Finance and Administration – Days Sales Outstanding – Ages nicely

Those of you familiar with MTI will know we pride ourselves on the longevity of our staff, with several of us well into our second decade here! Our finance and administration team is no exception and with some of the key players approaching milestones, it’s time to celebrate the careers of some of MTI’s finest.

Regular readers will be familiar with our in-house bakery enthusiast Rainer Held, MTI’s SVP Finance. He’s been looking after the money for 20 years now, joining the team in 1995 at the tender age of 30. We’ve also got another stalwart in Christine Renzaho, a financial controller fast approaching a decade at the company, while Clarence Do Rego joined at the age of 50 and is now at the ten-year mark as a financial controller.

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Rainer Held, SVP Finance

While this elite cadre have more than their share of grey hairs between them, their combined 40 years at MTI really demonstrates the loyalty we try to inspire as a company, among our staff and importantly, among our customers. In a world where many might need more than two hands to count their different jobs before they reach 30, we’re proud to say that MTI’s team is built for the long-term.

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Clarence Do Rego, Financial Controller

With this in mind, I’ll be rounding up Rainer, Christine and Clarence this week to celebrate in style. We’re all ageing nicely yet remain just as enthusiastic as ever, so watch this space – pictures of our exploits will be up in due course!

193 guests all out with MTI

Yesterday was MTI’s annual summer cricket event, which saw 193 MTI guests, including 153 customers join us at The Oval to watch Surrey play Gloucester. And what a match!

Not only was this the hottest day of the year on record, but the tension in the Oval was also at a fever pitch throughout. In the end, it was a blistering finish by Surrey’s own Azhar Mahmoud, who swung the last ball of the match for six. This stroke of genius took Surrey past their visitors 154-5 in the NatWest T20 Blast.

Below is a selection of pictures from the event.

MTI's Oval Scrapbook.001

What’s really nice about this event is the number of people who ask me if they can attend next year. (I will not name names to protect the innocent) We are constantly oversubscribed even though we have increased the number of tickets year on year by 20%. I would also like to thank the knowledgeable people who can name the skyline’s buildings too. Last night I had to find out for one customer that the giant glass tower behind the main stand is the new home  for the American embassy. Thank you, Laura, from our corporate lawyers’ office DAC Beachcroft for being so knowledgeable.

We’ve hosted events at the Oval like this for the last ten years, and for my money this was the most gripping match to date. It’s always good to be able to spend time with those that we work with, away from the business environment. 

 Thank you to all who joined us. I hope you enjoyed the day as much as I did. I look forward to seeing you next year.

Moving with the times

I had a very interesting day yesterday which highlighted the need we all have to be agile in business and in life.

In the morning, Ian Parslow and myself were invited to a breakfast with The Economist’s Adrian Wooldridge, management editor and Schumpeter columnist. Adrian has just written a book, The Great Disruption, in which he examines the impact of forces such as the internet, financial capital and globalisation on business. The event, hosted by our PR consultancy Champion Communications, covered a lot of topics, ranging from the changing role of content in our lives through to the new way in which businesses need to adapt to stay ahead of the game.

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Adrian Wooldridge’s book on The Great Disruption

We then hot-footed it across the West End, through Soho to the Park Lane Hilton for a luncheon held for the Royal Warrant Holders Association. MTI (Security Practice) has the honour of having been granted a Royal Warrant for being a provider of data security services and products to Her Majesty The Queen. We are one of 700 companies to hold a Royal Warrant, and feel very proud of this. Ian Parslow, Alan Ryan, Sheila MacKinnon and I from MTI hosted a  table which included Pete Smith of The Royal Household, Ben Spencer, Beazley, Tim Raworth, KIO, Dave Exall, SafetyKleen, John Singh, DAC Beachcroft and Richard Cook, Champion Communications.

MTI (Security Practice) table and guests

MTI (Security Practice) table and guests

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KC and Tim Raworth, KIO.

