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60 seconds with…Phil Madders, Managing Director, PAE Business

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

The digital transformation in the business world which has been accelerated by the changes in our working lives forced by COVID-19. I spoke to the CTO of a major Japanese bank in London who advised they had moved forward five years in a little over five months in terms of creating an environment where their people could work anywhere in a secure and productive manner. The pace of this change has impacted our channel partners and forced them to focus on different services and offerings. Naturally we have moved to support this rather than become obsolete overnight.

Where do you see the next big opportunity?

All things cloud and – as the workforce moves to a flexibility in where they work, the tools they use will need to reflect this new hybrid workplace. This presents a great opportunity for our channel as workflows and processes move to the cloud. Companies will adopt cloud-based workflows and web forms to capture and move critical data around their organisation. It may never be printed, but this does not mean the expertise our channel has is not relevant and that this is not a great opportunity to move into profitable services and support. When it does need printing it will likely be via a cloud print solution which is going to be a huge opportunity in 2022. We are ready to help our partners and their customers manage the lifecycle of their digital and paper-based documents.

What would make your day job easier?

A common standard for installing embedded applications amongst the OEMs. It would save a lot of time and energy in our channel if we had a platform that everyone worked with, and would boost the channel ecosystem massively. We dare to dream…

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

“I wouldn’t start a business if I were you.” That was 22 years ago and I have worked hard to prove the gentleman wrong every day since, and hopefully our customers agree we have added value to their business.

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

I would have expanded the team quicker. The key to our success is our people – we have a great team who work tirelessly with our customers to deliver on our promises.

Describe your most embarrassing moment.

When I was a trainee, I was very excited to be demonstrating a photocopier (Canon NP150) to a potential customer, unbeknown to me this model included a feature where you could close the aperture to protect the lens, which resulted in no copies actually being made, and blank sheets of paper dropping onto the catch tray. The entire demonstration consisted of me and the potential customer looking bewildered at the lack of a copied image being produced on the copier. Remarkably he bought the copier on the basis I must be an idiot as Canon would not produce a copier that did not copy!

What was your first job?

Multiple choice – as a 13 year old selling wool on my Mum’s market stall, or labouring for my brother’s building company.

What would be your dream job?

I guess the answer should be this one as it is a great job and I love it – but dream job? I once met a gentleman who travelled the world tasting tea to buy for a major supermarket, and complained the wine tasting person had a much better job, so it is all relative. As a youngster I always fancied myself as the great John Motson commentating on football games all over the world.

Favourite holiday destination?

If you judge it on frequency then France, spectacle the Canadian Rockies, food Italy, and completely bonkers, a weekend supporting Harlequins RFC to anywhere in Ireland.

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

I love both so depends on the time and the place.

How do you like to spend your spare time?

I have just started to play golf again and am really enjoying it – although at present I would place myself firmly in the happy hacker category

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

DeLorean from Back to the Future – I would go back in time and check the copier before I started the demonstration!

Custom fan made Delorean car from Back to The Future on display at London Film and Comic Con 2017, 29/07/17