WOMEN IN TECH AND DIVERSITY
September 2021 www.pcr-online.biz
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TheEditor It’s the people that count
t goes without saying that it’s important to have the right people for the job as after all it’s the employees that keep the cogs of a business turning. There are many companies in the channel already that put a significant emphasis on creating a balanced and inclusive workplace culture. Take for instance Extertis, a company that has put a lot of resources into creating the right work environment. For this issue as we have a focus on Diversity and Women In Tech, Exertis held an internal roundtable to discuss its employee’s views on how the company has worked towards creating a workplace of diversity and inclusion. Encouraging more women into tech is very much on the agenda of many companies and we spoke to a broad cross section of ladies across the channel who were keen to share their positive experiences of working in the tech sector and why more women should be recruited, all the way from grass roots level right up to top tier one executive management. We spoke with Ramsac’s Sally Cooper about the diversity lag and why we need women in tech. Privitar’s Victoria Normak discusses what life is like as a female Chief Technology Officer and her views on why we are not adequately teaching IT as a subject in elementary school. Google Cloud’s Adaire Fox-Martin discusses her indirect career path into tech and what inspired her to pursue the career path she took. Tech Data has launched a new business resource group, that aims to embrace LGBTQ+ personnel encouraging diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We caught up with David Watts, Tech Data’s Senior Vice President, UK and Ireland to find out more. The tech sector has always embraced innovation so being open to diversity and inclusion should go hand in hand with this but it takes focus and realisation to make things happen and clearly many in the channel are working hard to achieve this and this issue, dedicated to Diversity in the channel and Women in Tech is testament to that.
Michelle Winny, Editor
Editorial: 0759 529 8729 Advertising: 0787 259 4600
September 2021 | 3
September 2021 06 Retail Analysis: eCommerce: The click culture 14 Industry Opinions 20 Big Interview with Exertis 26 Tech Data’s David Watts 28 Exabeam’s Sherry Lowe 30 The Diversity Lag – It’s Why We Need Women in Tech
32 Women in tech: Privitar’s Victoria Normak 34 Women in tech: Google Cloud’s Adaire Fox-Martin 40 Top 5 Tech: WatchGuard’s Corey Nachreiner 43 PCR’s Under 30’s Rising Stars winner interview 46 Sector guides: Tech for the hybrid work environment
48 Life in the channel: BT Wholesale’s Gavin Jones
PCRmag September 2021 | 5
eCommerce: The click culture
Cas Paton, Founder and CEO of OnBuy.com talks to Michelle Winny, Editor of PCR about how shopping trends have evolved following the pandemic and the way we have embraced eCommerce as part of everyday life.
t’s almost impossible to ignore the importance of online shopping today eCommerce has become a crucial part of retail. The pandemic encouraged so many consumers online, including those who’d never tried it before, and in many cases, it’s led them to develop new shopping habits. Here’s what OnBuy’s Cas Paton had to say.
Why is it now more important than ever for retailers to develop an eCommerce strategy?
The eCommerce industry has accelerated faster in the past 12 months since the pandemic, than it would have done over five years, had circumstances in the industry played out as ordinarily projected. It’s clear that these shopping patterns created by the pandemic are here to stay, and customer expectations are high. There was a grace period at the start as customers appreciated the time businesses needed to adapt, but that’s a distant memory now. Buyers expect retailers to meet their needs, and to be at the top of the game when doing so, each and every time. 6
Retailers need to think about how they can evolve their business model to meet the needs of the modern consumer. Building your eCommerce strategy doesn’t need to be daunting, and marketplaces like OnBuy.com can help you take a step in the right direction. If you haven’t yet ventured into the world of eCommerce, marketplaces are a great way to get started. Due to their large buyer audiences and prebuilt ecosystems, marketplaces provide you with a readyto-go online sales function that doesn’t involve complex development or huge investments. They’re low-cost, relatively risk free and give you the opportunity to refine your processes to learn what works and what doesn’t - all of which can inform your eCommerce strategy going forward.
How is OnBuy seeing the digital retail landscape evolve post-pandemic?
Buying habits have seen a fundamental shift as the 2020s have got into gear. The purchase of home goods, luxury items and pet-care products through online channels grew enormously during the pandemic. Yet the items that were historically bought in a physical store have seen the biggest transformation, and are influencing the way the online retail landscape is evolving as we emerge from the pandemic. This includes groceries and household goods – bought online initially due to shortages in the earliest lockdown era, many customers are now opting to continue buying household goods online for simplicity. There are even subscription models based around this concept too. Having a one-stop-shop hugely appeals to customers as well, which is a big reason why marketplaces remain popular. As an example, OnBuy has 17 departments and over 35 million items onsite, with each listing contributed by an independent business. A customer can buy a £30k engagement ring, their dog’s kibble and a new shelving unit for their home, all from one online destination, as a single transaction that eats very little into their time. That convenience and variety is what customers are looking for, and that is what is driving the evolution of digital retail. As such, it’s not just about having a big and varied inventory, it’s also about meeting customers where they are - be that on their computers, on their mobile devices, in a physical store or, increasingly, via embedded purchasing options in social media apps. This omnichannel approach is exciting, as it slices through the previous rhetoric that physical and digital retail ought to be at loggerheads. While it’s true that, classically, the advantages of one would be touted as a reason to outperform the other, today it’s increasingly recognised that there are numerous www.pcr-online.biz
ways in which the convenience of online retail and the tactile browse-factor of brick-and-mortar stores can work in harmony.
What trends in buying patterns is OnBuy experiencing?
One pattern that stands out, looking at the first five months of 2021, is that the average order value has increased, with customers spending on average 24% more on their first purchases and 26% on repeat purchases in May 2021, when compared to January this year. The crucial element here is transparency, together with trust and convenience. While there’s no denying that fraud and cybercrime have grown in lockstep with the rise of online shopping, customer caution has also grown in kind. Online shoppers today are smart, and with search engines at their fingertips it’s never been easier to find the best deal for the best product. Likewise, they can deduce if a website offering a standout deal or a hard-to-find product is legitimate or not in short order. Notably, customer loyalty has taken a hit during this process, driven by the fact that customers who had their lifestyles disrupted by the onset of the global
“The biggest challenge is that online shopping has historically been quite faceless – lacking in the personal touches you get when shopping face to face. Altogether, things have been very product-focused, and the seller has often had very little visibility. Yet with the rising trend of supporting independent businesses very present in buyers’ minds today, it’s going to become even more critical for customers to get a sense of that personal shopping experience when buying online.” September 2021 | 7
Where is eCommerce lacking most in terms of the buying experience?
health crisis have been forced to shop around. If a customer needs something and your platform never has it in stock, it’s only natural they’ll broaden their horizons – however loyal to your brand they otherwise have been. The advantage there, of course, is that retailers have had the chance to put their best foot forward and win new and loyal customers by offering viable, efficient and satisfying alternatives to the ways a given customer may have shopped before. The floor is still open for retailers to showcase their trustworthiness, transparency and commitment to excellence in service today, meaning there’s everything to play for.
How has the online customer experience evolved?
The closure of non-essential retail during the pandemic has pushed eCommerce providers to ensure that their customer experience is as good as it can be. Customer retention and reducing basket abandonment have been two key areas of concern. Expected delivery dates and delivery costs are highly influential in a customer’s buying decision, so making that information easily accessible to the shopper is critical - and living up to your promises in this regard even more so. Remember, the goal today is to replicate the experience of physically seeing and handling an in-store product as much as possible when making an online listing - including ways to anticipate any questions a customer might have. Without the ability to go into physical stores during the pandemic, customers have had to find other ways to determine the quality of a product before ordering online. That has been a huge driver in evolving the customer’s online shopping experience. Verified reviews and clear product photography are the best ways for customers to get a feel for the product they want to buy, and so have become even more important than ever before. Descriptive, informative copy and online video overviews from third parties and influencers have also had an increasing stake in the buyer journey, and this will only grow as we all move forward into the new normal. 8
The biggest challenge is that online shopping has historically been quite faceless – lacking in the personal touches you get when shopping face to face. Altogether, things have been very product-focused, and the seller has often had very little visibility. Yet with the rising trend of supporting independent businesses very present in buyers’ minds today, it’s going to become even more critical for customers to get a sense of that personal shopping experience when buying online. At OnBuy, we’re responding to this by developing ways that we can showcase our sellers even more - bringing a human touch to a digital experience. Because every seller on our marketplace is their own unique business, we give them the chance to create their own storefront profiles and let their brands shine on our marketplace, without harming the uniformity and ease of use of our website.
How is OnBuy supporting traditional high street vendors in making the transition to eCommerce platforms?
We’ve aimed to make selling with OnBuy as barrier-free as possible, because we recognise the growing use of eCommerce for business growth. OnBuy has fixed, transparent selling fees for all retailers, no matter their size or sales volume. This element of trust is important, because just as customers have been wary when moving more of their shopping habits online, so too are businesses cautious when transitioning from physical to digital retail, or when joining a new marketplace to complement their existing network. The sheer size of the market alone is enough to intimidate even the most seasoned business minds. Yet once a sense of ease and fluidic strategy is introduced, businesses gain a level of insight and understanding into eCommerce that lets them move into the market with confidence – and that’s a massively exciting part of why this is such a vibrant industry to be in today.
How has OnBuy achieved recent successes?
We’ve truly disrupted the market. Our traffic is at 2% of Amazon’s, 40% of John Lewis’, 50% of Very’s, 130% of Not On The Highstreet’s and 930% of Fruugo’s - all in under five years. We’ve been able to do this by filling a gap - there was a clear demand for a marketplace like OnBuy, where independent sellers are supported unconditionally, all while customers still enjoy variety, convenience and trustworthiness. OnBuy is the UK’s fourth biggest marketplace. Expanding into overseas territories, giving UK sellers the opportunity to expand their cross-border trade around the world and offering overseas retailers the chance to participate in our growth all means OnBuy will continue to expand. We’ve been growing our workforce to respond to increased demand, while remaining true to our values and mission. www.pcr-online.biz
This success reflects the discourse taking effect over much of eCommerce today. Throughout the value chain, everyone applauds the efficiency and convenience of eCommerce, but often raises concerns about its environmental impact, workers’ rights in fulfilling billions of orders worldwide, and the efficacy of the returns process. These are all crucial details we’ll continue to give our attention as we expand.
Where do you see the future of eCommerce headed?
I believe that we’ll see a shift in where customers spend their money. They’ll be looking for ways to support small, independent businesses when shopping online. The pandemic has influenced this mindset and I’ll think we’ll see that have a knock-on effect on where people spend for years to come. In the coming years, hybrid retail will become the norm. This way of working will allow online sales to complement, rather than be at loggerheads with, a brick-and-mortar presence. This is something that many brands have already adopted and will be instrumental in the evolution of the high street. Click-and-collect services help to drive footfall into brick-andmortar stores, and the more businesses can encourage the use of these systems the better. It really helps to support the entire retail ecosystem. The ‘reCommerce’ market is one to watch in the coming 12 months too, and is something I see growing massively over the next 10-15 years. With an increasingly environmental-conscious society, and pressure mounting to change habits that harm the planet, the second-hand market is set for a boom. We have thousands of refurbished electronics for sale on OnBuy, many of which are practically box-fresh. This type of shopping limits the impact that device disposal and e-waste has on the planet, which is a huge conversation in the world of technology today. While other retailers destroy returned or outmoded stock in highly destructive at-scale ways, we believe this approach gives a new lease of life to perfectly functioning products – as well as giving a revenue stream to the independent businesses who specialise in them. Similar conversations are happening in the fashion industry today too, with a growing repurpose, reuse and upcycle mindset taking hold. Furthermore, this all offers customers a more cost-effective option compared to buying new, so I think we’ll see a surge in refurbished goods sales within the year, and huge thrifting trends in the UK over the next decade. This is an area that I think eCommerce can really own.
compelling seller proposition – offering a transparent partnership, rather than competition. With simple, transparent fees and immediate payment on product dispatch, OnBuy is the marketplace of choice for a growing number of retailers. On the flip side, we’re also focused on enhancing our offering for our customers. We’ll launch an app to make shopping on OnBuy even more convenient, alongside a new loyalty scheme and plenty of other exciting initiatives that we’ll reveal in time! The international expansion of OnBuy is already underway, and that will see the marketplace in a wide range of countries – including the USA, France, Spain, and the UAE – by year-end 2023. We will have the widest reach of any online global marketplace - and this growth will be shared by businesses selling with us, as proactively or gradually as they choose.
What message can you offer to vendors to optimise their eCommerce sales?
One of the simplest but most effective things that retailers can do to improve and maximise their online sales is to ensure products are presented with high quality images and descriptions. A potential buyer will want to know exactly what they’re getting, and a series of detailed and clear images will help the customer get a feel for your product and its quality through their device. Pricing is also important. Not only should you price your products competitively where possible, but think about strategically using charm pricing, a tactic which is proven to increase sales dramatically. Explore what supporting functions your eCommerce platforms can offer too. OnBuy’s Boost ad service adds another layer of tailored product marketing for sellers, providing greater visibility of their products. With Boost, sellers only pay when they make a sale through the listing, making it a risk-free and cost-effective way to attract more customers. Most of all, stay honest, trustworthy and transparent. This, beyond anything else, is what customers want – and the best way to cement loyalty and encourage repeat transactions.
What further plans for evolution and growth does OnBuy have?
