Microsoft's Kevin Noakes interviews...

In the second of a series of head-to-head interviews, director of partner sales at Microsoft UK Karl Noakes talks to Enta?s commercial group vice president Jon Atherton about Linux, ISPs, West Bromwich Albion and how they met...
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Karl Noakes: Does Enta understand the opportunity of S+S from a distributor's perspective? What are you doing to align and realise the opportunity?

Jon Atherton: What's that!? Of course – providing Microsoft software over the internet as a service is something we are moving very heavily into.

KN: What's the next big thing for you, CCTV, IP Phones?

JA: Our internet business (Entanet) is going from strength-to-strength and is now in the top ten ISPs in the UK. We have recently invested millions into our platform and these investments will continue throughout 2009. Entatech has been fortunate to have some cracking vendors who continue to drive the business and build new opportunities.

CCTV especially is something new for us and we recommend resellers to get onto this ASAP, as margin and upgrade opportunities are great. IP phones are going well but the UK is still lagging behind the rest of Europe in terms of take-up. It's something we need to change and educate the market I think better.

KN: How many Shuttles do you shift every month?

JA: Too many to mention. In fact we have over 75 per cent market share I believe, so we're obviously not doing too badly!

KN: Care to tell PC Retail readers how we met?

JA: I met 'Noaksie' in 2006 at the Microsoft Worldwide partner conference in Boston, USA. At the time I didn't realise he lived within five miles of me and supports the greatest team in the Premiership – Mighty West Bromwich Albion. Safe to say after we got chatting and realised these connections, the business meeting went out the window and discussion on WBA's formation came to a fore.

KN: Will you visit me in Seattle?

JA: If it interferes with any WBA game, then sorry mate. Perhaps you should think about the WBA Seattle Supporters Club!?

KN: Why is Entatech running Linux over Windows?

JA: The ISP community is very much aligned to Linux solutions over Microsoft's solutions, but we are trying to change this with the help of Microsoft UK – honest.

KN: How much value do you put on a broadband customer?

JA: As we are reseller focused, each and every reseller, however small, is important to Entagroup. With many of our customers who historically bought hardware from us, we now find buy and resell broadband, server and VoIP solutions.

KN: How is the new sales force working out?

JA: Fantastic, you may have seen the press we received on expanding our sales floor to accommodate over 150 people. The new floor has created a fantastic atmosphere for the staff and suppliers alike.

KN: Do you sell Microsoft Open Licence?

JA: We do, but we are also looking at SPLA as an opportunity in the medium-to-long term.

KN: Do you dislike Villa or Wolves the most?

JA: Silly question, Wolves of course.

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