Tell us a little more about yourself…
I’m from Motherwell, Scotland and now live in Glasgow with my wife and three boys.
In terms of hobbies, it is all sport which has played a large part in my life. Particularity if I can be involved in competition, playing both football and being involved in athletics to quite a high level in my youth. This has continued into my adult years where I have added in cycling, and tennis where I try and compete for the clubs I’m involved with. When the snow comes, I really like to try and get on the board as often as possible. Alongside the participation, I’ve been coaching at two teams at our community club for over 25 years, mostly the development squads where I really enjoy seeing the progress over the years. Unfortunately, this makes my wife a bit of a sport widow, although she led the way in snowboarding and is pretty good at golf.
How long have you worked at Bright Cloud Group?
I joined in July 2022.
Describe a typical day in your role.
I’d split the current role into three sections, sales of course for working to develop new enterprise opportunities, directly leveraging my contacts and pursuing RFP and partner led opportunities is the priority. As I’m still early in the role, education plays a large part; developing the understanding of the solutions we deliver, achieving certifications for those and uncovering our success as a business to build the story for the third element that is development of our go-to-market propositions for solutions, support and services.
What were you doing before working at Bright Cloud Group?
I have been in the contact centre space for 17 years, and originally, I started life in technology recruitment then went on to build from an idea a recruitment business in Glasgow that became the largest contact centre recruiter in Scotland within three years. As we operated an RPO service managing over 1,000 agents on behalf of clients (and also bringing our BPO customers opportunities), it allowed me to really understand contact centres and build a pretty extensive network of industry contacts at all levels!
This naturally moved to consulting where I have helped organisations across multiple verticals build contact centres from the ground up including carpets, desks, technology and eventually evolving into customer service. In the early days, for the contact centres we worked with, it was very transactionally focused, with capacity, AHT and cost leading as the key drivers. Over the years as we know the focus has moved on significantly where we have entered the world of experience as the supposed battle ground for brands and digital-first becoming one of the highest priorities in many verticals. When it boils down though, cost predominates the wish list of the majority of organisations.
What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
It’s still early days, but this far, being able to leverage my previous experience to bring new ideas and opportunities to the table. Meeting new people and joining a new team is always a daunting experience, no matter what experience you have, but it has been great to join a welcoming team at Bright Cloud Group. It is easy to see they are experts in their field who take pride in their work. I’m glad to add my expertise to that talent pool and be able to talk proudly of the organisation in meetings with current partners, prospects and future customers.
What three words would your colleagues use to describe you?
This is a really tough one and perhaps it will change over the course of time!
“Helpful”, I hope which if not potentially “intrusive” as we find overlaps and ways of working together, but in a nice way, I hope. Perhaps “experienced” could also be relevant. I would of course hope to upgrade those to something more dynamic but Rome was not built in a day.
Tell us the most memorable moment that has happened at Bright Cloud Group whilst you’ve been working there?
The Comms Business Awards was a great opportunity to meet the team when I first joined Bright Cloud Group in July. We also hosted an annual golf day for customers and partners recently, and that was both extremely enjoyable particularly meeting colleagues and patterns in person as opposed to over a screen.
What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought and why?
Smart TVs are probably my biggest technology investment, given my love of sports obviously.
But, in all honesty, I’m not a big technology buyer, my cycling computer has lasted a very long time and if it isn’t broken it doesn’t really need replaced, gadgets for gimmicks are not my thing. Of course, given my career, I really love what technology can do and improve, but in my daily life, it’s not essential (outside work of course!). Hands-on low tech approach works better for me; I recently rebuilt my entire garden and instead of getting a digger, I used a shovel and a pickaxe.
What item could you not live without?
On a personal level, it’s got to be football boots! I always keep them in my car in case there is an opportunity to play. I once went to watch my son play at the university on a Saturday morning and as I turned up, he said to me: “Dad, have you got your shining guards and your boots? Go into the changing room, number 16, you’re playing for us.” See, you never know when an opportunity strikes!
What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started working in it?
In general, the move to cloud is definitely one of the biggest across all industries not just within the contact centre industry. As mentioned earlier shifting the focus to experience; Agent experience, employee experience, everybody’s experience has dominated conversations for a while now and of course combined with that is the myriad of channels available to the market. With AI becoming a key underlying technology to drive many of the potential solution options.
There has been a massive rise in point solutions for experience-related technology and outcomes, but I think there needs to be a little bit consolidation at some point in the future. I’m slightly cynical of real the pace of this change, whilst most expected these solutions to replace human interaction the current view and data from many companies I speak with, is that voice will predominate for some time and digital is the dream. Surrounding this need or desire for change and the impact across more departments has seen a rise in the number of stakeholders contributing to decisions. Ultimately this has an impact on the approach to help organisations understand and facilitate change.
If there’s one thing you could change about the industry, what would it be?
The approach from the recognised influencers on the buyers in the market. For example, if you think about the contact centre sector, the Gartner Magic Quadrant for CCaaS had some very interesting results this year, including some major vendors dropping off, with a heavy weighting towards global (North American vendors) achieving perceived better validation. I would like to see the measure of value to possibly adopted across more categories, it may lead results to be more inclusive and fairer in terms of measuring the quality of an organisation or solution.
Another area is webinars that provide no tangible benefit. Very many replay what everyone knows, but for most I speak what they really want to understand is, how do we fix this? What do we do? Where do we start? How do we get off the kerb?
Who or what has most influenced your career and why?
I hope this is not too much of a cliché, but my parents. They were both in sales, my mum sold houses and my dad was a dealership director at Mercedes Benz trucks, so sales is part of my upbringing. I learned a lot about sales from them and as a kid, where I often helped my mum at work during weekends and school holidays. Most importantly to listen, not to tell, help buyers to understand what they might need, be honest and have integrity.
In terms of influences have met some very interesting people throughout my career, some that I was not aware were educating me! It’s enough to say that styles may have changed over the years.