The future looks bright! OnBuy has created an eCommerce ecosystem that benefits the retailer and the customer equally. We have exciting plans to continue evolving. One of our priorities is to maintain our position as the marketplace with the most www.pcr-online.biz
September 2021 | 9
Game on with CMS Distribution and BraZen
News Body text CMS Distribution has joined forces with UK Gaming chair brand, BraZen to offer its full range of British designed PC office and sound chairs. The chairs are user centric and are designed to fit the gamers specific requirements be that mobile, console or PC user or whether they are eSports professionals or hobbyists. Quality control experts independent of the manufacturer were enlisted to ensure that the UK’s furniture rules and regulations are met. Jonpaul Warren, PC Components Product Sales Manager at CMS Distribution, said: “BraZen is the first gaming chair brand we’ve signed, and we’re thrilled to be extending our portfolio in this direction. Our main priority is our customers and exceeding their expectations. This partnership further strengthens our commitment to the progressive Gaming market.” “We are excited to be working with CMS Distribution as we feel they are the stepping stone BraZen need to grow. Our mission is to provide a great experience for our customers not only with our products but the service that is offered from our distribution partner too – this is a very important part of our business. We both share our passion for making our customers the primary importance in our business. I see a great future for BraZen and CMS Distribution as we enter a new chapter in the Gaming Chair market.” adds Gary Beresford, Founder & CEO at BraZen Gaming Chairs.
ServiceNow to Acquire Indoor Mapping Disruptor Mapwize ServiceNow is to acquire Mapwize, an indoor-mapping and wayfinding company based in Lille, France. With Mapwize, ServiceNow will provide indoor mapping capabilities for employees as they reserve seats, conference rooms, workspaces and workplace resources, as well as navigate offices, from their desktop or mobile devices. Mapwize capabilities will also help workplace teams manage and update floor maps based on usage trends and evolving real-estate needs. “In the new world of hybrid work, the role of workplace services has never been more critical in creating great employee experiences,” said Blake McConnell, SVP of Employee Workflows at ServiceNow. “With Mapwize, ServiceNow will power the future of employee experiences by making it easier for people to navigate their work environment and access the workspace information and workplace services they need to remain productive.” To support flexible and agile workplaces, ServiceNow intends to build Mapwize’s capabilities natively into the Now Platform and the Workplace Service Delivery Suite.
Carbon Intelligence teams up with Wireless Logic Wireless Logic was recently involved in developing an ambitious smart buildings programme for Carbon Intelligence, a sustainability data and consulting firm, that assists companies to move towards a zero-carbon economy and connect sustainable practices with business value. Liam Rock, Senior Energy Performance Engineer at Carbon Intelligence, said: “Our goal was to design a full end-to-end monitoring solution for building management system (BMS) and using IoT sensors to monitor and track large volumes of data in a safe, secure manner. However, if we were to stream large volumes of data from buildings, via the cloud to our analytics platform, we realised that we’d need a knowledgeable IoT connectivity specialist to help realise our vision, which is why we partnered with Wireless Logic.” By combining IoT SIMs with a fixed IP address and an overlay virtual private network (VPN), Wireless Logic was able to create an infrastructure that enabled secure, smart, two-way connectivity, providing safe and secure data management. Incidentally, one of the first test buildings for the programme was the Wireless Logic headquarters in Hurley, UK where Carbon Intelligence were able to reduce carbon by 25%.
Onfido establishes Benelux presence and partners with Lynk & Co Onfido is teaming up with Lynk & Co in Benelux, adding to the list of customers Onfido already supports in the region, including challenger bank bunq and LeasePlan Bank. Onfido has also announced the establishment of its regional HQ in Amsterdam, to offer further support for European customers given the increased demand for trusted identity services, particularly from financial services and mobility sectors where identity verification is essential in verifying real identities remotely and combating identity fraud. Lynk & Co, which offers a membership-based mobility solution to consumers, has integrated Onfido’s AI-powered document and biometric verification solution to verify users quickly and efficiently. By integrating Onfido, Lynk & Co customers are able to sign 10
up to the service by simply taking a photo of their ID (identity document) and also taking a selfie. Onfido first checks that the ID is genuine and not fraudulent, and then matches the ID to the user’s face, ensuring that the person presenting the identity is its legitimate owner and is physically present. Mike Tuchen, Onfido CEO added: “Benelux is a growing hotbed of international fintech activity that requires robust identity verification for KYC. This has been an area of growth for Onfido and we’re committed to providing the best possible service to our existing customers, as well as growing our business in the region. The establishment of our Netherlands office reflects this, and the significant potential that comes with the rate of innovation across all the Benelux markets.” www.pcr-online.biz
Exabeam has appointed former Forescout and McAfee executive Pedro Abreu as chief operating officer. In this role, Abreu will lead worldwide business operations, customer success, and customer support teams at Exabeam. With more than 20 years of industryleading operational and management experience, Abreu is recognised as a thought leader among customer and partner communities and has a proven track record of scaling global organisations. Prior to Exabeam, Pedro served as chief product and strategy officer at Forescout, which included corporate strategy, business operations, R&D, and product functions.
Com Laude has appointed Martin Sutton to lead the Group’s dotBrand Services along with Christa Taylor, who will drive all its marketing initiatives for the next round. Nick Wood, Exec Chair of Com Laude Group said: “Martin and Christa bring extensive knowledge and experience in the world of new gTLDs, having been involved with applicants in the last round and actively engaged in the domain industry, including the global policymaking body, ICANN, for many years.
12 | September 2021
This month’s movers and shakers in the tech industry...
N-able, Inc. has named Kathleen Pai as its new chief people officer. Pai brings vast experience across all elements of human resources strategy and people development, and will help nurture, support, and grow the global N-able team. Pai will be responsible for driving the global people strategy for N-able, along with overseeing people operations, business partners, total rewards, talent acquisition, talent development, internal communications and engagement programs to support the company’s growth. Prior to joining SolarWinds in January 2020, Kathleen served as vice president of people at Ultimate Software.
Sisense has appointment Gilad Katz as Senior Vice President, Engineering. Gilad will lead the company’s global engineering and development department, which spans Kiev, the U.S.A. and Israel. Gilad has more than 20 years of experience leading large-scale engineering, both in enterprise SaaS companies as well as in early-stage start-ups. In his most recent role, Gilad led the R&D and Product teams at AppsFlyer, where he grew the engineering department from 60 engineers to more than 300, developing one of the industry’s top Cloud 100 mission critical SaaS production systems that brought the company over $200 million in annual revenue, serving over 10,000 customers and over 6,000 technology partners.
Privitar has expanded its executive leadership team with the appointments of Victoria Normark as Chief Technology Officer, Pat Walsh as Chief Marketing Officer, and Bill Ziske as Senior Vice President of Sales, North America. Victoria Normark joins Privitar from Snow Software. As Privitar’s Chief Technology Officer, Normark will oversee the company’s global engineering and technology strategy and will play a vital role in leading the company’s development of the Privitar Data Provisioning Platform. Chief Marketing Officer Pat Walsh will lead Privitar’s global Go-to-Market strategy and initiatives including branding, demand generation, product marketing, and strategic communications. Rounding out Privitar’s Go-to-Market leadership team is Bill Ziske, SVP of Sales, North America. Based in Dallas, Texas, Ziske will partner with David Gray, SVP of Sales for EMEA & APAC, to oversee the company’s global sales, customer success, sales enablement, and partner ecosystem initiatives.
Egnyte has appointed Stan Hansen as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Hansen will be responsible for all sales functions globally. “After just closing our largest quarter in history, growing 40% year over year, we are excited to welcome a leader of Stan’s caliber to help us capture the demand we are seeing in the market,” said Vineet Jain, CoFounder and Chief Executive Officer, Egnyte. “As we look ahead to the future, Stan’s experience in leadership roles at publicly traded companies will be a great addition to the executive suite during this exciting next phase of growth for Egnyte, and beyond.” www.pcr-online.biz
Tackling Diversity in the Tech Industry Lysa Campbell, CEO at Retail Marketing Group discuses the current state of diversity in tech
ver the last few years diversity in the tech industry has slowly been improving; it is clear that companies have been trying to take steps in the right direction to become more inclusive through various initiatives. This is shown through companies like Cisco and Microsoft who have taken huge strides in advocating for women in tech and for promoting values of multiculturalism. But are these initiatives enough? When it comes to diversity, there are so many aspects and people to consider; companies can’t just choose one and claim that they are diverse. Though a company can be a huge advocate for women, on the other side of the scale they could also be seen to discriminate against older people. Other tech companies have also been seen to have a serious lack in their diversity of thought, as well as a ‘boys club’ culture. How can companies positively improve their diversity? When looking at the overall performance of diversity in any industry, the main sector that is highlighted to have the worst performance has always been tech. A primary reason for this is that for a long time the narrative for recruiting in the tech industry, especially coding and computing, has always been ‘it’s for boys’. To change this narrative, schools and companies have been taking steps to educate and inform the younger generations through reinforcement of STEM subjects and initiatives primarily for women. Yet, even these subjects are restrictive in their teachings of the wider industry and the multitude of opportunities and roles that are available. On the other side, retained employees are seeing less activity when it comes to addressing diversity in the workplace. This last year has thrown a huge hit to the tech industry as a whole, with millions of people being put on furlough and some being made redundant. McKinsey & Company’s recent report shows that COVID-19 has, in some areas, widened the gender gap in the workplace, highlighting women’s fear of an increasing ‘double shift’ when it comes to their work and family, compared to that of men. Elsewhere, employees who identify as LGBTQ+ and BAME are feeling more isolated, reporting higher workloads than their straight and cisgender peers. This has overall impacted their feeling of connection and belonging. It is clear that companies must not only put their focus on recruiting, but turn their eyes internally on how they can improve their working culture. Tackling the discrepancy What tech companies need to prioritise in order to positively affect 14
diversity in their ranks is to push understanding and visibility in both recruiting and retaining. Recruiting Teaching STEM subjects in schools has done wonders in increasing the level of women in the industry, with the tech sector now hosting 22% of female directors. Yet with only 19% of tech workers being women, it is clear that the ‘it’s for boys’ narrative still prevails. In order to shift away from this mindset, companies need to provide young women with representation, by showcasing female leaders wherever they can. Tech companies should also look at where they are recruiting and how. Are they appealing to a diverse market through the job description or location of advertisement? It may be that companies are actively looking for a diverse workforce, but where and how they look are holding them back. Simple aspects of a job description can stop people from applying, such as flexibility of the contract, working hours and holiday allowance. In Ireland for example, 56% of women say they are restricted in their career opportunities due to their family lifestyle. Limited holiday and long working hours work against female applicants or those with families. Retaining It is not necessarily always about the big steps with company wide initiatives. An often underestimated aspect that holds tech companies back is diversity of thought: the idea that people in a group don’t need to look different or identify with an underrepresented group in order to bring varying, diverse viewpoints to the table. It is discussions that come from these thoughts that open people up to better understanding of one another and the world around them. A discussion in the breakroom could teach more cultural understanding for religious employees or even make colleagues aware of your individual background than a company forced webinar. Tech companies need to encourage these conversations, starting with visibility in the leadership roles. This will then filter down to the other employees, allowing transparency and diversity of thought to evolve into a pillar of the workplace culture. Seize a diverse future As the world begins to heal and emerge from the events of the last year, tech companies must seize their chance to progress diversity and open themselves up to new avenues of ideas that would come with new perspectives. They must push for a better understanding of their roles and the individuals who they hire, and be visible in their efforts. www.pcr-online.biz
Improving Social Mobility through Virtual Work Experience Maya Dillon, Vice President of Growth and Innovation at Corsight AI and Jason Elsom, CEO at Speakers for Schools, explore how organisations in the tech sector can close the diversity gap.
iversity in all its forms is essential for building highly adaptable teams and there is a plethora of data to prove it. According to research from Harvard Business Review, diverse companies are 70% more likely to capture new markets than organisations that do not actively recruit and support talent from under-represented groups. Yet, most employers do not have the necessary resources to coordinate a fully inclusive UK-wide talent search in practice. For the technology industry in particular, far more needs to be done to ensure that diversity becomes a priority in the recruitment and selection process, as sadly, diversity is still a stubborn problem. For example, a study in 2019 found that women accounted for just 17% of UK IT specialists, a number that rose 1% in five years.
