Q&A: Ian Metcalfe, IT director, Brother

In the first of our special series talking to IT and business leaders who are taking part in this year's Byte Night event, we speak to Brother's IT director, Ian Metcalfe.

And your greatest success?

Family, friends, health and happiness, but these are the personal ones. From a business view point I would say the implementation of a European-wide ERP solution, not just because of the implementation, but because it became an enabler to help drive our European business forward with so many other initiatives that followed.

Quick decision making is part of our culture, but that means the information to make those decisions has to be available and reliable.

What one piece of advice would you give the younger you/next generation about

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your career/this industry what to do/not to do etc?

Remember that every individual can bring value to a company and initiate change within an organisation. So develop clear ideas on what can be changed or improved and back them up with action and clear conviction. Reputation comes from consistent delivery and if you deliver what you say you will, people will notice you in a positive way.

How big a role will cloud computing play in your organisation in the next three


We have been a user of cloud services for a couple of years and our strategy it to move more of our services and solutions out into the cloud, as long as we can cover off the integration and security issue. Cloud is very important to Brother as a business. We have just launched a web conferencing solution to our customers, and will be following this up with a range of cloud services, so right now I am not only reviewing cloud as services for internal use, but also looking at opportunities we can offer our customers.

What other technologies are you watching/why?

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No surprise to know that I am watching big data and social, we are changing our web sites so that we can provide a personal interaction with our customers, not just a generic offering. Understanding more about our customers is very important so we can improve our service offerings.

What are the most important criterion you use to make decisions that impact your

business and why?

Quick decision making is part of our culture, but that means the information to make those decisions has to be available and reliable. Ultimately we base our decision on: will it create a better service for our customers, will it aid our growth targets, will it help our profit targets? But, above all, is it fair to all concerned?

It may sound like spin, but we genuinely do operate "at your side." By that we mean to all our stakeholders - be they customers, associates, business partners, shareholders or the community - so we are always looking at the long term.

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