After hours: John Wilson

Arabian Computer News delves below the corporate strategy to understand what really makes the region’s IT leaders tick

Tags: Computer Network Systems (CNS)United Arab Emirates
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After hours: John Wilson John Wilson, head of services for CNS. (ITP Images)
By Staff Writer Published  August 18, 2013

Arabian Computer News delves below the corporate strategy to understand what really makes the region’s IT leaders tick - this month, John Wilson, head of services for systems integrator CNS discusses switching from engineering to management.

Getting personal:

Nationality: English
Number of years in the industry: 23 Years
Favourite food: Chinese
Holiday destination: Asia
Music: Boring middle of the road
Dream car: Aston Martin, any model
Gadget: iPhone
Movie/book: Django Unchained, any book by Lee Childs
Piece of advice: Talk to people. We are obsessed by communication through emails for work related matters. Relationships are built face to face, not by e-mail.

How did you end up where you are now?

My career has spanned over many decades, and I started my IT career as a Tour Operator based in London, working on IBM Mainframes, and then got into the client server technology, as was the trend in the 1990’s. I reached a point in my career to continue at engineering level or move towards a management career. Selecting the latter I found myself working in the outsourcing and managed services domain, which has taken me from London to Dubai, and has given me the opportunity to travel extensively. I have been in Dubai for 10 years now, and enjoy the challenges that are presented to me on a daily basis.

What is your management philosophy?

Lead by example. I think this is the essential for efficient management. I have found myself to be out in the field working with the engineering teams and mounting equipment when required. Lead and others will follow is the basic building block for any manager to aspire to leadership.

What was your first computer?

It was a Gateway, a basic x386 model, with not enough hard disk space to load more than Windows 3.11 and some basic apps!

What is your greatest achievement?

I am not sure if I have achieved it yet, I feel there is still so much more to accomplish in my professional career. I am proud of working closely with some very large organisations in the UAE from offering solutions to delivering managed services contracts. I believe the true concept of managed services within the UAE is still in its infancy.

What is your biggest mistake?

I have made many mistakes, but I don’t see them as mistakes, unless we make mistakes, how can we learn and continue to innovate and achieve our aspiration. Audere est facere, “To dare is to do.”

What is your fondest memory of working in the Middle East IT industry?

I have many, and the best aspect of working in the Middle East is meeting people from different cultural aspects, talking to them, working with them and breaking down boundaries and concepts. Being from the UK, I often receive great respect which is a humbling experience, and through communication and collaboration I have been lucky enough to be part of some exceptional teams.

What technology do you think will have the biggest impact in 2013?

We hear all the buzz words surrounding the industry, cloud, private cloud, unified communications, big data, analytics, the list is endless, however looking at the Middle East market, I think we are in a period of cost consolidation, which perhaps in some way touches on all of the above. The biggest technology trend is social media, and it is fascinating to hear of the hunger and high rate of adoption in the Middle East and some of the challenges that it brings. The Middle East has a very high percentage of the local population under 25 years of age, these are the people spending on IT on a mass scale, albeit from a hardware (Apple, Samsung) and application standpoint.

What’s the best way to deal with stress?

I think I am old enough now not to get stressed. We all have huge responsibilities in life, from work through to our home and personal obligations. I have the ability to walk into my house and switch off from work, play with the kids, or watch sport. Work will always be there, your children won’t.

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