Riding high into the New Year

Riding high into the New Year

Express Data general manager of sales, Mal Shaw, kicked off his channel career selling multi-user accounting systems for a Sydney reseller. He spoke to ARN about the distributor’s plans for the New Year as well as his love of sailing and cycling.

What was your first job?

I did a milk run close to where I lived.

How did you end up in IT?

I joined the IT industry in 1990. I had a background in sales, computing and small business and got my first job in IT selling multi-user accounting systems to small businesses in Sydney.

Did you study IT?

I studied a bit of computer science, but I also had a background in sales. I worked in hotel management for a few years – there are a few of us at Express Data who have a background in hospitality, and I think it provides a good grounding in customer service.

How did you progress to Express Data?

I worked for resellers for about seven years, then joined Express Data in 1997. I’d worked with Ross [Cochrane, Express Data managing director] in Sydney at BCA Systems previously and went travelling overseas for a year after leaving there. When I came back, I asked Ross to be a referee for me. He said he would as long as I talked to him about a role at Express Data, which I ended up taking. In my previous roles, I’d been a customer of Com Tech’s, so I was already an admirer of the company. I’ve had four roles in my 11 years here – I started as a BDM for Bay Networks products, then moved to NSW state manager. After that, I moved to Victoria and was responsible for Victoria and Tasmania for about five years. I moved into the national sales role about two years ago.

What do you like about your current job?

I enjoy the way we operate, the values we share and the people I work with, who I admire and am inspired by. I have a pretty experienced team too, which makes a big difference.

Is there anything about IT you dislike?

We try to work with selected vendors and resellers and that can be at risk if the product areas we represent are structured with a low barrier to entry. So low barriers to entry is a dislike I have in IT. We search for structures that recognise skills, certification and training and value.

What’s your focus for 2009?

From my perspective, we think our success is about building deeper relationships with our partners. We started with some new partners last year – Hitachi Data Systems is one we announced recently, which takes us into the storage space. We see this as complementing other areas we are working in. We also launched Microsoft Service Provider Licensing Agreement [SPLA] recently and Next IP with Telstra, so we have new things as well.

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