BUSI­NESS LESSONS

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

I think when some­body asks you to do some­thing that is chal­leng­ing and you are a lit­tle bit afraid, just step up if you can, be­cause if they be­lieve in you, you should too.

The ra­tios have im­proved since Creely was in col­lege in the 1980s, but lev­els are still be­low 30pc.

“You know, it’s a shame, re­ally, be­cause it’s a fan­tas­tic pro­fes­sion to go into and there are a lot more op­tions in en­gi­neer­ing today than there was in my day,” she says. Af­ter col­lege, she went to Guyana in South Amer­ica, join­ing that same brother who was work­ing for Guyana Air­ways. She taught maths and mu­sic there for a short while, and later trav­elled around Europe play­ing mu­sic.

The em­ploy­ment mar­ket in Ire­land was grim at the time, and many of her fel­low grad­u­ates em­i­grated. Creely did a course in prod­uct man­age­ment, which led to a role in a soft­ware start-up, set­ting her on a path to a ca­reer in com­put­ing.

Creely al­ways felt she wanted to work for her­self and so she and some col­leagues de­cided to go out on their own in 2009. “We started off by ac­tu­ally ac­quir­ing a small busi­ness called ‘IT Fo­cus’, so we didn’t start from noth­ing — there was a core com­pe­tency, a core set of clients and a busi­ness al­ready in place, so we didn’t have all of the chal­lenges of set­ting all of that up.”

The com­pany man­ages IT in­fra­struc­ture for firms. “As sys­tems be­came more com­pli­cated, it didn’t make sense for the SME to try to man­age th­ese sys­tems for them­selves,” she says.

“So the idea of a man­aged service provider or a part­ner com­pany is that it could be like your IT depart­ment, and man­age your in­fra­struc­ture for you.”

Al­though they set up the com­pany at the start of the crash, the busi­ness pros­pered. “IT has al­ways been crit­i­cal to com­pa­nies — it’s an es­sen­tial service that they need, and it also al­lows com­pa­nies to be more ef­fi­cient in many cases and to in­no­vate.”

Creely, who em­ploys 62 peo­ple, bought a UK busi­nesss in 2014 and is seek­ing fur­ther ac­qui­si­tions.

“Our busi­ness has an op­por­tu­nity to scale. So, it is prob­a­bly down to me and the team as to where we want to take it in the long-term, but I would say my work isn’t done yet.”

“We re­cently made some sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments around our cloud ser­vices and se­cu­rity,” she adds. “So there’s a lot of new op­por­tu­nity for us in that place, in that space and rather than try­ing to con­tin­u­ously grow or­gan­i­cally, where it’s harder to get the scale, we’re look­ing at fur­ther merg­ers or ac­qui­si­tions in the next while, ei­ther here or in Lon­don.”

Creely be­lieves Ire­land has po­si­tioned well as tech hub. “We have done a lot of work to pro­mote Ire­land as a place for mo­bile tal­ent to come, and I think that’s prov­ing very suc­cess­ful, be­cause they are com­ing.

“You’ve got two things — you’ve got the piece where you want the tal­ent to come, but then you also want to at­tract com­pa­nies to come to Ire­land to set up as well. Whether they’re a startup or per­haps es­tab­lished multi­na­tion­als, we want more and more of them to come. And I think that Ire­land is seen as cer­tainly a very at­trac­tive en­vi­ron­ment in which to set up busi­ness.”

She does have some con­cerns about the in­ter­na­tional view of Ire­land, par­tic­u­larly when tax ar­range­ments make head­lines all over the world.

“There’s a dan­ger that per­haps the ac­tual sub­stance of the Ir­ish busi­ness model isn’t as fully un­der­stood as it could be in­ter­na­tion­ally,” she says.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant that we get a mes­sage out there that we’re not su­per­fi­cial. I hate when I hear the word ‘tax haven’ used, but it does get used out­side this coun­try in re­la­tion to de­scrib­ing us, and we have that other aw­ful term of ‘leprechaun economics’.”

She says there is a “very big job to do” in en­sur­ing that mes­sage gets out. “We re­fer to it here in Ibec as this model of sub­stance — that that’s fully un­der­stood in­ter­na­tion­ally. That th­ese big­name com­pa­nies com­ing here are not com­ing just be­cause of tax, they’re com­ing be­cause it is a great place to cre­ate a busi­ness.”

Creely would like a bit more noise made about suc­cess­ful Ir­ish com­pa­nies, al­though she be­lieves En­ter­prise Ire­land and the Gov­ern­ment are sup­port­ive of Ir­ish firms.

“Some of th­ese Ir­ish com­pa­nies are sell­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally, they’re sell­ing to large en­ter­prise, so they’re not house­hold names such as Google, Face­book, Linkedin, etc.

“There are Ir­ish com­pa­nies like Openet or Ergo or Clavis In­sight (where her hus­band Ro­nan works) and they’re not nec­es­sar­ily names that peo­ple on the street know about, but th­ese are re­ally suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies that are grow­ing and scal­ing here in Ire­land, and maybe some­times we could hear more about the great sto­ries.”

Creely be­lieves that now, more than ever, Ir­ish busi­ness needs to be heard at Gov­ern­ment level. “I think busi­ness in Ire­land has a very strong voice through Ibec, be­cause Ibec rep­re­sents 7,500 busi­nesses, who em­ploy over 70pc of the pri­vate sec­tor work­force — that is quite a con­sid­er­able rep­re­sen­ta­tion,” she says.

While some may feel that Ibec’s voice is too pow­er­ful, Creely points to the UK, where there isn’t a uni­fied voice to bring busi­ness views to the top ta­ble of gov­ern­ment.

“We have seen how in the UK, where they don’t have such a strong rep­re­sen­ta­tive voice, [there was] the re­sult of the Brexit ref­er­en­dum,” she says.

“Per­haps if busi­ness had a stronger, more au­thor­i­ta­tive voice at the time, some of the rhetoric would have been less in ev­i­dence in the run-up to the vote, and more sub­stance would have been at the fore.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.