CEO and MD of Enablis (formerly Azzurri Communications), Jon Evans, started out in Australia painting boatholes in a shipyard, and now heads up one of the hottest mid-range telco MSPs in the country, posting growth of 46 per cent in 2014, and appearing in Deloitte's Fast50 for the last three years.
Its technology portfolio has developed to include hosted Cloud voice, hosted unified communications and next generation Cloud, Wi-Fi services and video collaboration. With a long history in the communications end of industry, including roles at Verizon, Optus and a host of IT channel resellers, Evans sat down with ARN ahead of the company's relaunch as Enablis to discuss what makes his company's business model so attractive, how they compete with telcos in the channel and what we can expect from his company in 2015.
Allan Swann: So how did you get into IT, given your background?
Jon Evans: I started off with an engineering degree, but it nothing to do with electronics — it was Material Sciences. I graduated in 1989, but had no electronics background, and I'm not very technical. I then travelled all around the world as a backpacker, and through various jobs I got into selling. My first sales job was selling encyclopedias door to door in America. When I first went back to the UK I worked in media sales, for four years, until 1993.
My first break in IT was with Cabletron Systems where I worked until 1996, back when LAN networking was just taking off. They were a bastion of training. They just wanted sales people, the rest they wanted to train into you. After that I went to 3com, before I jumped the fence and went to a start up — I always wanted to be my own boss. From 2002 to 2005 I moved to Australia where I was the Verizon partner manager in oz, working with a lot of integratrors and system resellers.
So what made you make the move to Australia?
I actually came here to do my Yachtmasters. I'd been here as a backpacker 25 years before, but I think it was the weather, the climate and the quality of life. For a while I was scrubbing boatholes down in a shipyard while I was working on it, living on my brother's floor out of a bag. At that point I had earned some money in IT, but I was happy as a pig in sh*t doing what I was doing. But eventually I had to earn some proper money, so got sponsored by Verizon. I then did the same role at Optus.
Bot those roles gave me a great insight into the partner dymanics here vs the UK. It was good to see a lot of business ideas and figure out what works, and what doesn't.
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