Hitting the right notes

Hitting the right notes

Attachmate's Graham Hawkins kicks a goal, rocks with Robbie and talks about IT

What was your first job?

I grew up on a farm so I developed a strong work ethic early on. I left farming and the country to play AFL for Melbourne. Back then AFL footballers weren't full-time professionals and you had to have a job as well because you weren't earning that much money. I fell into a role as a sales rep selling financial services.

How long did you play AFL for?

I was on the Melbourne senior list for four years. Unfortunately, when I was 22, I developed chronic hamstring problems, so the footy career got cut short. As that died the sales career took off. I then bought a sports and fitness centre, which I ran for a couple of years.

How did you end up in the IT industry?

Telecommunications was the next big thing in the 1990s, so I approached Hutchison Telecommunications and got a job as an account manager. I spent about two years working for Hutchison before I decided to get into software. I worked for a very small start-up in 1994 called Southrock Software before joining a large multinational company called Compuware. Most of the roles I had were sales-based.

How did you progress to where you are today?

I left Attachmate in 2001 and headed off to London to get some international experience. I was fortunate enough to find myself working on a new venture within British Telecom [BT]. Then it was time to move home for family reasons. Having worked for Attachmate previously, Boris Ivancic [Attachmate Asia-Pacific director] asked me if I wanted to come back and take up the Asia-Pacific channel manager's role.

What is the biggest achievement of your career?

During my time with BT, I was a part of the successful launch of a venture called BT Rich Media. We were a small venture project to begin with and spent 18 months developing a business plan, propositions and a launch strategy. During that lead-up period I was made the head of music at BT. Like Telstra locally, BT was looking to develop a new wave of business and my role was to develop propositions that allowed BT to become a distributor of music content. We managed to sign Robbie Williams as our launch partner, which was a big coup.

What do you dislike most about the IT industry?

Everybody talks about the tyranny of change. Coming from a company that has been around for 25 years, we see ongoing issues with the market's short-term mentality. The other thing I dislike is egotistical technology people who just tell everybody how much they know as opposed to focusing on customer requirements and solving their problems.

What will be the 'next big thing' in the industry?

I think we are going to see increasing automation of processes and workflow as software and computers become more intelligent. If you look at security right now, we still rely heavily on people to do a lot of the work and make sure those things are locked down. I think we are going to see technologies and software increasingly remove the human element.

What is the main focus for Attachmate over the next 12 months?

We completed the integration of NetIQ into our business in July 2006. We are now in the process of transforming and optimising our go-to-market strategy, and trying to look at the most comprehensive ways we can address our current market base. There is a lot of work to be done but it's exciting.

What can Attachmate partners look forward to?

The technologies we acquired through NetIQ are new technologies for existing Attachmate channel partners. As we put the foundation in place for the growth we are anticipating in the next few years, channel partners will get much better resources from us as well as more opportunities to go back to existing customers and sell some of the new technology.

What do you do when you are not at work?

I'm a pathetic rock star wannabe. I play in a covers band in Melbourne called After Burn that includes my brother and three other mates. We play around various pubs and at friends' parties. Despite the fact that we all want to be rock stars one day, I think we've missed the boat. Outside of music I enjoy spending time with my daughter and my partner.

Do you like gadgets?

Most of the gadgets I have are for music.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

Sport was a big part of my upbringing and from an early age all I wanted to be was an AFL footballer.

What is your biggest ambition?

One of them is to be a good family man and father figure. From a career point of view, it has always been continuous improvement because I like to get better at what I do. I would also like to try and run a business again.

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