Closing the diversity gap
According to a recent report from Stride. Inc, more than 50% of respondents - aged 18 - 65+ believe that tech jobs are too tough to land and require significant skills they don’t have time or money to pursue. However, gaining the skills and experience to land an exciting job in the sector has never been easier, especially with a plethora of work experience programmes on offer. In March 2020, Speakers for Schools introduced its Virtual Work Experience programme to make it easier for young people from UK state schools to access high-quality work experience, regardless of background or location. This initiative introduces young people to the reality of working life within a willing organisation and helps them secure and sustain employment in the future. Against a backdrop of significant disruption, however, the Virtual Work Experience programme has quickly established itself as a more accessible alternative to traditional in-person work experience and has witnessed a huge surge in uptake from young people. Over the course of the 20/21 academic year, the charity offered over 56,000 free virtual placements to 14-19-year-olds from state secondary schools and colleges across the UK compared with just under 3,500 placements the previous year. This dramatic growth curve is also evident in the number of employers who have partnered with Speakers for Schools since March 2020. From just 50 employer partners, the charity now works with over 700 – including the likes of Corsight AI, who 16
recently engaged in the programme in July 2021. Corsight AI offered 170 virtual work experience placements to young people across the UK, actively prioritising applicants from ethnic minority backgrounds aged between 14-19 years old. The sessions were aimed at providing vital insights into the ethical use of AI and facial recognition technology (FRT). This hands-on programme didn’t require any prior knowledge of FRT, opening up new horizons for young people and helping them consider careers in the technology field. The pandemic has accelerated the demand for an online alternative to in-person work experience. Still, there is no doubt that Virtual Work Experience has the potential to keep improving social mobility in the longer term. Particularly, as the majority of virtual work experience placements are free, and do not incur any travelrelated costs – breaking down barriers for those in lower socioeconomic groups. Moreover, research conducted by YouGov for Speakers Schools in June 2021 confirms that half of the 16-19-year-olds surveyed see getting work experience in a relevant field as helpful to improving their confidence in their future career – attracting more votes than any other activity. It also showed that employers rate work experience as the most beneficial catch-up activity for young people following the pandemic, but 55% of young people aged 16-19 view not having access to work experience opportunities as the most significant barrier to success for their future career. These findings further reinforce the importance of employers, like Corsight AI, and Speakers for Schools continuing to work together to make Virtual Work Experience more accessible for young people across the UK as we emerge from the pandemic.The technology industry desperately needs initiatives like this Virtual Work Experience programme that encourages young people to explore new career options. The responsibility is now with the senior leaders in the tech industry, that have the power to make decisions, offer mentorship and champion those that have their voices heard less often, in order to create a more progressive and inclusive workforce. While Virtual Work Experience does not represent the full solution to improving social mobility in the technology sector, it is certainly a good place to start. www.pcr-online.biz
Top five tips for growing diversity in the channel Katya Ivanova, VP Worldwide Inside Sales at Acronis offers her views on diversity in the channel.
iversity in the channel, just as in IT in general, remains a major issue for many companies out there. I therefore want to share a few tips on how to fight the diversity battle. I run 200+ sales organisation at Acronis, and I am proud to say that we have built a team, which is close to 50/50 percent split between male and female both in leadership and individual contributor roles. The Oxford English dictionary defines diversity as the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations, etc. But who is responsible for including and involving diverse people in the workplace? Should it be on the company to drive diversity programs or on employees? In reality, it is the responsibility of both: employer and potential employee. Potential employees should apply for the role they want to get, not only to the one they think they can get. The majority of people constantly doubt their skills and as a result deprive themselves of opportunities. Today, out of 20 CVs I receive for sales leader positions in the US, 17 would be from white males, 2 from females and 1 from black applicants. Applying simple mathematics (without even talking to these applicants), white men have a 17/20 or an 85% chance of getting hired while females have a 10% chance and people of colour just 5%. So, diversity rule #1 is to apply for positions to which you aspire, and ask for those opportunities irrespective of whether you believe you can do the job or be accepted. The worst-case scenario you will not get hired, and that is exactly the same outcome as if you never applied in the first place. Diversity rule #2 is for managers to support and coach women. Women tend to have a common belief that, if they are good enough and deserve a raise or promotion, their manager will recognise it and give the raise or promotion without the employee even asking. While this does happen, it is not a typical occurrence. Women need to stand up for themselves and ask for what they believe they deserve. The other stopping factor, which dramatically differs between men and women, is that men will confidently sign up for a job they might not be qualified for, whereas women would wait until they are qualified or even overqualified before they apply. www.pcr-online.biz
This again creates a disproportionate pool of candidates where most are male and just few candidates are female. Managers play a crucial role here, as they need to empower women and help them see their true worth and impact. Diversity rule #3: Parents must support children with different hobbies, pursuits and interests. Often, whether consciously or unconsciously, we create a mindset in our children that certain jobs and hobbies are gender or ethnicity specific, for example, that hockey is a male sport, gymnastics is for girls, or programming is a male occupation. Providing children with the opportunity and encouragement to try out different fields is a massive investment in their future. They will grow to know themselves and will not be afraid to go after what they really want to do in life instead of what is expected of them. Diversity rule #4 is to promote success stories more often. Most people are followers not leaders by nature. It is therefore against their character to take risks and go against the ‘known’. By promoting success stories, we inspire others to follow in the footsteps of the firsts and confidently face the unknown. Currently in the US, fewer than 18% of computer science graduates are women, fewer than 8% are Hispanic and under 6% are black. This automatically creates a problem of lack of diverse talent pool as there are simply not enough candidates on the market. By sharing success stories, especially with children and teenagers, we help them see the future they can have in any field they find interesting. Diversity rule #5: It is never too late. Do not create glass ceilings in your head by thinking that you are too old to make a change in your career. If you really are passionate and committed to be successful, other people will recognise it and will support you. Knowledge, experience and diplomas are just one piece of the puzzle; however, motivation plays a crucial part in becoming successful. Motivation to succeed is the most powerful engine for self-development and growth. To conclude, whether you are a hiring manager or a potential employee, take risks, aim high, and don’t be afraid of failure. As Robert Kennedy said, “only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” September 2021 | 17
The importance of female representation in the data centre sector Carlyn Foster, Head Of Marketing at 4D Data Centres, looks at how we can encourage more women to pursue jobs in the data industry and the positive effects diversity can have on the sector.
here’s been talk of a skill shortage in IT of late, but that has long been the case for female professionals in this industry. With only a fraction of the UK’s female workforce operating in IT, this is a massive limitation on the potential scale of who could be qualified to work in the sector. In 2019 the proportion of female staff in tech in the UK, sat at just 16% - incredibly, this equates to the same figure as a decade before. Another eye opening statistic is that only 5% of leadership positions in the UK tech sector are held by women. While in society we are starting to see more women in prominent roles, within the tech sector there is still much to do. This is also true of the data centre industry. In 2019, Uptime Institute published a report on privately owned enterprise data centres, which found that 25% of managers surveyed had no women among their design or operational staff. Furthermore, just 5% of the respondents said women made up 50% or more of their workforce. These figures underline the challenge that the sector faces when it comes to inclusivity or equal opportunities and, while it is not insurmountable, there is no doubt that it is a large-scale task with no one-size-fits-all solution. One of the areas we can encourage more diversity, particularly for getting women into tech and data-related roles, is at grassroots level. This includes placing a greater emphasis on a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. According to a WISE report, from 2019-20 just 24% of the UK STEM workforce was made up of women. A 2019 survey, which asked 176 women studying STEM subjects across the UK and Ireland about diversity initiatives, revealed 74% said they were either very or extremely important. A similar survey in 2020 saw this figure rise by 9%, which shows how important a diverse workforce is to young women. Additionally, it shows the benefits of diversity initiatives are becoming more universally accepted by students each year. According to WISE, in 2018 women made up just 16% of IT professionals and 17% IT technicians. While this percentage is and continues to remain low, recent data has shown female STEM students are looking to the future with a positive outlook - and believe the imbalance will change for the better in the next decade. This includes the introduction of initiatives like Girls in
Data and Women In Data Centres, which represent progress in moving towards a more representative industry. Educational institutions have a responsibility to ensure opportunities to learn STEM subjects and make sure they are delivered in a way that is appealing and motivating to students from different backgrounds and genders. Diversity isn’t a tick box exercise that can be fixed by simply imposing quotas; it’s an opportunity to learn and make meaningful changes. A key part of meeting demand for data centres, not just this year but in the long term, is acknowledging the importance of improving gender diversity in the workforce. There is often a lack of understanding about what the data centre sector is and the career opportunities it presents. The broader tech sector, as well as the Data Centre sector in particular needs to ensure sufficient representation of underrepresented groups, which is arguably more vital than ever as the development of digital technologies across both business and society is escalated by circumstances facilitated by the pandemic. A lack of diversity can stifle substantive innovation, not only in terms of technical development but in business structures and organisational development. An increasingly diverse workforce is more creative and innovative and as technological developments grow at unprecedented rates and the data centre industry continues to play a key role in the nation’s infrastructure, it could certainly benefit from innovation. According to research from Uptime, the data centre industry globally will need to find 300,000 more staff by 2025. This shortage of staff and the creation of new job roles provides a perfect opportunity to boost diversity and the initiatives that have been created. However, we must do more to make wholesale change and create the representation the sector needs to see. There is certainly not a fool-proof way to address the lack of female representation within the data centre sector, however the initiatives in place represent a start and place a greater emphasis on grassroots that will help to encourage larger takeup levels at an earlier age. Acknowledging the problem is certainly a stepping stone in tackling the issue, but there are many steps we can still take to ensure this isn’t a conversation the sector and broader tech industry needs to keep having. www.pcr-online.biz
CHANGE FOR THE BETTER Exertis held an internal roundtable to discuss its employees’ views about creating a workplace of diversity and inclusion. On the panel was Dharma Lad, HR Business Partner, Jamie Brothwell, Director of AV, Louis Rogers, Retail Account Manager, Esther Ogundeji, Commercial Financial Analyst, Kati Eagle, Purchasing Director and Rosie Gordon, Product Manager. Here’s what came up in the discussion.
he distribution and retail of technology is – perhaps by definition – one of the most forward-looking industries in the world: a business where the most transformative and cutting-edge developments are adopted early and embraced ahead of the curve. But is our industry ‘ahead of the curve’ when it comes to diversity? Are our businesses cutting-edge on inclusivity? To explore these questions, Exertis invited volunteers from across its business to take part in a roundtable discussion about diversity and inclusion: to speak openly about their own experiences within the business, their sense of where the Exertis organisation (and the wider industry) have got to on its diversity journey, and the role we can all play on the path towards a more inclusive society. For Exertis, 2021 hasn’t been the easiest year: a few months ago a tribunal was brought by an ex-colleague who was discriminated against in the workplace several years ago. Exertis apologised to the colleague for the behaviour of the individuals concerned, all of whom 20
no longer work for the company. In turn, he acknowledged that since those events (in 2016 and early 2017), Exertis has done much to promote equality and dignity at work throughout the organisation and is committed to continuing to do so in the future. We began by defining some terms, asking the panel what the phrase diversity & inclusion means to them personally, and why it is so important. Jamie Brothwell, Director of AV: “Firstly, it’s not just about diversity of people, but diversity of thinking, and giving people the power to open their minds to new possibilities and the fact that not every person is the same as them. People often live life through their own eyes, and a part of D&I is putting yourself in the shoes of someone else and considering how they might feel and the challenges that they may have faced. “Secondly, it’s about getting to a place where people are celebrated www.pcr-online.biz
for their contribution, in both life and the workplace, and to have the freedom to be comfortable to be themselves, to be their best selves, and to not be judged. By having a greater representation of people, we perform better, we’re a greater business and a greater society.” Esther Ogundeji, Commercial Financial Analyst: “Diversity, for me, is about making sure there is fair representation, so you have someone from every walk of life, whether that means race or religion or anything else. Then, the inclusion part is about making sure that all those different people feel properly included, and that everyone has a voice, and has a place, both in society and in the workplace.” Kati Eagle, Purchasing Director: “Initially most people will talk about protected characteristics but it’s not just about gender, sexual orientation or heritage. It’s also about lived experience, ideas and thought processes. Everyone does things in a different way and it’s about being open to that, irrespective of what your own viewpoint is. Louis Rogers, Retail Account Manager: “It’s all about making sure everyone has a fair chance to be successful in any industry irrespective of your race, gender, sexuality, or age.”
What have been your own experiences of developing your career in this industry, and at Exertis in particular?
Louis Rogers, Retail Account Manager: “I wasn’t sure I’d be very good at my role when I first started at Exertis. But I’ve had great managers who have really supported me, and here I still am – ten years later. “They’ve really helped my development and given me the confidence to be heard. I feel like I want to give something back because of what Exertis have given me. That’s why I wanted to do this: The business has allowed me to express myself, by giving me the guidance to be a better person and help my career grow.” Dharma Lad, HR Business Partner: “I started my career in the public sector, then the automotive industry and now I’m in tech distribution. All of which have been traditionally quite male dominated environments. My career in HR has been really interesting and I’ve moved around in order to get to where I am today. I’ve been with Exertis just under four years now and I’ve noticed a big difference in the change in culture during this time. “I also coordinate the Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) to ensure that we’re inclusive in that aspect too. We have 26 MHFAs across all of our locations and we’re trained to listen non-judgementally. “Whether it’s colleagues that come to us directly to talk about their mental health or whether we actively approach people, we can decide how best to support people. We have initiatives running throughout the year, which tie in nicely with our EDIT (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Team) committee.” Rosie Gordon, Product Manager: “In my career there have been so many people that have pushed me to do things I thought I’d never be able to, and it made me realise that actually, I can do it. I’m part of EDIT and it’s so nice to see so many people who feel so passionately about D&I. We host drop-in sessions, which have gone really well and the discussions will be used to drive change. It’s so nice to know I work for a company that has these things in place.” www.pcr-online.biz
“It’s not just about diversity of people, but diversity of thought” Kati Eagle Purchasing Director: “When I first started in the industry, there was definitely a male-dominated culture which is probably characteristic of the IT industry as a whole. But I’ve also worked for some really strong females and had some great male advocates too. I joined the board almost two years ago and it’s been very encouraging to see explosive growth. It’s really exciting to think about where we’ll end up.”
Where do you feel we are right now, as an industry and as an organisation, in terms of diversity and inclusion? As we sit here today, how far have we come?
