Team Spotlight: Ashley Denness

Mar 27, 2024

Meet our unsung heroes
Ashley Denness, Fordway’s New Business Team Leader

We caught up with Ashley Denness, the New Business Team Leader at Fordway, discussing what he gets up to behind the scenes and his thoughts on hot topics in the tech space including AI, Copilot and Cybersecurity.

As an experienced Team Leader, Ash is always in-the-know about the latest innovations and tech trends, which helps Ash to recommend the best tools to his clients. First, we get some insight into his background and what led him to Fordway…

How long have you been a part of the team, and what brought you here? 

I’ve been at Fordway for just under 8.5 years, how time flies! For my first ‘proper’ job out of University I worked in Central London for a Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence Company but got fed up with a 90-minute commute each way. Plus, IT is an ever-evolving industry and I saw more long-term career options in IT than in Pharmaceuticals.

What would you say are the current top priorities for IT professionals and what should they be thinking about in 2024? 

From a recent industry event that I attended and had the chance to have 1-2-1 meetings with IT Execs the recurring themes were: 

What are your thoughts on AI, will it be a game-changer in terms of productivity? And are there any challenges that we could face along the way? 

I think everyone is fretting about AI and how it will replace their role, however, I think from a sales perspective it’s going to have the opposite. I think with the rise in AI written content and emails that buyers will eventually want to go back to talking to salespeople as opposed to talking to an AI bot. 

In general business application, I think it’s going to increase productivity and make individuals’ roles easier; we’ve already seen that with ChatGPT and Bard. However, I think companies should be hesitant in believing that AI can solve all of their issues, as you still need to have a basic understanding of a subject to understand the accuracy and content that AI platforms can produce.  

I recently attended an industry event where a big focus of the conversations was on how to ensure that sensitive company and/or personal data doesn’t get accidentally shared with these AI platforms and how the responsibility is on IT to write specific policies to address this. As AI adoption increases, I’m sure we’ll start to see more legislation and guidance on acceptable use of AI, however, from history reeling in hyperscalers isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

Fordway Team Spotlight

We’d be interested to discover what your highlight has been during your time working for Fordway? 

Fordway are always adapting and thriving to meet our customer needs and I’ve been fortunate that during my time here Fordway has evolved from a Private Cloud Managed Service Provider to a Public Cloud Managed Service focused on the Microsoft stack.  

Understanding the differences between the two and developing my technical understanding of both service offerings and benefits to our customers has been a highlight and continuing my own development / understanding of the Microsoft 365 and Azure ecosystems. 

In terms of projects two spring to mind. Towards the end of 2018 we won a tender with an Arm’s Length Body of BEIS to provide an IT Managed Service which was my first deep exposure to Microsoft 365 and Azure. It taught me a lot about the Microsoft Public Cloud which has really aided my development.  

Additionally, in 2020/2021 I worked with one of my customers to scope and agree an IT Managed Service for two bids they were working on and replace their incumbent which was a £1bn + system integrator which we were successful with. Being able to use the agility of a smaller service provider to really tailor a solution to meet the customers’ requirements was imperative and has started a really good relationship between Fordway and our customer which I’m fortunate to be part of. 

Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives that you are particularly excited about?  

I wouldn’t say there’s one project in particular as we are involved in a wide range of projects that span Cloud, Infrastructure, End User Compute, End User support and Security. Understanding how Managed Service providers can assist companies to maximise use of tools such as Purview and Co-Pilot will be interesting to follow and seeing how Fordway can assist our customers to adopt these tools. 

What would you say to anyone considering a career in IT? 

Just go for it. The opportunity to learn, career progression and earning potentials are almost unrivalled. Unfortunately there still appears to be a negative connotation with Sales, however, regardless of your role in a business-to-business company every interaction you have with a customer is you selling the company you work for. Therefore whether you like it or not you are selling. I’d say for anyone  specifically looking to get into IT Sales to find a service provider which can provide a broad range of services and then use that as the basis to find which areas you most enjoy.  IT has such a broad range of skills that once you find your area of interest you can hone down on that area. 

And lastly, what’s something most people don’t know about you? 

It’s work related so I’ll keep it PG! I’ve always been into my swimming and during my time at the University of Kent I competed in their swim team. In my last year I was fortunate enough to attend a BUCS Swimming event in Sheffield which had Universities from all over the UK attending, Rebecca Adlington competed for Loughborough at the time. Deciding to swim with a hangover probably meant I stayed off Team GB’s radar! 

What makes Fordway a great place to work is our people.

From getting to know our customers and understanding their needs, to enabling users and their organisations to do more with less, people are at the heart of what we do. We’re proud of the people that we work with and that means we are committed to helping them reach their full potential.  If this sounds like the kind of place you’d like to work, then get in touch with us today. 

Sign up for our no obligation Cloud Readiness Assessment

Speak to an Azure expert today for a free consultation