Dialling into channel services

Dialling into channel services

IPL Communication’s Paul Scanlan is transitioning the distributor to a more services-oriented strategy. He spoke to ARN about family, helping partners through rationalisation and travelling the world.

What was your first job?

My first job was selling newspapers when I was about 12; it did wonders for my maths.

How did you end up in the IT industry?

It was by mistake. I left uni and thought I'd like to be a banker because everyone seemed to be earning money in the finance industry. I ended up doing all the leasing and finance for Canon's computer division. My financing career wasn't really reaping a lot of financial rewards, so I was offered a job in Canon selling accounting systems to accountants and that was my first IT role.

How did you progress to where you are today?

From Canon I went into office equipment and did that for a lot of years. That was what introduced me to distribution. When I left Ingram Micro, I looked around at what I wanted to do and decided I wanted to stay in distribution, so when an opportunity came up through Stead Denton [IPL Group managing director], I took it.

What do you like about your current job?

The variety and the speed. The speed of engagement is just fantastic in the channel, and it's that constant engagement and the challenges involved that's the thrill of the kill for me. I have spent time with vendors and found it a lot slower - lead times are a lot longer and I didn't enjoy it as much as a result.

What is the biggest achievement of your career?

I think nowadays just surviving in business is an achievement. The world and technology is going that fast that to be able to keep up with it and stay on top of the game is a pretty big achievement.

But I'd have to say my kids who are 17 and 18 now are my achievement. I think raising kids is just the most fantastic and rewarding thing you can ever do. It's heartbreaking at times but it's also satisfying, particularly if they achieve in something, be it academics or sport.

What do you dislike most about the IT industry?

People that can't sell value and then resort to price, which destroys everyone's margin. The moment people get into trouble they resort to price and try and screw the deal up for the next guy and I hate that.

What will be the next big thing in the industry?

I think it will be IP-based telephony. Now that telephony is going fully onto the LAN it opens up a whole new world, not just in convergence, but in seamlessly tying it into all sorts of other applications. This opens up hosting and other opportunities, which is why at IPL we're moving into services. We still see a strong role in distribution going forward, but we believe in five years' time the services division will become a dominant part of IPL, as some channel partners don't have the resources to be able to take up everything the industry has to offer.

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