by Executive Chairman
Alan Simpson

5 questions with Alan Simpson: "Realising your ambition is incredibly satisfying"

As we look to find out more about ambition, the Datel blog talks to Executive Chairman Alan Simpson about his experience in pursuing his ambition to starting his own business in 1981.

How would you describe the experience of leaving your role at British Aerospace to start Datel?

Leaving British Aerospace was a big step because it was safe, well-paid job. But I felt a real ambition to run my own company and be in charge of my own destiny. You could say that I was a bit naive, but I had confidence that I would be successful and make that ambition happen. It’s that confidence - and perhaps that nativity - that helped me make that step. I’ve never looked back since.

What was your first big ‘business win’? How did it make you feel? This might be securing a notable customer, reaching a particular growth milestone or winning an award.

Once we started working with Sage, I really wanted Datel to become Sage’s largest business partner in the UK. It’s something we achieved a number of years ago - and it’s something I’m extremely proud of. It’s a position that’s brought us extremely close to the senior management of Sage. We work closely together. They trust our recommendations for technology from our investment in research and development.

How has the meaning of ‘ambition’ changed for you over the years?

I looked up the various definitions of ‘ambition’ the other day. The one that is perfect for me is ‘Ambition -the  desire and determination to achieve success.’ This ambition has manifested itself differently over the years with words like motivation, initiative, Enterprise, enthusiasm, commitment.

Is there a particular business challenge you’ve overcome that you’re particularly proud of?

The biggest challenge for our business is people.  I am incredibly proud of the culture we have created in Datel that has helped us attract and retain the best people in our sector. I have never known a team work as well together as Datel’s team of Directors. I can delegate with total confidence knowing they will make the best decisions for our Company, our staff and our customers.

Where did Datel’s values of openness, honesty and transparency come from?

Those values are a reflection of my own personal beliefs. For the last 30 years, we have always respected people and kept out word. The results of those values speak for themselves, really.

Datel’s values of openness, honesty and transparency are a true reflection of my own values. For the last 30 years we have always respected people and kept our word.

Where do you think the IT industry/business software industry without ambition – without that desire to do more?

The incredible progress in the IT industry is driven by huge ambition. Research and development is about coming up with new ideas and making them work. Those ideas can be transformative for the lives of people and businesses for people around the world - it’s difficult to think of something more ambitious than that.

I have been inspired by the achievements of companies like IBM, Apple and, indeed, Sage.

What advice would you give to someone else in realising their ambitions?

Realising my ambitions have been been incredibly satisfying. I say ‘ambitions’ because what I’ve wanted to achieve has changed with each goal I reach. Achieving that aspirations creates that platform to aim even higher - and make that next goal a reality. There’s always a new goal, there’s always a new challenge, but it also means there’s always that satisfaction to be had from overcoming that challenge and achieving that goal.

The advice I would give: believe in yourself and establish good values that others want to respect and embrace. The results of those values will speak for themselves.

Be positive but realistic to overcome the inevitable setbacks you will experience.

A business built on ambition

Inspired by Peter’s story and his passion for encouraging others to realise their aspirations, we’re running a competition to find Britain’s most ambitious business. The lucky winner will receive a promotional video showcasing their business ambition, courtesy of Datel.

Everybody has a different story to tell.

It may be how your business got started, to the challenges you face to turn that ambition into a reality. It could be about something special you’re doing today - or about your aspirations for the future.

We want to hear your story - and where your drive to achieve it has taken you.

You can click below to share your own story, or nominate a person that your feel demonstrates ambition whose example deserves to be heard.

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Share your story to win a promotional video on your business ambition

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