How long have you been working in your current field?
About 20 years! My interest in IT started back at sixth form college. The year above us won a computer and one of the teachers asked a group of us if we’d like to have a go at programming – which we did and really enjoyed, it was all very different then though…
After university I worked on a PC support desk, which involved more than just support – we did pre and post sales as well as installation. And since then I’ve been in Pre-sales and at Kcom (or its previous incarnations) for thirteen years.
What does your role entail?
Being a Solutions Consultant I offer pre-sales support to customers and the sales teams. In essence I produce technical designs and solutions that meet the customer’s requirements. This means I really need to get under the skin of the customers business, understanding their objectives and challenges. I mainly work with Enterprise customers and have a focus on Cisco Unified Communications.
What gives you the most satisfaction in your role?
Seeing my solutions and design come to life and fulfilling the customer’s requirements! Sales cycles can be very long in this industry, so sometimes this can take a while…
What is the biggest challenge in your role?
Keeping up with the technology! When it was just routers and switches it was easy, but it’s all moved on so much and at such as pace.
There is a huge focus on video right now, so there is quite a bit to learn there. With things like CCTV being included in UC solutions now, we need to know a lot about security, not just online security or firewalls, but also physical security.
What helps make that challenge easier to resolve?
The experts we have at Kcom – there are many specialists who are here to support all the Solution Consultants. We spend quite a lot of time collaborating as a team and sharing our knowledge and experiences.
If you could share one lesson you have learnt with others what would it be?
Can I have two?
Try not to upset anyone – you never know when you will bump into someone or need their help!
Always embrace new things (in my case technology). Look for the new thing and give it a go – it will help you stay ahead of the pack.
What blogs/publications help you stay up to date?
As I mentioned in a previous question, keeping up with technology is a challenge, so I spend a lot of times on forums, Cisco Networkers forums in particular. Social media has made a massive change in the time it takes to find something. Even when I posted a question late on Christmas Eve; I got an answer within the hour!
For general industry information, technology and business I use Computer Weekly.Kcom People - Colin Rennison