Esther Ogundeji, Commercial Financial Analyst: “I’ve seen a lot of progress in terms of women in the industry; we live in a generation now where people can speak up and change can happen. We still have a way to go in terms of representation of all walks of life in the industry, but we’re taking steps in the right direction. It’s important to surround yourself with people who want to make positive change and will listen to feedback.” Louis Rogers, Retail Account Manager: “I’ve worked here for 10 years now and I think we’ve come an extremely long way. As a company, we give people the opportunity to speak their minds and share what’s important to them. But we need to keep beating the drum as there’s still so much more to come.” Kati Eagle, Purchasing Director: “I feel privileged that I grew up in a multi-cultural society and to me, people are people, I don’t need to put a label on any characteristics. As long as people are kind and respectful that’s all I ask. I also feel lucky that I went to a girls’ school and there was no glass ceiling. Then I’ve had some great male sponsors and people who have pushed me in my career. I agree 100% that we have come a long way, but moving forward we need to ensure September 2021 | 21
“The shift in diversity we have seen over the last two-and-a half years is seismic and something we should all be very proud of”
In many parts of the world, the empowerment of women is making real progress. How well is this translating into the technology/retail industry?
it’s not just down to the board to drive this and make decisions, and that we include the wider business so everyone can influence this. We need to have a genuinely collective approach.”
Esther Ogundeji, Commercial Financial Analyst: “I think everybody should be treated the same regardless of whether they are male or female. Women should be treated fairly, especially when considering things like the gender pay gap.”
Jamie Brothwell, Director of AV: “If you look at our UK board, the diversity and shift we have seen over the last two-and-a-half years is seismic and something we should all be very proud of. It’s an indication of where our business is moving. Equally, every single one of us in the business is a custodian of our culture. We recently had an EDIT workshop, which was absolutely fantastic. One of the things we spoke about was being able to ask anyone in the business, at any point, what are you doing to make our culture better? Every single person has the opportunity to make a difference, every single day.”
What can we do as an industry to welcome and encourage more people from ethnic minority communities to join the tech industry and develop their careers with us? Dharma Lad, HR Business Partner: “It’s about breaking down stereotypes. When you say ‘tech industry’, I automatically think ‘techie’, and that might deter some people. So we should be talking about the very broad spectrum of all the work that we do, and the breadth of roles available, and make sure we educate people about what the industry is and the incredibly broad range of opportunities.”
Louis Rogers, Retail Account Manager: “For me, there’s no better advertising than word of mouth. If you talk truthfully then people will listen. They’ll be interested in the industry and you’ll capture their imagination.” Jamie Brothwell, Director of AV: “One of the things that the industry can do better in, is focusing on the grassroots and apprenticeship schemes. It’s important to work with education establishments to showcase the career opportunities that this industry can present to people. This isn’t a job, it’s a career, and we have so many examples of this within our business.” Esther Ogundeji, Commercial Financial Analyst: “I think we’re always going to live in a world where people have different backgrounds and have been exposed to different things. However, because of this, it’s important to respect and celebrate different cultures and different backgrounds. “I don’t understand why there isn’t that much diversity in this industry, and I think it’s maybe because it’s not really marketed properly. I agree that education is key to finding people and from there you will get much more diversity.” 22
Rosie Gordon, Product Manager: “Anyone can be a feminist; you don’t need to be a female to believe in what’s right. In an ideal world, everyone would be treated completely equally but unfortunately we’re not there yet, so we do need to continue to educate people on this. It’s good to have uncomfortable conversations with people, think about unconscious bias and how you can adapt and learn.”
Kati Eagle, Purchasing Director: “It’s all about having the right culture and external communications that welcomes everyone and makes everyone feel comfortable to be themselves. I also think there’s more we can do within the community, and giving back, and making sure women understand that they will be heard and respected in our industry.”
What would you say personally to a friend from a minority community who was thinking about joining this industry?
Louis Rogers, Retail Account Manager: “The main thing I’d say is that if I can do it, they can do it too. There are a lot of positives to working in this industry and I’ve personally found that there’s so much support available to help individuals drive success but it has to come from within. You get out of it what you put in. “I also really love it that every day I have conversations with the senior leadership team and that everyone is treated the same way regardless of their role. It makes such a difference when people say hello and ask how you are.” Kati Eagle, Purchasing Director: “This industry is a phenomenal place to learn, as it’s really agile and entrepreneurial. If you are resilient, motivated and driven then this is the right career for you.”
Some of you are members of the Exertis EDIT Team: how do you find the experience of advocating for Diversity & Inclusion in the business?
Rosie Gordon, Product Manager: “I’ve been involved with EDIT for about 18 months and I’ve definitely seen it grow in importance and become high on everyone’s agenda. Recently we celebrated Eid; the feedback has been great and people have told us that they’ve learned a lot.” Esther Ogundeji, Commercial Financial Analyst: “I joined EDIT so that I can use my voice for those who either haven’t yet found or don’t want to use their voice. I genuinely believe that the business wants everyone to feel included.”
Could you give us an example of how you, or colleagues, make team members from different backgrounds feel a sense of inclusion, belonging and equality in the course of daily business? Esther Ogundeji, Commercial Financial Analyst: “It can be small
things, such as speaking to people that you wouldn’t usually speak to and making them feel comfortable. I would recommend getting to know people and making the workplace a safe space.” Kati Eagle, Purchasing Director: “We’re shifting the approach and allowing people to innovate. Coaching, questioning, and bringing people together is really important.” Louis Rogers, Retail Account Manager: “Having the opportunity to be recognised is really important. Everyone here goes the extra mile, not because we have to, but because we want to, and it makes you feel good. I always speak up if I think someone is doing something brave.”
“Every single one of us in the business is a custodian of our culture. Every single person has the opportunity to make a difference, every single day”
Jamie Brothwell, Director of AV: “It can be very difficult to influence and be a change agent working in a corporate organisation. One of the things I love about Exertis is the fact that nobody suggests they have all the answers but every single one of us can make a difference. If one of us comes up with an idea that is truly a good idea that will benefit the company, it will happen. That’s unique in the world we live in.”
one to be the best we can be, and for everyone to be the best examples of themselves. “It’s also important to understand that we’re all one part of the Exertis family across the globe and if you look at the diversity across the global EDIT team it’s a very different spectrum to what we see in the UK. There are lots of learnings we can take from that and embrace it.
Where are we going? Outline where you would like us to be, in terms of D&I, in 5 years’ time?
Louis Rogers, Retail Account Manager: “I hope we’re on the same path of trying to achieve equality across everything, and using our platforms positively. I hope this comes from outside of the industry too. We need to stamp out racism in other industries too, such as sport; there have been recent examples of racism in football and F1 so we definitely need to keep beating the drum and not be defeated.”
Esther Ogundeji, Commercial Financial Analyst: “I’d like to see more people from different ethnic backgrounds, and women, in more senior positions.” Jamie Brothwell, Director of AV: “I absolutely embrace what’s been said about the diversity of both people and thinking. We need a broad background from different cultures with different experiences and beliefs. We need to get to a point where that’s not a discussion topic anymore and we’re all just working together as www.pcr-online.biz
Rosie Gordon, Product Manager: “For me it’s simple: I hope in 5 years’ time we still have the same energy and passion about driving D&I as we do today!” September 2021 | 23
TeamViewer launches quick partner activation
eamViewer, a leading connectivity platform, has launched a new and improved channel partner program to enable Managed Service Providers, System Integrators and Value Added Resellers to collaborate quickly and effectively with one of the most well-known brands in the field of ‘remote control’: remote work, remote support, remote access and Augmented Reality. The unique approach lets partners start selling right away – on a commission basis – with only a registration initially required. Plus, any channel partner can sell TeamViewer products without limitations on country, language or deal size – leveraging the global prominence of the TeamViewer brand as well as its strong network of local teams. If you want to join our partner program – or learn more about us or our Man Utd and Mercedes Benz F1 partnerships – simply speak to your QBS Software account manager
Why should Partners work with TeamViewer?
It is so easy to become a TeamViewer partner, with no budget commitment or contract required to start reselling. Any reseller, MSP or SI can simply order our products through a TeamViewer distributor (in the UK, QBS Software is the obvious choice). Depending on the focus and commitment, partners can grow together with TeamViewer – winning more customers, increasing sales, receiving training, and gaining specific knowhow about the more complex solutions (leading to Certified Partner level, which brings additional benefits). At the same time, this development path is not mandatory. Partners can simply continue as a Business Partner if they prefer. The subscription model helps too. Partners can build up their TeamViewer customer base step by step based on recurring business from renewals plus adding new customers on top. Apart from a global footprint, strong brand and dedicated local channel support, TeamViewer offers all the leading-edge technology for ‘remote control’ – from solutions for individuals and small businesses to comprehensive enterprise solutions – connecting anyone, anything, anywhere and anytime.
What value will come from the Man Utd sponsorship?
This is a really strong partnership for TeamViewer: Manchester United is one of the few sports clubs offering a very emotional brand and a large platform. For TeamViewer this means a total package for promoting our brand – digital and offline: We will be present on the social networks of the club and the players’ kit. In the stadium, we will also be visible on the boards. We will be able to play on many channels, worldwide. That will make a big difference. There is a trend in sport right now to work with technology companies. We want to implement joint technology projects with Manchester United, in augmented reality, in crowd control and other things; we have a lot of plans. TeamViewer is also working closely with Mercedes as part of its sponsorship of the F1 team: TeamViewer software will make the Mercedes teams more efficient, with optimized remote operations and enhanced connectivity between team processes trackside and back at base, notably in terms of race support during testing and racing. TeamViewer will furthermore play an important role in motorsport’s journey towards net zero emissions, by enabling people and companies to effectively monitor systems remotely. By enabling remote working across multiple sites, TeamViewer technology can deliver further reductions of the carbon footprint of the racing teams. www.teamviewer.com/en/sponsorship
What exciting things are on the horizon?
COVID-19 became a wake-up call for digitalization and accelerated many of the global megatrends. Automation, robotics, networking of machines, ie, Industry 4.0 and digital transformation are more relevant than ever before. Here we are talking about Operational Technology (OT), ie, the businesscritical operation of machines and plants and their permanent monitoring. As far as new solutions are concerned, we would like to significantly expand the application possibilities of our software, especially in the technology fields of AR and IoT, and also enrich them with intelligent data management as well as innovative solutions for customer engagement.
A broader spectrum Tech Data’s launch of SPECTRUM, a new business resource group aims to embrace LGBTQ+ personnel, encouraging diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We caught up with David Watts, Tech Data’s Senior Vice President, UK and Ireland to find out more.
ech Data strives to maintain a culture that celebrates diversity, equality and inclusivity. David Watts, Tech Data’s Senior Vice President, UK and Ireland, explains more about the company’s new business resource groups (BRG).
What is Tech Data’s SPECTRUM business resource group for LGBTQ+ personnel and why was it created?
SPECTRUM provides LGBTQ+ colleagues with a workplace community in which everyone can express themselves openly. Allies and anyone at all interested from Tech Data UK and Ireland can attend the regular (presently online) meetings, which will take the form of open forums on a specific subject, such as Gender and Sexuality. Attendees are invited to express their views and put questions to the SPECTRUM panel, which consists of lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, and non-binary gender colleagues, and one colleague who is the parent of an LGBTQ+ teenager.
We are holding 30-minute drop-in sessions every month to discuss LGBTQ+ related subjects, such as Gender, Coming Out; Openness in the Workplace; and supporting LGBTQ+ Children. Larger-scale quarterly events, featuring guest speakers from LGBTQ+ organisations and Q&A sessions, will also be organised. SPECTRUM is Tech Data’s business resource groups (BRGs), which provide positive forums for our colleagues to discuss common experiences and goals with individuals of like or similar interests. We have been running our Elevate BRG, dedicated to empowering women to thrive in their careers through development, education, and networking, for some time in the UK and Ireland. Through the Spectrum team, we are engaging with customers and vendors who have or are considering BRGs in this area, so that we can share knowledge, experience, and resources. We are also planning to run some joint panel sessions over the coming year.
Sexuality and had over one hundred attendees. This included an introduction to pronouns and their use – and why they are so important to members of the LGBTQ+ community. Gender expression, gender identity and sexual orientation were also explained and discussed. There was a great deal of interest in pronouns and their use and further sessions on this topic are coming up soon.
Why is it important that other companies within the channel look to create a similar workplace of inclusion for staff?
SPECTRUM is aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, and non-binary gender colleagues, and colleagues who have children or family members who are LGBTQ+. It is open to anyone and everybody who has an interest in learning more or who wishes to provide support in an active way by being an ally. A drop-in session on allyship is planned for the autumn.
It’s important for all companies in the channel – and indeed, in all industries – to value the differences of employees, customers, and partners. This is one of our greatest strengths potentially. We need to make sure we harness that strength. By embracing the diversity of our colleagues and cultivating an environment of inclusion, we enrich our company, culture, and communities. The more we do that, the more we gain and the more open and inclusive we become, the more confident and assured all our colleagues will feel about expressing their ideas and innovations – and contributing to the development and advancement of our business. In the end, it is about creating a culture and environment that is positive and inclusive for everyone, which brings out the best in all colleagues and from there feeds into the delivery of an enhanced customer experience.
What is Tech Data’s commitment to creating a culture of diversity and inclusion?
What does the channel stand to lose if we do not adopt a more inclusive environment?
What social groups is it aimed at?
