Co-founder & chief executive, Hikari Data Solutions
What was your dream career as a child?
I always wanted to run my own business, right from an early age. The appeal of being in control of my own destiny and being able to seize opportunities really drew me in. I had the chance to set up my first business straight after university and I've never looked back.
What has been your personal highlight of 2019? Launching our first business intelligence product, Legal BI. We saw a gap in the market to build a solution that offers law firms cutting-edge business intelligence and analytics. Since launch, many of Ireland's leading law firms have signed up as customers and we are beginning to make our first steps into the UK market. We will bring a similar solution to the accountancy sector this month.
Which famous person deserves a (gentle) slap? The Gallagher brothers for depriving us of the Oasis reunion tour that would allow me to relive my youth!
What two things (apart from family) would you grab if your house was on fire?
My phone and my original signed copy of Secrets to Success: Inspiring Stories from Leading Entrepreneurs. I'm featured in Chapter 9!
Which of your 2019 predictions have come to pass?
Business intelligence would become mainstream in the market and for channel partners, artificial intelligence would provide opportunities to build solutions that weren't in reach previously.
What TV show have you binge watched this year?
Rewatching Breaking Bad before the movie was released.
How has 2019 been from a business perspective?
We're a year in business with Hikari which is always a milestone achievement for a startup in my view. It has been a year of significant investment as we built our first line of BI products to bring to the market and our early success is making all the hard work really pay off. Personally, I have learned a huge amount about the software business and I'm delighted that others have come on board to join us on this new journey.
What annoys you most about your commute?
The fact that most cars (including mine!) only have one person in them.
If you could witness one past event, what would it be?
The Miracle in Medinah as it is widely considered to be one of the greatest comebacks in Ryder Cup history. It was fantastic to watch on TV but I would have loved to be there in person.
How do you explain the channel to people?
A network of promoters, partners and supporters that is critical for an organisation to achieve scale and market share.
What have been your favourite and least favourite partner conference destinations?
My favourite must be Toronto with Microsoft in 2016. A fantastic location made all the better with my previous company EMIT winning Global Partner of the Year for SMB Cloud Solutions. My least favourite is Dublin as it is difficult to convince both the vendor and my wife that I need overnight accommodation!
What is the biggest challenge facing the channel in 2020?
Fragmentation. I think partners need to come together to deliver real value to customers. This can be done through various partner-to-partner initiatives, but I also think further consolidation is needed in the market. Our exit and sale of our managed services and cloud business EMIT in 2018 is a great example of knowing when the time is right to exit for the benefit of both the customers and the team. Spinning out our BI business into Hikari has allowed us to enter a high-growth market both in Ireland and globally. In fact, many of our old competitors are now our commercial partners, given that we no longer compete. Everyone wins with our new model - the partners, the vendor, the distributor and most importantly, the customer.