Cisco manager of channel operations, Brian McColm, is a 13-year veteran with the vendor. He speaks to MATTHEW SAINSBURY about his partner vision, gadgets and motorbikes.
What was your first job?
My first job was back in Scotland where I held a manual labouring job. I did that for six months and quickly worked out that that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I left school at 15. I didn’t go to university but lived the university life, and after the labourer job I moved into an office job and became a trainee accountant for seven years.
How did you end up in the IT industry?
It was a bit of a fluke to be honest. A head hunter basically put me forward for a job, and I was attracted by the dollars. It wasn’t an easy interview to get – as you can imagine, I came from outside of the IT industry – but they were actually looking for someone without expertise. They wanted to train someone up in terms of selling communication-type solutions in their methodology. It took a lot of perseverance and personality and really going for it to get the role – I had six interviews – but I moved across, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
How did you join Cisco?
I came from a company called Digital Equipment Corporation, and I was approached just when Digital was being sold to Compaq. The old managing director of Cisco was a chap called Terry Walsh, and I had gotten to know some of those guys before they asked me to come for an interview. They’d actually asked three years earlier, and
I’d refused for the reason that I’d moved a few times previously and needed some stability. It was the right decision for me at that point of time. This time, I moved across into Cisco as a channel account manager for six months, and on from there.
What do you like about your current position?
What I like is I came from 12-and-a-half years looking after service providers, which is a particular part of the marketplace into the channel side, which gives me a wider view of the marketplace. It’s a bit like a general manager’s position – I look after all architectures, and the complete arsenal of what we bring to market in terms of the channel partners I look after.
What frustrates you most about the IT industry?
I can’t say there’s a lot that frustrates me, I’d rather talk about what excites me. It’s such a diverse industry, it changes so often and there are so many things to talk about and to do. That’s what attracted me to it, so maybe the frustration is I can’t get to all of that.