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60 seconds with Darren Bird, Head of Technology, Xeretec Group

What’s currently having the greatest impact on your business?

Darren Bird
Darren Bird

The introduction of GDPR on the 28th May 2018 has left a lot of organisations struggling to ensure that their print systems are secure. That, combined with very high-profile security breaches/incidents, has seen customers and prospects reaching out to Xeretec to bring their copy/print/scan/fax infrastructure in line with GDPR requirements.

Where do you see the next big opportunity?

As customers increasingly look to move their IT services to a cloud-based model, having secure print and scan related solutions that can operate entirely in the cloud using a true software-as-a-service model, presents a great deal of opportunity. It’s not entirely possible at the moment, but there are print and scan solutions coming down the line very soon that will enable customers to utilise the cloud entirely or even a hybrid model comprising on-premise and cloud.

What would make your day job easier?

Given the workload I have here, and the need to be on the road seeing customers, suppliers and partners, a company helicopter would be perfect. I’ll put in a request at my next performance review!

What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve been given?

Always be honest and transparent with everyone you deal with in business, but especially your customers. I have always found that you will gain more respect if you are honest in your responses, even if that means saying “I don’t know, but I will find out and get back to you”.

If you had had a crystal ball, would you have done anything differently?

I wouldn’t change anything, including the mistakes I have made. I only have the knowledge and wisdom that I have now from learning from mistakes I have made in the past. Everyone makes mistakes, but the important thing is that you learn from the mistake and do not repeat it.

Describe your most embarrassing moment.

During the early days of digital colour presses, I was doing a demonstration to a customer. This was back in the day when ‘speeds and feeds’ were important and customers wanted to investigate the internals of the device, whereas now the interest is more about software solutions around the digital press. The customer asked me how easy it was to change the toner cartridges. While showing them, the yellow toner cartridge decided to empty its contents all over me covering me from head to toe in yellow toner. I looked jaundiced for days!

What was your first job?

An early morning milk delivery round when I was 14. I would get up at 4am and work until 8am and then go to school. Different times!

What would be your dream job?

As corny as it sounds, I have my dream job. I really do love the people I work with and love working for an ethical company such as Xeretec, especially as the industry often battles with a negative reputation.

Fine dining and good wine, or curry and a pint?

As my civil partner is a chef, it would have to be fine dining and good wine. I have been lucky enough to eat in some amazing restaurants throughout the world over the years. My favourite so far has been L’Assiette Champenoise in Tinqueux, France. There I was privileged to have a private dining experience and meet the 3 Michelin star chef Arnaud Lallement.

Money’s not an issue, what’s your perfect car… and where would you like to drive it?

An Aston Martin DB11, and driving it around the Scottish Highlands. Stunning scenery and exhilarating roads are the perfect combination!

Favourite holiday destination.

The Maldives – the ultimate ‘fly & flop’ holiday.

How do you like to spend your spare time?

Spending time with my partner and friends out and about in Brighton. There is always something to do in Brighton, which is why I love living there. Having quality downtime with those I’m closest to is very important to me.

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