Archive | February 2015

An update from our 2014 Associates

Love Thy Vendor and Don’t Forget to Network

In the last instalment, Nick Bouwer mentioned Computacenter’s UK Kick Off and discussed how it would not be possible without the support of our partners. Following on from that message, I would like to take you on a whistle stop tour around Vendor Alliances and discuss the value that the teams bring to Computacenter.

A couple of other Associates and I started a rotation into our Vendor Alliances team a few weeks ago. We were given a comprehensive introduction to the work of the Licensing team and the value that they add. This essentially comes down to doing what Computacenter does best: taking a proven process and industrialising it – in this case Software Renewals.

Following on from the Licensing team, I spent time with some of the other Alliances teams including those aligned to HP, EMC and IBM. It was a fantastic experience and a great networking opportunity for me. I met not only our Internal Vendor Alliances teams, but also our vendors’ aligned account teams. This enabled me to start building those vital relationships, ready for when I leave the programme in a few months time.

“As associates we rotate around the company, learning vital business skills, how different business units fit together and picking up lots of IT knowledge”

As Nick mentioned in his last post, the new associates have arrived, settled in well and survived their first Kick Off. As associates we rotate around the company, learning vital business skills, how different business units fit together and picking up lots of IT knowledge. The aim is that after 18 months we are ready to fly the nest and go out to become the next generation of Account Managers, Sales Specialists or Service Managers. The programme does a great job of turning graduates with potential into future talent and we couldn’t be successful without the support of the entire business, so from all of the associates new and old – Thank you.

The associates from my intake are now in the final 4 months of the programme. We have a few rotations to finish off before we enter the final sign off process. Our attention is being drawn towards reflecting on the last 14 months, looking at how far we have all come since January 2014, but also how far we still have to go to be the best that we can be. I have certainly learnt a lot about business and IT whilst on the programme, but I have also learnt a lot about myself. Finding my presentation style, how I handle conflicts, how to network effectively and how to get the best out of a team during group activities. All of these are vital skills to for me as an individual, as a sales professional and as an employee of Computacenter.

The message that really stuck throughout the programme is; People buy from people. Networking and building relationships are therefore absolutely critical for success in this industry.

Thank you very much for reading. Please tune in two weeks time for the penultimate blog from AP14, written by Dom Marcar.


Sales Associate

The future of the User in the Contemporary Workplace

The concept of “work” continues to change. Throughout history we’ve witnessed this as we moved from an industrial to a service based economy.  With that, the nature of work also changed, as people moved from largely process or task driven activities to knowledge based work.  We constantly challenge the original paradigms of work.  How many times have you heard the phrase “work should be something I do not somewhere I go”, yet how many of us are living that experience?

Technology has only recently been available to truly support this philosophy. However, our perceptions of work haven’t really kept up with the pace of change.  In many industries we haven’t changed the organisational culture to measure people by outcomes and behaviours, rather than by physical attendance.  For many, the latter is easier.

This is changing as technology is advancing to enable different ways of working.   Competitive pressures are such that business needs to achieve greater customer engagement and intimacy in the ever increasing digital world. And we have the millienialls and Generation Z workforce challenging classic work paradigms too.

These are human, rather than technology centric trends. Whether that’s adapting to the work/life balance needs of employees, changing cultures to attract and retain the latest talent, or finding ways to get closer to customers.  It’s clear that we need to think more of the individual users, rather than technology that sits at the heart of the Contemporary Workplace.

Users are all different.  They perform different activities; some are mobile, some are not, some create, some consume, some sell.   At a more complex level, users have different lifestyle pressures, and different ways of, and needs for, collaborating with their colleagues and customers. This example is clear in the new workforce for whom collaborative social tools are second nature, and tools like email are slow and cumbersome.

We need to enable the users with appropriate tools to perform their job effectively, not just the devices, but the whole solution.  We call this ‘Workstyling’ and it works; it makes people happier, more effective and drives value, innovation and differentiation to the enterprise.

The future of work is a more distributed, yet ironically more collaborative and engaging environment than we have today.  The “Place” of work really becomes anywhere you need it to be, and there’ll be an appropriate device for you no matter whether that workspace is your train journey home, your front room in the evening, or meeting with a colleague or customer to discuss a new proposition.

We’re embarking on this journey as numerous trends inflect to extend our notion of what a Contemporary Workplace should be.  Mobile, Social, Collaborative, enabling users in a digital world.  Technology is helping to drive this change, but cultures and structures (Both organisational and physical) need to change too.

