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Rory McKeand, Chief Operating Officer

Career so far...

I have had the good fortune of working at the sharp end of some complex and innovative organisations.

The main highlights were working with:

NCFE – a company which taught me a lot about how to build a culture of work hard, play hard, how to approach problems from multiple angles and create a differentiator through unrelenting, exceptional customer service.

Sage – Working with some very talented technology, customer and commercial teams to delivery high-quality products and internal projects at scale, delivering significant ROI.

NHS – How to manage big, hairy and audacious technology and change management initiatives, keeping resilient, always problem-solving and finding a way through.

If you could be anyone else for a week, who would you be and why?

There is a colleague I worked with many years ago who now makes a living between his diving school and a beach bar in Mauritius. Every time I get a postcard in the winter, I think switching places for a week would be a nice a change of pace.

Has 2019 been a good, bad or ugly year?

2019 has been an excellent year. We are partway through our 3-year plan and on track to deliver. We have made significant changes in our processes, tools and culture – with tangible outcomes beginning to appear. There is still a big potential to be realised at TSG, which means a lot of hard work and exciting times ahead.

What would you have as your last meal? 

Fresh seafood paella shared with friends and family.

What keeps you awake at night?

I have a young family at home who do a good job of keeping me awake at night. Work doesn’t tend to keep me up except if I have an early start – I am one of those people who won’t trust their alarm clock and have a disrupted sleep before a big day.

What piece of technology could you not be without?

My Surface Pro – I was sceptical at first but it has replaced my smartphone and helped me communicate more fully and effectively out of hours just as quickly. It also seems to be the perfect size for the train and to take electronic notes in meetings – I’m becoming a big fan.

Have any of your predictions come true this year?

I try not to make predictions after the EU referendum and the last US presidential elections.  

What is the best partner/customer trip you have ever been on?

A few year back, I went to Microsoft convergence in New Orleans and it was one of the few times where I got to extend my time to explore the city before the work event. The city was a fantastic mix of culture, entertainment and fun. I also got the chance to shake hands with Kofi Annan, who I highly respect and admire.

What do you see as the channel’s biggest challenge in 2020?

We have seen disrupting technology come forward with the Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 Business Central starting to change our marketplace. These product changes will pale in comparison to cognitive processes, directed AI, IoT and other innovations, which will become practical and change our modern workplaces. In short, this year will require us to make smart decisions on future technology trends – setting up our business to support our customers and our own sustainable growth.