Archive | August 2014

An update from our 2014 Associates

Hello, my name is Mitchell Smith, I’m the Workplace Line of Business associate for the 2014 Associate Programmes. Last month, Sean discussed the Programme’s first major milestone – the first half yearly review presentation. Using milestones as an inspiration, I’d like to discuss my most recent achievement – my first sale.

Despite being me being on the Line of Business Sales Associate Programme, the nature of Computacenter’s business and customers means that the Programme’s focus isn’t directly selling. Instead, the programme is designed to prepare us for sales through building our understanding of the industry, building our understanding of Computacenter, and working on our personal development to ensure we’re ready before we stand in front of large customers.

“I’ve always believed that the best way to practice something is to try it.”

Despite sales not being the primary focus or expectation, I’ve always believed that the best way to practice something is to try it. Therefore, whenever I’ve been working within my Line of Business, I have tried to spend my time working to help the team with any opportunities they’re working on. This has evolved over the seven months that I’ve now been on the programme, and has gone from initially aiding with individual tasks, to helping with larger sections, and eventually culminating in working independently on opportunities (with the support of my mentor, coach and the rest of the team whenever needed of course).

In July, I was sent an email from an Account Manager asking for me to provide the response for a tender document for a new public sector customer, in a competitive situation. This was both a lot of pressure and very exciting! I finally had the opportunity to work on a deal with a brand new customer, where the Account Manager and I could build something from the ground up – something to call “my deal” rather than something I had assisted with.

I won’t go into too much detail around the actual process, other than to say that after a lot of long days and more than a few worried phone calls to my mentor for advice, the Account Manager and I received the notification that we had won the business! The seven months of learning about what we could do and how to present that effectively had paid off – I had an email from the customer awarding Computacenter the business!

“This experience really cemented in my mind how driven I am to pass the programme and move into the role.”

It was an amazing moment, easily the highlight of my career so far, and it instantly made all of the work that had gone into getting there completely worthwhile (the congratulations messages were great too…). The entire process was also incredibly valuable for my development, reinforcing how Computacenter’s scale, our experience and references, and our end-to-end services really differentiate us from the competition. This experience really cemented in my mind how driven I am to pass the programme and move into the role. Let’s hope that this sale is the first of many!

Thank you very much for reading. Next month, we have a blog from Emma Aspinall, a Sales Associate aligned to our Industry & Commercial sector.

Line of Business Associate

The Rise of the Data-Only Datacenter?

In customer meeting there are a few words I try to avoid using; I try to avoid the C**** word,  I’m not keen on using B** D*** unless asked, the current buzz around S****** D****** can mean so many differing things to different people that it’s best to be very clear on precise definitions before starting conversations around it.

Invariably, however, these are terms that naturally come up in conversation; they are areas that challenge customers as we enter the fastest evolution of the IT industry that we have seen.

We’ve talked about Cloud (Knew you would use it at some point. Ed) for several years now and the adoption has grown, certainly over the last 18 months with usage now being mainstream.

Some of the recent announcements from vendors, particularly the messaging coming out of VMworld (Aug 2014), with their announcement of vCloud Air may attract more users to this type of solution to their business challenges, and for many organisations the case for consumption of resource in this manner is compelling.

However, in recent conversations with customers I’ve noticed and interesting trend; whilst the need for Compute resource and Data capacity continues its unrelenting journey on an upwards curve there is more selectivity about where these resources come from.

If data truly is the new natural resource, and the most valuable commodity on the world then a noticeable trend is to keep that value close to home. Whilst customers are happy to consume compute resources from outside their core Datacenter, and even the application layer being consumes ‘As a Service’ they are becoming increasingly keen to protect their data and house it locally.

There can be many valid reasons to keep data close to home; sovereignty, security, compliance and protection, but possibly Data is the Glue that holds the business operation together. Data Glue now there’s an interesting concept, watch this space….

With or without an ICE Bucket – “Video is the new voice”

Its hard to match the impact of “great video”. With body language-related elements fundamental to effective human communication, the importance of interacting visually with someone / something cannot be underestimated.

Face to face communication is by far the most “human” form of communication but is an interaction mode in the current digital, text and instant messenger rich world that is no longer always primary.

With over 65 hours of video per minute uploaded to YouTube and over 4 million videos viewed daily, the use of video as a communications tool requires no validation. And whilst we briefly discuss technology-based elements for a moment, spare a thought for the importance of modern networks (local, mobile, Wan) as the essential, always-on secure transport layer of the rich video experience we now consider our norm.Vector concept of world global communication with long distance

The ALS Ice Bucket challenge in a very short time frame has captivated all who can interact with this highly visual, social network-propelled activity. Who would have thought pouring an ice bucket of cold water over the head of someone, videoing it and posting it online would result in tens of millions of dollars raised for a previously under-funded medical condition. And through the use of social tools, always-on networks and highly intelligent mobile devices we are interacting with a worldwide community of “Ice Bucket” participants everywhere.

But the challenge has demonstrated in the midst of the current mass of tablet and smart phone-based social interaction that few things can invoke the feelings of human bonding, trust, support, emotion, advocacy, excitement and downright “fun” like a face to face video of another human (in extreme happiness, discomfort, or both !!).

And that’s why Unified Communications (the blending of voice, presence, instant messaging, video, etc on a single device) in the enterprise is fast becoming the “must have” technology-based solution across all devices to enable us to communicate as humans via the “most human form” of communication (face to face) more of the time, wherever we may be.

It looks like those who have long said “video is the new voice” have finally found their voice.

Until next time.

Colin W

PS: If you participate in the Ice Bucket challenge don’t forget to send your text or contribution to the charity in question (the text is often £3 or £5).  The fun you are having is making a difference.

Twitter: colinwccuk


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