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KC and Dave Exall, SafetyKleen

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L-R: KC, Robin Wodehouse of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, Pete Smith of The Royal Household

Over a three-course dinner, we heard from Robin Wodehouse, of Walker and Wodehouse Wines, one of the few Wine Merchants to hold a Royal Warrant and Grantor of Royal Warrants, who explained the work of QEST, the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, which raises funds to provide scholarships to support the education of talented crafts-people.

We also heard from Sir Charlie Mayfield of the John Lewis Partnership who made the point that holding the Royal Warrant is a mark of pride for everyone in an organisation, not just the business leaders. Upon reflection of the two parts of the day, the consistent theme for me was the need for agility.

On the one hand, we had a futuristic view of the world from a journalist who talked about the pace of change and shared his view that only those individuals and businesses that can adapt will service. On the other hand, we had lunch with one of the UK’s most traditional organisations, and here it is investing in the future and creating new opportunities by developing talent. In both environments, the benefits of being able to adapt whilst staying true to core principals seem to be the best way forward.

Robin Wodehouse at The Royal Warrant Holders Association dinner

Robin Wodehouse at The Royal Warrant Holders Association dinner

EMC World: Global Partner Summit 2014

Well what a week that was. The team here has just returned from the EMC World Global Partner Summit, an event that brought all of EMC’s communities together under one roof.

A pass for 'Keith Clark Clark'

A pass for KC

The event was held at The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, and I was fortunate enough to attend with MTI colleagues from some of our global offices along with valued customers Babcock Marine, Vocalink, CLS, Publicis, Fraport, Lear Corporation & Mobilcom.

Joe Tucci, chief executive of EMC’s federation, opened the event under the banner of ‘REDEFINE’ and went on to explain what this meant for companies – to redefine themselves from their culture through to their infrastructure and tools, so that they are effectively positioned to develop services that cater for this digital customer.

Holding the keys to this is the ‘Third Platform’ of IT – the post-PC era founded in social, mobile and cloud-based technologies, as well as big data – which allows you to design, develop and deliver cloud services and applications in rapid development cycles, while ensuring all information is fully protected. In other words, building the agility and enablement into your infrastructure that will allow you to thrive in the digital age.

Much more difficult than it sounded...

Much more difficult than it sounded…

Following Joe’s opening address, Ian Parslow and I did our bit for charity – in the form of a water walk! The charity, Charity:Water, supports people in Ethiopia by bringing clean water to areas where it is lacking, and we were tasked with carrying two water cans weighing 50kgs in total. Some Ethiopians have to do this for three hours each day – Ian and I did it for 3 minutes and it was very heavy indeed! But I was delighted to see how much they raised in total.

Then later on that evening, we were delighted to see MTI France SA receive the EMC EMEA Partner Services Quality Award. Our very own Nicolas Naulot, Director, MTI France SA Services, accepted the award alongside Dominique Larrere and Yves Bigliazzi from Publicis.

Nicolas Naulot, Director, MTI France SA Services, alongside Dominique Larrere and Yves Bigliazzi from Publicis

Nicolas Naulot, Director, MTI France SA Services, alongside Dominique Larrere and Yves Bigliazzi from Publicis

Philippe Fosse, the Vice President Channels EMEA, organised a very special Business Partner Executive evening event for a small group of EMEA partners that both Ian and I were delighted to attend.

Ian Parslow took part in a one-hour panel discussion, led by Simon Walsh, the Chief Operating Officer for EMC, EMEA. This was a riveting session that looked at how partners are re-inventing their business models, in order to succeed in a dynamic market, with the help of EMC. We were in great company, with Portugal Telecom and Iomart also sitting on the panel discussing how EMC helps their businesses.

Ian Parslow on stage

Ian Parslow on stage

I was delighted to be able to attend a motivational talk by none other than Bear Grylls during the event. Whilst he may not exactly be the immediate speaker you would associate with an EMC event, it was in fact a hugely entertaining, relevant and rewarding session. One of the key points that really struck a chord with me was when he said: “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the word “extra”. Always go the little bit extra.’ Something I challenge myself and all my fellow MTI colleagues to do every day!

