Jonny Rae is Business Development Manager at Union Street Technologies, the UK’s leading provider of billing, provisioning and customer management solutions to resellers operating in the communications, data and IT sectors. www.unionstreet.uk.com
What’s currently having the greatest impact on your business?
The channel is growing. New technology is helping resellers to converge IT and communications services, presenting amazing growth opportunities. There’s been a huge increase in IT-based companies moving into the communications sector. And why not? It makes sense. These days, there’s less and less need for engineers to visit sites to maintain and configure communications equipment. Everything’s managed remotely through software, a territory that’s traditionally held by IT specialists.
Providing communications services isn’t for everyone, but I see the growth of companies from an IT background in the communications space as a positive thing. As a provider of communications billing software, it is something we’re well placed to assist with.
Where do you see the next big opportunity?
5G has been drawing a lot of media attention lately and with good reason. Although the current offering is limited to expensive and relatively basic packages, as the service becomes more affordable and widely deployed, it will revolutionise the way we work. For example, 5G’s fast and reliable connectivity, combined with its strong latency, will allow the VoIP market to continue to grow where traditional connectivity is limited.
What would make your day job easier?
Being able to spell simple words. If only there was a cure for dyslexia!
What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve been given?
‘Your phone is your best friend’. Text-based communication, like email, has certainly earned its place, but when you need to get things done, there’s no substitute for picking up the phone and speaking to someone.
If you had had a crystal ball, would you have done anything differently?
I would have gone on the BBC’s Apprentice. It does wonders for your profile, or so Vincent, our Head of Sales and Marketing, tells me. Jokes aside, I don’t think there’s much I’d do differently. Life’s been good to me.
Describe your most embarrassing moment.
I would, but Lynne, my best friend’s mum, would never forgive me. My second most embarrassing moment was accidently hooking my fiancée’s hair with a fishing rod on an extremely busy harbour whilst on holiday in Majorca. I laughed, the 40 people watching laughed, my fiancée did not.
What was your first job?
A trader of antique furniture. A friend and I would spend our weekends travelling around Europe in a van buying up antique furniture, then selling it the following week for triple the price to traders in the UK. They’d refurbish it and then sell it for even more at auctions. We got pretty good at separating the wheat from the chaff and saw some amazing places on our travels.
Money’s not an issue, what’s your perfect car… and where would you drive it?
A grab lorry. I would love to be able to pick up my neighbours’ badly parked cars, hide them somewhere and watch them emerge each morning, stressing: “That Jonny has moved our car again, Karen!”
What would be your dream job?
I’ve heard that in distilleries it’s someone’s job to taste the product when it’s at over 90 per cent proof, to make sure it tastes the way it should. They do this four times a day. What a job!
Fine dining and good wine, or curry and a pint?
You can’t go wrong with a curry and a pint. Though I expect I could acquire a taste for the finer things in life, if enough Technology Resellers start to embrace the benefits of our aBILLity™ billing system.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
Pint, fishing rod, garden rake. Any of those planted firmly in my palm will bring me joy.