Our belief at Tech Data is that our people are the best and brightest in the industry – and they are as diverse as the products and services that we offer. Diversity and inclusion are thus a cornerstone of our company culture. Through effective collaboration, and by harnessing the different experiences and backgrounds of our people, we can be more productive, innovative, and effective as an organisation. Tech Data is committed to maintaining a culture that celebrates diversity, equality, and inclusivity. We are really looking forward to seeing how the SPECTRUM UK and Ireland team can make a difference to the LGBTQ+ community and all colleagues. We had an amazing response from those colleagues who took part in our survey to help us better-understand LGBTQ+ affinity and experience within our UK&I organisation and an excellent turn-out for our first online meeting in June. In this initial panel session, we introduced the SPECTRUM BRG and its team members to the business, explained our vision and why SPECTRUM is important to colleagues and to Tech Data. We shared details of our intranet and the educational and other content available and presented a history of LGBTQ+ progress on equality and rights over the last 50 years. This was followed by a lively Q&A session, and it was great to see such a strong interest and enthusiasm from all areas of the business in understanding the challenges the LGBTQ+ community faces. For our July drop-in session, we focused on Gender and www.pcr-online.biz
A great deal of creativity, energy, and innovation. Inclusivity is vital to the encouragement, promotion and sharing of common experiences and goals amongst colleagues. We need to empower people to aim high, achieve their very best, and develop and build their careers in all the different areas of our industry. The IT channel is a dynamic and fast-moving sector, but the need to be inventive to find new ways of doing things and solving problems remains. If we are to continue raising the bar on service delivery and customer experience, we need to draw on the widest possible range of views and insights.
How do you think social inclusion has changed over recent years in the channel?
It has improved but still has a long way to go. Being frank and open about that – and encouraging further awareness of the issues around inclusivity – is vital if we are going to make really significant and permanent change. The situation is improving now though – and the pace of change is accelerating. We are seeing many more channel companies being open about their commitment to inclusion and taking positive action to ensure that their businesses are doing enough to ensure equality and diversity within their organisation. SPECTRUM is just one manifestation of that, and I think we will see more initiatives of this kind being launched by channel companies over the next few years. Tech Data is one of the companies leading the way in this area. As an industry, we are certainly not there yet, but we are making good progress and the signs are positive. September 2021 | 27
Delivering On Gender Diversity: Why The Technology Industry Sits At A Crossroads
Sherry Lowe, Chief Marketing Officer at Exabeam focuses on creating gender diversity and the importance of encouraging more women into tech.
espite growing emphasis on the importance, value, and impact of gender diversity in the technology industry, there remains a huge amount of work to be done. What’s also becoming clear is that the past 18 months of remote work has the potential to finally end the industry’s ‘bro culture.’ For instance, male dominated leadership teams who decide amongst themselves in a hallway or at a pub after work who will be given the next promotion or opportunity are under pressure to evolve. The pandemic has effectively ended the opportunity to “get the guys together for a quick chat” and ultimately a decision. So what’s changed? Without doubt, doing business remotely has leveled the playing field. Today, anyone can be seated at the virtual 28
decision-making table, which employees are truly putting in the work is more apparent than ever, and representation can be more diverse. This has significantly increased the existing momentum behind efforts to achieve gender equality and cleared away some long-standing barriers to progress. Converting this cultural shift into true equality sees the industry at a crossroads. The issues faced by women working in the cyber security industry, for instance, underline the wider challenges we face. Despite the fact that nearly a third of the global cyber security workforce is now female, research from (ISC2) found that discrimination and a major gender pay gap continue to have an impact on the opportunities for women. The same study found www.pcr-online.biz
that overall, women are paid around 21 percent less than their male counterparts globally. In addition, (ISC2) also found that over a fifth (22 percent) of women in cyber security cited discrimination as an issue they had experienced in their careers, compared to 13 percent of men. The cyber security niche is by no means alone in the challenges it faces, and there are currently some important trends at play which will determine how well the industry as a whole embraces the opportunities we now have.
Changing workplace culture
Like many sectors of the economy, the IT industry is currently experiencing a widespread and profound change in attitudes towards working culture. Traditional approaches towards remote working, for instance, have been transformed by over 18 months of unavoidable disruption. Leaders who were previously unconvinced that it offered a good alternative to shared office spaces have realised a range of benefits. The trend is profound. Global brands from Facebook and Twitter to Fujistsu and Salesforce (among many others) have announced permanent changes to how they are allowing their teams to work. Hybrid working is fast becoming a ‘must have’ in the jobs market, with recruitment ads increasingly presenting it as an attractive part of the benefits on offer. This is also giving employers the opportunity to modernise their approach to the opportunities they offer women. Companies are realising that finding the best talent is no longer dependent on whether people are based near to corporate HQ or a satellite office, their background, or gender. Leaders who believe that being in the office everyday is the only way to ensure individual and collective success now risk being left behind by more agile employers who now see staff location as much lower down their list of priorities. The potential for equal opportunities is clear. Employers who fully embrace flexibility automatically broaden their available talent pool, not least because they let go of the outdated thinking, such as women can’t combine careers with childcare.
Support and mentorship
As well as equal opportunities, there’s no doubt that women in tech also need each other. Whether it’s sharing ideas, providing support or connecting with female mentors, building a strong community is key to ensuring the IT industry becomes more representative of society. Mentors can play a huge role in helping women to fulfill their potential. While finding a female mentor in the tech industry can be challenging, looking outside your own organisation or building suitable connections through industry groups can widen the options. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say that a good mentor can be absolutely life changing. People that have mentors at work are more likely to see career success and are less likely to suffer from loneliness and isolation. Women at the beginning of their tech careers should also be encouraged to diversify their experiences to fully understand where their interests lie. Not only does this offer different and valuable perspectives, it also helps individuals identify what specialisms or www.pcr-online.biz
“This and the many other examples of workplace inequality that don’t make major headlines represent important moments in the long-term struggle to level the playing field. Ultimately, every workplace must offer a supportive environment for people to freely contribute their skills and talents. They should be safe to do so even to take risks when they feel the need to speak out to protect themselves or their colleagues. This is key to building a wider supportive culture where women can achieve their goals with the genuine support of others not in the face of bias and exclusion.” skill sets best align with their strengths, ambitions and values. Many women also work against a backdrop of self-doubt and imposter syndrome. With access to support at the right times, however, it’s possible to turn insecurity into a motivating factor. In particular, diverse experiences and a determination to succeed can be extremely beneficial to women working in male-dominated environments.
Having courage to speak out
In the current environment where there is growing emphasis on tackling bias and discrimination, women also need the courage and support to speak out when they experience or witness wrongdoing in the workplace. It’s vitally important that women feel safe to come forward to highlight harmful or discriminatory behaviours - both for themselves and their colleagues. From the employer perspective, anything other than a zero tolerance approach to these issues is critical to long-term success. Businesses they want to attract and keep top talent must now demonstrate their commitment to equality and diversity. Take the ongoing issues at leading video games publisher Activision Blizzard, for example. Having been hit with a lawsuit from California’s Department of Fair Employment over its alleged discriminatory culture, the company has seen workers walk out in protest, senior leadership figures under pressure and has faced a wave of criticism. For some commentators, the scandal has the potential to become a ‘watershed moment’ for women in the gaming industry. This and the many other examples of workplace inequality that don’t make major headlines represent important moments in the long-term struggle to level the playing field. Ultimately, every workplace must offer a supportive environment for people to freely contribute their skills and talents. They should be safe to do so even to take risks when they feel the need to speak out to protect themselves or their colleagues. This is key to building a wider supportive culture where women can achieve their goals with the genuine support of others - not in the face of bias and exclusion. Ultimately, changing leadership mindset to gender equality is the route to long-term success. As more businesses understand that progress represents a win-win for every stakeholder, the IT industry has the chance to build on recent momentum to deliver on this vital objective. September 2021 | 29
The Diversity Lag It’s Why We Need Women in Tech
Sally Cooper, Operations Director at Ramsac has spent over 30 years in a maledominated industry, here she offers more insight on creating a workplace of diversity and inclusion - one that encompasses disabilities, race and neurodiversity.
igh profile breaches often eclipse other issues in cybersecurity, including the problematic lack of equality and diversity in tech, IT and cybersecurity. Businesses only really listen to cybersecurity when it’s a cautionary tale told through headlines in the press. In January, for example, the breach in Microsoft’s Exchange Server captured an anxiety associated with these costly and highly public events, which has the power to challenge the reputation of a company. Professionally, the industry suffers from a puzzling shortage of diversity in terms of talent and opportunity, where there is a lack of women and other marginalised identities. This pattern, a kind of diversity lag, is just as systemic and problematic as the absence of minorities in STEM subjects. Cybersecurity is emerging as a critical industry, both economically and out of a necessity to minimise escalating risk varieties. Facing new demand and greater urgency, the diversity dilemma is no longer ignorable as the industry struggles to hire enough talent to fill its ranks.
Why don’t we always see the problem?
Studies regarding IT professionals and recruitment trends demonstrate how diversity is a greater problem 30
than it appears. In fact, lack of diversity can explain why there is a growing shortage of talent entering IT and tech. According to the most recent (ISC)² Cybersecurity report, women are being recruited into the industry at a higher rate. Yet, despite this growth, a mere 33% of cybersecurity professionals are women. Not isolated, another project uncovered how just 13% of Fortune 500 companies have recruited woman in cybersecurity roles, including leadership or management positions. As data studies reveal, the real problem is where perceptions and reality aren’t aligning. In the past five years, there has been a contested view that more women have joined tech, IT and similar industries. Worldwide, 51% of respondents believed that more women have entered the industry; comparatively, those European respondents who were polled perceived a slightly lower increase, imagining that number at 44%. These perceptions have been largely generous. Unfortunately, roles occupied by women in cybersecurity have remained between only 25-33% in the past three years. Troubled by talent shortages, fields with technical roles like those in tech and IT would only benefit from more women and minorities. When diversified, www.pcr-online.biz
workplace cultures and other spaces can truly thrive, because there is a greater balance of ideas, people, and cultures.
What are the obstacles?
Perceptions are often stubborn and create difficult barriers to move. Whilst there are more women being recruited into cybersecurity, the outcomes of enrolment programmes are still struggling to look and feel diversified. Amongst younger professionals, perceptions of the industry are not often reductive, and cybersecurity is imagined as little more than password protections and other basic errands. Reporting on its troubled reputation, where misconceptions about the field are deterring young talent, one report studied gaps in the tech workforce to find that there’s a problem with perception. Overall, there is a healthy attitude toward cybersecurity. Yet, according to this report, many young professionals struggle to identify how their careers could fit into the field. When these misconceptions are challenged, however, the industry can aspire to recruit and diversify its talent more productively. Addressing stereotypes about the cybersecurity profession is the first step. The greater challenge lies in spreading enough opportunity to different groups of people interested in seeing tech and IT fields a viable career path. Diversifying a talent pool is no small feat, but with a concentrated effort to attract a balance of genders and cultures, the field can thrive from new ideas and people.
Diversity is often treated as an objective. But what if it represented something greater?
Diversity is, at least, the responsibility of a business that desires to see its industry thrive in the near future. Involved in the operations at ramsac, an IT provider where we deliver cybersecurity solutions regularly to our clients, I share this belief and see favourable change as a helpful tactic in refocusing our cultures to become more inclusive. We know having more diversity within roles results in a stronger and more effective team and we are committed to positive change, encouraging women both internally to consider a role in our cybersecurity team and looking to recruit more diverse new hires to our organisation. Breaking down unconscious bias is key for us to create a fair and equal workplace. When a business wants to diversify its recruitment pipeline, it has to look hard for any blockages. Unconscious bias, for example, is an invisible challenge that will hinder how well you recruit differently and fulfil different roles. Businesses should consider how they can achieve diversity through recruitment, by making positive decisions about their talent. This might, for example, mean using data or insights about your whole workforce to make decisions about its future recruitment needs. You might even be able to identify the better applicants based on your data. Smaller actions internally can be helpful when trying to encourage a more diversified talent offering. This could include more neutral language used in applications, or interviews conducted by a panel, or an assessment based on a blind test. These methods will expand how you recruit and think of the best applicant to fulfil a role. There’s no universal solution; instead, a balance of different methods can help remove all kinds of barriers.
“Whilst there are more women being recruited into cybersecurity, the outcomes of enrolment programmes are still struggling to look and feel diversified.”
Diversifying talent Reinforced by themes of inclusion and the equality of opportunity, diversity can represent a healthier attitude toward building cultures from the inside – one where transparency and learning are encouraged, pushing the horizons with new ideas, people, and cultures. Many workplaces unite under a common pursuit of excellence. But how far are they willing to go to achieve it? Would they invite their culture to test new people and bolder ideas? And would they knock down stereotypes in favour of building lifelong careers? Addressing the diversity lag in tech goes way beyond challenging stereotypes. It’s about encouraging young professionals to apply their passions, energy, and skills in an exacting and technical field of study. There’s even a competitive advantage to those employers willing to consider how different groups of people could help promote the level of innovation the industry requires to stay ahead of risk varieties. Diversity is an open call to more marginal identities, from encouraging more women to enter male-dominated industries like tech, to carving a safe space for those with disabilities. With a reputation for being highly technical, this field would benefit from greater neurodiversity as recruitment can be casted wider to attract interest from more analytically minded applicants, including those with autism. There are even some who visualise diversity not as an end-goal, but as an opportunity to re-energise workplaces and their cultures where innovation is slowing down. Recruitment might just be the ideal platform for onboarding fresher and younger talent, where we desire more diverse thinking. www.pcr-online.biz
It starts with people Diversity should be a high priority not only for enhancing a culture, but for gaining benefits from a greater scope of different people and ideas. This difference is often what sets a business apart and helps it channel innovation into its work. But if diversifying means opening your recruitment to all kinds of peoples, including race, disabilities and pushing for neurodiversity. Diversity touches on problem solving and teamwork, helping to leverage the differences in your team for a positive impact, outgrowing its perception as a barrier. When working collaboratively, new attitudes and ideas can truly flourish. Diversity is a facilitator of meaningful change and the outcomes can update a workforce with the kinds of compelling ideas and attitudes it may have been missing. This is key to business success: where talent, a true balance of genders, abilities, backgrounds and race, can unlock fresh understandings for an industry faced with a problem. As threats change and become more sophisticated in cybersecurity, the urgency for innovation reaches a new demand. The answer all along might just be in the talent you haven’t yet hired. September 2021 | 31
Women in tech
Privitar’s Victoria Normak Victoria Normark recently joined Privitar from Snow Software. As Privitar’s Chief Technology Officer, Victoria oversees the company’s global engineering and technology strategy. Prior to leading engineering at Snow Software, she was a management consultant who helped large bureaucratic businesses transform into modern agile organisations. Based in Stockholm, Normark spends significant time on-location with Privitar’s global engineering teams. We caught up with Victoria to find out about life as a female leader in the channel.