The MTI ‘A Team’: Paul, Al, Ian and Garry

Bear Grylls in action

Bear Grylls in action

I also attended a partner Q&A session, which had 4000 people in attendance, hosted by Joe Tucci. One of the questions I asked was whether EMC was considering becoming a channel-only company in the future, given that 11 years ago, channel made up a third of EMC’s business, compared to more than 80 per cent today. The answer was a resounding ‘no’, as Joe sought to defend the role of direct sales forces in the business. You can actually read all about it in an article written on the Q&A in CRN.

What was really great about my time in Las Vegas was the chance to personally reconnect with MTI’s key business supporters in the EMC senior executive team. Having worked closely with this team for more than 11 years, it was great to catch up with them all and spend time with them face-to-face, including:

  • Bill Scannell, President, EMC Worldwide Sales
  • Gregg Ambulos, SVP Global Channels
  • Linda Connly, SVP Global Inside Sales
Myself, Linda Connolly, Gregg Ambulos, Nicolas, Ian and the Publicis guys, and a lovely lady who informs me she is a singer of some sort?

Linda Connly, Gregg Ambulos, Nicolas, Ian and the Publicis guys, and a lady who informs me she is a singer of some sort?

To top it off, we were part of a special select group that were allowed backstage to meet Britney Spears – you can see Britney here with yours truly, with Linda, and a shot of Linda and Gregg – jealous?

MTI Forum an overwhelming success

We recently held our annual MTI Forum event, bringing together our partners, customers and peers from across the datacentre, IT and security sectors.

The event was held at the impressive Beaumont Estate in Windsor, which played host to around 300 visitors keen to learn from a high calibre speaker line-up made up of the leading voices in the UK technology industry.

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Ian Parslow welcomes MTI Forum delegates

We held an exclusive dinner event at the venue on Tuesday evening (April15) for 20 of our VIP customers. Special guests Michael Vaughan, the former England cricket captain, and sports leadership coach Steve Bull, who has worked with the England cricket team and the British Olympics team, commanded the crease as our guest speakers on the evening. Vaughan was a hugely inspirational speaker, discussing the difficulties of managing while playing, including in his case big personalities like Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, and gave us his pre-match team talk: “This is what we have prepared for. This is what we have waited for. Now go out and enjoy the game.”

Michael Vaughan MTI

Michael Vaughan and Steve Bull entertain VIP customers at the MTI Forum dinner

Vaughan also provided insight into his mentality and the professional motivation technique he uses called ‘the man in the mirror,’ which really resonated. It essentially boils down to: can you look in the mirror at the end of every day and say you’ve done the very best job possible? That is what I demand of myself and ask of everyone at MTI – as long as we can all say we’ve done our best everyday then we will continue to be successful.

I then spent the latter part of Tuesday evening being educated on the finer points of Sat Nav technology and IP protection wherever you are working in the world by Andrew Ralston, Director of Information Services and Security at one of our newer customers Wolfson Microelectronics.

The MTI Forum itself, on Wednesday (April 16), was a great community event for companies to share ideas and take inspiration from expert speakers. The series of talks covered a variety of topics, from cybercrime and hacking techniques through to the future of the datacentre, the new generation of mobility and the Internet of Everything.

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The MTI team welcomes guests to MTI Forum

The day began with a gracious welcome and introduction by MTI’s own Ian Parslow, followed by an overview of EMC’s take on the market from Chris Gould, Director of Sales and Strategy UK&I.

The speaker sessions then kicked into full force, with Websense’s Jonathan Wood giving an illuminating introduction to the ‘7 stages of a hack,’ and our own Rob Buckton and Ian Reynolds discussing who companies to trust to manage their data and how to pass the PSN IT Health Check, respectively.

The rest of the morning saw experts explore a wide range of security issues, courtesy of RSA’s Bob Griffin, Palo Alto Networks’ Tim Kirk and MTI’s PCI-DSS expert Pauline Brace. Morning sessions also saw Cisco’s Roger Ian Dickinson take us through the finer points of the future of the datacentre, a review of IT operations and analytics from Extra Hop’s Owen Cole and insight into the power of virtualisation from WatchGuard’s Martin Lethbridge. We also enjoyed further vision into EMC’s offering from Simon Stevens, Tony Alder and Mark Galpin.

