic this year. We had more than 7,000 partners from the UK join.
I never thought I would miss Vegas but I did miss the informal connections and opportunities to catch up with partners, friends and colleagues.
How will COVID leave its mark on the way the channel operates long term?
We must learn from this new way of working and find our equilibrium. I envisage that there will be a lot less travel but hope that in turn this will create more meaningful in-person connections.
The channel has certainly faced unprecedented challenges following COVID-19, as every industry has. Businesses now have an opportunity to focus on making quick and easy changes with talent, future readiness and technology, to remain competitive and ensure sustainable growth into the future.