Here’s what Victoria had to say:
What is your background within the tech channel?
I started my professional career as a software developer, and over the years, my role evolved to be a combination of a developer and scrum master. I felt that what you build and how you build it were equally important to the result. I dug in deep for a couple of years focusing on agile and lean software development, then expanded into agile leadership, which is really just mature leadership. To build highly motivated, self-driven, self-sufficient teams, you really need that kind of leadership. So we shouldn’t call it agile leadership, we should call it leadership needed for agile teams. This kind of leadership should be the model, independent of what methodology you use. It’s all about creating a culture of participation, where people actually understand where we’re going by contributing and being involved, rather than by reading it on a powerpoint slide.
It’s very inspiring to hear of a female Chief Technology Officer. Do you feel there are currently enough women being recruited into such roles of leadership within the tech channel? Probably not. For obvious reasons, people are just not seeing a woman in front of them when you say CTO. Even if companies are actively recruiting women, there aren’t that many female candidates, especially at the leadership levels. If we want more women in tech leadership, we need to start much earlier than looking at the CTO level. We need to work with our kids, and increase interest and participation in STEM early, foster that interest as they go through school, and continue to support them as they begin and develop their professional careers. 32
What can the tech channel do to encourage more women to pursue a career in the industry?
I think we are seeing a positive trend. Girls are playing more computer and mobile games now than 5-10 years ago, which can trigger an interest in tech. I recently saw some statistics on applicants for the Masters program in data science at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the percentage of women had gone from 7.5 % in 2008 to 19.6 % in 2021. One thing that is concerning to me is that we are not adequately teaching IT as a subject in elementary school, at least not in Sweden. The students know more about IT than the teachers. For example, I heard from my daughter that they had a course in school where they should learn how to program in Python, but the teacher could not explain it to them, so almost everyone was failing. They also have no basic theory about IT, learning things like what the cloud is, how a wifi works, the difference between SaaS and installed software, basic IT security and so on, largely because the teachers themselves don’t have the knowledge base. We need to start early in the process by teaching the teachers, then build in lessons about basics of IT into the standard curriculum. Having fun labs, like programming Lego robots, should be on the agenda too. I think that could be one way to trigger the interest for tech early, especially for girls who might not be exposed to tech in the same way as boys by their parents. IT is changing society drastically, and we don’t do a good enough job teaching it and encouraging interest in elementary school.
What advice can you give to aspiring young women to pursue a career in the channel? Never ever think twice. Just do it. Don’t ever believe that you
Women in tech
have to perform better than men to be seen as equal, that is just not true. Just be yourself, the men around you want nothing else than that from you. And isn’t that what diversity is all about? That we are contributing with our differences? If we tried to behave as the majority, the value of diversity would be lost. One positive thing about the IT industry is that, from my experience and at least in Sweden, it’s more equal than other industries. I’ve never met a developer who treated me badly, in any way. I’ve always felt respected, and maybe even a bit admired, but never ever been treated in a disrespectful way.
Why did you want to work in the tech sector?
When I was younger, I wanted to be an astronaut. The universe fascinated me. When I read about Christer Fuglesang (a Swedish astronaut), I learned that he studied engineering physics at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and I wanted to do that too. I never realised this was unusual in any way. Programming came later, when I studied for my PhD (I never finished though) and found myself enjoying programming more than my actual research assignment. Programming just fits my nature. I like to structure things, and I love problem solving. I could have an “Eureka” moment in the evening and then long to get back to work to try it out, to see if the idea worked or not. It was never a conscious choice to work in the tech industry, it just happened.
How can companies look to create a better work place of diversity and inclusion in the channel?
I believe having an articulated strategy on hiring for diversity is a must, but is not a silver bullet. Recruitment can be challenging. I’ve had teams that actively recruit for diversity, but if you don’t get any candidates it’s hard. Also, we don’t want to hire candidates that most likely won’t succeed in the role, that doesn’t benefit anyone. We can’t force women into tech and leadership positions. So the solution has to be as mentioned above, get more women into tech early. The results of these efforts won’t show until quite a few years though. It’s slow machinery, but it’s moving! Once you succeed in building diverse teams, you want to keep your people. I think listening, doing employee surveys or monthly check-ins to take the temperature can give you input on where to improve. Creating a culture of trust, where employees feel they can be themselves, without playing a role, is really important. To do this, you need to work with leadership, so that they lead by example. Just be www.pcr-online.biz
you at work, there is no need to play any charade. If you, as a leader, can show vulnerability, show that you don’t understand everything or just be tired one day, your employees will follow. With that kind of culture, it’s more likely for people to feel included, just as they are.
Why do you think diversity and inclusion is important?
The more different perspectives, the more creative solutions, and the more you can achieve. Our thinking is very much colored by our frames of reference, which we start building when we grow up. The culture we are raised in, the experiences we gain when growing up, and the knowledge we have about things all contribute to our frames of reference. It’s really hard for us to think outside of these frames of reference. Sometimes we tend to think about things as “right” and “wrong.” We have to get away from this way of thinking. Diversity and inclusion won’t work if we’re not open minded about other ways of seeing things, that there is more than one “right.” We have to be curious and ask a lot of questions, really try to understand different perspectives, try to understand how other people can be right in their context, in their frames of reference. That’s when we can harvest the value from diversity and be more innovative and creative together. That’s when conversations are not about making compromises, but rather finding new, better solutions that we couldn’t think of ourselves.
What is your favourite part about your current role?
There are several things, but I’ll share two. I feel data is the future. More and more companies want to make use of the large amounts of data that exists, but at the same time we need to keep that data safe to use, without revealing personal data. I chose Privitar because of the company’s commitment to helping organisations use their data to maximise business benefits in a safe and ethical manner I also love people and I love creating an inspiring and motivating environment together with all the people around me.
What inspires you about the tech channel?
I love the feeling of being at the forefront of evolution. I love the idea of rolling forward rather than rolling back. We can’t solve the problems of today by going backwards, we have to innovate and move forward instead. An example of that is climate change. We can’t go back to the Stone Age to stop today’s problems from happening, that’s not realistic. We have to find new solutions on renewable energy instead. We have a never ending (or at least a far, far in the future ending) source of energy in the sun. Let’s use that! September 2021 | 33
Top Women in Tech
Google Cloud’s Adaire Fox-Martin Back in July, Google Cloud welcomed the arrival of newly appointed Adaire Fox-Martin as EMEA Cloud President, bringing more than two decades of tech leadership to the role. Michelle Winny, Editor of PCR caught up with Ms Fox-Martin to find out more about how she’s got to where she is professionally, her views on encouraging more women into tech and creating greater channel diversity.
ighly accomplished at building high performing teams across Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific, Adaire Fox-Martin most recently was Executive Board Member and President of Global Sales, Services, and Customer Engagement at SAP, where she successfully spearheaded and grew the company’s customer-focused teams. Prior to SAP, she held various leadership roles at Oracle. Adaire recently served on the Board of Directors of Equinix, the world’s largest data center and colocation provider. In 2020, she was named in Fortune Magazine’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women International List for the fourth time running. Adaire’s route into the tech industry is a somewhat unconventional one, as she explains: “I started my career as a secondary school English teacher, so you could say my route into the technology industry has been fairly unusual! The role taught me many skills that I hold so valuable today – teaching is the one job in the world where you are immediately, on your first day, the CEO of 30 people sitting right in front of you! It’s your responsibility to organise them, maintain their attention, and inspire. “My journey from there to now hasn’t been linear. Somewhere along the way someone took a risk on me as a non-standard 34
applicant into the IT world and that helped to set me on the path to where I am today. There were a lot of similarities between being a secondary school teacher and my first role as a training consultant. I loved taking the skills I’d developed at that time and applying them to something entirely new. From that first role, I ended up navigating my way through each line of business in a software company, from consulting, to support, to development, to marketing, and finally, to sales. Understanding how the sum of the parts make up the whole is crucial. It also means that I have developed an innate empathy for the people in my team fulfilling each of these roles. Whilst I didn’t recognise it at the time, performing different roles within a business was great preparation for senior leadership positions, though this realisation has come with the benefit of hindsight and was never my intention at the time!”
What inspired you to pursue a career in the tech channel and what inspires you now? Initially it was the challenge of doing something that was so different to the role that I had studied and trained for. Today I am inspired by the potential for a positive impact on the communities we live in and serve.
Top Women in Tech
How is life at Google Cloud?
I’m two month’s in so far, and thoroughly enjoying it. I was very fortunate to have been given the gift of time between this role and my previous role. I appreciated the stillness this afforded me and the fact that it gave me the opportunity to be very considered in my choices. I’m really excited for what’s to come. It’s an incredible time to be at Google Cloud, particularly in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). We’re at a point where companies – large and small – are considering how they transform their business and which partners can support them on this journey. To that end, I’ve been super impressed by the breadth and depth of Google Cloud’s products and services, and what we are able to offer to our EMEA customers and partners. Now is our moment and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the incredible talent we have here, as well as the variety of solutions we have to offer.
I understand you were named in Fortune Magazine’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women International List for the fourth time running. What does this mean to you? Being named as one of Fortune’s top 50 most powerful women is a wonderful acknowledgement. It’s exceptionally positive for recognising the role that women have had in the industry and the role that women play in changing the dynamics of business, across all industries and geographies. However, while these awards celebrate individuals, what they really do is celebrate the contribution of each individual’s team. Whatever path someone navigates, they don’t do it alone. These awards truly speak to the talented teams I’ve been so fortunate to work with throughout my career. Looking forward, I hope for the day where we don’t need to call out women as leaders, but rather look at characteristics of leadership as a whole, irrespective of gender. That being said, until that day arrives, it is important for young talent in the industry to be able to look at the leadership of their organisation and see someone that looks a little like them and speaks a little like them.
Do you think there are currently enough women being recruited into senior positions of management in the tech channel? What can be done to encourage more women into these roles?
This is a perennial question every company in the tech space is dealing with. Leaders make decisions that affect the products we build, the people we serve, and the employees and culture of companies. As such, businesses need to strive for a leadership team that is representative of the environment that we live in. If a business’s internal demographic doesn’t match its external one, that’s a lost opportunity that needs to be addressed. There is no quick or easy way to get more women into leadership positions, but there are recruitment, progression and retention strategies that can be put in place to ensure that companies continue to move forward in the right direction. Targeted career development programmes, which provide coaching, communitybuilding, mentorship, and advocacy can help women foster relationships with senior leaders and advance their careers. Employers need to also think about the wholeness of employees and how they can support employees’ physical, psychological and social well-being every day. www.pcr-online.biz
While there has been progress in the last few years, we’re still way off from where we need to be as an industry. It’s important that as business leaders we are conscious of the diversity in our teams, that we ask the right questions at critical moments in processes related to hiring and promotion.
“Being named as one of Fortune’s top 50 most powerful women is a wonderful acknowledgement. It’s exceptionally positive for recognising the role that women have had in the industry and the role that women play in changing the dynamics of business, across all industries and geographies.” Do you think the channel needs to do more to create a place of diversity and inclusion? If so, what can be done to achieve this?
The tech industry at large needs to focus on building workforces that better represent our world, while ensuring that company cultures make employees feel like they belong. Hiring and retaining talented professionals from underrepresented groups needs to be a key focus, as does the industry’s work to understand the identities, intersectionalities and experiences of employees worldwide. We need to be open-minded about who we hire and take chances on applicants where we think it will pay off. I personally experienced the benefit of a leader willing to take that risk. There’s no silver bullet for creating a place of diversity and inclusion, but until we have a team that reflects the demographics of the community that we serve, it’s something we need to stay focused on.
If there was one piece of leadership advice you’d offer, what would it be?
Never forget what it is like to be managed – someone told me this in my early days as a manager and I’ve never forgotten it. It’s such a small statement, yet it’s followed me for years. It underpins being an empathic leader. As managers and leaders, we need to treat colleagues as we would like to be treated. And that doesn’t mean sugar coating anything, or holding back in difficult conversations, it just means doing them in a constructive and respectful way, putting yourself in the shoes of the person on the other side of the conversation. It’s easy for managers and leaders to forget what it’s like when you’re starting out in your career, or when you’re yet to fully establish yourself. But it is a manager’s responsibility to nurture this talent, create the right culture and generate results. While the tech industry at large needs to focus on building workforces that better represent our world, leadership teams need to ensure that company cultures make employees feel like they belong, all year round. September 2021 | 35
Gabby Logan to host PCR Awards 2021! Gabby Logan has been revealed as the guest presenter who will be hosting this year’s PCR Awards, taking place at The Grand Connaught Rooms, London Wednesday 29th September.