These things you can’t change overnight, it’s a process of evolution and change.  Users expectations need to be managed, as consumerisation continues to paint the view that organisations aren’t keeping up with what is available in our personal lives. Embracing new technologies such as social, mobile or collaboration can be hugely advantageous, provided its supported by the broader changes to create and embrace new ways of working.

An update from our 2014 Associates

The ship has a new bearing, and the engines are full steam ahead

In the last instalment Dan Nation mentioned the IT service Management Forum UK conference and discussed the service management community both in the wider market and within Computacenter.

Following Dan’s instalment around the services side of Computacenter, I would like to discuss the sales community within Computacenter and the fantastic event we hold for our sales staff. This is of course our UK Sales Kickoff.

Last Friday, all the UK sales force headed to the Celtic Manor resort in Wales. This began two intense days covering topics such as our 2015 approach (which I must add has a lot of maturity to it, and a completely different feel to last year’s) as well as training sessions on the current state of the IT market, and a review of the year gone by. Further to this, we have the opportunity to interact with our vendor and distribution partners to understand their 2015 go-to-markets with Computacenter, but also to strengthen and build new relationships. Our kick off would not be possible without the support of our partners, so I would like to thank our partners and everyone involved in making the Kickoff a reality. What a weekend it was!

“Our kick off would not be possible without the support of our partners, so I would like to thank our partners and everyone involved in making the Kickoff a reality. What a weekend it was!”

A quick mention is necessary to welcome the new round of associates to the company, who I trust you will be hearing from in upcoming blogs. This was their first UK Kickoff, and thinking back to last year I cannot stress how much this put the size and grandeur of Computacenter into perspective. As an associate you hear great things about your company from the people within it, but to hear how strategic we are to our partners at an event like this really lends credence to fact that we really are a market leader in every sense.

“Businesses aren’t driven by IT, they are driven by the IT users”

Writing this blog from our UK head office this Tuesday following such a fantastic weekend gives a chance to reflect back on the key takeaways from this event. IT is changing and companies challenges can be seen as sitting in two areas; the business enabling flashy end, and the more conventional IT that supports this (also called 2 speed IT). At Computacenter we are well positioned to assist customers manage the complexity this brings, and the kickoff really brought this to light. Fundamental changes in IT can be confusing (something an associate fully understands, trust me) but a clear focus helps make that easier; something that our company really has – the end user. Businesses aren’t driven by IT, they are driven by the IT users.

The message that really stuck is that the ship has a new bearing, and the engines are full steam ahead.

Thank you very much for reading. Please tune in two weeks time for the penultimate blog from AP14, written by Rianne O’Grady.

Sales Associates

The journey to software defined (something) will never be a destination

The Software defined datacenter (or enterprise) is now the must have discussion topic within the enterprise IT arena. It describes the evolution of IT services and solutions to leverage the power and flexibility of software to drive ever changing business outcomes.

‎But has anything really changed, hasn’t software always supplied the intelligence to hardware, whether it’s microcode on a piece of firmware, software that programs hardware dynamically, a basic operating system or ultimately a front-line application. In a word, Yes – but this time things may be slightly different. Software defined to varying degrees incorporates all of the above but this time with the onus on maximising the intelligence within software (and the speed new or different intelligence can be add in cycles a magnitude quicker than a hardware orientated design) and for many reducing the intelligence within hardware.pic

But as software defined starts to gain real momentum with valid use cases more prevalent, many of the earlier perspectives are shifting. The Holy Grail may not be a world of intelligent software and dumb hardware but smart everything (both hardware and software). The key to real software defined success moving forward, is an IT landscape built via systemic thinking delivering almost living or neural IT.  This infers the need for greater intimacy between software and hardware, real intelligent intimacy that uses intelligence to be “intelligent”.

Picture a modern smartphone – at present one of the best exponents of software and hardware working tightly in sync to deliver an end user experience (or service). Now think again at the real market leaders in the mobile space, emotion aside aren’t they the vendors where software and hardware (and both are highly optimised) operate in such a seamless and simple manner that enhanced agility and productivity become a by-product of it.

Does this challenge and dilute the possibly over hyped dreams of cost reduction and normalisation aligned with the software defined moniker, not really as commoditisation, the increased speed of virtually everything and improved inherent reliability within modern IT elements are resulting in more for less more often. But for software defined to really be the road ALL traverse, the magical amalgam of software and hardware working together with a level of almost human intimacy and intelligence is the journey that will compel the masses to join and accelerate.

Times are changing, changing times.

Until next time

Colin W

Twitter: @colinwccuk


Colin Williams is a Networking, UC and Security Chief Technologist for Computacenter. Please note the the content of this blog reflect the personal perspective of Colin Williams and not necessarily the viewpoint of Computacenter UK.

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