My Week: Keith Tilley of SunGard

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after the Christmas break, Keith Tilley, managing director of IT services company SunGard UK, tells us about his first week back at the coalface.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
I was back in on Tuesday after the holiday break and straight into the deep end. We always spend the first week reviewing how we did last year, what we can improve and taking stock of the business. This is quite a pleasant process this time around as we closed some pretty nice deals last month.

But we can’t rest on our laurels. With the current volatility in the markets, it’s really important that we prepare well for the year ahead. We don’t want to use the downturn as an excuse for letting anything slip, or losing any ground. Luckily, opportunities abound. The cloud is huge at the moment – lots of our clients are clamouring for our cloud services – so we’re making sure that we’re ahead of the curve with our proposition there.

We emerged from the economic chaos of last year remarkably unscathed. Far from being bruised, we actually grew in 2011 and December was one of our best ever months in terms of sales. That’s not to say there weren’t a few tough times. SunGard had to do some restructuring and morale always takes a hit in those circumstances.

It’s amazing how many opportunities arise during recessions and downturns. Especially for companies like us. Sunguard basically helps companies to outsource their IT infrastructure and hosting, among other things, which in turn lets them concentrate on the important stuff: making money and growing their businesses. In a way, this makes us pretty recession-proof.

It was great to actually have a proper break last week. I did check in a few times, making sure there were no major issues. But it’s quite difficult to work with five-year-old twins wrecking the house with their Christmas presents. I even managed to pull off Christmas lunch – I’m a bit of a dab hand in the kitchen.

I am truly excited about this coming year. There’s nothing quite like recharging your batteries and feeling ready to face the challenges ahead. It’s extremely important to keep up your energy and enthusiasm as a business leader. You have to ignore all the doom and gloom in the press. Financial crises, this one included, all centre on confidence. If you believe that the global economy is going down the pan, it will. It’s one of the more frightening aspects of economics.

The financial world just needs to get some of its optimism back. And Britain should be especially proud. We are, after all, hosting the Olympics this year. But that's enough pep talk. I have a meeting in two minutes and a presentation to prepare. Happy 2012, all!

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