Perhaps best known for hosting Final Score for BBC Sport, Gabby is a former international rhythmic gymnast, but she has also presented a variety of live sports events. On Wednesday 29th September, Gabby
will take to the stage to host the annual PCR Awards, which will celebrate the past year’s achievements in the tech channel across five key categories: retail, reseller, channel services, distribution and vendor.
Consumer Electronics Distributor of the Year
Gaming Monitors Vendor of the Year
Dealer Services of the Year SYNAXON UK Ltd
AGON by AOC
Tech for Techs
Tech Data Limited
Marketing and PR Agency of the Year
Hardware Distributor of the Year
Republic Of Gamers
Evolution Sales and Marketing Ltd
Ingram Micro UK
Gaming Peripherals Vendor of the Year
Tech Data Limited
Revere Tech for Techs The PR Room Zaboura Communications
Software and Services Distributor of the Year
Republic Of Gamers
Ingram Micro Cloud
TP-Link UK Ltd
Tech Data Limited Westcon-Comstor 36
Who will be celebrated on the night? RESELLER Corporate VAR of the Year
Online Retailer of the Year Box Ltd
Networking Vendor of the Year ASUS
CCL Computers Ltd
SEH Technology UK Ltd
MSP Specialist of the Year
AML Midlands Ltd
System Builder of the Year
TP-Link UK Ltd
CCL Computers Ltd
PC Vendor of the Year
Next Generation IT
Cube by Box Ltd
PC Specialist Ltd
PC Specialist Ltd
SMB Reseller of the Year Ebuyer Kingsfield Computer Products Ltd Scan Computers
Scan Computers Utopia Computers
Business Monitors Vendor of the Year
Gaming Retailer of the Year Box Ltd Fierce PC Go2Games.com GAME Scan Computers
Independent Retailer of the Year CCL Computers Ltd Chips Computers Fierce PC Go2Games.com Scan Computers The Powerhouse (Jersey Electricity)
BenQ HANNspree UK Ltd MSI Philips Monitors / MMD
Business Peripherals Vendor of the Year CHERRY GmbH
Kingston Technology Europe Shure Twelve South Vivitek
Security Hardware Vendor of the Year CHERRY Europe GmbH EZVIZ UK Kingston Technology Europe Seagate Technology Yubico
Security Software Vendor of the Year Bullguard Infoblox Kaspersky Redstor SentryBay Zix
Smart Home Vendor of the Year Eve Systems EZVIZ UK NANOLEAF Netatmo TP-Link UK Ltd
September 2021 | 37
The Grand Connaught Rooms, London Wednesday 29th September A Huge Congratulations on making the shortlist for this year’s PCR Awards 2021. We are all looking forward to welcoming you in person to an amazing night of celebrating the channel’s successes and maybe presenting you with an award on the night. If you have not booked a table to enjoy one of the largest Channel parties and Networking events of the year please do now. They are selling fast. It’s as easy as this, or call us for sponsorship opportunities that also include tables. Put the date and location In your diary – Wednesday 29th September – Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden; London WC2B 5DA Decide which table package you would like, either Platinum, Gold or Silver. Dress code: Smart Business Networking Drinks: 6pm Dinner: 7pm Awards Ceremony: 8:45pm After Party: 10pm
Book Online (visit https://www.pcr-awards.com/ tickets/) paying with Paypal or call Beccy Barr 07703 503101 firstname.lastname@example.org to book over the phone and we can invoice your company. Invite those colleagues and clients you have been hoping to see for 2 years. Call us to get a finalist logo for your marketing. There are a number of sponsorship opportunities available for the PCR Awards 2021. If you would like to find out more please contact Sarah Goldhawk at sarah. email@example.com Confirmed Awards Partners so far include: Bullguard, QBS Distribution: Event Partner, AOC: Distribution Category Sponsor, HANNspree: Marketing and PR Category sponsor, BenQ Corporation: Reseller Category Partner Book now to avoid disappointment @: https://www.pcr-awards.com/tickets/
Part of NortonLifeLock Inc.
Distribution category partner
Marketing and PR category partner
Reseller category partner
Red carpet partnership
OCTOBER ISSUE GAMING SPECIAL: HOW TO GET INVOLVED!! In the October issue of PCR we will be looking at Gaming. A popular subject I’m sure most will agree. We are interested in hearing about the spectrum of gaming related topics from peripherals and the latest tech to new trends and channel hot spots and of course gaming security. If you are involved in the gaming sector then we want to hear from you. We will be running a State of the Gaming Industry overview in our gaming roundtable. Check out the PCR website for more details. OPINIONS We are looking for 500-700 word opinion/ analysis pieces from the industry focusing on latest trends, hottest tech and the future of PC gaming; as well as the User Experience, Subscription Services and in Game Advertising and Gaming Security. PCR AWARDS 2021 WINNERS Following the much requested PCR Awards taking place in September we will be running a series of interviews with the winners on their hottest channel offerings.
Find out who scooped an award on the night. We will also be featuring our PCR AWARDS LIVE PRESENTATION REVIEW. SECTOR GUIDES: Sector guides will include: Gaming components & Gaming peripherals and monitors Gaming Security If you are a vendor or distributor who works with retailers and resellers, get in touch with specs, product description and hi res images. If you would like to be considered for any of these features and guides, email Michelle Winny at firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING IN THIS ISSUE If you would like to get involved commercially in this issue there will be a variety of packages available to showcase your business to tech vendors, distributors, retailers, resellers and PRs. Please contact Sarah Goldhawk at email@example.com to find out more.
Top 5 Tech WatchGuard’s Corey Nachreiner
Corey Nachreiner, CTO/CSO, WatchGuard Technologies, Inc. presents his top five favourite pieces of tech. There are many technologies that have shaped me and my career path and I find new technologies to obsess over every day. While it’s hard to whittle the list down to five, here are the ones that stand out in my life.
VIDEO GAMES / TANDY TRS-80
Video games have always played an important part in my love of technology. I grew up during the PC boom and remember the day my dad brought home a Tandy (Radio Shack) TRS-80. He got it for business purposes, but I had one intention – video games! With an OS that booted straight to BASIC, only 8KB of RAM and no cassette drive, I was limited, but computer magazines would publish game code as BASIC instructions. It was my love and desire to play video games that fuelled my tech passion as a kid and I still believe gaming helps progress our growth in computing.
Top 5 Tech
Modems were starting to become popular during the PC boom and when I was 14 and got a job, I bought my own computer and a 2400 baud modem! This was the precursor to the Internet and a paradigm shift for me, where I realised how interconnected these devices could be. I found many like-minded friends around the world and even then, there was an underground of BBSes that would introduce a generation of tech kids into hacking and computer security. The Internet expanded my view of this communication shift, but the modem was my personal point of realisation.
TOSHIBA SATELLITE PRO
I still remember how I felt when I was given my first laptop for work—a Toshiba Satellite Pro. To me the laptop form of computer was pivotal. Being able to take computing power everywhere changed the way I work, play and live. Nowadays, many would probably point to smartphones as the tech example here, and I considered it myself, as it is surely revolutionary in its own way. However, I think you need to give credit to the older trailblazers, and to me laptops really defined a new era of portable computing that has shaped my work and personal life.
VR AND AR
I’m a Virtual Reality (VR) fanboy. My personal interest is gaming, but VR and Augmented Reality (AR) will become a part of everyone’s work and personal lives. The pandemic has made remote working a norm and VR and AR offer ways that we can work remotely, while interacting and socialising. VR gives me that same paradigm changing feeling that my first computer or modem did. When you experience good VR, with handbased input and full six-degrees of freedom, it’s almost impossible not to realise that it changes the game. These technologies will impact the world and I’m excited to be an early adopter.
3D printing also falls into this category for me. It has become a shaping part of my life, but the way it will transform the world has barely started. What you can already do with even the low-end, consumer simple plastic FDM machines has revolutionised prototyping, manufacturing and other professions and hobbies. I can see the evolution of 3D printers moving to the molecular level and then its life changing multiplier becomes exponential. In short, this new technology is already influencing my personal and professional life in the ideas and new options it gives me.
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PCR’s Under 30’s Rising Star
COROS Wearables’ Ben Clark COROS wearables’ Ben Clark is this year’s PCR Rising Starlet having been selected as the winner of our Under 30’s Rising Stars of the Industry Award. Michelle Winny, Editor of PCR caught up with Ben to find out more about his life at COROS wearables, what direction he plans to take his career and why wearable tech is his passion.
ged just 25, Ben Clark has risen to Global Partnerships Manager in one of the fastest growing sports wearable tech companies in the world. Starting as UK Market Manager (HoM), and being promoted to Northern Europe Market as well as holding similar roles in other companies in the industry including Garmin, and mymo, Ben is quickly gaining the skills and development required for a very successful career in tech. Based upon these merits, Ben was recognised as PCR’s Rising Stars of the Industry winner receiving two tickets to attend this year’s PCR awards ceremony in London, but not before we caught up with Ben for a quick chat about life in the fast lane.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your current role in the channel?
I’m the Global Partnerships Manager for GPS sports wearables maker, COROS Wearables. I’m currently 25 yars of age and I started with COROS back in March 2020 following my firstever corporate management role at Garmin UK! Through my professional marketing background, I have a very strong presence in the sports and wearables tech sector and I also have an interest in FitTech, PayTech and the study and practice of behavioural economics - as well as riding bicycles and listening to the same 20 techno tracks on repeat! www.pcr-online.biz 43 | September 2021
September 2021 | 43 www.pcr-online.biz
PCR’s Under 30’s Rising Star
What is you 10-year plan?
My 10-year-plan is geared towards executive management within medium-to-large-sized businesses operating within consumer electronics, as well as further developing my own brand and business. In addition, I aim to continue living a nomadic lifestyle that allows me to value experiences over material items – something I believe is very healthy for the mind.
How do you feel about winning tickets to the PCR Awards night? What does this mean to you?
Entering the awards was a way of receiving some recognition for all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes – the work that the end-user doesn’t often see – so I felt it was important, at least to me to be acknowledged. The award also offers an element of positive reinforcement that I think helps to validate my unique approach to professional life, which will ultimately give me greater confidence in the future. I am pleased to have achieved this fantastic award, and I hope it will signal many more!
At only 25 what opportunities have you encountered so far that have got you to this point?
Fortunately, in my early teens I was able to realise the importance of marketing myself effectively, which helped me understand my market value and how I, as a rational utilitarian could minimise my workload whilst also maximising my reward – working smarter, not necessarily harder. Putting this philosophy into context when I was career hunting - I could apply to a job when there was an opening, or I could highlight to the company a real need for my services, pitch and market myself and then secure the role that I’ve designed for myself. Although this level of self-confidence is also backed up by several years of proactive entrepreneurialism through my previous businesses, I think it can sometimes be useful to have an overconfidence in your abilities, as this can allow us to deviate from ‘comfort’ and experience new things, allowing us to overcome new challenges with momentum. There are of course many other opportunities that you quite often take for granted, however, I think it is also important to highlight how grateful I am for the supportive and attentive upbringing by both my parents, as well as for the insightful and unwavering advice and guidance offered to me by my father Nigel, continued up until this day. 44
What would you say to other young aspiring individuals to encourage them to take up a career in the channel?
There’s definitely a long and fruitful career to be had in tech, especially if you’re working with a company that is at the forefront of innovation – in addition, there are also many areas of tech to choose from with each more impressive than the last, as well as new ones popping up all the time. The best way into the tech industry involves a background interest and related degree, however, this doesn’t have to be technical. Management roles in tech are highly sought-after, wellremunerated, and are also future-proof as Artificial Intelligence is unlikely to ever be compatible with empathy-oriented roles. Although it can be hard to plan for a career in an ever-changing industry, it is important for aspiring tech and business leaders to have some understanding of their end-goal and what steps they can take to achieve them. LinkedIn can be a fantastic tool for people wanting to pursue a career in tech as you can build a network, present your skills, and find information that can ultimately lead to landing a job!
What is your background in the industry?
My background in the industry started when I became Garmin’s first-ever UK intern in their 30-year history following a speculative application – an incredible achievement in itself. After one month, I became the UK Product Manager for Garmin Pay, working in collaboration with Mastercard to onboard several high street banks to enable their customers to use Garmin Pay on their compatible Garmin smartwatch. My biggest achievement in this role was working with CurveCard to integrate their all-in-one Mastercard into Garmin’s Pay www.pcr-online.biz
PCR’s Under 30’s Rising Star
infrastructure, a huge job but which essentially enabled all Garmin users in the UK to pay with Garmin Pay no matter who they banked with. Unfortunately, I found myself leaving Garmin due to an ongoing mental health concern, which led me to take some time out to focus on myself. However, following my recovery (and a couple of holidays), I then speculatively applied for, and became the UK Market Manager for COROS Wearables just as they were starting to expand their operations across Europe – talk about good timing – and was quite quickly thrown in at the deep end; planning and executing various marketing projects including setting up ambassador programs; forming brand partnerships and also setting up an in-house PR agency for the UK and Northern Europe. Fast forward 18 months and I now manage all English PR & Media worldwide; several global ambassador teams; as well as partnerships with some of the greatest athletes, ambassadors, and brands on the planet. In addition, I have worked with various wearable tech companies in the industry such as mymo running, and I also have my own business which specialises in medical-grade Orthotics!
Could you tell us a bit more about wearable tech and what is currently hot in this area right now?
