Ringside: Insider Interview with Brian Poole

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Welcome back to Ringside. Our interview series invites leaders from across the business communications industry and beyond to share their views on trends, current issues and other reflections on their careers. Today, we caught up with Brian Poole from CDW, one of our trusted channel partners.

Brian has been part of the CDW team for just under seven years. Before joining the company, he held various commercial roles but has a foundation in technical disciplines.

What’s your role at CDW, and what do you love about your job?

Within CDW, I lead the Cloud Sales Business Development team, a multi-talented group of specialist sales individuals that operate as an overlay sales function to the account managers. We lead discussions to support a customer’s cloud exploration and help them during their transformational journey to the cloud. CDW has an extensive cloud practice and support service; we are the conduit to subject matter experts and project teams. We lead the discussion in all things cloud, including unified communications and contact centre as a service. We have been highly successful in supporting our customers over the past five years in this area, and that success is due in part to having a great relationship with RingCentral.

I like variety in my work and what I love about my job is that I get to work across all the sales teams in the UK and the type of characters, opportunity and engagement that brings. The sales teams are working across all commercial and public sectors. The customer challenges and journeys are different, meaning my team is always creating solutions to meet our customer’s needs. I like to get involved in shaping some of that too. Cloud services is a popular topic, making our jobs exciting as we lead organisations toward a future they have been planning for and we make that future real.

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In what ways has business communications changed over your career?

Networking technology has been the most significant enabler for change in business communications over the past 30 years. I started my work life as an apprentice for BT in the mid-’80s, not to be a field engineer but in their research labs where the teams were designing tomorrow’s communications – these were sometimes tested and sometimes (not always!) deployed. Therefore, I was often lucky to see what was around the corner. In the mid-’90s, I worked on high-speed fibre optic and copper-based business networks working closely with the copper access teams trialling various technologies (ASDL and VDSL). We could see then that this service would transform everything and a mass rollout would change the way we communicated, worked, shopped and lived forever – we weren’t wrong!

The upgrade of the internet has been the catalyst for business communications changing. I used to sell costly high-speed networks for corporates from the BT portfolio, and all that got reappraised as broadband speeds, and prices forced a massive reality check. Some businesses started using the low-cost copper broadband services as their primary service for data and voice, and on the whole, it proved reliable. The availability of high speeds, ubiquitous coverage (including mobile), and demands from business and consumers have paved the way for cloud services to prosper and enable us to be agile – like we all are now through the pandemic.

How will our experiences over the last 12 months change the way we work forever?

Undoubtedly the last 12 months have been a proving ground and a wake-up call for business. Continuity plans have been tested for real; both computing and communications tested across a fully distributed workforce. Some leaders have had to learn to trust their people to work from home. For some businesses, this was a wrench, but I can see them getting over their trust issues and seeing some of the benefits of an agile workforce who can mix home and work life with flexibility. Companies will take a decisive step towards more agile working where employees will WFH and go into the office as they need to, and we’ll use technology more to save the lost time travelling and polluting our planet.

Many thanks to Brian for sharing his views and story with us. We’re always keen to hear from our partners as they always have their finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the industry. If you’d like to read more of Brian’s insights, follow him on LinkedIn. Make sure to keep an eye out for the next Ringside instalment – coming soon!

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Originally published Feb 16, 2021, updated Feb 18, 2021


Samantha is RingCentral’s Content Manager for EMEA Marketing. Before joining the business, she worked in content and public relations roles. She has worked with companies in ed tech, marketing and advertising, connected home, telecoms and publishing.

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