Tallying up the channel

Tallying up the channel

After more than 17 years and two stints with CA, Allan Smith was recently appointed as the software vendor’s vice-president of channel sales, Pacific. He caught up with ARN to talk about his progression into IT, the differences in business culture abroad and getting the most out of life.

Do you think this makes it harder to be innovative?

I don't know. I like to draw a differentiation between innovation and spontaneity. I'm a big planner; I like the guys to have a partner plan agreed on that contains all enablement, mutually agreed goals and so on. Some people would argue that's not innovation but I think it is - reacting spontaneously to a partner's request may not be the best answer. A partner may want pre-sales resources one day, but if we don't help them develop their own or have a model for leveraging those from somewhere else it's a short-term solution.

What's the main focus for you this year?

This year it'll be the clear development of a partner base along our three areas: Volume, value and managed service providers. We understand there will be some overlap, but having a clear plan and making them successful is the key.

What's the next big thing in the industry?

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) - not necessarily in and of itself, but because of the way it makes both parties in the arrangement start with the business outcomes. Some of CA's existing managed service provider partners are doing this now and treating it as another option for distribution.

From a small and mid-size organisation's perspective, SaaS has been around for a while providing benefits such as cost savings, reduced staffing requirements and rapid deployment and implementation, but I think we'll start to see a lot more interest from larger organisations. This will bring both opportunities and challenges for partners. SaaS isn't a magic bullet; it needs to be viewed as an alternative application delivery channel to leverage if and when it makes good business sense.

What do you do when you're not at work?

I play Scrabble with my wife who had won five games in a row before yesterday. There's also a little bit of cooking, walking and we do a lot of travel. We don't have children so it's reasonably footloose and fancy free.

Do you like gadgets?

Partially - I like gadgets that have a clear benefit. My Blackberry is good because it does email, SMS and phone in one device. Sometimes we need approval to last-minute changes to meet regulations and a laptop isn't always the available solution.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I wanted to be an actuary because it sounded cool and I liked numbers. I went to a careers night at school and they explained to me that only a small percentage of people became actuaries but I still wanted to be one. But I didn't end up even getting close.

What's your biggest ambition?

I don't have any big ambitions - I just think we live in the best of possible worlds in Australia. We have great food, wine and a lifestyle so I want to just enjoy it. Professionally I still have a passion for helping people achieve things - whether it's clients, resellers or CA folk and that carries a long way.

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