We decided to conduct a series brief interviews with some of the customer facing team at Support UK and following on from our first interview with Managing Director Martin Green, we now have an opportunity to quiz former Global Avaya T3 lead Mark Bridgman. Our mission here is to provide an insight to the business and its people, as we’d like for you to get to know the team, and for them to get to know you. We welcome your thoughts and questions and look forward to being of service to you.
As with our previous interview, we wanted to start by asking Mark to take a moment to introduce himself:
GB: Hi Mark – thanks for taking the time to introduce yourself and tell us about your journey to date – can we start with an intro – tell us about yourself?
MB: Absolutely – I’m Mark Bridgman, born and raised in Hertfordshire where I still live today, married to Sarah with 1 young daughter and a second due later this year. I have recently dusted off my bike in a return to cycling and have signed up to complete a charity ride early next year. I enjoy most sport and especially F1 and Moto GP but rugby is my main passion outside of family life, although my boots are well and truly retired these days. During the summer, I can also be found on the golf course but this is very much dependent on there being zero clouds in the sky.
I am not a very materialistic person but do possess a gold pocket watch that was my grandfathers, which I am very fond of. My core values would be honesty, humility and hard work in whatever you do in life. Give everything your best effort and make sure you balance all aspects of what you do. Working smarter is often better than working harder or longer.
When not watching, or taking part in the above I also like to travel and have been fortunate enough to have visited many wonderful places both through work and holidays over the past 20 years I’ve spent the vast majority of my working career in technology and the last 24 years focusing on Avaya (formerly Lucent Technologies and SDX Business Systems) and its offerings.
GB: Thanks for that introduction Mark. If I could start now, by asking you to tell us how you came to be in the telecoms market and what got you got started – can you tell us a little about your journey?
MB: A bit of a memory test but I started initially with SDX business system as a repair engineer, hired to work on their newly launched Index platform. I had a great time and enjoyed the atmosphere within the business so much that I decided to look at other opportunities internally. In the summer of 1996 I moved from the repair centre into the SDX training department where I took the lead on delivering the technical training courses for the channel partner engineers. One outsource to Accenture followed by a subsequent swift return to Lucent Technologies later I found myself in a training department that no longer existed due to the aforementioned outsourcing. It was during this time I had been tasked with leading the “knowledge transfers” for a new product that was about to be launched called IP Office, so I packed the first ever production unit into my suitcase and set off to introduce this exciting new platform to key partners and Lucent / Avaya personnel around the world. Post launch I moved into the services organisation when I spent the next 14 years supporting the IP Office suite of products across the globe.
GB: I guess the environment at Support UK differs significantly to Avaya. How did life before SUK prepare you for life within SUK and what are the most notable differences in your daily schedule?
MB: To put it simply, they are chalk and cheese; the corporate world of Avaya taught me many skills and processes that I have retained and adopted into my role within Support UK. The main difference is the flexibility and agility that we are able to move at is far superior to the corporate world where every decision is made by committee and can become diluted by the time a final “OK to proceed” is filtered through the various levels. I have always had a strong customer first mentality and dealing with some of the largest companies in the world to help resolve their technical issues has helped me to engage extremely closely with our customers at Support UK.
GB: What have you seen as the biggest market changes since you left Avaya in 2013? How have SUK changed if at all in that time and what are the biggest changes in customer demands in that time?
MB: There definitely seems to be far more people outside of the UC industry who finally get that they can make significant changes to their customers experience through some relatively simple changes in their communication systems. Whether it is mobile working, real time analytics, multimedia contact centres that all link to single systems and use the same user interfaces or simply the ability to have a fully redundant HA solution delivering five 9’s reliability from the cloud, the options are available today, so there are no excuses to not be delivering the best possible interaction for every customer.
GB: If you could identify two or three things that SUK do that sets you apart from other similar businesses, what would they be?
MB: Since both Martin and I are from a technical background, we have an internal need to understand a product or solution before we will recommend it to a customer. Without wishing to generalise, I would say that the vast majority of the sale folks I have met in my lifetime do not do this and will more often than not, promise the earth when it comes to features and services that are available. As a result of our need to understand how things work and what they can do, we build a relationship of trust with our clients that we do our best to maintain throughout the relationship.
GB: What do you see as the biggest influences in your customers IT and telecoms requirements over the next one to three years and how will that impact the way SUK offers services?
MB: The move to cloud offering for voice and data is by far the key influencer in conversations that I have been having. That has meant we have had to adjust our services module to incorporate virtual systems rather than the on premise flavours of the past.
GB: Thank you Mark – that was very insightful. We look forward to hearing from you again in the near future to see how things have continued to change for your customers and SUK