Wearable Tech includes a large array of devices including smart/ sport watches, smart eyewear, performance monitoring sensors, payment technology, hearables, and more – but is typically categorised into two main segments: lifestyle, and performance. Lifestyle wearables such as smartwatches and payment rings allow for an extension of the user’s phone, offering an often fashionable solution to everyday use for 90% of the market, whereas performance wearables, which provide more advanced health monitoring solutions are naturally received by a much smaller segment of the overall market. Two interesting performance-focused wearables that exist now include Supersapiens’ non-invasive glucose monitor which can give the user a deep understanding of their body’s reaction to different foods, and what they need to consume to reach their optimal fuel. In addition, Nurvv’s retrofit smart insoles can help a user run smarter by giving them real-time data on their pace, cadence, step length, footstrike and pronation, enabling them to run better, which can reduce the risk of injury as well as improve running power, comfort, and speed. Currently, the global smart and sports watch industry is facing a huge challenge as it considers what should be required on a watch and what should remain solely on the smartphone. Many watch brands have begun to focus too heavily on lifestyle features in a bid to appeal to the wider market, effectively creating a wearable iPhone on the wrist, and often carbon copies of their competitors. www.pcr-online.biz
These over-supplied and under-demanded features such as Music, Wallet, Apps, and Games have allowed emerging products like the COROS Wearables PACE 2 to enter the market and dominate in performance and adventure-based sports where a more strippedback and durable watch reigns supreme.
How has wearable tech evolved and what are you currently promoting or working on in this area? Wearable tech’s evolution from the launch of the world’s first GPS watch by Casio back in 1999, has been exponential – it has transformed several industries and has had applications in both civilian and the military. 22 years later in 2021 and COROS Wearables has just had its biggest product launch to date releasing the VERTIX 2, an Allsatellite Dual-frequency GPS watch that can talk to all five major satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and Beidou) at the same time – allowing for astronomical accuracy, making it the perfect companion for ultra-running and adventure elites.
Where do you see the future of wearable tech headed, what emerging trends can we expect to see more of in the near future?
With advancements in medical technology, I feel we will start to see more commercial consumer applications for performance and nutrient monitoring - which could include the ability to fully analyse foods as they’re being digested, giving a real-time display of your biomolecule carbohydrates, proteins, fats, sugars, and minerals, as well as liquid as they are being consumed – all giving the user a full understanding of their body for performance training and competition. Although as I mentioned previously, the other 90% of the market will likely continue to be offered extensions of their smartphone in a more compact wrist-based system – just in increasingly better hardware. However, I would imagine that a savvy tech company will appear to captivate this customer by releasing a high-quality lifestyle smartwatch that focuses purely on getting the basics right, but at a price point that knocks out all of the competition.
What is the hottest piece of wearable tech you have come across?
I’m quite fascinated by the growing use of NFC/RFID chip implants under the skin that can enable a more convenient world, and there are various products on the market currently that allow for the opening of doors with just the wave of your hand! However, I would most like to see an overhaul of contactless payment regulations to allow for an extension of Apple Pay in your finger or hand (perhaps with a haptic password) enabling people to interact with the world in a much more accessible way... One can dream! September 2021 | 45
Tech for the hybrid work environment The hybrid work environment has lent itself to a plethora of mobile tech goodies. Here we look at some of the latest gadgets to get your home office up and running.
Lenovo’s ThinkSmart Core “Lenovo’s latest ThinkSmart Core is a modular room kit tailored to the hybrid work environment and is available in two room kit configurations. This includes the ThinkSmart Core + Controller, designed for workspaces that are already equipped with Teamscertified audio and visual devices. “The second option is ThinkSmart Core Full Room Kit, which is a compute device and Controller paired with the ThinkSmart Cam and ThinkSmart Bar. Supporting huddle rooms, boardrooms and home offices, this kit can be scaled up further with an added table-top mic.” Specs: Powered by an 11th Gen Intel Core vPro processor, 256GB SSD, Integrated cable management and VESA mount compatibility, 10.1-inch point-to-point touchscreen, USB-C with 10-meter cable, Integrated infrared sensors, Integrated stand offers 30-degree or 60-degree viewing angles, 3.5mm headphone jack provides direct audio connection Contact: Lenovo
Kramer’s VIA Connect2 “Kramer’s VIA Connect2 is aimed at the hybrid workforce, facilitating meetings and learning. “Featuring enterprise-level security, VIA Connect2 offers wireless sharing from any device, with any video conference platform. It also features a wired HDMI input for automatic switching to an in-room 4K or HD display. “Users can Bring their Own Meeting either using built-in VIA apps for mobile and desktop, or app-free over local networks via AirPlay and Miracast. Once paired professional in-room AV equipment can be added via USB, including displays, cameras, microphones, speakers and more. Alternatively, the Teams or Zoom client can be launched with one click directly. Specs: Enterprise-level security, Wireless sharing, Wired HDMI input for automatic switching to an in-room 4K or HD display, cameras, microphones, speakers and more Contact: Kramer
Brother UK launches new inkjet range “Brother UK’s new series of A4 business inkjets are designed for small businesses and home offices to help resellers capitalise on the shift to hybrid working. “The new devices include three mid-range A4 business inkjet models, which feature wireless connectivity, automatic two-sided printing and speeds of up to 20 inches per minute. The business-focused devices also come with 3,000 black and 1,500 colour pages of ink and optional 6,000 page black and 5,000 page colour cartridges also available, all designed to reduce printing costs. “The MFC-J4540DW features a 6.8cm LCD touchscreen display, with near-field communication technology supporting contactless secure ID pull print. It also offers a 400-page paper-input for users with higher volume print requirements. “An upgrade to the All in Box package (MFC-J4540DW XL), helps save money on printing costs by providing 6,000 black and 5,000 colour pages of ink – equivalent to up to three years’ worth of supplies – plus the reassurance of a three-year warranty on this model.” The MFC-J4340DW is a compact Mini inkjet model (DCP-J1200W) operated entirely via Brother Mobile Connect, or wirelessly by a PC. Specs: Wireless connectivity, automatic two-sided printing and speeds of up to 20 inches per minute, LCD touchscreen display, NFC, Brother Mobile Connect app enabled Contact: Brother UK
Cherry’s wireless keyboard Cherry’s Stream Keyboard Wireless version combines all the advantages of its Stream Keyboard and includes 2.4 GHz technology with a 10m range. Stability and torsion resistance is ensured by an integrated metal plate and two robust feet. Eight non-slip rubber pads on the underside keep the keyboard firm on the desktop. “The Stream Keyboard Wireless relies on Cherry’s proprietary SX scissor technology. It stands for an incomparable typing feel, uncompromising precision and a whisper-quiet keystroke. “Plug it in and get started – connection of this flat, wireless keyboard is easily established via Plug&Play. AES-128 encryption ensures that data is transmitted in encrypted form using a stable connection, which has a range of up to 10m. Specs: Full-size layout, Number pad, Status LEDs for CAPS LOCK, NUM and SCROLL LOCK, battery change indicator, long battery life of 36 months, six keys for controlling the multimedia player, Three additional keys, Made from sustainable materials Contact: Cherry
September 2021 | 47
BT Wholesale’s Gavin Jones 48
Life in the channel BT Wholesale is Europe’s largest wholesale telecoms provider, with a range of services including voice, broadband, data, hosted communication, managed networks and IT. Here Michelle Winny, editor of PCR caught up with Gavin Jones, Director of Channel at BT Wholesale to find out about how the channel has been impacted by the pandemic, the trends and growth opportunities and preparing customers ahead of the 2025 switch-off.
avin has over 20 years’ experience in the channel and currently works with a diverse range of partners to create innovative solutions towards an exciting new all-IP future. Here’ what he had to say: What’s life like at BT Wholesale? We deal with over 1000 customers of all shapes and sizes, and as the Channel Sales Director of Wholesale, I lead the team working with a diverse range of partners. My role is particularly exciting at the moment as we create innovative solutions that will help to drive the move towards an all-IP future, introduce great products to the market and enable connectivity for businesses across the UK. We’re executing on our current strategy to ensure our partners and their customers are ready for the transition into an all-IP world, and our investments in fibre fully support this. To strengthen this, we recently launched our new Partner Programme, so partners have the best support possible at all stages. What is your professional background within the channel? I have been in the channel for 25 years, with half of that spent in BT and half with other companies. My varied background has meant that I have experience dealing with lots of different cultures across the UK, Europe and more globally. Looking more broadly than the channel, heading up the Media and Broadcast Division was also a highlight in my career. The sense of purpose that everyone has when they know they’re responsible for keeping TV on-air is phenomenal. The attention to detail and effort is unparalleled and shows the importance of designing and building solutions to deliver the highest levels of service integrity. What makes you passionate about working within the channel? For me, it’s the people. I love the ability to build deep, longterm relationships and create ground-breaking technologies and solutions that partners can utilise to help their customers. There is a huge breadth across the channel, which means there are many opportunities to work in different areas. There’s never a dull moment in the channel, and I value that dynamic, vibrant part of working life. What’s more the technology itself is what makes me so passionate about working in the channel. The last 12-18 months of the pandemic alone have shown how quickly we, as an industry, have adapted to working from home. Being part of the infrastructure that enabled teams to have the technology they needed overnight and continue to work and collaborate was exciting. Ensuring that we are there to deliver the best solutions possible so our partners feel supported is what drives me day-to-day. There’s so much scope to constantly elevate our offerings and digitally transform not only our industry, but the technology sector in the UK too, by enabling greater connectivity. For example, we have recently launched our partnership with Cisco - Webex; a smart, secure collaboration tool which enables our partners’ customers to accelerate their September 2021 | 49
digital transformation and fills a crucial gap in the market. We found that nearly half (49%) of channel partners believe that a new hybrid working model will prevail for customers, while 15% predict a predominantly virtual working model. A one size fits all approach simply doesn’t work anymore which is why it’s vital that we provide the right tools and services to channel partners to navigate the evolving landscape, particularly with the 2025 PSTN switch-off looming.
what the move to all-IP means for their customers and guide them through the journey. By planning and addressing this now, customers will be ready for the change. Some organisations have already built their new portfolio and are ready to go, whereas others are in the planning stages. Partners should be offering technical expertise and seamless installation, giving customers the best route for connectivity to ensure they are one step ahead of the switch-off.
Do you have any advice for those looking to start a career in What impacts are you seeing as a result of the pandemic and the channel? what is the current mood of the channel? My main advice is go for it – if you want it, grab it. By working hard The current mood of the channel is very optimistic. If you look you can and will get to the top in this career. It’s slightly less formal at the first lockdown to the second and subsequent lockdowns, I in many ways than other industries, and there are multiple routes to don’t think anyone missed a beat on the second, whereas in the entry such as apprenticeships with a wide range of companies. first it was took time to get up to speed with remote working. The reason I’m passionate about a career in the channel is that We hosted a roundtable right at the beginning of the pandemic, it offers anyone and everyone the and unsurprisingly there was opportunity to progress. If you’re apprehension around working “For customers that are yet to prepare willing to learn and put in the from home and how that would hard work, the rewards are there impact productivity. And yet, if for the 2025 switch off, now is the time. to be reaped. you speak with those same people who were uneasy about remote Partners should be getting them ready for What growth markets are you working, now you’ll find their adopting new technology well in advance experiencing and expect to see productivity has increased, they next year within the channel? trust their employees and flexible rather than wait for the deadline. There are The cloud collaboration tools working will be part of their business moving forwards. many benefits to getting ready and switching market is growing at a rapid rate, being pushed by increasing This new way of working is now demand. Growth in collaboration part of the norm. The channel was to all-IP now – fibre is faster, more reliable also extends between providers one of the most vibrant areas in and better quality, improving customer and partners. By addressing ways continuing to find opportunities for partners and providers to and create new solutions for experience, loyalty and retention.” collaborate in a more effective customers. In regards to digital way, such as through our Partner transformation, our research Programme, with sales and marketing resources and learning with Cisco found that 96% of channel partners in the UK say tools built by industry experts, we can ensure that the channel their customers are taking a more strategic approach to digital continues to evolve and the optimism felt by channel partners investments in light of the pandemic. This particular research isn’t misplaced. looked to uncover the mood of the channel and found that partners continue to be optimistic and put digital transformation What plans do you have to drive business forward in your at the forefront of their strategies to keep up with evolving current role? demands. It’s great to see that the sentiment we’re feeling at the I think this boils down to three key areas. We need to have the frontline is being backed up by research. right strategy as a first foundation. By having the right strategy, Tell me more about the 2025 switch-off? we create solutions for our partners that their customers want and need. Secondly, we need to ensure we have the right people to The PSTN switch-off should be at the forefront of people’s minds execute on that strategy. We invest time and effort into our people – as the 2025 deadline is approaching quickly. We’re seeing to ensure we’re attracting the right talent and then retaining them channel partners shifting their offering to ensure that they are fully with innovative training programmes and ample opportunities. prepared to support their customers in the move to all-IP and are Finally, we have to create the right environment and platform for able to seize the cloud communications opportunity, to grow and them to succeed. For us, a lot of it is about simplification – being evolve with the market. easy to do business with and cutting through the noise to be more For customers that are yet to prepare for the 2025 switch dynamic. Our new partner programme is all about getting close to off, now is the time. Partners should be getting them ready for our partners and giving them the tools and support to help them adopting new technology well in advance rather than wait for the grow their business and best serve their customers. By allowing deadline. There are many benefits to getting ready and switching teams to thrive both in my organisation and in my partners’ to all-IP now – fibre is faster, more reliable and better quality, organisations, we can help drive business forward and keep the improving customer experience, loyalty and retention. channel working smoothly. There is a huge opportunity for businesses to take control of 50
WOMEN IN TECH AND DIVERSITY