During a very nice lunch on the sunny terrace I had the delight of spending time with Terry Beale, EMC’s Director of Channel UK&I, Alex Jenkins, CISO at long-term MTI customers Babcock International, and John Singh, a partner at our legal firm DAC Beachcroft.

Moving into the afternoon we had an introduction to life after Blackberry in the new age of mobility with MobileIron’s Graeme Jenkins, security analytics insight from CyberArk’s Tobie Kottmann a look at big data with Matt Lock from Varonis. Imperva’s Andy Harcup talked us through how to tackle the modern data security threats, while Phil Keeley from Aerohive Networks had us all hooked on the next generation of wireless networking.

The afternoon sessions also saw MTI’s managed services experts Simon Walters and Asad Malik deliver a workshop on how to take the journey to the cloud, while Trusted IA’s Dave Williams gave a hands-on workshop on how to achieve a PSN pass at the first time of asking.

Next up Cisco’s Ian Foddering took us through the fascinating world of the Internet of Everything, James Walker of TrendMicro explained why traditional security is no longer enough and VMware’s Ian Little discussed managing virtual environments.

A hugely enjoyable day was rounded off in style with MTI’s Ian Reynolds delivering his popular Anatomy of a Hack presentation, which took us through the intricacies of a cyber attack.

Many thanks to all those that spoke at the event and everyone who attended the show, it was an excellent show that gave us all food for thought and we hope to see you all again next year.

Celebrating 25 years with MTI

1989 was a momentous year for many reasons. It was the year that saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tim Berners-Lee conceived the World Wide Web, while George Bush Snr became the 41st President of the United States and Sky Television (now BSkyB) launched across Europe. In sport, Nick Faldo won the first of his three US Masters titles and images of Terry Butcher’s blood-soaked shirt were forever etched into England football fans’ memories.

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MTI’s recent 2-year pen recipients with Nick Westall

But it was also a momentous year for MTI. 1989 was the year that Gary Menezes and Alasdair Young both joined us. I recently had the honour of congratulating both of them for their tenure and dedication to MTI, awarding them 5 days of extra vacation which I know they will put to good use. Thanks again guys.

People stick with MTI. I am proud of that. Whether this is customers, partners or colleagues, we have a great track record in this regard and it is one that I feel is very important. I was therefore delighted to recently award 2-year pens to Scott Phillips, Nora Copping, Chris Gelstharp, Joe Karol, James Robbins and Alex Bouraoui.

What I find most encouraging is that these colleagues all come from different departments within MTI – Customer Services, Administration, Security, Finance, and the managed services Secure Operations Centre. This demonstrates that MTI’s culture of retention is consistent across the business, and is particularly pleasing for me.

Even when they leave, people stick with MTI: We said good-bye to Nick Westall who after being with MTI for 17 years is moving to work with one of our clients. We are delighted that Nick will remain part of MTI’s family and sent him off with a signed oar ( due to Nick’s passion for rowing), as you can see in the picture. An iPhone 6 is also on order with his name on it. Thanks again Nick and see you soon!

MTI raises more than £1,000 for Children In Need

MTI Children in Need

The MTI team poses in its yellow Children In Need outfits

I am delighted to report that MTI staff raised an amazing £542.72 for the BBC’s annual Children In Need appeal last week. MTI has matched this amount, giving us a fantastic grand total of £1,085.44 to donate to the charity.

We encouraged all staff to do their bit for charity and dress up in yellow outfits or snazzy polka dots, with some outstanding creative results.

In addition to some wild and wacky outfits, staff in the Godalming office organised a Pudsey-themed cake and snacks sale. A photographer from the Surrey Advertiser also came into the office to capture staff’s efforts, and the newspaper included us in their round-up of Surrey’s Children In Need fundraising.

MTI fundraising

MTI staff organised a Pudsey-themed cake sale at the Godalming office

I am truly proud of the fundraising efforts of the MTI team, who also helped us raise £1,150.26 for Comic Relief in March. Thank you to everyone who took part and helped us raise such a great total towards this year’s record-breaking Children In Need appeal, which raised £31 million in total nationwide.

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The MTI team hit the phones on Children In Need day